If the excitement of another New Year has hushed down and you have already drowned in your routine life with the sudden winter chills just leaving you all the more wrapped, then it’s time for some warm-up. With the second long weekend just round-the-corner (well, the Republic Day is on a Tuesday and your manager has been kind enough to give your Monday an off, as well), you are in for a long, four days off. Yaay!
So, that means four days of sleeping, watching movies, eating and … sleeping! Right… No wrong. Oh, come on! You could use these four days to explore some of the more beautiful and lesser frequented destinations around the national capital. And being the perfect guide that we are, have listed for you four places and possible routes that could be taken via road to ensure you enjoy a vacation worth remembering. So get ready friends for your upcoming, long weekend travel.
Delhi to Rohru
Now the first reason for anybody to really leave Delhi would be for some peace of mind, some solitude and a whole lot of rejuvenation. Rohru, in Himachal Pradesh, for most is exactly this. This little town, located on the banks of the Pabbar River, has a bouquet of attractions that leave people asking for more. It serves as the base for a trek up to Chansal Peak via Chansal Pass where-from one can enjoy an amazing bird’s eye view of the entire valley down. And you could be lucky enough to enjoy a lovely snowfall as well. Apple orchards, forests, trout fishing, classical temples of Hatkoti, picturesque spots of Kharapathar and Giriganga or the Shikhru Devta Temple make way for some aesthetic bliss.
Where: Himachal Pradesh
Distance from Delhi: ~510km
How to Reach:
- Delhi- Ghaziabad- Meerut- Muzaffarnagar- Roorkee- Biharigarh- Dehradun- Paonta Sahib- Rohru
- Delhi- Ambala- Kalka- Shimla- Theog- Narkanda- Kharapathar- Rohru
Where to Stay: PWD Rest House at Rohru, HPTDC Hotel Chansal on Hatkoti-Rohru road
What’s Special: Trout hatchery, handmade clothings made of sheep wool and best quality Red Rice
Nearest Railhead: Shimla
Tips: Start early from Delhi to avoid traffic. For most part, the road is smooth barring few bad patches. Since it’s winters, heavy woollens are suggested.
Delhi to Binsar
If the odd-even formula hasn’t soothed your senses then Binsar definitely will. The crisp mountain air, dense thickets, majestic views of the mighty Himalayas and loads of greenery, this secluded hill station, though sleepy, is an absolute delight to the senses. If you are an ardent nature-lover, then those serene walks in the fresh and scented air of Binsar will help you savour the prolific beauty of nature. A walk uphill the Jhandi Dhar (also known as Binsar Hill) offers splendid view of Almora Town, Kumaon Hills and the greater Himalayan valley. But the main attraction of the town is the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to nearly 200 species of birds, barking deer, musk deer, Himalayan bear, leopard fox, porcupine, chital among several others.
Distance from Delhi: ~400km
How to Reach:
- Delhi- Moradabad- Kashipur- Bazpur- Kaladhungi- Nainital- Almora- Deenapani- Binsar
- Delhi- Moradabad- Rampur- Bilaspur- Rudrapur- Haldwani- Kathgodam- Nainital- Almora- Binsar
- Delhi- Moradabad- Rampur- Udhamsingh Nagar- Haldwani- Bhowali- Garampani- Almora- Binsar
Where to Stay: KMVN Guest House at Deenapani (roughly midway between Almora and Binsar), Khali Estate (near Ayarpani village in Almora), Itmenaan Estate
What’s Special: Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, views of Chaukhamba, Panchachuli, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Kedarnath Peaks from Zero Point, bird watching and wildlife photography
Nearest Railhead: Kathgodam (3½ hours from Binsar)
Tips: Don’t miss out on your binoculars and heavy woollens. Leave at the wee hours of the morning to avoid Delhi and U.P traffic. If you are taking the first route, then avoid the direct road from Moradabad to Bazpur, instead cover few extra km via Kashipur. It might take you more time but will surely save you from discomfort.
Delhi to Kanatal
Well, for most, Mussoorie is the preferred choice for a vacation while the scenic and breathtaking Kanatal gets a miss as usual. Now firstly, Kanatal should not be your call if you are an adventure freak, it is specially for those who desire tranquillity. It definitely comes without any thrills and frills, but the natural sights, lush expanses of green, scenic setting, apple orchards, temples, chirping birds, colourful butterflies, floating clouds and the narrow roads fringed by pine, rhododendron and deodar trees surely capture your memories for a lifetime and make for some amazing clicks. Don’t you think Kanatal is perfect for yoga and meditation?
Distance from Delhi: ~310km
How to Reach:
- Delhi- Meerut- Muzzafarnagar- Saharanpur- Dehradun- Mussorrie- Dhanolti- Kanatal
- Delhi-Meerut- Muzaffarnagar- Roorkee- Haridwar- Rishikesh- Narendranagar- Chamba- Kanatal
Where to Stay: Mahindra Resorts, Kanatal Camps, Kanatal Spa and Resorts
What’s Special: Surkhanda Devi Temple, Kodia Forest, Tehri Dam, views of Bandarpunch, Trichul and Chaukhamba Peaks, snowfall during winters. Shops selling artefacts and local handicrafts made of nettle weed fabric and bamboo.
Nearest Railhead: Haridwar (~100km from Kanatal) and Dehradun (~~70km from Kanatal)
Tips: Don’t forget to grab a bottle of rhododendron juice as souvenir, made from locally grown rhododendron flowers, which is something that you won’t find anywhere else. There are no food joints in Kanatal, so try to be happy with whatever is offered in the in-house restaurants of the hotels that you would be lodging in.
Delhi to Munsiyari
What is the first thing you could expect from a place whose name literally means ‘the place of snow’? Of course, snow. And that is exactly why you should be here this winter. Stunning views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, Panchachuli, which is undoubtedly the star attraction of Munsiyari and serving as the base to numerous glacier treks, this comely hamlet remains eternal for its impeccable beauty.
Distance from Delhi: ~650km
How to Reach:
- Delhi- Moradabad- Rampur- Haldwani- Kathgodam- Bhimtal- Bhowali- Khairna- Almora- Chitai Temple- Dhaulchina- Sheraghat- Thal- Birthi Fall- Kalamuni Top- Munsiyari
- Delhi- Moradabad- Kashipur- Kaladhungi- Nainital- Bhowali- Almora- Kosi- Someshwar- Kausani- Baijnath- Bageshwar- Vijaypur- Chaukori- Udiyari Bend- Thal- Kalamuni Top- Munsiyari
- Delhi- Moradabad- Kashipur- Jim Corbett- Mahaan- Marchula- Manila- Dwaraghat- Kausani- Baijnath- Chaukori- Thal- Munsiyari
Where to Stay: KMVN Rest House and Hotel Zara Resort (near main market), Hotel Johar Hill Top Resort (on Munsiyari-Thal Road).
What’s Special: Milam, Ralam and Namik Glacier treks, Panchachuli Peaks, Hand-woven carpets and Himalayan tree saplings
Nearest Railhead: Kathgodam (~275km)
Tips: BSNL has a wide coverage over the area, to help you stay connected with your family and friends. It’s advisable to get your fuel tanks refilled at Dwaraghat since there are no petrol pumps after Thal and even limited fuel is available at Thal due to shortage in supply. Also, if time permits, you could go to Darkot, a heritage village, ~8km ahead of Munsiyari to buy its famous Pasham (mountain rabbit) shawls and some local herbs like Jambo, Thoya and Tehmur.
So, gear-up friends and get ready to hit the road. Also do not forget to share your experiences.
Happy & safe travelling!