Gwaldam was incredible and I certainly loved the serenity and simplicity of the Himalayas and its natives. The very next day, I woke up at 4 am to catch the local bus to Lansdowne. The morning was coupled with bit of nippiness in the air and a bit of drizzle from the dark skies- making it the perfect kick off. As the valley emerged out of the dawn, the view in front suited every cliché invented to describe awesomeness.
The bus swirled through the mountains and the swirling turns forced many passengers (especially ladies) to pop their heads out of the windows to puke (a common weakness during travelling in mountains). Well…it all seemed a bit funny only because I was not amongst the one with their head out. As we headed towards Srinagar (don’t confuse it with J&K one), the Ganga appeared out of nowhere penetrating and carving a path for itself through the heart of mountains and spreading life along its shores. However, the ruins of last year catastrophe were easily visible. Although, this area was not much affected, but roads were broken, tattered and in decimated conditions. The bus had only few inches to spare and it was only their skill and practice that took us further.
Eco Park, Dhanaulti
Finally, we reached Srinagar-it was hot and the freshness of morning had turned into sweat drenched T-Shirt. Till this point of time, I was pretty sure I heading to Lansdowne, but then conductor informed that they are going to Rishikesh. I furiously argued with the conductor but nothing persuaded them to change their decision and at last I changed my decision and headed to Rishikesh.
The next morning I headed to Mussorrie but not from the normal route (Dehradun-Mussorrie) instead I took the longer turn (Chamba-Dhanaulti-Mussorrie) and I’m pleased with my decision. I planned to halt at Chamba but later decided to move towards Dhanaulti. The journey to Dhanaulti prospered with impenetrable deodar and pine forest along the road acting like a natural air conditioner turning the weather soothing as compared to Rishikesh.
Inside the Eco Park
The time flew like a swift while my eyes incessantly peeped and gazed the magical beauty outside the window. I was so engrossed in views outside that I didn’t knew when I reached Dhanaulti or how much time it took to reach there. Now talking about Dhanaulti- It’s a small stretch recently developed as an alternative to the overwhelming tourist populace in the adjoining Ruskin Bond’s Mussorrie. It offers little serenity as compared to clogged streets of Mussorrie.
The Beautiful – Eco Huts
The only attraction in Dhanaulti is newly developed Eco Park within the lush deodar trees to attract more tourists with its nominal entry fee of Rs. 25. But I recommend instead of running everywhere try to find a place in the park, sit, relax and enjoy the calmness and quietness of the place. I strongly advocate the idea of doing “nothing” during vacation and that’s what I exactly did. I retreated to one secluded corner in Eco Park with almost pin drop silence and laid down facing the sky. I cannot express in words how much relaxing it was. Although, nothing was moving around me and it was completely silent but still there was an unexplainable sound of this “silent nature” in the air which further comforted and mollified my senses.
The weather was turning to be rainy and the clouds floated along with the winds amidst deodar trees touching the ground. It portrayed the perfect picture of “heaven” as depicted in the movies and mythological serials. I was waiting for the Lord Indira and his gang to show up, but, nothing like that happened. However, this game of hide and seek between the sun and clouds continued for the evening. The sun seemed to be helpless as it lost all his power to soak me in sweat and making me run to escape its scorching heat. I could now face it fearlessly.
I relaxed for around 1-1.5 hour in the secluded corner of park before I started wandering around. There was not much to see beside the Eco Park. The accommodation in Dhanaulti are scarce and expensive as compared to neighbouring hill station during peak season, however, there is one accommodation worth giving a try- “The Eco Hut”. It’s a beautiful accommodation in bamboo huts equipped with all modern facilities, lawn and deodar trees around and one of the toughest to get. It’s advisable to book in advance. Since all the Eco Huts were pre-booked, I could only envy them and with this envied feeling I geared up for my next destination en-route- Queen of Hills – Mussorrie