A short hop from Mussoorie.
By Richa Hegde
It is a pleasure to explore Dhanaulti during summer. There are certain enchanting experiences to be had in these forests. The misty mountains and the play of shade and light as you walk through the groves of trees. Every turn of the curve brings into sight a new expanse of high hills with beautiful waterfalls gurgling down the ravines.
The picturesque town of Dhanaulti is situated 24 kilometres away from Musoorie in the Tehri Garwal district of the Uttrakhand state. At an altitude of 2286 metres, Dhanaulti is known for its wooded slopes, terraced fields and invigorating views of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.
The easily accessible exquisiteness and tranquillity amidst the alpine forests of deodar, rhododendron and oak has made Dhanaulti a popular weekend gateway. It is quite, calm, serene and apt for those who want to remain pleasantly idle.
What you have here is the misty morning views, the exhilarating morning air, friendly locales smiling at you from low slung wood house and an unforgettable view of the river flowing on against a massive windswept backdrop.
The inhabitants are small groups living in their quaint little huts amidst dense forests, wearing traditional attire and trying to preserve their distinctive culture.
Besides these, the unique attractions of Dhanaulti that captured our attention was Eco Park. The two parks, Amber and Dharamshala are situated about 200 metres apart from each other. The Eco Park has been developed recently by the forest department of Uttrakhand with the help of the local community. The park houses a protected patch of the small forest containing Deodar trees. The adventure sports facilities available for visitors are in the form of walking over the flying fox to Burma bridges and horse riding. There is also a facility for the visitors to plant a sapling of tree species in the memory of their beloved, that is popularly known as memory sapling plantation. The forest department is also running eco Huts for the tourists amidst the serene landscapes of Dhanaulti. They are built by green technology and are eco-friendly.
Excursions from Dhanaulti lead to the Surkanda Devi Temple situated eight kilometres from here at an altitude of 2757 metres. One has to trek for three kilometres from Kaddukhal, the nearest halting place where vehicles are parked. The Ganga Dissertation Festival celebrated every year here is most popular between the months of May and June and attracts a lot of tourists.
One of the most persistent mythologies concerning the origin of worship of Surkanda Devi temple is associated with the myth of goddess Sati, the wife of Lord Shiva and the daughter of king Daksha.
It is believed that after Sati threw herself in the fire of the yagya and Shiva carried her corpse and wandered all over, her head fell on this place and thus coining the name as Surkanda Devi.
The charm of Samaira Hill stream resort can be witnessed throughout the year. During summers the place acts as a relief from the sultry conditions of the plains. During autumn one can encounter a profusion of wild flowers covering the tree tops with the crimson canopy all along the town and during winters, Dhanaulti is covered with sheets of white snow.
The colourful bazaars are rich in local delicacies and hot beverages. Tibetan shawls, woollens and handicrafts are displayed in some of the stalls.