Amongst the clouds in Dhanaulti - A quaint Hill Station in Uttrakhand, India

Choosing a destination that would be beautiful, convenient, and yet set aside was one of the biggest challenges we faced when we started planning this trip. It had to be a hill station because of scorching summers in north India. After looking at various options available and the hill stations we had already explored, we chose Dhanaulti as our destination. This Photo Journey shares more about the special trip to Dhanualti, Mussoorie, Kanatal, Chamba, & Tehri Dam.

So the very first step was finding a good resort for our stay and book a comfortable tempo-traveller for 8 folks. And there was a special reason for getting a tempo-traveller for this trip; I will share it soon :). It was a difficult task to find a good place to stay comfortably. After going through various online reviews, we ended up in a well-located resort. I will share a detailed review of the resort later. I took a day off from office and we started at 2am on friday. 

On the way towards Dehradun, we took a tea break at Muradabad. We loved the fact that roads were brilliant throughout, which is usually a big issue in Uttar Pradesh. We crossed Dehradun by 9am and then chose to stop for breakfast. There are quite a few breakfast options on the climb from Dehradun to Mussoorie, but most them offer only maggi, tea, and chutar-putar.

Now it was time for some of us to take avomine to avoid mountain-sickness and start the next leg of the journey. Weather started changing now. I fell in love with the terrain that connects Mussoorie to Dehradun. The views of the Doon Valley is awesome. There are a few temples on the way but we didn't stop. We took right just before we hit the Mussoorie town, and were soon on the road that goes towards Dhanaulti, Kanataal, & Tehri Dam. Dhanaulti is 22 kilometers from Mussoorie. Now, the speed had slowed down a lot and we reached our resort at 12:00 noon. 

We ordered lunch and planned to relax at the resort till the evening. This resort was very well located with amazing views of mountains surrounded by clouds, & green forests all around.  

My nephew was now busy with his bike. This bike was the main reason for hiring the Tempo-Traveller, and it turned out to be a very good decision, which ended up making our journey to and from Dhanaulti very comfortable.

When the sun had begun its journey towards the horizon, some of us set out on our ambitious journey on foot to visit one of the two Eco-Park in main Dhanaulti. These eco-parks have been developed by Forest departments. There are some huts inside one of these Eco-Parks which can be booked through Forest department of Uttrakhand. We had tried to book them too before we settled on our resort, but couldn't reach the right contact-number. But later we realized that all that had happened for good, as we needed to walk uphill to reach these huts. Since our parents were accompanying us, we wanted to avoid that. Anyways the trek to the eco-park as well didn't get us too far away from the resort as we managed just 500m before we realized that we are never going to get there. And then we turned back. 

Nevertheless, it was great to walk around these hills and that's exactly how we wanted to spend our time in Dhanualti. 

It was getting cold now. We took out our warm clothes and ordered evening tea. It was sunset time, when color of the clouds & sky was getting orange. It was a perfect setting for the evening tea with some veg pakoras. Since it was Friday, there were no other guests in the resort. 

Nishant was super happy. He was also carrying some of his games. At nights, we spent significant amount of time just playing UNO. It was real fun especially after the bonfire.

Next day, the plan was to drive till Tehri Dam. While everyone everyone got ready, we planned to roam around and explore the orchards with baby apples, pears, peach, apricots etc hanging from the trees. 

Apples were not yet ready but Apricots were almost ready for consumption. On the way from Mussoorie to Dhanaulti, a lot of kids were selling Acricots on roadside. We also tried and found them really good - bigger, fresher, and juicier than any you find in the cities. In fact, these were better than the ones we purchased at Mussourie.

After having a simple breakfast at the resort, we started our journey towards Tehri Dam through Kanataal & Chamba. On the way, we stopped many times and preferred walking to experience some of the interesting terrains. While walking around Kanataal, we realized that a lot of camping options are also available in this region. Although most of them were not that great in terms of location and maintenance. We felt that most of the properties in this region don't really care to maintain their campuses well - probably because of the seasonal business or something else. 

It started getting hot as we got close to Chamba town and the drive from Chamba to Tehri dam is again downhill. It was a dry region with some not-so-interesting landscapes. After hitting the Tehri Dam, we realized that probably it was not worth coming till Tehri. So if you plan your trip to this region, you can skip Tehri unless you have plenty of time in hand to spend. 

There were some interesting sights around the Tehri Dam. One important thing I want to share is that there is no good place on the way to have lunch. We had to come back all the way to Kanataal for it. While Chamba is also a big town with many restaurants but you don't feel like stopping there for 3 main reasons - it is over-crowded, hot, and there is limited space for parking.  

There are few good options to have lunch near Club Mahindra Resort at Kanatal. After having lunch we planned to walk around the woods of the Kanatal Eco-park. Spent some time around the high deodars till clouds started chasing us. Rains were predicted for that evening. 

After a while we started our return journey towards the resort and it was perfect timing. The clouds welcomed us at the resort. Clouds were roaming around in the garden in front of our cottages. Nishant was extremely happy. This was Saturday, and there was another family in the resort, so Nishant got company of two more kids. They had fun in rains and the clouds moving here & there.  

The photograph above shows forest employees outside Kanatal Eco-Park. This photograph is clicked by Nishant ! 

Nishant & Anya having fun at the resort in Dhanaulti. Saturday was very well spent and cloud-play in the evening made this trip very special for us. I will be sharing a separate Photo Journey on Cloud-Play at Dhanaulti. But thankfully the clouds cleared at night, and we spent a good amount of time looking at stars after the bonfire. We requested the resort staff to switch-off all lights installed around the garden, so that we could clearly see the stars when sky was clear. This was unmatchable and impossible for me to explain through words/photographs.

Next day it was time to start our return journey to Delhi. We started from the Resort at around 10am and headed towards Mussourie. We wanted to spend some time on Mussourie Mall road. The drive from Dhanaulti to Mussourie was again very beautiful. Clouds at the distance were making these hill look more beautiful. These layered mountains reminded me of the blue-mountain wallpaper in Windows-XP.

It was extremely disappointing to be at Mussourie Mall Road at 11am. This is the time vehicles are allowed on the mall road. And I also found cleanness issues on the Mall. I was expecting it to be clean and well maintained, like what we have in Shimla.  

There is an aquarium on Mall Road, which was a good timepass. I will be sharing a separate Photo Journey on this aquarium with a very good variety of fish.

Now it was time to walk down the Mall Road and board our Tempo-Traveller for the return journey. The idea was to reach Delhi by 11pm. It was very well timed trip to the hills, and we will remember it  through this Photo Journey :) 

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