Updated: Aug 5, 2022
Date: April 11-25th, 2021. This trip delivered mixed feelings because of Covid lockdowns and an injury received while rafting. Almost half a day was lost flying to Dehradun, including buses. Upon reaching Dehradun pretty much everything was closed but it was still possible to rent a motorcycle for 13 days to tour around Rishikesh, Dhanaulti and Mussoorie.
The entire bike trip covered nearly 350 kms over some of the region's nicest roads. It is lot of fun to ride as these roads so well maintained, unlike Maharastra roads, mading me remember my riding days in California. I should have definitely brought my Harley Davidson as it would have been no problem riding these roads. Some parts of the road from Dhanaulti to Mussoorie are less than great, but it's still a very enjoyable drive.
Food is pretty good; less oily and a lot less masala. Mostly you have potatoes or paneer as part of the curries in this region. Definitely try momos in Dehradun as somehow folks here are more used to eating them.
Rishikesh, I visited visited when I was in 9th standard, it was fun back then as well, do check Haridwar-Rishikesh trip .The second day's ride to Rishikesh was great fun with a lot of good views, and less crowded as there were fewer tourists. I stayed at Shalom's bagpackers place which has great views, where the staff was really great, and met some cool friends here as well. While going white water rafting, unfortunately my leg got injured, slowing my plans but allowing an excuse for more relaxation. Going around Laxman Jhula, Ram Jhula and Triveni Ghat was fulled with points of interest. There is a market right after Triveni Ghat where you can buy many kinds fruits. Here bananas are generally green compared to my home region.
Being at Triveni Ghat was a very memorable experience. There is daily puja to river Ganges and the guy who sings is amazing. Folks then dance at the place which is nice to watch. There is Rajasthani restaurant at the beginning of Triveni Ghat, which is pretty good.
Later the next day my bike took me to Neelkanteshwar temple. Even though the temple is not that great,
the ride to get there is enjoyable as it was windy. On the way back I visited Patna waterfall and Near waterfall. Both are good places to hang out with tourists. To reach Patna waterfall one has a fun hike of around 0.5 kms. Apparently there is a homestay in the village if you hike a bit further. I wish I had taken the time to stay there.
One could do bungee jumping; however, I wasn't able to do it because of the condition of my leg. It costs around 4000 Rs as this is only the second place in all of India to do this.
Dhanaulti occupied my 5th day. It takes around 2 and 1/2 hours to reach Dhanaulti from Rishikesh.
Dhanaulti is a small lovable village untouched by lot of tourists. Though they had a cottage, I decided to stay in the tent which was very comfortable. I loved the hospitality there. Just make sure you tell the caretaker when to be there on your time, as they do other work for their livelihood. To get to the tent takes half an hour, 1 km down the hill. They also have mules for people who cannot walk. It was a lot of fun living in the tent, and talking to villagers. I went to Vashita Devi temple, Surkandha Devi temple, and hiked around the place. One can see Himalayas from the tent if the skies are clear. If you zoom in the first photo you can see there are 3 tents down the hill.
Met these kids on the hike, pretty hard working folks. They come during the season of growing crops and live in the house below and once they harvest they return to their village.
After staying around 4 days in Dhanaulti I headed to Mussoorie. This place is a typical touristy spot, but again the lockdown has disappointed as there are not that many tourists near by to engage in conversation. I could get better deals with hotels there though. There are some good places to visit like Buddha temple, and also there is a small Buddha statue outside of the temple where one can hike to and can go further down the hill.
If you zoom in you can see the back of the Buddha statue in the picture below.
George Everest Peak is another good spoke to hike to for the amazing views of Mussoorie. One can have a full 360 degree view of the city, and can see Dehradun as well. Apparently George Everest discovered Mt. Everest from here and resided here.
Lal Tibba is another place suggested however, I would not vouch for it as the views are not that great. Instead go to Hawa Maha Viewpoint on the camel back road as it is nice place to hangout. The old couple there who maintain the site are adorable.
Finally I spent my last 2 days in Dehradun. Since almost everything gets closed by 2 pm because of lockdown, I could not see a lot of things. Just took my bike around, and saw some of the places like the Indian Military academy, FRI, Doon school, Clement Town temple, and Shree Prakeshwar Mahadev Temple. Dehradun made me recall Seattle, as it is surrounded by mountains on all sides and it won't get snow because of these mountains.
Interesting photo I took at Dehradun as how name came into existence.
Overall the trip was a mixed experience because of the lockdowns and my injured leg. But I was still happy to hike around 10 kms and lose some fat while still enjoying the beautiful landscapes, good food and culture.