Himalayan Adventure: A Trip to Chamba, Uttrakhand

“the greatest gift of the hills are memories…it is not discomforts, the trials and the hardships of a mountain climb that one remembers, but the scenery through which one has moved, the joys that one has discovered, the laughter, freedom and good fellowship of mountaineering.”

Our ethereal journey began as soon as we got off the bus – which we had taken from Rishikesh – and then we were adrift in a world of our own, astride a cold cloud. One moment we were on the hill the next on a cloud. The line dividing the real and fantasy was so flimsy that you might imagine yourself in a Harry Potter movie flying towards Hogwarts trying to get on the Hogwarts Express which you had missed. All of a sudden the sky had vanished and the hills were all gone. No its not the Dementors :-) its just Chamba. All there was was a wispycotton wool jungle deluged in eerie quiescence. Chamba is no place you might expect within 9 hours from Delhi.

A road to paradise: Coming down from towards Hill View Resort in Chamba

Hill Birds at Chamba

Upside Down Mountain Birds at Chamba

Chamba is not a celebrated or frequented tourist destination and it is blessed for this same reason. It still retain what most of the hill stations on popular tourist circuits have lost – the air or remoteness or as Shakespeare would have had it a pastoral retreat. When you get to Chamba you get away from most of the things you want to – crowds, traffic, pollution, pace, routine.

Kingdom of Heavens: Mountains so often vanished in clouds which came out of nowhere which was abrupt yet magical

So near yet so far

One of the best thing about Chamba is there are no set prescription as to where you should visit and in which order. Do nothing and you’ll have done all you came here to do. You don’t have places to visit list when in Chamba, nor you have set paths. The joy of Chamba jaunt is that you indeed get to walk the “road less traveled” whether you want it or not with the end result of exulting in the galore of this yet to be unspoiled paradise.

Lost in Clouds: Chamba Adventure

Clouds hovering over the scattered settlements in Chamba

Winding Roads: Lost and Found in Cloud Cover in Chamba

What you’ll discover though is that Chamba isn’t much of a town. It’s just a stop en route to popular tourist destinations such as Gangotri and Yamunotri. But thats where the tresure trove lies. You don’t have to do anything….well you are supposed to do nothing in order to do something. Your fingers will freeze…that’s OK coz that’s fun. Above all the magic of Chamba is that wherever you begin, it is a journey in itself. It’s a paradise where you’d not mind to be set upon clouds and float adrift a dream from which you’d never want to wake up.

Early morning mist in Chamba with local settlement adding to an ethereal point of view

Shelter from the rain: Local inhabitants with umbrellas near Chamba

Now for the facts:

We began our journey from New Delhi’s Maharana Pratap Inter State Bus Terminus at 10 O’ Clock in the night. We arrived at Rishikesh around 4-5 O’ Clock in the morning and from there took a mini-bus to Chamba. As soon as we arrived at chamba – which was around 7-8 O’ Clock – it was magical as if we were transported into the misty-magical-quasi-dream-world. It was like opening the door of a closet and stepping out into Narnia. The best part was the weather. Something which can be so exasperating at that particular moment – when the finger won’t work on camera’s click button – but such fascinating predicament with the benefit of hindsight. Chamba, as I experienced was most paradisiacal. A sight and experience which instigate envy and I am glad to have lived it.

Our Abode Nestled Amidst Misty Mountains: The panoramic view on offer was indeed mesmerizing

Chamba – for us Delhi-ites – is a re-energizing pastoral haven. A perfect place to reclaim our harmony lost within many fold emerald hills far from the din of the bamboozling megalopolis Delhi. It is reassuring as well. That we are never far if only we could reach out and let the nature in its intact immaculate self take over our mundane city existence. The savor of it when the bounty of mother earth bestows its manifold surprises is sublime. And it’s never too late to draw on the sun shine, to be cradled on the misty clouds, to be ensnared by the sheer pristine environs. I remember a writer – read Hugh Prather – once said that …

“if I had only

forgotten future greatness

and looked at the green things

and the buildings and reached out to those around me

and smelled the air and ignored the forms and self styled obligations

and heard the rain on the roof

…and it’s not too late”

You will find richness of birds and butterflies, and profusion of quietude. As Simon & Garfunkel would have loved to get inspired again“because a vision softly creeping; left’s its seed while I was sleeping; and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains; within the sounds of silence.” Chamba will stick with you even as you come back to the hustle and bustle of your everyday existence. But it will not haunt you. It will stay with you as the reminder of a haven which is lingering by waiting in silence and anticipation, to once again greet you in its gentle soothing embrace.

Facts:

Chamba is perched at an altitude of 1,676mts above sea level in Tehri district of Uttarakhand state. Chamba is only two hours drive away from Rishikesh.

