We all run for solitude and guess in the process we bug the Google search engine to act like Genie and pop up with an ideal destination. But then Google is genie for many and if it suggests multitude for solitude ideals, each one of us will be calling our genie an imposter. Living in Dehradun for long, I mostly avoid Mussorie as I find it difficult to walk on those once peaceful streets. Being dependant on public transport one cannot explore the less tourist visited places. So a weekend opportunity of possession of bikes made me jump to explore the hills.
We started for Dhanolti early morning from Dehradun. Blessed with a wonderful weather (read sunny but cool breeze and no humidity), we drove the jalebi-shaped considerably peaceful roads for the destination. Neither I nor my company had been to the destined place so we planned that we will keep on going till we reach there. Now a very genuine question from all my traveller friends comes what’s there to see in so-n-so place? Honestly I can’t answer this. If you have heard the “beauty of hills and meadows” and “peace in lap of nature” then whole route will provide you that, atleast post 5km travel from the Mussorie diversion. The clear sky, hills draped in lush greenery, breath of fresh air which can clean your mind and soul alike and refreshing your soul kind of scenery.
Compared to many other places where travelling on road a lot many “miscreants” will definitely pass some uncalled comments, I found route to dhanolti a lot sober. But still I would not recommend girls to travel alone on the route. For long distances not witnessing people is a delight for solitude, but if you land up in trouble like puncture of tyre then you better be ready to handle your own bike :p
The sweet part of this route is if you see a board where it’s written “lunch breakfast dinner, tea, coffee” and somehow you don’t see the shop, rather an Aunty doing morning pooja; hesitatingly if you ask her for tea she will be very willing to offer you from her own kitchen! And believe me this kind of familiarity heightens your experience of any trip. I realized what I was missing living in core of city when I saw aunty sprinkling gangajal in and around her tulsi, when two streaked laughingthrush came hopping around her and started playing hide and seek with Aunty’s ever curious dog.
In August season the fresh cones sit on the lap of pine trees, as if swinging in gentle breeze welcoming all the onlookers. Throughout the road side we came across pine trees and many beautiful flowers which unfortunately I could not recognize. But i did recognize the terrace farming, the clear meadows merging into pine and deodar forests.
Moving on the foggy road we stopped at certain places to capture few scenes. We thought we were the only people present in that part of valley, but some voices were coming from that foggy background. It was difficult to focus the echo, but slowly the winds carried away the clouds and we saw there was a small terrace farm far below where we were standing, and some 4-5 kids were playing and working in that farm. I was surprised to see that a whole different life was enjoying the valley oblivious of strangers exploring the roads.
Eco-park is I think which is right now defining Dhanolti, as the rhododendron juice stalls which once marked the route, now seem to vanish behind the big and lavish hotels and restaurant. It is a deodar and pine forest protected and maintained by Forest Department. Nice tourist spot where you can enjoy tea, with bun omelette or yippie /(now that Maggie is banned). The best part was getting butta (corn) from some kids outside the park. I definitely felt bad that these young ones come daily walking 5 km from down the hill to sell corn for livelihood. It was raining and none of the kid had raincoat apart from 1 tattered umbrella. But still they never once tried to cheat anyone with their sale.I wanted to see if the corn was soft or not, so one by one he would tear the corn and ask “Di dekhey sahi hai ki nahi”. I felt helpless and wanted to help them in some way, but at the same time I was happy deep down my heart to see innocence in kids. We surmised our trip from Eco-park ka bhutta. We started for Dehradun, watching the sun getting stronger, snake crossing road, black-lored tit and black-throated tit trying to take glimpse of the sun. Few new experience be it scene I have not seen before, birds I had not identified before or emotion I felt seeing the life I had not seen before, it made my trip worthwhile. We returned from the Jhari-pani and Barlowganj route which is beautiful as well as less traffic route. A day trip to Dhanolti from Dehradun should be recommended if you want to recharge yourself from city traffic and commotion.