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Dhanaulti – Paradise less travelled


Avni Iyer

An avid finance professional and travel enthusiast. I have toured extensively in India & abroad capturing locales that have never been part of regular itineraries and are unique in the truest sense, as my passion is to explore new places and cultures across the world. From budget to luxury, mountains to sea, I have traveled it all and have helped many to experience the same. My passion for travel is seen in the customized plans that I make for my customers by being sensitive to every minute requirement and expectation that is spelt out.

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Uttarakhand |

Dhanaulti – Paradise less travelled

Chamba, do not mistake it for the one in the Himalayas, is around a 2-hour drive from Rishikesh. It is one untouched and fresh hill station at an altitude of 1600mt above sea level. A place where you can relax and unwind from the rush of the cities.

We did a stopover here and took up a room in a hotel overlooking entire Chamba. An interesting place to visit there is the Tehri Dam, which we couldn’t do for various reasons. It was the next destination which was keeping me all exicted and eager to venture out. After we checked out of Chamba, we headed to Dhanaulti / Jwarna.

We did overnight camping there in almost freezing temperatures without heaters. This camping site is located at almost 8300ft. above sea level. The pathway to the destination was rough and edgy. As we were reaching the top, the noise levels in the environment thinned down and the temperature levels dropped down drastically. Mobile connectivity was also waning and as we entered the resort it was completely dead detaching us completely from the outside world.

We were welcomed by two people from the resort, one was the watchman cum electrician and the other was the cook. The resort had  tents set up on two step levels of the mountain. On the first level were smaller tents without attached bathrooms (common bathrooms were provided) and second level were larger tents with attached bathrooms. We were accommodated in the larger tents. As it was off-season we were the only inmates of the resort. The silence and the chilling temperature was making us uncomfortable initially but slowly as the night dawned we were experiencing utmost peace and tranquility.

Tents we stayed in Jwarna   Camping site at Dhanaulti

The tents were in perfect army style and had the minimum creature comforts. As we opened the tent, it was only the valley deep down that stared at us and the view was scenic and breathtaking. The cook at the resort arranged for bon-fire near our tent with mouth watering veg-starters and hot soup which was the right match for the ambiance and cold environment. Simple and hot dinner was served around 9pm and we went for a stroll on the mountains in thick of the night and we were in complete state of bliss..

The caretakers provided us with blankets and bedding to protect ourselves from the biting cold of -4 degrees but that wasn’t enough and we desperately wanted a shot of RUM - the only prescribed medicine for the occasion. Even though the moments were magical, it was scary as we could clearly hear the blow of wind and at times the intensity was so high that we felt that the wind would blow away our tent which was at the tip of the mountain.

Dhanaulti / Jwarna   Dhanaulti / Jwarna

The next morning we were woken up by the cook with a hot masala chai. After having our tea we stepped out of our tent to see that the grass was covered with shades of snow and it was the early sign of snow arriving on the hills shortly. We had a quick wash (bathing was impossible under such cold weather) and were getting ready for breakfast. Suddenly we heard a melodious bhajan on the mountains. First we thought that some music was played in a near-by hut but we realized that speakers were installed under the lamp posts around the resort hill and every morning when tourists are there, such beautiful music is played which reverberates the entire mountain ranges and makes the ambiance spiritual and serene.

We were fed with hot poori bhaji for breakfast along with toast and we enquired information about the place from the caretaker. The resort is closed from the third week of December till March as the place receives ample snow making it impossible for humans to stay. Even the near-by villagers move to a warmer place during these months.

We finished our breakfast at 9am and were introduced to faithful caretaker of the resort - a foreign dog…we spent some playful time with the inmate and clicked some wonderful pictures of the area. As we were checking out the cook took us to a small narrow range and provided us with his binocular. What we could see from there was simply divine - beautiful snow filled Himalayan ranges. We enjoyed the scenic beauty for some time and bid adieu to the resort and thanked the lord for giving us such a beautiful experience.

Himalayas from Jwarna   

 We also pray that we are fortunate to witness such natures paradise at many other places in India and world.

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