I was not very excited to go this time until Agni sent some links describing the place.
98 kms from Dehradun at an elevation of about 7500 ft Chakrata is known for its serene environs, virgin forests and pollution-free atmosphere. The town has a magnificent view of the Greater Himalaya and everything around is delightfully green — deodar, Himalayan oak and rhododendron cover the hills. The only built-up area consists of some of the prettiest colonial army buildings, green- and red-roofed gables complete with rambling roses and wisteria. All this was enough to get me excited.
It was a 3 day trip. Going by Agni’s antique Esteem.
The Gang: Agni, Anirban, Manas, Aunty, Uncle (Agni’s parents) and me
Agni – On driver’s seat, driving the car and the trip
Anirban – A photographer lost in the nature… want to utilize every single minute of the trip. First one to get up every morning and go bird watching.
Aunty and Uncle – The most energetic and adventurous couple I have ever met. “Aapki energy se
aapki umar ke pata hi nahi chalta”. They are in their 60s in guess.
Manas – Sitting next to driver’s seat… cute kid supporting Agni in every possible way. The luckiest one to get the most comfortable seat
Me – Bubbliest of all. They call me ‘The Expense Manager’. Whenever camera is spared, don’t leave the chance to click.
Way to Chakrata from Delhi: Chakrata is about 330 km from Delhi. There are two routes one is via Panipat and Kurukshetra and the second one fromGhaziabad via Loni, Baghpat, Badaut, Shamli and Saharanpur. The route via Saharanpur is less crowded. After Sahanpur the road has dense forests on both sides. Just before Herbertpur there is a left turn which goes to Gurudwara Paonta Sahib which is 10 km away and is in Himachal Pradesh. From Herbertpur another 10 km and you reach Vikasnagar. From there you start driving in the hills. Chakrata is around 60 km from Vikasnagar via Kalsi and Sahiya. The road is narrow but in good condition.
It’s important to mention here that there is no petrol pump beyond Vikasnagar. One should have enough petrol in the tank to drive about 150 km in the hill. You may get petrol paying a premium at Chakrata but that will most likely be adulterated.
We started on 22nd evening, halted that night on the way and restarted next morning.
Day 1 (23rd Jan ’10) –
The most I recall about our journey from Saharanpur to Chakrata was Janta Hotel. A nice dhaba with a mango orchid at the back. I was keener on clicking and chatting with old ladies basking in the orchid than having my meal.
It was a nice drive with smooth roads and a wonderful view of tall oak and deodar trees.
This time we had booked a Hotel in advance knowing this place has only 2 renowned hotels – Hotel Snow View and Hotel Himalayan Paradise. Based on the reviews from the visitors we chose the latter.
After a drive of around 6 kms from the main town we reached “Himalayan Paradise”. Beautiful place in the lap of nature with a wonderful view of Greater Himalayas.
A warm welcome by Bittoo ji and staff, we felt quite at home. The place looked nice and cosy. A huge terrace in front of the rooms was ideal for basking in the sun in these chilly winter days. We were told that more than 40 species of birds have been identified here. the most common we saw around were brown dippers and tits.
Rest of the day was spent talking to the locals and planning for next 2 days. Places we decided to visit are Deoban, Tiger falls and Kanasar.
Day 2 (24th Jan ’10)
Started for Deoban at 8 in the morning. It is some 15 kms away. Fresh, chilly air caressing our faces and bright sun warming our bodies… we were delighted to experience this chillness and warmth at the same time.
Deoban is around 10000 ft above sea level; we were feeling on top of the world literally.
There is an extensive dense jungle with dispersed villages of the Jaunsari tribe around the area.
With complete silence all around only thing we could hear was chirping of birds. We were lucky enough to get sight of Himalayan Woodpeckers, white collared blackbirds, Brown Dipper and Green Backed tit.
Milky white snow all around… undisturbed and untouched, we were happy to have started early to view this amazing sight. Uncle Aunt chose a quiet corner to sit and enjoy the view, Agni and Manas, excited like small kids… were running around on the big patch of snow, and Ani and I, the explorers, decided to go further deep into the hills.
Whoa…. what an amazing place it was… snow all around, the deeper you go more beauty you find. There was a place where we could see the footsteps starting from the top of the hill towards deep down the valley… seemed like bear’s foot marks. Little further point where there is no sunshine, chilled air numbing your nose, fingers and everything exposed.
