My ventures in the land of mountains started in the first week of January when I moved to Rishikesh. Staying right next to the holy Ganges with mountain views from the balcony surely gives an adrenaline rush. So, on a chilly weekend, we headed to Chakrata, a popular tourist destination in Uttarakhand to experience snowfall.
We started from Rishikesh, rode across Dehradun, bypassed Mussoorie road and headed towards the hill station. Riding in temperature of 10 during the day meant it would be sub-zero during the night. Soon after crossing Dehradun traffic, we could visualise the snow laden ranges above Mussoorie. We started gaining altitude as we headed towards Kalsi. We took some photo breaks before getting stuck in the traffic jam 4 km ahead of Chakrata. The weather was getting colder as the day passed by. It was the eve of Republic day and many northern Indians reached there to enjoy the snow land.
Cliff top houses on the way !!
Mountain madness !!
It took us 2.5 hours to get through the last 2 kms of Chakrata amidst the crowd. We parked the bikes in front of the paratrooper camp and moved across the icy stretch to the main market area. It was not possible to take our bikes as we saw cars slipping and rolling down the slopes while attempting to reach the market. Since we skipped lunch, we entered a café. It was 1 degree at around 5 pm in the evening and we ordered momos, noodles and coffee. It took an eternity to get our food as the café was jam packed with tourists just like the roads of Chakrata.
Crazy traffic jam in the mountains
At dusk we went on a hotel hunt only to know that all were occupied. I explored the alleys of the colonial era town enquiring for accommodations and could luckily get one. We explored the alleys at night enjoying the heaps of snow at sub-zero temperature.
Early next morning I went out to explore the quaint town. I saw a few local boys carrying charcoal baskets to keep themselves warm. In one of the workshops in a old ruined building, a man was making Buddhist prayer idols. After exploring the quaint town, we had a sumptuous paratha omelette brunch and started our journey back.
A perfect morning exploring the town with this cute lil girl !!
Happy faces !!
Tibetan prayers crafts in the making at a local store !!
A colonial construction standing up strong !!
While returning, we took the Mussoorie route from Chakrata. Since it was on the opposite side of the mountain in the shade, the weather was very cold. Few stretches of road had ice sheets making it a challenging drive. It was very less crowded and within 20 mins, I was not able to feel my fingers. We had to stop for a break as it was spine chilling cold and my double layer gloves were not adequate. We lit a fire and warmed our hands. In the next 20 minutes, i was able to feel my fingers. The trail down from there was good, less crowded and provided a nice view all along the way. After a few photo stops, we finally reached Kalsi.
We reached just in time to check out the rock edicts from king Ashoka’s times. A gigantic monolithic rock had inscriptions dating back to 250 BC. The garden was very well maintained. The view of river Yamuna with the paddy fields and setting sun in the backdrop made my day. We returned uneventfully in the evening.
Edicts of Ashoka era at Kalsi
Chakrata, Uttarakhand– Distance from Rishikesh: 140 kms, from Delhi- 400 km.
There are only five hotels in the market area. They need to be pre-booked specially if you are visiting in the weekend. We booked two rooms at double price in the evening. Rest of the cottages and resorts are on the outskirts of the town.
Places to explore around: Market area with colonial constructions, Tiger falls. The way to the falls was closed owing to excess snowfall.
There are several viewpoints on the Dehradun road and Mussoorie road which you can check out on the way.
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