Places to Visit in Chamba

There are no prescriptions when you are in Chamba but people say Tehri Garhwal and Kanatal are place you should go. I did go there :-)

Cloud covers over Tehri Lake: It used to be the old settlement but now the populace have been relocated

The Lake at New Tehri: Cloud cover and emerald water offering a trance inducing view

Air Nearest Airport: Dehra Dun (89 kms/2.5 hrs) Taxi to Chamba via Mussoorie

Rail Haridwar (84km/2.5 hrs) Via Taxi

Road 285 kms from Delhi. NH58 to Rishikesh via Haridwar; state highway to Chamba via Narendranagar.

7 hrs drive via Merrut, Roorkie and Haridwar. Buses leave at regular interval from Kashmere Gate ISBT

18 Comments

  • maheh semwal says:

    Hi,

    Very well written post supported by beautiful pictures.

    I have been to Chamba & New Tehri, If you get some time go through my post on it.

    Chamba is like a junction for localities. one road from here goes to Rishikesh , other to Mussorie& other one goes to Tehri.

  • Sandeep Sehgal says:

    Amazing Pics and a great story. I too had gone to Kanatal in May last year. Totally concur with you on the weather and the great views.

  • Very nicely penned down post. I liked your writing style very much and pics are amazing. It looks as if each picture is a painted one. Superb…

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Magical images full of clouds. Very well written post.
    Chamba is really beautiful place, Don’t know much about Kanatal.

  • Aditya says:

    A very well written post with amazing pics…. The compositions are just breathtaking….

  • amitk227 says:

    Graet Nikz very well written post with amazing pictures. Your style of narration is awesome. Once I been to Kunjapuri situated after Narendranagar, next time I’ll try to explore chamba for sure.

  • ashok sharma says:

    great photographs!
    and more than that your style of story- telling.
    worth visiting.

  • Vikas Sharma says:

    Great….What an amazing write-up.
    Rather than story, the photographs made me curious to visit the place.

  • Nandan says:

    Welcome aboard Nikhil.

    The photographs are just out of the world, makes me wonder whether they are real :-).

    Been to Chamba couple of times and stayed at “Classic Hilltop”. Hoping to read from you about your travels and also the responses to everyone’s comments.

  • DILIP KUMAR SINGH says:

    KANATAL IS NICE PLACE TO KNOW YOURSELF, CALM, BEAUTIFUL ROMANTIC PLACE TO BE THEIR . WITH THE HOTEL LIKE HERMITAGE DON”T MISS THE CHANCES TO BE THEIR.

    GO TO KANATAL AND FIND YOURSELF

  • Chandra81 says:

    The responses are overwhelming. I wasn’t expecting such reception really! I am happy to have received generous compliments from everyone.

    @Mahesh Thanks for liking my post. I’ll definitely go through your posts.

    @Nandan I’d have replied earlier – and would have loved to reply to everyone who cared to go through my post individually and at real time – but for last 3 weeks I was down with typhoid. It did took its toll on me. I am sure it was one tome incident and that from next time I’ll reply promptly :-)
    And yes, regarding photograps, I have done basic editing but nothing too much. I assure you they are real :-)

    @Sandeep, Shefali, Vinay, Aditya, Amit, Ashok & Vikas I really appreciate the fact that you guys liked my style of narration. I’ll try to keep up with your expectations in my forthcoming posts – which I am sure will be many :D :-)

    @Everyone Thank you for going through my post I’do appreciate your efforts and compliments. It really goes a long way – as in motivation – to try come up with something better next time.

  • Nandan says:

    I can’t imagine how the rest of Himalayas are gonna look if the above is real. :-)

    Sad to hear about typhoid. Ghumakkar wishes are going to make you beat the toll very soon. Take rest and good care.

  • anshul says:

    hii, which hotel did u stay in??… has beautiful views!!

  • Sudheer says:

    Well about the pictures i can say they look good but the post is copied from outlook traveler- weekend gateways and that too word by word.
    I am planning to visit Chamba and just read this post and i straightaway thought that i have read this somewhere before and soon i realized that its an article from outlook traveler.
    Either he is the author of that article on Chamba in outlook traveler (which i am sure he is not) or he is just a plagiarist. That makes me doubtful about the pictures posted, if they have been really clicked by the so called author of this post………

    He even appreciate others for liking his style of narration, so generous of you….basking in the glory….

    But what surprises me the most is that no Delhiite has read this article in weekend gateways from Delhi.

  • Sudheer says:

    I just confirmed the actual author of this narration and its Mr. Shankershaan Thakur.
    Please check the original post at http://traveller.outlookindia.com/destination.aspx?id=241
    All credit should go to him.

  • Interesting piece of information. How about your Kanatal and New Tehri experiences?

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