An unusual journey through the hills of North India (Delhi- Paonta sahib-Purola-Mori-Kharapathar-Kufri-Shimla-Kasauli-Morni Hills)

Me and My cousin Gaurav decided to take this unusual route on a week long trip and cover these many hillstation in one go.Best thing was that we had no plans and just decided to follow our instinct and thats what we came up with. Must say it was really satisfying to cover so many places in one go.But beware the route is tough and terrain is unforgiving at many places.At many places we drove for hours without seeing any sign of human civilization .Heres a brief summary of our trip.



Day-1 – 27th March 2010 – Delhi to Purola

We left Delhi (Dwarka) at 0600 stopped at Karnal for breakfast after that we crossed Karnal and turned right from Pipli chowk towards yamunanagar. At Yamuna nagar (vishwkarma chowk)turned left for Jagadhari bus stand . At Jagadhari bus-stand we took right and then a left (after abt 1 km) towards Paonta sahib. Road turned very bad from hereonwards. Road was being relaid and it was just a kuccha rasta. We had to drive for about an hour on a dusty road. Just before paontasahib theres a beautiful forest drive ,road turned good from hereonwards. We reached Paontasahib at noon, spent some time in Gurudwara and; had langar there .

Yamuna runs along with Gurudwara but it was disappointing to see it was completely dry hardly any water in it.we left paonta sahib crossed Herbertpur then Vikasnagar and then kalsi. Just around Kalsi theres Assan barrage, ppl stop here for birdwatching and water sports.GMVN has a guest house here so if you want you can stop there but we decided to move along.Hills started soon after Kalsi and all of a sudden it began to get isolated.We had to stop 2-3 times to ask the way as there were no signboards/milestones even at many T-points. Guess the govt didn’t expect anyone to use this route..After Kalsi we crossed Yamuna bridge then Sumankari then Nainbagh and then Naingaon and then reached Damta . Damta is a small town good enough for a evening tea. From damta there is a long hill drive to Naugaon.

Road was pathetic at many places. many places construction/repair activity was going on thankfully it was almost completely devoid of traffic(it was scary too). From naugaon theres a sharp left towards Purola which was our destination on Day1.Road suddenly turned fantastic after that..it was newly laid road and we finally began to see some signs of a human inhabitants.It was getting dark when we checked into Purola GMVN . Purola itself is a noisy small typical hill town. There isn’t too much to see there . On day 1 we almost covered 370 Kms in 12 hours mainly because of bad roads/our frequent and long halts in between.

TIP- After Kalsi ,Purola is the only main town where you can spend the night.So if you are at Kalsi and its getting dark then its advisable to halt and restart only in morning. From Kalsi it can take you any where between 4-6 hours depending on your driving skills and condition of Roads.

Day – 2 – 28th March – Purola to Hanol
From purola we left towards Mori in the morning on the way we crossed Jarmola and; Kharsari . Views were getting really scenic and beautiful, roads were getting better , temperatures were dropping and it ws getting really comfortable now. Much to our excitement we even saw a fox crossing road in fornt of us .There is no GMVN Guest house at mori .Mori has many campsites which unfortunately work only in late april to May-June. So from Mori we took left and reached Hanol theres a GMVN rest house there just above Tons river. Tons is a major tributary to River Yamuna.

It was hard to believe it was the same Yamuna which we have in delhi. It was a treat to the sore eyes.after checking in we decided to hang around the river. Water was icecold our beer cans were boiling hot We dipped them in river for 10-15 minutes and soon cans were like just take out of a deep freezer. Even though water was cold we couldnt control our temptation to wet ourselves in flowing white water and took a plunge in the mighty Tons river..however we couldnt do it for long and soon came out shivering.

Hanol is at a height of around 1700-1800 mtrs. At night it was really cold. This entire region is called Jaunsar region and there are lots of temples here dedicated to Duryodhana and Karna.Legend has it that Duryodhana ruled over these lands and was in love with its beauty..people here still worship him.

TIP:- Theres a famous Ancient Mahasu (lord shiva)temple just adjacent to hanol GMVN many himachali turn up in great numbers to visit .dont forget to check it out.

