Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chamba - The Dominion of Clouds
About 50 km from Mussoorie, the small hill town of Chamba, Uttaranchal, is another of those destinations yet unknown to most tourists and therefore unspoilt and fresh like a daisy for the lucky few who venture out seeking new places to explore and enjoy. Chamba is situated at an altitude of 1600m above sea level. There are pleasant forests of pine and deodar trees, with some good views. Unlike Mussoorie, this place is fairly quiet and picturesque, hence an excellent place to relax and wash off the city blues. One can reach Chamba in about 7-8 hrs from Delhi via Hardwar, Rishikesh and Narendranagar (290 km). One can also combine a stay at Chamba with a visit to Mussoorie or Dhanolti and reach via Dehradun, Mussoorie and Dhanolti.
One of the best thing about Chamba is that there is no set list of where to go and what to do . When you are in this small little town, all you have to do is nothing and enjoy the beauty around and take a walk and breathe in all that fresh air and the smell of pine and deodar trees.
Chamba is a re-energizing pastoral haven for all the city people. A perfect place to reclaim our harmony lost within many fold. It is reassuring as well. That we are never far if only we could reach out and let the nature in its intact immaculate self take over our mundane city existence. The savor of it when the bounty of mother earth bestows its manifold surprises is sublime. And it’s never too late to draw on the sun shine, to be cradled on the misty clouds, to be ensnared by the sheer pristine environs. I remember a writer – read Hugh Prather – once said that …
“if I had only
forgotten future greatness
and looked at the green things
and the buildings and reached out to those around me
and smelled the air and ignored the forms and self styled obligations
and heard the rain on the roof
…and it’s not too late”
You will find richness of birds and butterflies, and profusion of quietude. As Simon & Garfunkel would have loved to get inspired again“because a vision softly creeping; left’s its seed while I was sleeping; and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains; within the sounds of silence.” Chamba will stick with you even as you come back to the hustle and bustle of your everyday existence. But it will not haunt you. It will stay with you as the reminder of a haven which is lingering by waiting in silence and anticipation, to once again greet you in its gentle soothing embrace.
When to go : the best times are between March and June and October to December. The views are best in April  and November
Getting There : Air : Nearest airport : Dehradun (81 Km/3Hrs) Taxi to Chamba via Mussoorie costs about Rs. 3000 for a drop
Rail : Nearest railhead : Haridwar (84 Km/3 Hrs) Best Option to Mussoorie Express (Dep. Old Delhi 10.20 PM, Arr. Haridwar 5.52 AM) Best option from Dehradun Shatabdi (Dep : Haridwar 6:13 PM, arr: New Delhi 10:45 PM). Taxi to chamba costs Rs. 2000 for drop
Car via Meerut, Roorkee, Haridwar and Rishikesh. The hill roads are good though very narrow in parts
Bus : Night buses to Tehri (hop off at Chamba) leave from Kashmere Gate
Where to Stay : The only real option for a stay is the 4 Star Classic Hilltop Resort (Tel : 01376-255252, 255836; Tariff : Rs. 4500 - 7500) located in 7 acres of verdure.

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