It must have been one of those think-of-a-new place sessions that we must have done and would have agreed upon Chakrata, because if you ask travel agents or search for tourist places, you may not find it and in case you do find it then probably it would be virtually impossible to find someone who has been to this place.
Chakrata is about 100 Km odd from Dehradoon, capital of Uttrakhand , at an altitude of about 7000 ft. This is an old cantonment area which has very few people, even fewer hotels and eating joints, lots of calm and serene environs, a few points like Tiger fall and that greeny-dampy-rich-smelly-feel. Yeah, I still remember that smell even though its been a little over 3 years when we visited this place.
How to go / Where is this
Chakrata is in Uttrakhand and there are two routes, one from mussorrie and the other from Dehradoon (rather Herbertpur). Reach Doon or Mussorrie from Delhi either through following route, recommended if you stay in North/West Delhi.
NH1 -> Sonipat -> Panipat -> Karnal -> Kurukshetra -> After Pipli, take a right cut towards Yamuna Nagar -> Herbertpur -> Chakrata
Or alternatively, recommended if you stay in East Delhi, South Delhi, Noida
NH 58 -> Ghaziabad -> Meerut -> Muzaffarnagar -> Roorkee -> Biharigarh -> Doon -> Mussorrie -> Chakrata
In above route you can have some more fun by leaving NH 58 right after Chhapar and take a left towards Jhabrera and join the roorkee – doon road, that much more scenic and paddy-fieldish then the maddening highway.
Anyway, so far its all easy, the trick is to plan the time you cross Herbertpur. Beyond that ,
after a while, you would reach a point called Kalsi (I may be mixing up but thats what my memory tells me) from where the real hills start and after that there is only a single road which connects Chakrata, the road is single, there is not too much of habitation and its not too wide so at any point of time, traffic can’t move in both direction. so what instead happens is that the traffic flow is controlled at three gates, one gate at Chakrata, one in between and one at the kalsi. It takes 40 minute to cover each stretch. So you go to gate 1 and wait among everyone else, then at a fixed time, gate is opened , so all traffic moves in, gate closes, similarly same is done for reverse traffic so at any point of time traffic is only moving in one direction between any two gates. But its not too much of pain waiting at the gate since you can spend time eating road-side junk or just whiling time. If you are going from Doon try to cross Doon by 11 because what i remember is that gate opens at 12 but I am growing old but dont worry too much about it.
If you are coming from Mussorrie then you dont get into all this stuff. But somehow folks prefer this stretch. Also, Chakrata is not allowed for foreign nationals , they would need to take some permit.
More about this single road -We were there during Monsoons and boy I probably have never seen a hill as green as in this particular stretch. Its simply beautify, sort of mesmerizing with goats perched along the slant, hardly many people, wet and green and color-ful at places as well, courtesy those little flowers.
Where to Stay – We stayed in ‘Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam’ thingie . Average property, badly maintained, amazing location, ok priced. Rooms are old and sort of dingy but overall clean. Nice, friendly staff. There are some other places which are definitely worth more like ‘FRH’ but its little difficult to find out more about them.
What to do – We didn’t do any Tiger fall or any sight seeing but taking long walks is a must. Just roam around, look at conifers, take some fresh air and thats it.
something which we tried and here it is, Vijayant Kohli trying to act a TJ (Travel Jockey :) )
It was a 2 day outing so half of time travelling and rest half at Chakrata. A weekend damn well spent.