If you are looking for a perfect weekend gateway near Delhi, but don’t want to visit touristy crowded places, try this off-beat destination nestled in the foothills of Himalaya–Kanatal.It is situated 33 km from Mussoorie at an elevation of 8500 ft above sea level on Mussoorie-Chamba road. Splendid oak, pines, deodars, and rhododendrons (my favorite), will certainly have a nerve-calming effect on a city dweller like us.
Best Time to visit
The weather in Kanatal is pleasant throughout the year, but April to September is the peak season, so you can certainly plan your trip this summer vacation. We visited Kanatal in the month of February, the weather was amazing, as we took the uphill road from Chamba by our car, we were welcomed by the scattered mist all through our journey; we felt like driving on the cloud, although the visibility was good, so that made our journey all the more pleasurable.
Where to stay
Though there are a plethora of options to choose from, here I’m sharing my experience with Club Mahindra resort, where we stayed. Massively scattered hills were embracing the valley mist, and we could see it all from our room’s balcony. The rooms were spacious and clean, but I was a little disappointed with the facilities and taste of food (expensive but not tasty). The overall experience was good because the Hotel’s location was very pleasant.
Beware of the monkeys
We were warned by the hotel staff not to leave our balconies door open, as they can easily enter the from the balcony and vandalize your room and belongings. Remember it’s us who are intruding their territories, so it’s our job to behave responsibly.
What and where to eat
There is a small restaurant on Kanatal-Mussoorie road by the name – “Chacha Sip-n-dine” Restaurant”. I highly highly recommend this place. You get fresh organic and tasty food, and it’s light on the stomach. Try out their local delicacy (Garhwali food-Madua ki roti, Gahat ki daal, and Saag). We have tasted a very unique “Akhrot chutney (Walnut chutney). You can buy that chutney too, it’s yummy. And the best part is their Hospitality. Loved the place.
In case you are staying in Club Mahindra or nearby Hotels and you do not like Hotel food, you can visit the restaurant adjacent to the Club Mahindra known as “Hotel Milan”. You get amazing fresh food there and very reasonable too.
Places to visit
Eco-park and trail, Tehri – The trail gate was just across the road from Club Mahindra. We hired a guide for this trail, although you can trek without the guide as well. Trek is quite easy but the experience was amazing.
Surkhanda Devi: When we slept last night it was all misty and green, and the next morning we woke up with a snow-capped valley view. We planned to visit Surkanda Devi. It is the highest point in Kanatal. it is an ancient Hindu temple of Sati, and one of 51 the Shaktipeetth. We parked our car at Kaddukhal village and started our 3 km trek. Breathtaking view of massively scattered, snow-capped peaks of Himalaya made the trek worthwhile. The Temple looked pristine covered in snow. The trail was picturesque but there are few things that you should keep in mind before going for this trek in winters, as steep snow-clad trek could be very slippery. Read On these tips before planning Surkanda Devi trek in winters.
Other Places: You can visit other nearby places like Tehri dam, do some adventure activities or can go for Jungle safari.
P.S. – Don’t forget to buy Rhododendron juice, I buy it every time I visit Uttarakhand:)