Day-3 – 29 March – Hanol to Kharapatthar
From Hanol, the Himachal border is only 40-50 kms away. After Hanol the next main town is Tuini.Road was pathetic till Tuini. From tuini we took right towards Shimla and crossed Majog and Katang, (now we were in Himachal) .Road here was again isolated and devoid of any traffic.Road is running alongside riverand we found couple of places where we could just park the car alongside the river , savour the nature, Relax and click some pictures . We wondered why they havent build any 5 star resort here yet ? (may be because of distance).In terms of beauty this was second to none. Soon we reached Hatkoti (a major junction). From hatkoti took left for Shimla. Crossed Jubbal and moved towards Khara patthar.

The drive turned very steep from hereonwards as the name suggests Kharapatthar is at towering height of 2500 mtrs.It was very cold at Kharapatthar . it was dark and cloudy we thought snowfall could start any moment but much to our disappointment the locals told us theres no chance of snow at this time of year. We checked into HPTDC guest house at Khar patthar.Views were really scenic and we could see snow on distant mountains.what a site it made.

Day – 4 – 30th March – Khara Patthar to Shimla
We left Kharapatthar and crossed Kotkhai it was a dowbhill drive now. Road was once again in pathetic condition .It was being widened .now we were again at 1100 mtrs and weather again turned warm..(still better than delhi offcourse) after kotkhai theres a village Gumma then we crossed Chailla and reached Theog. Theog is amajor junction point, we stopped for a teabreak at Theog. After Theog we again started gaining height and crossed Kufri and Fagu. These 2 are satellite hill stations of Shimla . As beautiful as shimla only much quieter and peaceful.

We reached shimla in afternoon we checked into a pvt hotel near mall and for the first time in 4 days indulged ourselves in little luxuries.Walking down the mall is like walking around CP only difference is that former is much cooler..same brands same outlets same Dominos pizza..we were happy and sad at same time. Happy to see the hustle and bustle and sad to see how populated Shimla had become..loaded with houses and shops and hotels.

Except for the mall road the entire shimla is reduced to a mere tilaknagar ..Luckily some places at mall road the old charm is still alive.

Day – 5

Since we were tired we decided against travelling on day 5 and stayed in shimla only.

Day – 6 – 1st April, Shimla to Kasauli

After Shimla we knew we didn’t have to worry about the roads . We left Shimla in morning crossed Shoghi,Solan, Kandhaghat then Kumarhatti Dharampur and reached Kasauli..Needless to say Roads were fantastic. We reached Kasauli in afternoon .Finally we found in Kasauli what we missed in Shimla. It’s a beautfil little town and since its under army and airforce its kept very neat and clean (theres a fine of 2500 if you litter in Kasauli).

From certain points in Kasauli you could see the plains of Chandigarh Kalka and many other towns what a sight it was.There are many lavish bunglows at Kasauli for Army personnel offcourse. While at kasauli walking is a must..there are couple of sunset points which is a must see in the evening.Another tourist attraction there is Manki point. Temple of Hanumanji.its situated at highest point of kasauli (4.5 kms from kasauli town you can walk or drive as well) make sure u carry a photo identity with you all the electronic equipments/pendrive.camera etc are to be left behind in car or hotel.(not allowed for security reason) Manki point comes under Airforce.

TIP:- For those fond of camping and adventure activities theres a quiet campsite at Shoghi by the name of Parkwoods providing accomodation in bamboo Huts and Tents.

Day- 7 – 2nd April Kasauli to morni Hills.

Next day we decided to change the state once again and visit the Haryanas one and only hill station Morni Hills at Tikkar taal. From Kasauli we crossed parwanoo and Kalka and reached pinjaur .Now we were again in plains it was really hot out there from there we turned left towards Morni..after a while we again started climbing on hills..after a one hour hill drive we reached Morni .Tikkar tal is futher 10 kms from Morni.After checking in Haryana tourism hotel in morni we moved toward the lake.

Tikkar tal is basically 2 lakes..one is small other one is fairly big..It was a beautiful lake..Pity not many people visit here..Probably that is why its still so beautiful because its relatively untouched…theres a lot of plain ground around the taal for kids to play and enjoy.After spending some good time at lake we moved back to Morni at our hotel. Theres a Haryana tourism guest house just adjacent to lake but it has only 3-4 rooms. Its better to stay there only but make sure you book in advance.

