Last summer I visited Dhanaulti with my friends as part of an annual reunion.
Dhanaulti is a hill station situated at altitude of 2286 m from the sea level. Enveloped by alpine forests of Deodar, Rhododendron and Oak, it offers a quaint and enchanting environment for those looking for peace and natural beauty at it’s finest.
Dhanaulti is 30 km away from Mussuourie. We reached Mussourie amidst heavy rains and chilly weather. As we drove past Mussourie, we could almost feel the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the Queen of the hills. It took us around 2 hours to reach Dhanaulti from Mussourie and as we we entered Dhanaulti we were greeted by thick Deodars on both sides of the road. It was a sight to behold. We checked in at Crown Plaza hotel. Having had our breakfast we lazed around for a bit and in the afternoon we went to Dhanaulti’s main attraction, the Eco park. It was just a stone’s throw away from our hotel. it is situated in lush green forests and has well marked trails for the visitors. There are informative boards in the park showing different kinds of birds.
There is a souvenir stall inside the park as well. We walked around enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We walked back to our hotel after spending time in the park.
Next day after a sumptuous breakfast we started for Sukhanda temple. It is located about 8 km from Dhanaulti on the Chamba-Tehri road. From Kuddukhal we had to trek our way up to the temple. It is about 1.5 km from there. Khuddukal is the base of the mountain where the temple is situated. It is a paved path but is very steep. The climb however is worth the effort with mesmerizing views at the top.
Legend has it that Sati, the wife of Lord Shiva gave up her life because her father Prajapati Daksha was not ready to accept Shiva as his son-in-law. It is known hoe Lord Shiva danced around Sati’s dead body and how sati’s body was cut into various parts by the Sudershan chakra. It is believed that Sati’s head fell at the spot where the shakti-peeth of Surkhanda devi stands today. We offered our prayed at the inner sanctum we spent some time admiring the lush green mountains and the scenic valleys and then we made our way back to the hotel accompanied by some light drizzle.
The next day as we were checking out, the hotel manager told us that in winters Dhanaulti is all snowy white basking in its pristine glory. Keeping that in mind I planned my next visit to this offbeat place to escape the chaos of the city.