Beautiful, Amazing, and Stunning – these were the words that my mind spoke of when I visited this little hill station named Dhanaulti. This hill town is nestled at an altitude of 2,286m in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. I first visited this place a few years ago. Like most of the people, I too came to know about this place while on vacation in Mussoorie. People usually come to visit this place for few hours or half a day. It sounds just like when you go to meet someone elder in a family and happen to greet the kids too. Dhanaulti is like a younger cousin of Mussoorie and believe me, it’s much better and beautiful than the later. It’s gaining more popularity now through word of mouth and promotion by local tourism authorities. It perfectly defines an uncommercialised and clean hill station. And I hope the so-called ‘Queen of Hills’ Mussoorie, must be so proud of it like a mother.
The best part about this place is that it is not as crowded as like it’s neighbour Mussoorie and has maintained it’s charm. The Serene environment, the peace, the hills, the greenery, the trees, the breeze, all this makes you fall in love with this place. It is an example of nature’s art.
The silence speaks here, the pine trees whisper in your ears, the breeze cools up your mind, the curvy clean roads will make you want to ride, apple orchards bring water in your mouth and the clouds walk with you. You can touch the clouds, inhale them, eat them or do whatever you want. It’s like floating on them just like Aladin’s Carpet. I think that’s too much of a praise.
I have been to this place thrice and every time it feels like the first visit, fresh as always.
Main Attractions of Dhanaulti
The prime attraction of this place is its Eco Park. It has been built by the Forest Department of Uttarakhand. The entry fees to the park is Rs.20 for adults andRs. 10 for children. The park is actually a fenced area of the forest which has been done to promote tourism. The hills are enveloped by deodar & tall oak trees.
There are a lot of rides for kids and some adventure activities like Burma Bridge, commando net and flying fox and mountain biking. The Park is divided into two parts namely amber and dhara. It houses a large variety of native trees, medicinal plants and flowers. There is maggie point at the top of the park (hill top) from where one can witness beautiful views of the mountains and valley. A local vendor has a stall here and makes delicious snack maggie for the visitors. One can sit down with the snack plate and enjoy the views with your loved ones.
One can have a walk through the lush green forests or take a horse ride on the clean and curvy roads.
Have a look at the picture gallery of the Park-
Surkanda Devi Trek:
This is an easy trek for all. It’s a short hike that will take you to the Surkanda Devi Temple. It is perched on a hilltop at an altitude of 2700 meters and offers a 360-degree view of the surroundings including valleys and snow-capped Himalayan Mountains. The Surkanda Devi Temple is quite famous in this region for its mythological importance and architectural beauty. The temple is devoted to the Goddess Parvati.
But, before starting the trek you have to reach the starting point ‘Kadukhal’ which is 6.7 km’s from Dhanaulti. Local taxis run at regular intervals from Dhanaulti or one can simply book a personal one too. From Kadukal, it is a steep 2 km climb to the top by stairs. But for me at least, it’s no fun in taking the stairs. I would suggest that if you want to actually have a feel of a trek and are a trekking enthusiast, then go ahead few kms on the road towards its other starting point which is near a small village called Jwarna. The distance from here is 3 km’s approx and it will take between 1 to 1.5 hours to complete the trek. This trekking route is a mix of well-beaten paths as well as rocks and rough paths. Once you reach the top of the hill and are done praying at the temple, you can take the other route downhill i.e. the stairs. The Surkanda Devi Temple is famous for its mythological importance and architectural beauty.
Other things to do in Dhanaulti:
Leisure Walks – There is plenty more to do here, like visiting the potato farms and apple orchards. It is a must to have a walk through these farms and orchards. Farming is the main contributor to the economy of this little town. And one can learn a lot about the step farming techniques and methods.
Shopping – There is a small market here from where one can buy handicraft items, woollen clothes, shawls, scarfs and organic food items.
Camping – Apart from hotels and resorts, there are camping options also available. You can book your stay in the camps or carry your own and pitch them. The campsites offer various adventure activities like trekking, rappelling and rock climbing along with delicious meals and bonfire. So for any kind of a pocket, there are plenty of options to have a pleasant stay here.
The best place to stay that I found were the ‘Eco Bamboo Huts’ which are just opposite to the entrance of ‘Dhanaulti Eco Park’. These huts are made of bamboo and are as good as in comparison to any other resort here. It gives you a feel of staying in nature. It is beautifully built with all basic amenities and you can have a great view from the balcony as well. There is a garden area in the front and deodar and rhododendron trees all around. It can’t get better than this.
Distance Info: From the capital city (New Delhi), the journey is around 8 hours covering 325 km approx. It is 24kms from Mussoorie and 31 km from Chamba (Uttarakhand).
Best time to visit Dhanaulti – The best time to visit is from March to June when the weather is pleasant and one can see a clear view of the Himalayan Peaks. However, if you want to enjoy the snowfall, then December & January are the best months. Rainy season is from August to Oct & should be avoided.
Temperature in Dhanaulti – The temperature during summers ranges from 15 t o 35°C and in winters from -2 to 10°C.
This charming hill station is one my favourite weekend destinations. It’s a perfect hideaway place for families as well as solo travellers to escape from their daily routine and maddening crowd of the cities. Because of its enchanting beauty, this quaint tiny town is a perfect ground for the photographers as well to take some amazing shots of scenic landscape of the Himalayan Ranges.
If you are not the usual type of a traveller wandering around the mall roads and just doing shopping, then Dhanaulti is the pick for you. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to spend time in peace, relax the mind and soul with breathtaking views all around. It’s worth every penny spent.
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