Monday, April 13, 2009

Kanatal... naaa... Masrana

Its been 6 months we haven't traveled. OMG!!!

Getting ready...
Getting a Friday off. It has to be a trip somewhere. Just a few phone calls to check on the people interested. So we have Agni, Manas, Anirban and me traveling to Kanatal. Have checked this location on the net and found it interesting. A few pictures of the place and the route map is all that we have. As always our house was the meeting point on Thursday night. I quickly prepared dinner after coming back from the office. And then started packing and waiting for all to come. Everyone reached at around 10pm. We had dinner that was laid down an hour ago. Agni offered to wash utensils... and I happily agreed :).

We slept early, at around 12pm ;), just because we had to start early in the morning. Anirban had all the plans to make us wake the whole night. He had brought 3 movies to watch that night.

The alarm was set for 4AM. And as usual we did not delay at all. We all were up by 4.15am and started off at 5. I love to travel in mornings... fresh air, rising sun... and passing through villages you can see people starting their day... Cleaning their houses and shops, doing prayers, some taking bath at the roadside hand pumps. A good view!

On the way...
I started feeling hungry but there were no shops offering breakfast that early. The only option was to have tea with biscuits that I refused. Wanted to have nice garmagaram dhaba wala breakfast. So we kept going on and on till we found a dhaba offering aaloo pyaj ke paranthe with lot of butter on it :). Over the breakfast we had a round of discussion on whether we really wanna go to Kanatal that no one of us has ever visited or heard about or do we change our destination. And the decision is - let it be - we will go towards Kanatal and stop on the way if we find any interesting place.

The journey was good except for a few traffic jams. Highway in such a bad shape... possible only in UP. Reached Dehradoon at around 2PM. Had nice dhaba lunch, got fresh and started again. Till here Anirban was driving. I donno why guys can never trust ladies driving. I was not allowed to drive even a single stretch :(. Now the driving is taken over by Agni, a trusted one to drive on hilly roads. He only drove us to Renukaji last August in bad weather with lots of land slides on the way.

We took the road towards Dhanaulti as was given in the road map. The view of snow covered peaks was amazing!

 After going a little further, we saw a hut on top of one of the hills. And there was a beautiful drive way to that with flowers planted on both sides. We couldn't resist stopping there and checking it out. To our delight it was an inn and we could actually stay there :). Now the question was if we can afford it. Anirban and Agni went to talk to the owners of the place. They came back with the information that it has just been started by a couple who are settled here from some 4 yrs now. And since they have just started and we are their first customers we can get good discount. After some calculations and analysing other options with costs it seemed to be the best option. They were offering to stay there in Rs5000 for 2 nights and 3 days with home cooked meals. Not a bad deal at all...considering it will be shared amongst 4 people. :)

Had a cup of hot tea with the host couple. They had so much to talk about. We had discussion on village people, their resistance to change for good, about jungles being cut, bad civic sense of Indians... laid back attitude of government officials.. How they decided to retire early from their corporate jobs and settle in this remote place, from where they got the idea of starting an Inn... and much more. Never have covered so many topics in such a less time.

Retired early after nice dinner to wake up early in the morning for an exciting day. Got good idea of the places around from the couple. After getting their reviews of the places around, dropped the idea to visit Kanatal or Dhanaulti and planned to visit a nearby village. A nice drive with forests and a river on the way :). Had a peaceful day - woods, water, villagers, cows, local food... different experience altogether.

Next morning we were all game to go for a morning walk to the woods nearby. Complete silence interrupted by chirping of birds, sounds of insects, and hustle of dry leaves at times and of course our foot steps.
The best I liked were the trees full of red flowers.

Then was the time to say good bye to the wonderful place... but with a promise to ourselves of coming here again. Enjoyed the way back. The nice couple told us about an alternate way to Delhi that has nature's beauty, is shorter and has less traffic. It was the way along a water canal. One side it was canal and the other side villages and fields.

We also visited Sahasra dhara on the way back. It is believed that taking bath in this water body rid you of all skin diseases. I had a good unintentional bath there. I was trying to cross through the water leading the whole group...walking confidently on rocks, that I failed to notice were slippery too. Would have hit my head hard on a big rock had I been an inch here and there. I was luckily enough to have enjoyed that dip without hurting myself. And even my mobile survived that dip ;)

An amazing trip it was!!!

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