A land of inexplicable beauty hidden in the Himalayan ranges
With its beautiful meadows and tall deodar trees, Chakrata is no more than a fairytale land.
Chakrata, a hill station in the Dehradun district, is teemed with captivating coniferous forests and imposing vistas. Though not as well-known as it should be, Chakrata will surely take you to a land of tranquility and serenity. The position of this small town also contributes to its scenic beauty as nestled in the lap of the Himalayan ranges make it more enticing.
What makes Chakrata worth visiting?
Situated at an elevation of 2118 meters above sea level, this place provides an impeccable view of sunrise and sunset. It is, in particular, a fantastic place for adventure enthusiasts. Starting from water sports, camping, and trekking to rock climbing, horse riding, and skiing, Chakrata has enough to quench the thirst of the adventurer in you. But for a more relaxing and peaceful activity, go for bird watching, stroll around the area and admire its beauty. And lastly, if you love taking photographs, the place has amazing panoramic views for you to capture through your lens.
Places to explore
Kanasar is praised for its colossal deodar trees and the beautiful meadow. Look as far as your eyes take you, and this place will only surprise you with its lush greenery surroundings. It is also a popular place for camping where tourists can either use their own gears and tents or the Chakrata camps that provide you with stay and food. Don’t forget to stargaze and enjoy a bonfire under the night sky. It also has a Forest Rest House from where you can enjoy the panoramic hill views.
The enthralling view of this waterfall will undoubtedly take your breath away. The sound of the surging water resonating through the hills and its picturesque surroundings are the reasons why this place is a must-visit while in Chakrata. Apart from gazing at it, tourists also love to take a refreshing bath under the waterfall where the water has accumulated to form a small pond. However, since this place isn’t much developed, you need to take a 5 km trek route to reach here. The road down here is also in bad condition.
About 13 km away from the main Chakrata market, this forest is made with prolific tall deodar trees, breathtaking landscapes, and an eclectic mix of flora and fauna. There are a bunch of exciting things you can do in this dense forest. Go for rock climbing to get a quick adrenaline rush or bird watching, one of the most popular things to do here. If you visit just after winter, you’ll be able to witness frozen lakes and snow-clad peaks.
These caves have a historical significance as it is believed to originate in the era of the Pandavas in Mahabharata. It acted as an escape route for them when any of their castles set on fire. It was discovered by a German National named Miola and hence also known as Miola caves.
To reach here, drive about 30 km and then trek another 3 km. The cave is assumed to be as long as 150 km, but most of it has remained unexplored. It is because exploring the inside of this cave has been proved quite challenging and exhausting due to its stalactite and stalagmite creations leading to a small and narrow path. And it’s not possible for everyone, but you the trek from the forest rest house in Budher to the entrance of the cave is worth the time spent. You also have the option to ride a horse for this trek.
This is where the quarters and the mess of the cantonment of Garhwal are situated. However, impressive sunset, bird watching, views of the surrounding ranges are the testaments for Chilmiri neck being one of the most popular tourist spots in Chakrata. Birds and butterflies of various vibrant colors are found here along with vistas of Swargarohini and Banderpoonch peaks, among others in the vicinity. However, the most important activity here is watching the sunset, which is why this place is also known as the sunset point.
Mundali, acclaimed for winter activities like skiing and snowboarding, it also provides great views of the verdant Himalayan ranges during the summers. It is the cavernous ski slopes that make the place popular among the skiers and snowboarders during winters. If you are planning to stay a night in this majestic land, either go camping for which you have to carry your own gears, or there is a Forest Rest House that offers accommodation.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Chakrata is in April, May, and June that comes with clear blue skies, sunny days, and moderately cold nights. It is also the period where the tourist population is at its peak but is ideal for outdoor activities like camping and trekking. However, September brings verdant mountainous views, and if you want to experience snow, visit within last December to mid-February.
Where to stay and eat
Since Chakrata is not widely known among the tourists, the number of hotels and lodges are scarce. Although one can choose to go for tents and camps, the option is only available in few areas where hiking and trekking are in demand like Mundali and Budher caves. For tourists who want to stay in hotels, booking in advance is highly recommended. The price rates for these hotels start from Rs. 1000 – Rs. 2500.
Although there is no specific delicacy in this small town, their local cuisine involves North and South Indian meals along with few Chinese dishes like noodles and momos. Most hotels have built-in restaurants, but you can also choose to eat from any other local restaurants or from the roadside food stalls.
How to reach
By road– Being well-connected with the motorable roads, you can take either a normal bus or a luxury one to reach Chakrata from Delhi. The significant regions in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand also leave buses and taxis directly to Chakrata. However, if you prefer to drive, then it will take about 4 hrs from Dehradun and 3hrs from Ponta Sahib. But be sure to fill your car with petrol or diesel from Vikasnagar or Haruipur, the nearest places to have a petrol pump as Chakrata doesn’t own any.
By air– The nearest airport to Chakrata is Jolly Grant airport, which is about 113km from the town. However, you’ll easily be able to get a taxi to reach Chakrata.
By rail– The Dehradun railway station is the nearest railway station to Chakrata and is about 83 km from the town. Get either a taxi or bus from outside the station to reach directly to Chakrata. The railway station is well-connected with the major cities of India.
Depending on which route you take and your itinerary planning of the town, it takes about 4-5 days to complete your expedition.