Summer has been tough this year. Cooped up at home, with temperature soaring above 45 degrees, overworked. And to make matters worse, a very delayed monsoon. I have been dying to get out for a while, get away from things that have been pulling me down. A solo trip was all my heart desired!
Finally, I managed to steal a few days and plan a trip, or rather the trip was planned for me. It wasn’t solo after all, but I am not complaining. It turned out to be one of the best breaks ever on the mesmerizing hills of Ranichauri. This lesser-known hill station was suggested to me by my friend Sanjay. He was planning a trip there with his business partner Nupur and said that I could come along if I was not too hell-bent on a ‘solo trip’. I decided to tag along as Sanjay and Nupur took care of the hotel booking and everything else. And all the beautiful pictures that you see have been taken by Sanjay.
So, we took off at 4 a.m. from Gurgaon and after a few stops on reaching Uttarakhand for RTPCR checks, we reached our hotel at Ranichauri before 11 a.m., all thanks to Sanjay’s expert driving! About 74 km from Rishikesh, Ranichauri is a secluded hill station in the Chamba district above Tehri. It lies at a height of above 5500 feet.
If mountains are often described as celestial, the mountains of Ranichauri definitely are. As our car entered the hilly village the cool mountain breeze soothed me, the lush green hills and the clouds floating on the hills, sometimes covering them, sometimes revealing them, transported me to a different world. I sat on the verandah for hours watching the sun and the clouds romancing with the mountains. The clouds floating over the hills, or sunlight falling on the green mountains would change them, give them a different character, lend them an enigma. It was fascinating to watch the clouds flirt with hills, kiss them and glide away, sometimes wrap them and engulf them in their mysterious grey. The weak sun would fall on hills and give them a different colour once the clouds decided to move away. The beauty of the mountains in the monsoon is so heavenly. No wonder Gods dwell in Kailasha Parvat and float around in clouds!
Next day we decided to drive around and explore the mountains. The drive up to the Horticulture University at Dhandachauli, with green hills on both sides, was beautiful indeed. Better still, drive through the unknown mountain roads, with rainwater springs singing their way downhill, mist floating down and kissing us as we got off the car to take a fill of the relatively untouched natural splendour. It was an experience I will never forget!
We trekked around, delighted by the chirruping of different species of birds, looking at the hills from different points, different angles. The green foothills covered by the forest of pine and deodar trees, beautiful flowers blooming everywhere, was a welcome change after hot and dry NCR. There were monkeys abundant. Leopards stole dogs and cattle at night, we were told.
Of course, we went down to the Tehri and hired a speedboat for a ride in the dam. While the dam is huge and beautiful, it’s no match for the enigma of the mountains.
If you are a mountain lover like me, yearning to get away from the routine city life, Ranichauri is the place to be!