Day- 8 – Morni to Delhi

We were a little sad at going back but we were taking some real good memories with us…From morni we crossed raipur rani and took NH 73 to reach shahbad from there it was familiar NH1 back to home..on our way back we stopped at Haveli (Karnal) for lunch..One part of our mind had already started dreaming about the comforts of home and was relaxed at the prospect of having evening tea with the family ..while the other one just wanted to take a U turn , return to those hills and be lost for ever…

Thats it from Rahul and Gaurav. Please feel free to get in touch for any query/clarification on any route etc..

33 Comments

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Rahul,

    You covered a lot in small span of time. Natural beauty of Garhwal is awesome. Most of the places covered by you in Garhwal are unexplored places. I had been to Tuni long back. Tuni, a small town near the Uttarakhand-Himachal border. It is situated on the side of RIVER TONS. Pictures are beautiful, specially temple one.

  • rahul says:

    Hello Mahesh,

    Yes you are right Tiuni is right there on the Uttrnchl and Himachal border.Not too many ppl visit Mori and Tons may be because its too far. Amazing thig is that even in todays time you can have unlimited lunch for a person just for Rs 40 in a good Dhabha in that region .:-)

    Yes these places are really unexplored. originally we planned to to visit Har-ki-dun from mori but decided against it and moved to the right towards Himachal..

  • nandanjha says:

    Welcome aboard Rahul.

    a racy read, I would say. You did cover a LOT of places, driving down along hills has its own charm as long as one is not in any rush.

    Never been to that side of Himachal and Garhwal. I have been to Chakrata, Doon, Paonta but not towards Mori, Har Ki Dun etc. Someday for sure.

    Looking fwd to read more travel tales from you at Ghumakkar. Enjoy your stay.

    • rahul says:

      Thanks Nandan,

      You hit the nail rite on its head..driving around Hills is fun only if you are not in rush and you are in love with mountains..we always planned for next day just one day before in the evening only… I always make it a point to go as deep into the interiors as possible..If one is looking for mere luxury and comfort then such trips are not for him.

      & It was fun writing about it..I really wish i could have penned my previous trips too..its a good way to keep the memories alive..forever.

  • gaurav says:

    Rattan miyaa,,

    aish kar aye tum toh,,,yaar jab jaa hi rahe the toh hume bhi bata dete…u know i am always game for this kinda adventure… anyways i have missed it but i am sure i am gonna do something like this very soon. and will keep u posted..

    send me the pictures dude.

    tc
    Garry

    • rahul says:

      Hello gaurav…One Gaurav definitely did accompany me.. Aur agar aapko pehle se jaanta to jaroor bata deta…..:)

      And Yes you must go there sometime..its really worth it..

      • Rattan says:

        next time with you Garry, but without plan and without reservations.

        its fun when you dont know your destination.

        Cheers…
        Gaurav

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Rahul,

    15 KMs ahead of Tuni, there is a temple by riverside. In the courtyard of temple there are two big Stone Balls, mythologically they were used by Bhim for exercise during Mahabharat.

    Have you been to that place?

  • rahul says:

    Hello Mahesh,
    Before Tuini the only temple Is Mahasu temple at Hanol..I went there its a big temple..however I couldnt find two big stone balls but 2 giant stone feet where definitely there. No body was able to tell me what exactly those were .I even have a picture of those feet.

    • rahul says:

      Hi..
      Did some net surfing..the temple you are talking abput is Pavsi devta temple (the second brother of Mahasu devta).The Pavasi Devta Temple is just across river tons on the small hillock. The temple is about 2 km from Mahasu Devta Temple. Unfortunately I missed It..:-( my bad luck I guess…

      Anyways thanks really for bringing this to my knowledge..

      • Mahesh Semwal says:

        Its in Mahasu Devta temple at Hanol.

        • rahul says:

          Ok..in that case I missed it…The picture above is of Mahasu Temple -Hanol only..its a big temple and I didnt see each and every corner..just a casual visit it was..but will upload the picture of stone feet..its nice too..

  • Pavan says:

    Rahul,
    Great Journey.
    Given an opportunity, would like to go on for such unknown destinations.
    It was real exciting reading.
    All the best.

  • With people like you contributing, ghumakkar is becoming a place to visit every nook and corner of our beuatiful country.

    Beautiful pictures, I esp liked the one of the temple.

    Looking forward to read more from you and also looking forward to the picture of Giant stone feet.

