Backpack across 6 towns of Uttarakhand in 7 days by foot, local bus and cycle

Tripoto
22nd Dec 2017

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Photo of Backpack across 6 towns of Uttarakhand in 7 days by foot, local bus and cycle by Mouna Nanaiah

Uttarakhand; the Devbhoomi that offers panoramic views of the Himalayas, the land that hosts some of the highest peaks in India where every mountain is to be worshiped and every town is to be experienced. This diverse state with mesmerizing lakes and holy rivers satisfies the need of different kinds of travellers and tourists.

I had a week with me to explore Uttarakhand. In my plan I decided to visit the more famous places which included Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun and Mussoorie. Once in Mussoorie I found out about the lesser known Landour and Dhanaulti and decided to explore them further.

With minimum budget and a zest to capture the life of the places I visit, I set out on this tour from Bangalore. Read below to know how I did it.

Photo of Backpack across 6 towns of Uttarakhand in 7 days by foot, local bus and cycle 1/4 by Mouna Nanaiah
~Night view of Mussorie from Landour~
Photo of Backpack across 6 towns of Uttarakhand in 7 days by foot, local bus and cycle 2/4 by Mouna Nanaiah
~Sunset at Dhanaulti~
Photo of Backpack across 6 towns of Uttarakhand in 7 days by foot, local bus and cycle 3/4 by Mouna Nanaiah
~Mussoorie as seen from Landour~
Photo of Backpack across 6 towns of Uttarakhand in 7 days by foot, local bus and cycle 4/4 by Mouna Nanaiah
~Sunrise at Rishikesh~

Getting there: My plan to reach Haridwar was to take the 6.30 am "Dehradun Shatabdi" from Delhi. Hence I boarded a flight to Delhi from Bangalore late previous night, so I could wait at the airport and not shell money on overnight stay. The train has a 2 minute stop at Hardiwar, which will be your destination.

Day 1

Day 1 : Haridwar - The ancient city

From Haridwar railway station most of the places to visit is at a walkable distance. There are multiple budget hotels available in the vicinity. The life here revolves around the ever flowing Ganga. Take a walk along side the river and you will reach Har Ki Pauri, the famous ghat where Ganga Aarti is performed every evening. This spiritual ritual with bhajans and Vedic chants is a sight to behold. This enchanting ceremony takes place by 6.30 pm but the devotees start to gather as early as 4.00 pm. To get a decent view, find a good spot, buy a newspaper for 2 Rs to spread across the floor and wait patiently watching the preparations (Do not forget to pick up your paper and throw them in the bin, which many people seem to ignore). Haridwar still has the essence of mythology and divinity in every corner of the city.

Places to visit: Har Ki Pauri, Bharat Mata Temple, Chandi Devi Temple, Bara Bazaar, Bhimgoda Kund, Daksha Mahadev Temple, Mansa Devi Temple and Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary.

Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Day 2

Day 2: Rishikesh - The yoga capital

20 kms from Haridwar is the 'Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas'. One can take a local bus from Haridwar, it takes about one hour or less to Rishikesh. This is a place I want to live in and experience nevertheless when ever I can, I do visit the yoga land. One can live in hostels, attend yoga classes, practice meditation and do so much more. After experiencing Ganga Aarti in Haridwar, I wanted to witness the same in Rishikesh. Triveni ghat at dusk is mesmerizing, the setting sun across Ganges, pandits getting ready for the aarti, kids collecting coins thrown into the river by the devotees, families performing rituals are just some things one gets to notice as a bystander.

Places to visit: Triveni Ghat, Jumpin Heights for bungee jumping, river rafting, Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula, the Beatles Ashram, Swarg Ashram, Shivpuri(famous for adventure sports).

Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Day 4

Day 4: Dehradun - The capital city

After spending 2 tranquilized days in Rishikesh, I took a bus to Dehradun early morning which costs approximately 40 INR. This 45 kms distance can be covered in 2 hours depending on traffic due to the road construction. As I had just a day in Dehradun before my next stop to Mussoorie, I visited the famous tourist places. This city has best places to shop winter clothes which makes a fashion statement, best aloo parantha and great pan.

Places to visit: Forest Research Institute, Robbers Cave, Tapkeshwar, Sahastradhara, Dehradun Zoo, Malsi Deer Park, Clock Tower Dehradun, Guru Ram Rai Gurudwara.

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah

~Dehradun night view~

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Day 5

Day 5: Mussoorie - The queen of hills

By night fall I boarded a bus to Mussoorie which in itself is a great task. The bus stand is near the railway station opposite to the pre-paid taxi stand. One has to wait for hours in the ticket line. Tickets are distributed only after the bus arrives at the stand. 30kms distance to Mussoorie easily takes 2 hours. During winter Mussoorie is bustling with tourists and finding any on spot accommodation is quite difficult. Wanting to stay away from the crowded areas I booked a hotel at the Landour bazar road.

Along with the regular places to visit one can take a walk at the 2 km stretch of Mall road, watch the sun set behind the hills casting its hue on Mussoorie, witness the moon rise over the sparkling Dehradun, shop endlessly in Mall road, eat the famous aloo parantha from Funjabi Food, must gulp the masala orange juice and lay back on those benches and observe the city.

Places to visit: Lal tibba, Kempty falls, Gun hill, Cloud's end, Camels back road, Jharipani falls, Bhatta falls, Company garden.

Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Day 6

Day 6: Landour - The crown of the hills

While I was researching about Landour I read, "If Mussorie is the Queen Of Hills, then Landour is its crown". When I visited Landour, boy! was that statement correct. Just 2 kms uphill and there is this silent village. Most tourists go by this place without realizing where they are. I decided to ditch the transport and explore Landour by foot. It took me an entire day to see all the places I wanted to trekking up the hill.

First stop is the iconic Landour clock tower right next to which is the Clock Tower Cafe, do visit this cafe for dinner and you will be blown away by its ambiance. Keep walking uphill and you will reach the best hangout place Char Dukan, the lemon tea and chocolate waffles here is to die for. A little further ahead is Lal Tibba, which is famous for its gigantic binoculars. The perfect end to the day is a visit to Rokeby Manor; the English-style Country Estate hotel. One can clearly view the winterline sunset from here overlooking Mussoorie. In a nutshell, Landour is a place to be explored and experienced.

Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah

~Winterline sunset~

Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Day 7

Day 7: Dhanaulti - The scenic glacier town

The last stop of this trip was Dhanaulti. One can take a local bus to reach Dhanaulti from Mussoorie. By bus the distance of 30 kms can be done in an hour. However I decided to rent a cycle for the entire day at 500 INR from Mall road and cycle till Dhanaulti. Although the beginning was tough, the pace gradually increased and I started to enjoy the ride. This was my first trip cycling on hills and damn it is treacherous. Stopping constantly to click the view, grasping for breath, fixing the failed brakes and multiple tea breaks later I was able to reach Dhanaulti. The twists and curves along the road cannot stop you once you have tasted the splendid views alongside. This route should go under the drive it yourself list without a doubt.

Places to visit: Eco Park, Surkanda Devi Temple, Deogarh Fort, Potato Farm, Camping and adventure activities.

Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah
Photo of Dhanolti, Uttarakhand, India by Mouna Nanaiah

The next day I headed back to Dehradun and from there took an overnight bus to Delhi and back to Bangalore. Thus came to an end my backpacking trip across the famous cities of Uttarakhand. I would love to go back one day for that lemon tea at Char Dukan or for a cup of coffee at Rokeby Manor. Go ahead pack your bags and make some memories.

Bon Voyage!

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