“Travel acknowledges the impermanence of things: the rejection of the familiar, the constant embrace of the unfamiliar… And when we keep travelling, we end up returning to the place from where we started: the Parikrama ” – aptly quoted by Devdutt Pattanaik in his essay ” The Idea of Travel” gave some peace to my restless mind.
And so I agreed to my friend’s wish to ramble through Chakrata, which is 98 kms away from my first place of posting, Dehradun ( Uttarakhand, India)
Ditching my weekend household chores, I along with my friends headed for the mountains, or more appropriately the Lesser Himalayan Range ( Shivalik Hills). My friend, Dhriti Das, a tyro-socialite and a gastro-traveller, shouldered the task of driving her Maruti 800 uphill. As we passed through Selakui – Herbertpur – Vikasnagar – Dakpatthar, the picturesque views brought solace to my otherwise gloomy soul as I was to leave this beautiful place in a month’s time.
Sitting on the navigator’s seat, I made myself useful by capturing this timeless picture.
Well, I personally feel that a journey is incomplete without traversing the geographies of the past. So, we stopped by Kalsi where lies one of the rock edicts of Asoka, the great Mauryan emperor.
Out of 14 edicts, it is the only Asoka’s rock edict located in North India. A pear-shaped quartz rock with a 10ft height, 10ft length and 8ft width at its base, reflects the king’s reforms and policies. Unfortunately, we couldn’t click a picture of the rock as ASI was doing maintainence work. Looking at the rock edict, I wondered how much efforts were put inscribing on the huge rock. F@€£, here am I feeling lazy to even type on the keypad. 😛
We drove further ahead constantly soothing our eyes with beautiful landscapes.
Terrace farming and minuscule villages filled the topography of this Garhwal range. The few villagers we encountered looked content in their cosy little cocoon of serenity.
Three hours of driving made my friend so hungry that sooner we reached Chakrata, we started searching for a place to eat. Our eyes fell on a small tea-shop where hot veg momos were being served too. The cute tea-shop was so beautifully located at the end of the ridge overlooking the mountains that I took out my camera to capture the view. But sadly, I was prohibited for doing so by one of the armymen.
Let me tell you Chakrata is an access restricted military cantonment military town at an elevation of around 7000ft. Notably, it is the permanent garrison of the secretive and elite Special Frontier Force, also known as Establishment 22 ( called “Two-Two”), the only ethnic Tibetan unit of the Indian Army, which was raised after the Indo-China War of 1962.
Finishing off the hot momos with lip-smacking spicy chutney, we went for Chilmiri neck top which was known for its unspoilt viewpoint. Reaching there made me realise that it was a good decision to escape the urban clamour into a spectacle of rising peaks and quiet forests. Even though the place was cooler, but it was a heart-warming sight.
As I was experiencing tranquility and seclusion, Dhriti broke the news to me that she forgot to fill up her fuel tank. Quite a bad news because petrol and diesel are hard to come by (for civilians ) being a cantt. area and the closest petrol pump is at Vikasnagar ( 50kms from Chakrata). Moreover, it was close to dusk.
So we decided to cancel out the Tiger falls, which was 20kms from Chakrata and we finally headed back home.
So, if you’re a nature enthusiast, give Doon’s concrete jungle a miss and embark on a journey to Chakrata. It’ll provide you the perfect setting for some relaxation and exploration.
1. Best season: Apr-Jun, Sep -Nov
2. Nearby places of interest: Tiger Falls, Deoban, Budher, Kanasar, Hano Mahasu Temple, Lakhamandal.
3. Fill up your fuel tanks . :p
4. No restaurants in Chakrata, only hotels and resorts are available.