Came back frozen and satisfied.
Day 3 (25th Jan ’10)
Towards Tiger falls:
All young folks decided to trek on the 25th morning… early morning. We were all set to visit Tiger falls where we have to walk down 5 kms to have a glimpse of the falls and climb up the same distance. The starting point is some 10-12 kms away from our hotel. Manas decided to give Agni some rest and take the driver’s seat now. After crossing some villages and villagers we reached the trek start point.
We were told that there is a small market where we will get something to eat. But to our bad, there was only one shop there – Chauhan Tea stall, that also is about to be closed because the shopkeeper had to go shopping some stuff for the shop. We took 2 packs of biscuits and started off.
While we were talking to the shop owner, Anirban had befriended a group of some 6-7 local kids ready to start their cricket match. The self made bat looked like “thapi” we use to beat clothes while washing them.
Praveen, the eldest of all, was happy to accompany us till the falls. Down down…. down we go… Led by the little energetic kid. They are 8 brothers and sisters. He is the eldest.
The walk was a treacherous one down the hill, and could be lethal if one does not watch his steps and slips. We kept walking on & on, but there was no sign of waterfalls.
Finally after we had walked almost the entire trek, we caught the first glimpse of this miraculous creation of Mother Nature, very nicely hidden from view completely until you reach the exact spot. All the fatigue vanished looking at one of the highest waterfalls in India, originating at a height of about 312 ft.
The view of water falling from such great height was truly breath-taking. We stayed there for almost an hour, while Ani clicked some pics, Manas and Agni got busy discussing the fall… its source, height, depth, etc. I silently enjoyed the gentle water droplets on my face sitting by the side of the fall. Although completely lost in the charms of this place, we soon realized it was time to make a move and start the uphill trek. If the downhill was lethal for the fear of slipping, uphill was a total nightmare, steep 5 kms climb.
We somehow managed to reach the top where an old man was waiting with 4 glasses and a pitcher full of cold water. He was apparently Praveen’s Grandfather. Praveen had told us that his family would have loved to feed us but only his old grandfather is home and he might not be able to cook. His mother had gone to fetch medicine for his younger sister.
Time to say good bye to the young chap and his grandpa in this wonderful land of nature and manly beauty. I was awestruck by the simplicity of people and nature both.
Agni drove us back to the hotel where uncle and aunt were all ready to go. We got some paranthas packed and started for Koti Kanasar, as the locals call it. Some 26 kms from our hotel, Kanasar is on the Chakrata – Tiuni road. The road was good with amazing view of deep valleys on one side and high hills on the other.
Patches of snow on the way made it all the more dramatic and interesting. One very peculiar thing about the place… we saw many locals eating the balls of snow. They were picking it up from the ground and eating it. But they were too shy to let us know the reason and it remained mystery as to why were they relishing those balls of snow
The place was breathtakingly beautiful with tall Deodar trees all around. It is indeed nature’s paradise with untouched beauty. Some of the trees here as really old with trunk circumference more than 6mtrs.
If you are a nature lover like me, do visit Koti Kanasar. Highly recommended!
Ended the trip with Bonfire. Warming our bodies with fire and discussing the trip over moongfali. Nothing can be better.
Way back was as interesting as the trip. Travelling on the 26th of January. A bright sunny day… School kids going to and then coming from school after flag hoisting, a slow day with not much of activity seen on the roads. Smooth drive back home.
The discussions while coming back were around the destination for our next trip.
Cost of the trip: Rs1800 per person. Thanks to our efficient ‘Expense Manager’ ;)
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Well narrated supported with beautiful picture.
I have been to Chakrata / Lakhamandal in first week of June. Chakrata is one of the less explored gems of Uttrakhand.
Keep sharing you travel experiences with us.
Very well narration with best pictures, specially the pic. of fall.
I loved the waterfall’s photography. Very well written post.
Photos should be added more.
@ Sandeep, Maheh and Mukesh – Thanks you :-). This is truly an unexplored gem in Uttarakhand. Do visit whenever you get chance. Will love to keep sharing my travels.
@ Vinay – Thanks. You can visit chaloletsgo.com for more pics :-)
Being a sensitive cantonment town, Chakrata is out of bounds for foreigners. Don’t know whether the restrictions have been relaxed now. A few years back, Chakrata did not figure in the tourist itinerary. Good post all the same.
