It was the August of 2008 when I and a friend of were on our way to Gangotri on our motorcycles. It started to rain the moment we crossed Roorkee which was at around 11 AM post which the next 5 hours were spent riding in a heavy rainfall. By the time we reached Chamba, we realised that it would probably be best to not visit Gangotri when its raining cats and dogs. So we took the bifurcation at Chamba and decided to visit Mussorie instead. On our way, we came across a small town called Dhanaulti where we stopped at that time only to take shelter for the night as neither of us had energy enough left to keep riding till Mussorie. Little did I know at that time that this small town was to become my favorite hill station. A place where I would visit so often that I could almost call it my weekend getaway.
Dhanaulti is small town comprising of barely 50 houses and is located at a distance of about 100 kms from Rishikesh and 25 kilometers from Mussorie. It is not a place that very many people visit because the nearby town of Mussorie over-shadows it. There is nothing about this place that stands out, it is just another small village in the hilly region of uttarakhand but yet it has a charm of its own. The silence and peace in this village is something that is only matched by the small villages in Ladakh and Lahaul/Spiti region. Sorrounded by lush green hills and tall pines trees, It is a place perfect for anyone looking to get our of the city and go spend a few days in peace.
Temperature here remains very low and you will be required to visit warm clothes even in the month of July which makes it an ideal place if you want to beat the heat. Months of December, January and February are of snowfall which only makes it even more scenic.
As I mentioned, there is not much you can do here except to sit back and relax. If a busy town and tons of shopping is your idea of vacation then this is not the place for you but If some time alone with yourself or with friends and family in peace is what you are looking for then Dhanaulti is where you should go. This is also a perfect place for anyone who has interest in nature and landscape photography. Apart from the lush green vistas, It also offers views of the peaks of Swargrohini, Nanda Devi and entire Bandarpunchh range if the weather is clear.
Dhanaulti is approximately at a distance of 325 kilometers from Delhi. Head to Haridwar and then Rishikesh from where you will need to continue on the highway to Gangotri. Once you reach Chamba, take the road that goes towards Mussorie. From Chamba, Dhanaulti is at a distance of merely 22 kms. You can also chose to reach here from Mussorie, which is at a distance of 25 kms.
While at Dhanaulti, you can visit the Surkanda Mata Temple but keep in mind that it requires some serious climbing on countless stairs. If you do not mind a little bit of trekking, you can also visit the pariyon ka mandir but please do take a local as your guide for this trek as there is a risk of getting lost [and also being attacked by dogs].
Another place to see here is Eco park which really is nothing special, just a wooden border stretched across a particular area. I am not even sure what the idea behind this was.
There are several hotels in Dhanaulti which will fit in anyone’s budget ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 2500. If your budget allows, Hotel Apple Orchid is a good place to stay. [picture below]