Travel to one stop to another is engaging. Very engaging. But all that matters is that what you find in between. While you travel, when you stop to grab some food, some water, some culture, some stories, some relations and some human conversational touch. Intentional, unintentional, random, unplanned, unprovoked and yet the best part of the entire journey.
After great long period of more than six months, a long weekend was approaching in the calendar. With my usual desperation of not letting even a single day, hour or minute go waste, I had to plan something nice. Somewhere nice to go, where I had never been before. Somewhere away from the usual crowd. A road less taken and barely traveled.
Was gathering suggestion for quite some time and was unsure of every option. As usual, I wanted to reach the hills and see the snow. Well since the time was less, it was not possible to travel long distance. As per my half knowledge, I assumed that I could find snow nowhere within the reach of 300kms. But.But I was luckily so wrong.
A friend suggested Dakpathar as one as one of the options. Not very far from Dehradun, I thought it would be easy to reach and explore. I had imagined it to be a place with ‘Dark Stones’ and some dark woods around, as I had misspell it as ‘DarkPathar’. Another suggestion came from a local of Dehradun. Chakrata (pronounced as Chakruta by the locals though). It was not very far away from Dakpathar so was added to my plan. All I knew was that I could get a local bus from Dehradun to Chakrata.
To cut the crap, I was headed to something very amazing, but dint know what. Traveled in the night to reach Dehradun, early in the morning. I was hungry as I had a very light dinner previous night. It is always better to eat less while you are travelling, than having an aching stomach on the way.All I could find at Dehradun bus station was an old chai wala who had nothing to offer but tea. When he saw my hungry face, the kind soul went to a nearby shop to get me some bread. It was enough as a gesture to win me over.
As I reached the Bus stand, I found out that there was hardly any bus which could take me to Chakrata. However, some local busses move from Dehradun Railway station.Took a Vikram (local shared auto service) to catch a local bus from railway station. There the conductor told me that no bus could take me to Chakrata as the roads are too narrow. Only cabs can take me there which I would get from Vikas Nagar. Travelling for next 45 mins in the mini bus, I reached Vikas Nagar while watching IMA, Botanical garden and several management colleges pass by.The road looked lovely this spring.
As the bus dropped me at Vikas Nagar, a very small town settled on two sides of a 500 mtr road, I could see cabs waiting for passengers across the road. Rs 90 per head. Waiting for other passengers to fill in was a little tiring though which took longer than usual as it was a Sunday and not many people would go to Charata.
Moving ahead was becoming scenic, interesting, lavishly beautiful and colder. Narrow roads which takes one to new scenery waiting behind every turn. Varied from lush green to flowery to barren to green again the road is very captivating from Kalsi to Charata. It took me 45 mins to cover a distance of 45 kms between Dehradun to Vikas Nagar and it took me 2 hrs to cover next 45 kms between Vikas Nagar to Charata. Regardless to say the drive was uphill and amazing.14 hours of rushless travel and I had already reached my destination enjoying the ride on four different vehicles.