Every time we end up visiting a hill station during our vacations, wherever we go from Tamilnadu to Rajasthan, Maharastra to Madhya Pradesh, it’s always mountains calling, definitely some connection!
Few years back during the same time of the year we were deciding for the next destination to explore. I had already put down my conditions before shortlisting the options and that was- a place away from the crowds and surrounded by nature in its purest form!
After lot of scrutiny we zeroed in on ‘Chakrata’ a hill station (It has to be….some connection!) in Uttarakhand. This secluded hill station is different from the popular hill stations, away from the hustle and bustle in the lap of Himalayas dotted by huge coniferous forests.
Life is short so let’s go to the beach or maybe to the mountains! Bags packed, petrol checked, spirits high and we hit the road. 345 kms at the elevation of 2,118 meters and the 8 hours’ drive!
And finally after all the jerks and bumps crossing through the dusty smoky concrete jungles (We call them cities) we were in the lap of nature! We were welcomed with a refreshing cool breeze and picturesque ambience as if it was aware that our pollution sucked lungs and dusty sore eyes needed some comfort. Beauteous, tranquil and divine Chakarata! It is a known fact that there are millions of stars in the sky, but it was the Chakarata’s night sky that proved it to me. As if all those shining wonders were determined to make this night memorable for me.
There are not many options to choose from for the stay but we were lucky to get this homely cottage (I don’t like fancy and too luxurious stays as it kills the adventure). For our company there was a huge Bong group always bursting out with laughter and chats on a high pitch.
For my knowledge: Bengalis (in Kolkata) make contributions every month to spend on their annual trips and they prefer travelling in big groups. (Wow!)
Next day after plucking plums (a plum tree reaching to the terrace of the cottage) and savouring them along with the scrumptious breakfast, we decided to explore the place.
Kanasar was our destination of the day- 26 kms and again a bumpy ride for the nature’s wonder (as told by the locals).
And trust me it was a real bumpy ride! All five of us in the car (My mother in law, two kids, my husband behind the wheel and I) had the toughest ride till date. Rounded pebbles and stones, steep elevation and car slides few inches back as soon as you leave the clutch! Scary!
We had just covered two kms and I asked my husband to give up the idea and take a U-turn (which was again a dare devil task). But he was hopeful that it’s just a rough patch and road will be good ahead. All five pairs of eyes were glued on the road and I was continuously chanting Gayetri mantra.
7 kms so far and 19 kms still left- still chance to go back; but in vain, my husband was too curious to know what was next.
Two hours passed- driving at the speed of 20 km/h, eyes fixed on the road without blinking, no living being in sight, huge barren mountain at one side and a steep valley on the other and a long road (Can we call it a road!) of rounded stones (just one change- change in the colour of the stones).
Was it a lady coming down the path? Yes, I had spotted a human! Moment of euphoria! From the moving car I waved and shouted, “How far is Kanasar?” (what if she replied- there is no place called Kanasar or It’s not in this direction!) The woman answered- “just a little away, keep driving”. (A ray of hope!)
And we kept driving…
At last…. A spell-bounding, spectacular meadow surrounded with tallest Deodars known as Kanasar in sight!
It was surreal, heavenly and blissful! A flat land with beautiful flowers, soft grass protected by huge and ancient Deodar trees. (Each tree was had a panel strung across its trunk marking its age) Monkeys swinging, jumping and chattering. Divine sound of bells coming from the temple in the vicinity. Kanasar Temple is the center of faith and devotion for the locals.
We spent nearly two hours trying to fill all our senses with the enchanting nature and inflate our lungs with the purest of air. Gave a good bye hug to the Asia’s oldest and biggest Deodar tree measuring 6.5 mtrs in circumference.
Lesson learnt– Difficult paths often lead to beautiful meadows. Never give up; your destination is just a few steps away! Drive on in life with the belief that in the end all the jerks and bumps will pave way to a pristine paradise.