Off the beaten track.. Dhanaulti

Eco park

A sweet chirping sound woke me up. Glancing through the window, I saw a couple of birds hovering over a tree’s branch. In the background, sky seemed to be a color tray of reds, blues and blacks. It must be early morning, I reckoned. I wanted to sleep, but the sound of the birds was equally irresistible to avoid. Back in Delhi, I was not accustomed to hear such sounds at least naturally (I have a chirping bird call bell though). Fascinated and impressed, I shoved off the quilt, walked to the balcony and greeted the day. The quietness of the morning was so good to experience. The nature was brilliantly articulate in expressing the onset of the morning. The light emerged lazily and in a tender manner as if a sapling breaking out of wet mud. Instead of noise, there were sounds, musical sounds of nature. This was my first morning in Dhanaulti.

Dhanaulti, a quite hill station around 25 km from more popular Musoorie makes a good excursion for travelers. We arrived here the day before from Musoorie, late afternoon. The spiral journey amidst the green valleys from Musoorie to Dhanaulti was a mesmerizing experience in itself. A jeep briskly drove us around the valley ascending roughly 2000 feets above Musoorie. We were determined to leave the last trail of society far behind and reach a place where nature is the dominant force. Whenever the jeep stopped, I proudly looked down the valley and mocked the ‘electric’ civilization that I left below.

The habited Dhanaulti is a half-kilometer straight stretch of hotels and residences, enclosed by two Eco parks on both ends. The Eco parks are the main attraction of the place. They are protected patch of small forest containing mostly Deodar trees. But the faint mimicry of forest like ambience was tempting enough for me who was used to live in Delhi. Every now or then a chunk of cloud would pass by us, blurring the entire area. We trekked into the forest until there was no trail left. The park had a crafty design. It had a couple of view points, bunch of meditation joints all facing towards the snow capped ranges of Himalaya visible at a distance. However, the sun was about to set and it was gripping cold. Not heavily clothed, we decided to head back to the warmth of our hotel room. I had little idea that my ‘TRAVEL ENLIGHTENMENT’ is waiting to happen inside the hotel room.

Tired from the day’s trek, I leaped to my bed. I still felt cold. I swayed my eyes to check over the window’s latch and I witnessed the best sight I ever had in my life. The sun had just set, leaving behind a stretch of bright taillight. The clouds had receded to our height, but down the valley thick mist still existed. The setting sun left a pale orange light at the threshold of the clouds. The vast sea of mist spread limitless as far as our eyes could see. The grandness of nature was endearing to watch. And all that from the coziness of our hotel room, sipping a cup of black coffee. The moment was bliss.

view from my hotel room

The grandeur was so vast and limitless that it never appeared Earthly. As if it was a symbolic display of cosmic truth. The mist seem to be representing the world that we live in. We are the tiny drops that constitute that mist, so very attached and absorbed in that haze. But up there a blessed energy awaits us. Only if we have the courage and awareness to unbound from this ocean of mist and set our selves free.

These were thoughts too deep for me to answer and generally such thoughts lead me to a good nights sleep. So happened that night aswell.

Thankfully this morning was sunny. We wrapped up the other Eco park today, all along clicking some fabulous pictures. This park had an excellent view of the Himalayan ranges including Nanda devi among other peaks. In the afternoon we decided to get back to Musoorie and stroll along the Mall road till the evening when we drive back to Delhi.

chic chocolate

Back at Musoorie, we roamed and strolled along the Mall road until tired. Boarding at much recommended ‘Chick Chocolate’, a fast food café joint and relishing over the hot chocolate fudge, we had a lot of sweet memories to contemplate.

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