Chakrata Trip

Sunrise in Chakrata (Sunrise in Chakrata)

“The land north of Gangadwar is known to the wise as Paradise Ground. Apart from this land, the rest is called Earth elsewhere.” – Kedarkhand Skanda Purana

Date: 10-11 Jan 2015
Number of people: 3
Total Budget: 4000 (Petrol) + 3000 other expenditure (Toll and lunch dinner breakfast)
Number of Days: 2 (Weekends)
Total Distance covered: Approximately 760 Kms.

I was planning a short weekend. It was a short planned trip or simply a road trip. We fixed our destination to Chakrata.  Lansdowne was next preferred location. But two of us have already visited Lansdowne. Other reason for selecting this place is its sereneness and possibility of snow fall. Accuweather has predicted the temperature in order of 5-9 degree bellow the freezing point.

Chakrata is a cantonment town located at an elevation of approximately 7500 feet in Garhwal Himalayas. It is a part of Lesser Himalayas. The area is located between the river valley of Yamuna and Ton. Chakrata is a permanent headquarter of secret Special Frontier Force (SFF) or Establishment 22. Local people will tell you the story of SFF and role played by the establishment including operation Blue star and Operation Vijay. SFF is the only the only ethnic Tibetan unit of the Indian Army and that was established after Indo China war. Forefingers are not allowed at this place. Establishment 22 issues special permit for entry of foreigners in Chakrata. The most important thing I observed in Chakrata was the people of Chakrata. They are really helpful.

Best Time to visit During summers, weather remains pleasant and receives snowfall during winters. In winter, snow lovers, please plan your trip after mid-January.

How to Reach Chakrata is easily accessible from Delhi and Dehradun. You can drive yourself or hire a cab. You can also opt for Public transport. It takes around 3 hours from Dehradun. Mini bushes and Mahindra Jeeps are available with good frequency. Although there is no separate parking for hotels located in Chakrata town. You can park anywhere, provided it does not restrict the transportation. On road side there are amble parking spaces and it is quite safe.

Trip Summary We left Delhi at 8:30 AM. The Road condition is more or less good till Muzaffarnagar bypass. There are some small patches of terrible road but that is manageable.  From the place where toll road ends, the traffic of one side is closed because of construction works. Which makes driving little challenging. You will face heavy traffic from Roorkee to Dehradun and then From Dehradun to a cut near Ponta Sahib, road is fairly better baring a small patch of around 500 meters, which is terrible. From Vikasnagar onwards there is typical Himalayan road although fairly good till Kalsi. The shape of rood from Kalsi onwards is not good. Construction works, landslide, blasts and terrible driving skill of local drivers make your driving quite challenging. We had breakfast somewhere after Meerut, lunch near Ponta Sahib and reached Chakrata at 4:30 PM. The traffic was more or less normal from Delhi to Roorkee. This can be attributed to weekends and fog condition. Once you reach Chakrata, you have to get a permit from cantonment administration. They will charge Rs 10 per person. Next day after having breakfast, we left for Tiger fall. It is located at a distance of 18 Kms from the town area. The road passes through forested area and steep sloped mountains. It took around 1.5 hrs to travel. Road is in bad shape. You have to trek more than one km to reach the exact locationof tiger fall. The area is sparsely populated and GPS does not tell you the exact location so you have to keep asking local people about the exact location of fall. Once you reach there you will see a signboard and then you have to  climb down more than 1 km. The stairs that goes to the fall is well cemented so climbing down is not a problem and you will enjoy the trail. While walkingfirst you will hear the sound of water fall and get bit confused about its exact location.  But once you reach the valley area you will see a huge water fall. This is heavenly and you can see multiple rainbows at any point of time. Water is very cold especially during winter. There is a small shop run by an old man. Try tea, Maggi or whatever available there. The old man is always there to serve you. I am suggesting it not only because it is so tasty or anything else but to respect his effort to make your trip comfortable. You can also go to mouth of the waterfall. There is a Lord Shiva temple. You can take some rest. Climbing up is both challenging and tiring. Keep a water bottle always with you. It helps. We left Tiger fall at 1:30PM, reached Chakrata at 2:30 PM and Noida by 10:30 PM.

Where to Stay Chakrata is not well developed. There are very limited options for staying. Himalayan Paradise is the most famous Hotel. It is located at a distance of around 6.5 Kilometres from Chakrata bus stand. Hotel is quite costly and they charge around 3000-4000 INR for a day. Another option is snow View. This is also situated on route of Tiger fall. It will cost around 2000-2200 INR per night. Uttarayan and Rana Lodge are situated in main town and they are quite cheap. Uttarayan will cost 1000-1300 for 2 bed room and there is no room facility as such in Rana Lodge. They will cost 75-100 per bed. All prices are negotiable up to some extent. You can see a lot of monkeys and they will make sure that you don’t sleep comfortable.

Eat Options are very limited. There is a shop in bus stand; they serve normal breakfast, lunch snacks and maggi. In town area, Sher-E-Punjab is the most famous. They serve dinner till 10 PM. Most of the shops are closed by 8 PM.

Other places to visit:

Deoban: Around 16-18 kms from Town. Road condition is too bad to drive an SUV or Sedan. Hire a commander. They will charge around 1200-1500.

Moigad Fall: I would suggest you to plan your return journey through Kempty fall and Mussoorie.

Some suggestions:

  • If you are carrying smartphone, please carry a power bank.
  • There is hardly and Dhaba or eating point after Vikasnagar, plan accordingly.
  • There is no petrol pump after Vikasnagar and You willbe covering around 200 kilometres in Himalayas. Make sure you have sufficient fuel in your car/SUV.
  • Respected the fragile Himalayan ecosystem.
  • Drive in Himalayas only if you are comfortable there or hire a good driver.
  • As construction work is going on Dehradun Chakrata road, you will find some people are holding red cloths. They are there to inform you about possible blasts for breaking the stones. There may be land slide after that. Be careful.
  • ATM is not a problem.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”– John Muir

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