Memories from Dhanaulti- Part I
What strikes your mind first when it comes to take a break from mundane daily life. I see nothing but the Himalayas. Having seen it from different locations, it never stops to amuse me. At one place it is the gentle rolling hills, at another place it is snow clad high peaks making way for small rivulets in its heart-The Himalayas looks unique in different parts.This time it was Dhanaulti- a humble place on Mussoorie- Chamba road.
Scramble for New Tehri Bus Stand
Dhanaulti was in my mind for a while because of its serenity and “Nothing to do much” type of a place. Me along with one of my friend took an overnight train from New Delhi to Dehradun. Without making any delay, we took bus from Dehradun Railway Station to Mussoorie (Well, we just missed an early morning bus that would have taken us directly to Dhanaulti).
On reaching Mussoorie, we came to know that one can take a bus for Dhanaulti from New Tehri Bus Stand. But the place called “New Tehri Bus Stand” soon started turning out to be a name one can find only in stories and not real. More we asked about it from locals, different answers came out. Somehow with so many answers, we could establish its location and the timing of bus for Dhanaulti.
But the next bus was to take off within half an hour, so we had to scramble to reach the bus stand. This made me remember the school time marathon. But to no avail; the bus had already left. The so called “New Tehri Bus Stand” turned out to be a puny tin shade with a small tea shop in front of it. The best we could do was to enjoy tea and samosas on the shop. Relaxed as if everything is fine, we enjoyed our breakfast. The next bus was to leave only after 4 hours, enough time to finish a twenty-twenty cricket match. But we chose not to do so due to paucity of players and space of course.
It is when we came out the bus stand and were strolling in the beautiful markets of Mussoorie, a Jeep was seen coming. We asked hopelessly whether it was going to Dhanaulti..the man on the driving seat nodded in affirmative. Soon we left Mussoorie and were striding towards our little heaven.
Heaven in the Wilderness
Among the many formidable qualities of my companion to Dhanaulti, one is he has a knack for discounts and offers available online. It seems that these offers take his permission before appearing in public. The creature is called Abhishek and I am thankful to him for saving many bucks from my hard to come money.
So we got our accommodation booked at a place called Green Forest Resort on the way to Dhanaulti from Mussoorie. We were enjoying the views of the hills in the moving Jeep, suddenly our Jeep stopped, driver Prakash announces that we reached at the resort but we see nothing except the tall deodars and a long winding road. Then he hints towards downhills and we see a group of beautiful red roofed huts tucked into the hills. Bidding good bye to Prakash, we trudge slowly on the down slope. The rooms are spacious with basic amenities and the window of the room opens to the rolling hills. It was already 11'o clock in the morning and we ordered brunch. We had a sumptuous meal with the dishes made from fresh vegetables of the farm backside.
A Journey with Monkeys
The resort was 2 Km. before Dhanaulti and we realized that sometimes low price offers has its own cost. But we took it as an opportunity to have a leisurely walk amid the deodars and pines.
I have enjoyed a diverse company of companions in my travel. I don’t mind anything much for the sake of travel. But I had not tried other species except homo sapiens as my companion. This was the first time when a large company of monkeys; supposedly ancestors of homo sapiens were with us on our walk to Dhanaulti. We were of course afraid to be welcomed by such a large company of ancestors. We asked a person coming from opposite side on his motorcycle about the risk involved- he first hinted to his bike and then to our legs and gave a smile and went away.
However we could not afford to wait for monkeys to give us path. So we started walking slowly making monkeys to assume that we are in a competition with them to reach Dhanaulti first. Monkeys started walking ahead of us; we didn’t mind them winning the competition as long as they didn’t harm us.