An ancient enchanted temple that gives you a panoramic view of massively scattered, snow-capped peaks of Himalayas. Less touristy but meet locals from the nearby villages filled with exuberance trekking to see their revered temple, what more you can ask to break the monotony of your crazy urban routine. Surkhanda Devi is located on Chamba-Mussoorie road,40 km from Mussoorie. It is the highest point of Kanatal. Known for its architectural beauty, it is the temple of Sati and one of the 51 Shaktipeeths. We started our trek early morning to this enchanted temple, sharing a few crucial tips from my experience, I hope it’ll make your journey smoother and pleasant.
Best time to visit: The weather is pleasant throughout the year. If you want to experience snow, visit from December to February (10 to -2 degree). Summers are equally gratifying (7 to 30 degree), just don’t forget to keep yourself well hydrated and carry your hats and sunglasses.
Trek in winters: At an elevation 8500 ft above sea level of Surkanda Devi temple covered with feathery snow in winters; gives you all the reasons to sit there quietly and feel gratitude for the blessed life. This 3 km trek is worth taking the strain. We visited in winters and temperature falls to -2 degree (Lucky experience fresh snowfall). If you are planning the trek in winters and you aren’t a pro trekker, there are few crucial tips that you must follow:
Start early: Make sure you start the trek early morning so that you are back before it gets dark, especially in winters.
Mountain shoes: Even if you have the best quality high-end, ultra-comfy sports shoes, trust me you still need a nice pair of mountain/trek shoes. This steep uphill trek is easy but gets quite slippery in the snow especially when it’s a sunny day and snow starts to melt. We had a terrible time climbing this trek, as we planned this trek impromptu and we weren’t carrying mountain shoes unlike our kid who insistently packed his trek shoes for this trip (because he likes them so much?)
Don’t worry if you forgot your shoes, you can buy them from nearby grocery shops, they are cheap and perfectly do the job.
If you realized late in the middle of the trek, and your sports shoe becomes unmanageable: The trek became extremely slippery for us, and it was impossible to walk in sports shoes. We had to slip on our woolen socks over our shoes. I know it’s crazy, but it works, sometimes watching Bear Grylls episodes can be a savior too?
Down jacket: This might not sound important to the beginners but trust me this should be in your checklist while packing for a mountain trek. It is very lightweight and blocks the nippy wind so efficiently. In the freezing temperature, your fancy coats will not do the job as much this one does.
Trekking with the kid: We traveled with our 5 years old, certainly he is a more efficient trekker than us?. You can easily trek with your kids considering they are willing to trek an don’t have to carry them in your lap, and they are wearing weather apt clothes and shoes. Be extra careful while walking on the sides as at some places the railing is broken. Ponies and porter are also available, in case you are tired. You can carry some munchies as there are no shops in the middle except at the starting of the trek
Vehicle Parking: You can easily park your vehicle in Kaddukhal villages, from where the trek starts.
How to reach:
By Road: You can easily visit this place if you are visiting Dhanaulti or Kanatal (6 km), Mussoorie (40 km) or Dehradun. It took us 8 hours from Delhi by car.
By Air: It is 100 km from Jolly Grant airport, Dehradun and hired
By Train: It is 67 km from Dehradun Railway station.taxis is easily available.