Hi Shailza, Looks like Chakrata is the flavor of the month. First Aditya, then Mahesh ji and now your beautiful narration. Its great to see same place in winter as well summer, what we say… “it happens only at Ghumakkar”. Thanks for sharing these beautiful moments with us. The Deoban pic is amazing, real virgin beauty of white snow…so tempting. I would love to explore this place in winter.
@Kumar – Its still a restricted area, and that’s the reason the beauty of the place is still intact. :-)
@Amit – Yeah… we were amazed to see the untouched beauty of snow, It was like soft powder spread all around … unlike Rohtang pass and the likes where you will see more of dirty foot steps all over than snow
@ Shailza ,
Good narration and beautiful pics.
I have been to Chakrata , Deoban , Kanasar . I drove ahead till Tuinni and Hatkoti. Thanks for refreshing the memories.
Chkrata is one of the unexplored regions of Uttaranchal and not too far from Delhi and Dehradoon. Accommodation is mostly basic around this place, but the places like Tiger falls makes it a treat to watch. There are also some tented accoommodation available at Viraatkhai near Chakrata.
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Welcome aboard Shailza. I looked at Chaloletsgo, good site. Keep the work going, that is the most important thing I guess.
Chakrata seems to be the flavor of the season, may be our Editor would feature this in July Newsletter. :-). I guess eating snow-balls is fine (not the first snow) , it would keep you hydrated.
Where do you take us next ?
@ Sahil, Manish – Thanks for the appreciation
@ Nandan – Next will be some Will life sanctuary may be. Keep visiting chaloletsgo! Its my passion and will keep it going for sure. And thanks for the warm welcome :-)
Was there once long back,but now it looks more beautiful,will visit this heavenly place once again in near future.
Nice write up and beautiful photos.
@ Ashok and Jay – Thanks :-)
i m shifting to dehradun from mumbai within 3 months and thats why surfing the net for places within 3 to 4 hrs drive around dehradun. i hv heard about chakrata & kanasar but never been to these places. you hv provided a great info about the same. thanks very much. i will go there as soon as i join in dehradun.
Hi Harsh. You must visit Chakrata. Its a beautiful place. Just came back from there yesterday. It was my third visit. First was during winters of which I have posted the pics, second was in summers for that cool fresh breeze and this one in rains nature at its best with lush green environ.
great work with the post. i am plannin to visit chakrata in dec 2012, maybe around christmas. can u tell me how much did it cost at the Himalyan Paradise hotel for accommodation and food.
Thanks in advance :)
I am very excited to read your story about chakrata special pictures. I have visited mussorie / dehradun/ shimla/nainital/manali/ joshimat etc but I have heard couple of time about chakrata and still I do not go there, but after read your story I must go there. Also I want to know about the HOtels or guest house, so if you have contact details , pls published here or mail me.
Shailza – How is road condition from Delhi to Saharanpur and then from Saharanpur to Herbertpur
Sahil I went there around 3yrs back and road condition that time was pretty good.
very nice ..after a long time somebody explain so well about natural beauty ..well done
sahil don’t go saharanpur via bagpat road .
Thanks Abhishek. Glad you likes it. You can find more of my travel stories at my blog http://www.flight-of-a-little-bird.com/
Anybody visited this destination recently ? Is it good to visit there in Summer ? What is the best route to visit from Delhi ?
I visited this a real long time back and I would imagine that its a good place to visit in Summers.
Minakshi went there in April 2016. She can probably answer better on the recent situation. Please see this link – https://www.ghumakkar.com/chakrata-family-two-dogs/
Loved the details shared by writer
Hi im traveling solo to chakrata in November so it is very important to stay in contact with people back home
Can your u give network coverage details for airtel in chakrata and nearby 30 km radius
This is a great information, i also went chakrata in my college days, when i reading in dehradun.
Hey. How 1800/- per person?
Is it possible that we will experience snow fall in January, as we are planning to visit Chakrata in January, 2020.
Hey dear. Loved ur narrative. We are planning to go to chakrata and will be staying in Himalayan paradise. We are worried about the routes to chose,are roads safe to travel? Is it dangerously hilly to drive through? Was there slippery snow on road to drive? I ll hv my small kid and old parents along. Was ur stay at hotel gpod? How was the food, staff and rooms. I m sorry forsuch a long list of questions. Plz help.