Dhanaulti: My Weekend Haven.
For a weekend trip, my search stopped at Dhanaulti.
My options were:
Rajasthan: too hot
Uttar Pradesh: nothing to see
Himachal Pradesh: too much crowd
I wanted to go somewhere untouched and less commercial. Few places came to my mind:
- Haridwar: religious abode.
- Rishikesh: river rafting and café.
- Lansdowne: hill-top sanctuary.
- Chopta: Hidden heaven
But I’ve been there-done that so, I wanted to try something new. Mussoorie was a good option but it was very crowded. After a bit of search, I saw a few mentions of Dhanaulti and Kanatal. My curiosity piqued I booked my hotel in GMVN Dhanaulti.
I started the journey early by 5 AM to avoid the traffic of Delhi. By 10 AM we had already crossed Haridwar and were in Rishikesh. While we were eating at a local tea stall someone mentioned alternate route to Dhanaulti Via Chamba and Tehri though it’ll increase our journey by 30 km, few extra miles would be worth it. We all were game for it. Roads were good but the food was horrible.
Note for all: Don’t expect too much in the sense of food throughout the way.
Every curve and bend of the road brought scenic beauty. We were not too interested in Tehri dam so we bypassed the village. Our first sight of snow clad peaks was mesmerizing. It started when we were Nearing Chamba. Chamba is just a village located in foothills of Himalayan range but the beauty is breathtaking. We took a small tea break in Chamba and we were rejuvenated to continue our journey for next few miles.
At sight of our first ice patch we all went ecstatic we were randomly clicking the picture of it when few locals informed us to go ahead we’re missing snowfall which is few bends away. Believe me Dhanaulti in snowfall is a sight to behold.
Away from the chaos of vehicle we were visualizing pine trees laden with snow and path totally white. I was awestruck by the vision. We sat on a local park bench with hot Bhutta and enjoyed the snowfall. We were checked in by 2 PM and after resting for the night we were all set to enjoy the next day.
We checked out after breakfast and left for Mussoorie. In Mussoorie, it’s better to leave the car in the parking and then roam around in Mall Road. You can enjoy the street shops, local food joints.
Sights to see:
- Gun Hill Point & Ropeway
- Fish aquarium
- Tiffin top
- Kempty Fall
Do not take your vehicle in Mussoorie traffic jam are excruciatingly painful and parking is horrible. So it’s better to book hotels on outskirts of Mussoorie towards Dehradun.
How to reach Dhanaulti:
The airport at Dehradun Jolly Grant airport
Train till Dehradun or Haridwar then it has motorable route Via Dehradun which takes 2 ½ hours/ 65Km or via Tehri-Chamba which takes 4 hours/120Km.
Drive from Delhi to Dhanaulti would take around 8 hours/300Km.
Winters for snowfall especially during Jan-Feb
Otherwise, throughout the year Mussoorie and Dhanaulti are a lively place to visit. It provides a good escape from the heat of summers.
Where to eat:
Local Dhabas are good for parathas and omelet but for good eating joints, Mussoorie or Dehradun should be used as stopping points because rest all the places have only basic food available.
We left for Dehradun early evening and reached by 7 PM. Resting for the night there in Hotel Shiva Residency Dehradun which we booked by Goibibo we left early in the morning for Delhi and reached by 4 PM.
Our journey was uneventful but it left us with a remarkable memory of the place. It was love at first sight and we would revisit someday to rekindle it.
If you like this post you’ll like my post on Chopta: the Hidden Heaven in Uttarakhand.