Uttarakhand – the Indian state where the holy Ganges originates, is home to a number of pilgrimages and picturesque hill stations. This ‘Devbhoomi’ has something for every type of traveller and tourist. Beside popular hill retreats like Nainital, Mussoorie and Auli, this Himalayan state also offers some less known destinations.
Nestled in the lap of majestic hills, lush green pine forest, and amidst serenity, Kanatal is a hidden paradise in Uttarakhand. Situated at an elevation of 8500 ft, this quaint hill retreat is secluded away from the hullabaloos of city life.
Kanatal is a perfect weekend getaway destination to unwind in the midst of nature’s beauty. The name Kanatal is a combination of two words – Kana (one eyed) and Tal (lake). It is believed that once there existed a dried up lake.
Looking for an unexplored destination in Uttarakhand for your next getaway? Kanatal is one such weekend destination where you can travel under minimal budget and for a short duration. The accommodation and food is very cheap. You can also find some luxurious resorts/hotels here but I preferred to stay close to nature by camping in Kanatal.
A small road trip to Kanatal is a nice option to take a break from the mundane lifestyle. This short weekend getaway from Delhi offers a complete offbeat and true traveller experience under shoestring budget.
You can travel to Kanatal by either shared/private taxi, public transport or your personal vehicle. There are two routes to reach this less-known place in Uttarakhand, one route via Dehradun and another one via Rishikesh-Chamba. But, the latter one is preferred more because of the scenic beauty offered by the nature.
Nestled in the arms of Kaudia range, Kanatal is a small village and an offbeat destination for peace seekers. Take a break at any roadside dhaba before Narender Nagar because there are very few food options on this route till Chamba. The serpentine roads, lush green mountains and serene views made this journey a memorable one. You will be awestruck by the beauty of verdant valleys enroute Kanatal. The cool mountain air made my roadtrip more soothing.
Unlike nearby towns like Mussoorie, Kanatal is not a crowded place thus dotted with only few accommodations options offering different amenities as per your needs and budget. You can opt to stay at luxury resorts or offbeat stays like swiss tents or bamboo cottages. I along with my friends decided to stay at Himalayan Roots cottages, surrounded with towering pine trees on one side and deep Himalayan valley on another side. The snow-capped peaks of Himalayas are clearly visible from this campsite in Kanatal. Unlike Delhi’s summer heat, the weather is much pleasant in this quaint hill retreat. Staying like a local, away from the hustle & bustle of urban life, is an unmatched experience in itself.
The surreal environment of Kanatal makes this hill retreat an ideal place for small weekend getaway. There are only few options to visit in and around Kanatal. We went to a nearby eatery and relished upon a plate of hot Maggi. This small shop is located roadside near Kaudia Forest entry.
A small nature walk in Kaudia forest will truly bring you close to nature. It is an easy trek of 4-5 kms amidst thick pine and deodar trees. Located at 1 km from Kanatal, the Kaudia forest range is an ideal place for nature lovers. The scenic views of the verdant valley and lofty Himalayas are truly enchanting. Our guide informed us about the rich fauna found in Kaudia range such as wild boar, musk deer and various species of birds. This is one of the most serene and charming place in Kanatal where you can get rejuvenated. Keep the forest clean and don’t litter!
Near forest entry gate, there are few eating joints where you can sit & chill. As the day comes to a close, the gorgeous sunset view from Kanatal campsite will mesmerize you. Away from the chaos of Delhi and other urban cities, it was so soothing to stay in the midst of nature.
Sit in front of the bonfire, relish upon lip smacking evening snacks and hot tea as the weather turns chilly at night. The cool mountain breeze will surely refresh your soul. Enjoy dancing with good music and gaze at the blanket of stars above. Such nightlife cannot be experienced in metro cities.
On the top of mountains and beneath the stars, I celebrated friendship, lived the moments that I will cherish for the lifetime with my college friends.
Trek to Surkanda Devi is a good option if you are an adventure and photography enthusiast. This small and easy trekking trail is situated near Kanatal and visited by the locals with full faith. Surkanda Devi temple is dedicated to Goddess Sati, who gave up her life for the sake of her husband Shiv who had been insulted by her father Daksha. As per the mythology, Kanatal is where Mahadev brought the head of Sati’s corpse on his Trishul from Kankhal (located near Haridwar). On reaching the hilltop you will get an enchanting 360 degree view of mighty Himalayas in north.
Eco-Park near Dhanaulti is a good spot if you are travelling with family and kids. While returning you can visit the magnificent Tehri Dam, one of the highest and largest dams in Asia. This scenic reservoir supplies water for irrigation and generates hydroelectricity. Tehri Dam receives water from River Bhagirathi and Bhilangana, and offers some thrilling water sports activities like rafting and jet skiing.
If the time permits then don’t forget to take a stop at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar and watch the holy ceremony of Ganga Aarti. Also, treat your stomach with the local food of Haridwar such as the famous aloo kachori at Mohan Puriwale and Delectable halwa puri at Mathura Walo Ki Prachin Dukaan.
Secluded away from the hustle & bustle, Kanatal offers a much wanted solitude. Nestled in the lap of nature, this forgotten hill retreat is an ideal place to visit for a quick getaway from metro cities. Dheivegam
A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles. The friends that travel together, stay together.