It had been months that I last traveled. Seldom have I spent so much time NOT traveling and that itch was getting all over me. My soul, my body, my mind was literally asking me to go out and have some fun traveling! And boy, did I oblige.
Although, Chamba, Dhanaulti and Mussoorie are places that I have visited umpteen number of times now, but monsoon spells it’s own magic on such beautiful mountains, I tell you. No doubt the roads are almost in pathetic shape most of the way (in the plains), but once you get a glimpse of the mountains, everything just seems so lively that you forget the trauma that you’ve just gone through, driving through pot-holed roads and water filled tarmac. Take the Delhi – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Dehradun route to reach Mussoorie, or alternatively after you reach Rishikesh, you can spend some quality time there at “Chotiwala” having some good and tasty breakfast/ lunch and moving forward directly towards Dhanaulti via Chamba valley.
THIS is outrightly the more scenic way to look at the whole valley, with barely any traffic to encounter. You can literally stop any place you want to, just to chill and soak in the view or go shutter crazy! There are views abound here, and I promise you would absolutely not regret driving/ riding 50 odd kilometres more, simply because the route is so magnificent. I love Himalayas, I love Himachal, but Uttarakhand has it’s own charm; something that cannot just be described in simple words.
A bunch of us friends ended up visiting this wonderful place, after discussing about the options that we had in hand. At the end of the long drawn discussion, we all knew how each one of us had to go to work on the Monday morning, so, we decided to keep the destination such that it is easily manageable in a weekends’ time. The i10 that we had for company performed BRILLIANTLY all through the trip. It was not only comfortable, but soaked in all the bumps and pot-holes with ease giving the passengers a joyful experience overall. Thumbs up Hyundai! Just two days worth of time and more almost 700kms. round-trip meant leaving as early as humanely possible. Bags packed, emotions running high, and excitement levels almost running through the roof, we all finally managed to sleep at around 1:30am, and we decided to leave home by 4am, which meant barely any sleep.
But, we made sure the driver (in this case a friend of ours) got himself some sound sleep because he had a long drive in-front of him. Four people stuffed inside the i10 with all our luggage, while another biker friend of ours accompanied us on his new Bajaj Pulsar 220. As much as I too wanted to ride, but I have sold off my machine almost a year back, and have been bikeless ever since; not because I do not want to get onboard two-wheels, but simply because no manufacturer has really “sold” me any vehicle. Well, that’s a story for some other time…
We could not sleep much, simply because of the excitement level, finally leaving home at 0345hrs. (3:45am) itself instead of the earlier decided 0400hrs. (4:00am)! Nevertheless, the drive till Rishikesh was smooth (except for the bad stretch of tarmac for 20-25 odd kms. before reaching Rishikesh courtesy the HEAVY monsoon rains), where we all sat down at “Chotiwala” and had some sumptuous breakfast. Rishikesh is a wonderful place to just roam around, and to take photographs, if you know what I mean. The place amazes me each time I go there. After a heavy dose of breakfast, we left for our further climb towards Dhanaulti. Nothing really exciting happened, except that on every turn, we were stopping while I was busy creating some photographs. I just could not let go off such wonderful opportunity. It is not everyday that I get to visit such a lovely place, during such an amazing time as the monsoons!
The return journey was more or less peaceful, with us driving almost non-stop from Mussoorie to Delhi in about 6.5 hours flat with a couple of short breaks for loo and some snacks. Presenting below are the rest of the photographs which I created during this 2-day journey to Mussoorie, Dhanaulti and the Chamba Valley. I hope you all would enjoy looking through these photographs as much as I enjoyed creating them.
This journey has left me with an insatiable hunger; a hunger to travel and to discover more such places, to photographs things from a different perspective and present all this, share all this with you all. Until the bug bites hard, cheers!