    • rahul says:

      Hi Manish,

      Thanks for your kind words..Travel is like addiction. Once a traveller always a traveller…:-) I have uploaded few more pictures including that one of ‘stone feet’ ..hope you like it

      • The look and feel of the places are better with the new uploaded pictures. Thanks Rahul.

        Stone feet – They seems to be four in number.

        • rahul says:

          Thanks,I asked the Temple Pujaari about those feet but he was not able to tell me anything..This temple was made by Duryodhana..The other intresting things was that there were many sheeps wandering about in temples premises..People donate sheeps to the temple and thankfully the poor animal is not killed and is allowed to roam freely in temple premises..

  • Pradeep says:

    Rahul,
    It was very nice of you to share your experiences.Just wanted to know that when you travel thru these romote places and your car breaks down are you equipped to repair you car on your own or you require outside help.It will be very dangerous in these remote places staying in the night.

    • rahul says:

      Hi Pradeep

      Valid point Pradep..One is advisedto get his car checked up thoroughly before leaving on such a trip..get the service done..and make sure the tool kit is ready..One should be able to take care of minor repairs but if there is a bigger breakdown then offcourse its a problem..but India is heavily populated even in remote corner you can hope to get some sort of help by a passing by truck/tempo.

      My car was relatively new..done only 4k kms and gone through proper checkup before leaving so from that perspective I didnt have much to worry about.

      You know your car best my advise is if you think your car is old and not equipped to handle bad roads then and it might just broke down then dont take any risk..chances are that it will break down..(Murphys law:-)

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Thanks Rahul for taking us on the “Roads less traveled” trip.

    A breezy read and the information given is valuable.

    Welcome aboard and keep on sharing your experiences.

  • Mona says:

    Hi Rahul, I have read the whole story and found very intersting and adventures but this is not tiring at all.
    I love the Tikkar tal pics. Its is awesome……. I have no idea about the places but certainly it is awesome. If anytime my programe will make definately i will contact you for details.
    Hope u don’t mind. Thanks

  • nandanjha says:

    Rahul – Seems like a lot of Ghumakkars are getting inspired after reading your account. It might be worth while to pen down some of your past account as you find time , and probably travel more and share more :-)

  • rahul says:

    Ha Ha Ha good idea Nandan..only problem is I wont be remembering the details now…waise am planning to travel to Leh by road this July..I have been preparing rather dreaming about this journey for last year and a half now cant wait to get started…

  • joyclubsunil says:

    well done rahul and gaurav. Its people like you who inspire others to take off beat roads and explore the hidden natural scenery. Buck up and keep it up.

  • GAM says:

    Enjoyed reading that trip report. Some of the off the beaten track places you describe, sound wonderful.

  • Adit says:

    Very useful travel note. We are planning to visit Paonta Sahib and Shimla and would benefit from your advise.

    1. Paonta to Shimla: How many hours do you reckon is the drive.

    How is Shima in mid June?

    Thanks.

    • rahul says:

      Hi Adit,

      In case you decide to go straight to Shimla from Paonta Sahib then its a 6-7 hrs journey..However if you take the route we took then you need atleast 2 days ( we took 3).

      Shimla is wonderful throughout the year only thing is in June it will be crowded. Weather will b nice light woolens will be required during evening.

      Hope that answers your query.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Rahul,

    it was a gripping and racy account, which I really enjoyed.

    Could you elaborate on road conditions from Theog to Khara Pathar please? Is Delhi- Theog- Khara Paththar doable in one day?

    Thanks,

    Auro

  • TANUJ says:

    great trip Rahul…..I am also fond of travelling……bike riding is my hobby……covered Kasauli Shimla and Morni on many times on weekend.
    Now planning for byk ride towards Manali- Leh Ladakh-sri nagar in coming season.

    lets make grp n plan smthng….

  • AKHILANAND says:

    Wish to go to kalshi where yamunaji can be seen and bathing is possible for group of aged person who can go down below to river side. anyone has got idea whether it is possible? i have come to know det at Dak pathar, such facalities r not allowed by authorities and also we do not hav time to go to yamnotriji. can anyone assist please. we are planning in the month of october and we shal b in rishikesh. from rishikesh, we shal go, if anyone can guide properly

  • Kannan says:

    Thanks for the scenery. Lord Jesus Christ abundantly bless you

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