Time of travel: January 2021
Places covered: Tehri Dam, Tehri boating point and Dobra Chanti Suspension bridge
Tehri is a place, where we wanted to travel for long, but could not go due to some reason or the other. Although it’s not very far from NCR region, but somehow no program was made until this extended weekend of republic day. Due to some last moment cancellations, we thought to try our luck for Tehri. Fortunately, we got the booking at THDC guest house (through some kind reference), packed our bags and left around 8 am from Ghaziabad for this road trip. It was a smooth ride till Chamba as the roads are extremely good. Tehri is about 70 Km from Rishikesh, the whole journey took about 7 hours and we checked in around 4PM with few small breaks in between. It was a beautiful guest house maintained by THDC, a PSU specially set up for construction and operations of the Tehri Dam.
This not a commercial kind of tourist place, so you won’t find many hotels and restaurants here but natural beauty is in abundance. The guest house is situated at Bhagirathipuram, which is bang on the Tehri reservoir and about 10 KM away from New Tehri town. New Tehri which is set up by the administration while constructing the Dam in exchange of forgoing land of locals in Old Tehri (now sub-merged under the Tehri reservoir), has more city kind of feel and you may find more staying and eating out options.
The main attraction of this place is the gigantic view of the Tehri reservoir and its serene natural beauty. This huge reservoir or lake, which appears to be a small ocean surrounded by lush mountains, is a unique man made wonder. One can sit here for hours just gazing this blue gold. Watching a sun rise or sunset is another pleasure one should not miss here.
We relaxed on the first day and decided to visit the Dam on the next day. The morning walk in the mountains alongside the Tehri lake was an experience, we cannot forget. After such a brilliant start of the day, we got ready to visit the dam and power station. One of the known contracts of ours, who is posted here for a while, willingly agreed to show us around. There are very limited places, where you are allowed to click pictures of the dam due to security reasons, so we began with a point, from where the bird eye view of this whole colossal structure is visible.
After watching this mesmerising view, we started our journey towards the dam and power station, and unfortunately no more pictures are available for the readers here due to the reason I just mentioned. Both the dam and power station are under very tight security zone and we were required to pass through multiple checking points before entering the power station premises. Tehri dam is tallest dam in India which took approximately 28 years to be completed and being operational. Apart from being an engineering marvel, it has a history of long protests by locals and environmentalist. The protest was against the displacement of town inhabitants and environmental consequence of the weak ecosystem. Despite of all odds, the dam is standing tall today catering to the power requirement of the nation.
My daughter is 8 years old and kids below 10 years of age are not allowed to enter the tunnel of power station. After visiting the power station turn by turn, we returned to guest house by afternoon. For lunch we planned to visit the new Tehri town. Although there is nothing very special about this place, but we wanted to see how a planned town in the mountains looks like. It was just like any other small town in mountains except the similar looking houses/flats, which must have been built by THDC for the locals. Organic growth of any place in the mountains usually makes it more diverse in terms of structure and types of building and it typically mushroomed all over the mountain. But new Tehri is mainly concentrated in small confined allotted area, which appears to a bundle of beautiful glitters in the night, if you look at it from distance. This is the beauty of this place.
Next day was the day to explore boating point of Tehri lake, which is approx. 6 km from our guest house. Since there is huge ground available along with the lake near to boating point, we decide to utilise the same for our morning walk ritual. We drove till boating point, which had no entry restrictions or timings. The first sight of this lake is breathtaking and watching the sunrise here is a stunning experience.
After soaking-in with natural beauty so early in the morning, we returned back to our guest house to get ready and come back again to this same place for boating. We decided to go for speed boating for 30 minutes covering the main attractions including small Island, floating cottages and dobara chanti bridge. There are other water sports such jet Skiing, Banana Ride, Motor Boats , Water Surfing etc also available.
It was a wonderful experience and a must try activity for anyone coming to Tehri. The weather was presently cold with soothing bright sunlight; this boat ride was time we will cherish for long. There are few viewpoints being covered in this ride, such as a small island, which was part of old tehri district initially and is now visible amidst the lake. Floating cottages, which were being used for tourists before lockdown, now abandon but soon to be leased put to private operator for tourism. Dobara Chanti, the longest motorable suspension bridge in India. All of these tourist attractions are fondly used these days for pre-wedding shoots. We also sport a few shoots while taking our ride.
Seeing the Dobarata Chanti Bridge from the lake, we planned to visit this bridge in the evening with its lighting show. This is newly opened attraction here. The construction of this bridge took 14 years and it was inaugurated in November 2020 only. The timing of lighting on the bridge is from 6.30 PM to 8.30 PM.
It took almost one hour to reach to the bridge as the roads are narrow and muddy, but the overwhelming view of the lake all the way makes the journey worthwhile. As the sun is staring to set, the crowds, mostly nearby locals, started gathering around the bridge for lighting. It was amazing experience to see this lighting while standing on the bridge and even more exhilarating to see this sight from the distance while going back. Visiting to this bridge in the evening should be the second best things to do while in Tehri, first off course is visiting the Lake itself.
This place is a less explored gem in Uttrakhand and unlike other hill stations; it is famous primarily for its manmade engineering marvels like Tehri Dam, Tehri lake and Dobara Chanti Bridge. To make Tehri more popular tourist destination, the administration should encourage opening good staying and eating out options. We truly enjoyed our Tehri trip and would love to go back to spend some more time in this tranquility.