DAY-2 – 30th Sept’11
Finally after 6hours of night sleep got up early at 6am.As I was the first one to get up , My mom told ” Itni Jaldi Kyun Jaag Gaya” . I told ” Zyada So kar time nahi waste Karna”. Got up from the bed, wore a jacket took my Camera and went to the roof to capture the sunrise, while everybody was still asleep. Had to wait for 15 minutes for the sunrise. It’s always a treat to watch Sunrise and Sunsets in Hills. After some good clicks came back. Till then everybody got up and then it was Tea Time. Drinking Tea in hills with a little chill gives a different experience. Then we started to get ready. We were ready by 9:30 am and then I did breakfast as I had to take my medicines. We prepared the lunch and packed it. Finally started my silver queen at 10am. My cousin and his mother also joined us. So we were 5 in total.
Silver Queen posing with clouds all around
We took the road to Mussoorie. This was my regular drive and the roads were very good. The weather was fine not very cold and we were wearing our regular full sleeve shirts. Sun was shining brightly. After 15 Min we stopped at our regular spot – The Shiv Mandir. Consumed 15 Minutes there. Again started the drive.
A sunrise pic
The Prakasheshwar Mahadev Mandir
As we started gaining height, the weather started to change. It was becoming cloudy and now we could feel the chill. The ride to Mussoorie was same. Just this time we came accross a seasonal waterfall. We stopped there while returning back. After driving about 30 Kms, the right turn for Dhanaulti comes. At this turn one more road goes to Jhari Pani. From this turn Mussoorie is about 5Kms and Dhanaulti is about 30 Kms.
The seasonal waterfall
The spiral roads
The turn for Dhanaulti
As soon as we turned on the SH-8 towards Dhanaulti, the traffic density became zero, as all the tourist cars went straight to Mussoorie. The road becomes single and narrow. The weather on that road was just magical. We were all around surrounded by thick cloud cover and chilly wind. I stopped the Queen. We wore our Jackets and Cardigans. Finally it was looking that we were in hills. There was no other car except my Silver Queen disecting the clouds and ascending. The scenic spots were increasing every now and then and after each 1-2 Kms we had to stop and click pics.
Very chilly and cloudy
After driving for half an hour finally some sunlight came. It was just amazing to see at one turn there was bright sunlight and just on the other turn it was totally foggy. This type of magic between clouds and sunlight followed for another half an hour and then we reached the turn of Thatyur where we saw few local Mahindra Max and few shops. We stopped there to have tea. Drinking tea in such thick clouds was just amazing.Till now there was not even a single vehicle on the Dhanaulti Road. After having some tea and snacks again started to drive. Dhanaulti was still 15Kms. Again the road became empty and clouds started to accompny us. I was feeling just in heaven. No traffic, No honking , fresh pure air, chilly weather, super smooth road, clean environment and grennery all around .What else one needs for driving.
And yes, I forgot to tell about the road Conditions till Dhanaulti. The SH-8 was excellent. The tar quality was very good. Comparing Himachal and Uttarakhand the overall road conditions in Uttarakhand is much better(Leaving the Char Dham Roads). Though at few places there were large stones fallen in the middle of the road, but thankfully not a landslide.
Even after driving for one and a half hour we were yet to see any tourist car. There were Lush green hills which were the trademark of the post monsoon. Such beautiful landscapes were forcing us to stop the Queen again and again and pose for some pics. This was the reason that we covered 60 Kms in 3 Hours with atleast 25-30 breaks( sounds crazy). We were stopping the queen in the middle of the road and then posing sitting on the road as there was no traffic. In short we were enjoying to the fullest. It feels great to be alone in such such distant places.
Here is a short video of Driving towards Dhanaulti –
Finally we reached Dhanaulti at 1:30 Pm. So from Mussoorie till Dhanaulti there was no tourist car except the Silver Queen. Even in Dhanaulti we were the alone tourists. But trust me, visiting the hill station in an off season is the best time when you can enjoy the nature and the environment. Dhanaulti is located at 2300 m approx ASL. Dhanaulti is basically not a hill station but just a small place on the Dehradun – Chamba – Tehri Road. There are 2 Eco Parks and Eco Huts for accomodation. In short , Dhanaulti is a place for nature loving people. Don’t expect Mall road kind of things there.
Some hills after the landslides
Eco Park, Dhanaulti
First we went to the Eco Park. As mentioned above we were alone. It looked as if we were the only lucky ones who were enjoying the nature. There was a tea stall in front of the Eco Park. As soon as we stopped the queen, the Local Tea stall boy came to us.
