Summer of 2019. Dehradun•Mussorie•Chakrata

Tripoto
26th May 2019
Photo of Summer of 2019. Dehradun•Mussorie•Chakrata by Ritika Kumar

We can probably call this as our first real step towards adulthood. Two of us, going for a trip, all by ourselves, left to explore the hills. Since we were on a tight budget, we prepared an itinerary, planning every little detail - where we would stay, where we would eat, how we would commute, getting the tickets etc. But like all experienced travellers can tell, travels are mostly made of chances and one can hope to make the best of it.

We boarded our train (Mussoorie Express) from the Old Delhi Railway Station at night and reached Dehradun the next morning. As we stepped down the train, though we were tired, we felt a rush of excitement.

Day 1

We took an auto to reach our Hotel. One must note that auto drivers often overcharge and so we started traveling in the local tempo which not only costs less than half the price of an auto-rickshaw but also gives one an insight into the real Dehradun and it's people.

We had planned to visit Robber's cave and Mindrolling Monastery (Buddha Temple) but because of exhaustion from the journey, we took to the bed. In the evening, we chose the temple as our destination and thus left for Mindrolling Monastery, a famous Buddha temple in Dehradun built in 1965, which is not only a home to a prominent Buddhist institution but also has the stupa (claimed to be the largest in Asia) an exemplary work of Tibetan architecture. The stupa is surrounded by beautiful gardens and statues of great Buddha himself and his various forms.

Unfortunately, the place of worship was not quite the peaceful abode we had expected; rather it was crowded with noisy visitors (due to the holiday season). However, in the shrine , a completely different vibe could be felt which brought a sense of peace to the soul.

We ended our day with a fine dinner at a popular Tibetan Restaurant - Kalsang restaurant.

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar

Mindrolling Monastery

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar

Kalsang

Photo of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Day 2

The next day, we boarded the state bus at 9:30 for Mussoorie from the bus stand near Dehradun Railway station.

One must note that there are 2 bus stands in Mussoorie. While one stand, is near the town library (closer to George Everest) and the other one, near picture palace (closer to Landour). The tickets cost 60/- irrespective of the bus stands. Other options for travel such as taxis are also available near the stands. The rates are fixed for all the means of transportation.

As the journey consists of traveling through meandering hills, one must take precautions to deal with certain symptoms of travel sickness and light-headedness.

Again due to the holiday season, the town (especially tourist attractions such as Mall road, Lal tibba, Cable car etc.) was crowded with tourists. We received honest and realistic information from the locals regarding various sites and thus followed their advice.

We started off by walking down the mall road looking for places to eat. Upon a friend's suggestion we tried a cheese omelette at one of the most famous and oldest food joints in the town - Lovely Omelette Centre. The food was at par with it's reputation as the soft, warm omelette almost melts in your mouth.

As one of us was an ardent reader of books by the famous author - Ruskin Bond, we started out to the bookshop where he often sits on Saturdays. But as luck would have it, we misunderstood the directions, but were eventually back on the path, with the help of the locals. We eventually found the Cambridge bookstore which is located on the mall road itself (opposite to the State Bank of India, near Kalsang, Mussoorie). While my friend, wrote a letter to the famous author (the shopkeeper is an absolute gentlemen and yes! the messages are passed on and read by Mr.Bond) ; one must visit the bookstore between, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm on Saturdays, if he or she wants to meet the author.

It was 2:00 in the afternoon when we took a Cycle rickshaw which dropped us at the Ropeway. We had lunch at a restaurant and decided to go to the George Everest peak (George Everest's House). A taxi driver took us to the George Everest's peak and charged 1250/- . While four wheelers and two wheelers can go up to the hilltop (though the roads are in bad condition), one can walk up the path amidst the green trees and sound of the birds.

After about half an hour we reached the peak and the view was absolutely breath-taking. We perched ourselves on ruins of the mansion which had been destroyed not only by the times and nature but also by the countless claims of lovers scribbled across the crumbling walls of the house. One could see these huge, lush green hills nestled together against the blue sky. The winds were strong and refreshing. We did not feel like leaving.

But eventually we had to, and we could not witness the sunset as the last bus for Dehradun left at 7 in the evening.

As the evening begin to set in the town, the heat gave in to the cool evening breeze. We enjoyed a bowl of Maggi - which was a must, given the weather. We would recommend Mussoorie as a place to stay instead of Dehradun for the true experience of being amidst the hills.

As we were headed back, we could not get the bus tickets , as towards the evening the rush for journey to Dehradun begins to grow. We eventually had to take a taxi back to Dehradun which cost 250/- per person. The taxi dropped us till the station and then we took a tempo back to the hotel, and the day came to an end.

Mussoorie

Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar

George Everest Point

Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Day 3

Next morning at about 8 am, we boarded a bus from the bus stop - ISBT to Vikasnagar. From Vikasnagar we transited to Chakrata. Though buses are available, the preferable mode of transportation is through taxi (SUVs) - which function on sharing basis. Each ticket cost 340/-. The entire journey spanned across 2-3 hours.

But the travel is worth it, the little town has not yet been overshadowed by the bustling tourists. We checked into a small and reasonable homestay and after lunch started off to the famous Tiger Falls.

Tiger falls is 19 Km away from the town and the journey takes about an hour. One can find taxis near the motor marg for about 1500/- with added expenses of parking. For the adventurous souls, the falls can also be reached through a 5 km trek. The falls is a popular tourist spot and thus one must expect visitors at ALL times. The cascading cold waters, are refreshing and one can also go in for a dip as changing rooms are available. The best time to visit is in the morning as towards the afternoon, the water from the stream is directed towards the fields for irrigation.

After spending an hour or so, we drove back to the town. It was almost 6 in the evening and after a refreshing cup of chai, we started with our walk towards the Chirmiri point.

Though it can be accessed by a vehicle, the sights and the feel of the cool evening can be best experienced through a trek. As the area hosts an army cantonment, individuals with foreign nationalities are not allowed after a point.

One can see the rolling green mountains, and the roads are flanked by grand old trees. After about an hour (approx. 3kms), we nestled at a spot which was just near the point; again this is a popular tourist spot and thus chances of the place being crowded were very high. We chose this spot as our haven, and as the sun set, spreading shades of red against the blue sky and the dark mountains - I think we stole few moments from "time", as this sight and the feeling of absolute peace would stay with us forever.

By the time we returned to the town, the night had fallen - shops and eateries in the town close at about 8-9 pm. After dinner, we retired to our room.

Chakrata

Photo of Chakrata, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Chakrata, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar

View from town

Photo of Chakrata, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Chakrata, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar

Sunset view near chirmiri point

Photo of Chakrata, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar

Tiger Fall

Photo of Chakrata, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Photo of Chakrata, Uttarakhand, India by Ritika Kumar
Day 4

Early morning, at about 6 we left the town. We got a ride in a tempo traveller ( we got the contact from our driver), which leaves the town every morning at about 6:30 and returns from Dehradun in the late evening. Each ticket cost about 180/-.

The sleepy town offers a great opportunity to experience the life amidst the hills, with little shops on the sides of the cobbled road, and houses scattered across the valley where one can witness the magic of the mountains from every window; friendly smiles often greet you and one gets the impression of a sense of togetherness amongst the townsfolk.

We reached Dehradun by 11 am. The tempo dropped us till Ghantaghar, from there we took the tempo to our hotel.

We boarded our train at 4;30 in the evening - the shatabdi and thus our journey came to an end.

Photo of Summer of 2019. Dehradun•Mussorie•Chakrata by Ritika Kumar

- Written in collaboration with Aishwarya Naik

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