He asked us : Sir Delhi Se aaye Ho”? I replied ” Tumhe kaise pata”. He told ” Maine aapka Number plate Dekha”. Must say he was very soft spoken and a very simple sweet smiling boy around 20 years. After that he asked” Sir aapne Live to Drive Sticker kyun lagaya hua hai”.We were surprised to see that he knew English very well. I told ” Ye unke liye hai jinko Driving Bahut Pasand Hai”. He was just again and again asking us ” Sir Chai Laon”. I could really see the satisfied expression on his face that finally 5 tourists came that day. Finally we ordered 6 cups of tea and proceeded to the Eco Park. After 15 minutes we were amazed to see when we were sitting on the benches, the boy came there holding a tray with tea cups. He was just saying ” Sir Chai Jaldi Pee Lo warna Thandi Ho jayegi”. I was greatly moved by his gesture that to serve hot tea to us he climbed up the Eco park and served us very gracefully.
The path to heaven
Beautifully maintained park with Deodar and Oak trees all around. The only sound you hear is the sweet chirping sounds of the birds which is very soothing. Even our voice was breaking the silence. We consumed an hour there clicking plenty of pics.
Proceeding further, we moved ahead and found the second Eco Park. Both of them were same. There were few shops there. I asked them ” Aur kya hai Dhnaulti mein”. He told ” Bas jo aapne dekha hai yahi hai. Bas aage Surkanda Devi Mandir Hai”. So the whole Dhanaulti is just about 1 Km or even lesser than it. All local people there were looking us in a very surprised manner as only 1 tourist car was there and only 1 tourist family.Opposite to the park are the Eco Huts. Moving further there is the Apple Orchard Resort and after 6 Kms there is the Surkunda Devi Temple. As we did not have time to do the trek we did not go there. So Dhanaulti is a place away from the hustling and bustling crowds of people. It just has 2 Eco Parks and few shops nothing else but the scenic views from here covers up everything.
The second Eco Park
Entry of Eco Huts
As it was off season there were no tourists, but still it gathers fair number of tourists during Jan-Feb when it snows there. We started our return Drive from Dhanaulti around 2:30 PM. Again the roads were empty. After an hour we stopped for lunch. We opened the all the doors of the car and started our lunch. The simple Aloo Poori was just just tasting heavenly. And the location could just beat any Five Star Restaurant. Green Hills, Sun shining bright , Clean road, no pollution and dust and chilling weather ,picturous landscape and no noise. Now this was the perfect place for lunch. It just feels superb to inhale the fresh clean unpolluted air. Again started to drive and after half an hour reached a point where it showed a right turn to Mussoorie. This road takes one to Mussoorie from the Landour Side.
The place were we had lunch
Some narrow roads
This road was narrow. After 5-6 Kms the Police stopped us and told us that we cannot go further as road repairing work was going on. They advised us to go back 2 Kms and then descend towards Mussoorie. Now the main problems in hills is to take a U-Turn. It becomes all the more difficult when the road has sharp ascend and narrow and above all there are 5 passengers on board.Hoowever took the U-Turn and after 2Kms we saw a very narrow road(basically a Galli) which was going down. It was descending very sharply. I stopped the Queen and asked from the locals. Thay told that this road is drivable but you cannot take a U-Turn on this road.
Kahin Dhoop Kahin Chaon
However we stopped there for a while to see if any vehicle was going down by this road. After few minutes saw a local Auto going down. After discussion with my family whether to go by this road or not Finally started the car. The road was very very narrow only one vehicle at a time and descended very very sharply. Finally after driving down 4Kms we came to Mussoorie. After reaching there we thought it is always better to take the main roads rather than the interiors in the hills. Thought the roads are drivable and easy for the local drivers but for tourists like us it becomes little tense for such extremely narrow roads.
Descending down. Roads can be seen above
Some local school boys
Finally parked the silver queen in the parking and walked down the Mall road. The Mall road was also not very crowded with very less tourists. Not posting the Mussoorie pics here. Again started the return drive from Mussoorie towards Dehradun. This time we stopped at this seasonal waterfall. Finally we reached Doon at 6:30 PM.
Few mobile pics –
The fallen stones
Today we covered a total distance of 130 Kms, but the best part was that the drive was completely in hills. Next day we visited Haridwar and then the return drive which would be descibed in the last part.