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Showing posts with label Delhi Weekend. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Delhi Weekend. Show all posts

Triveni Dham, Shahpura

Whenever I used to drive to Jaipur from Delhi via NH48, I always used to thank government for the Smooth Ride. It was going on like this for ages, till one day I decided to explore what it is on right and left turns of this legendary highway. 

At one instant while driving from Delhi to Jaipur, one left turn had taken me to Bhangarh and ancient Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir. So, to explore what is there on the right side of NH48, I started Zooming-In the Google maps before Jaipur and I found one spot called “Triveni Dham”, approx. 12-13 km. from Shahpura.

It was the time to put to practice what I always tell - “Taking a couple of breaks to appreciate the beauty of the roads and surrounding spots will not delay your journey but will surely add the Magic to your spirits”. So, within half an hour from taking a right turn I was at Triveni Dham and in front of me was a grand temple premises at the bottom of a hill.

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Alwar - Unseen Getaway

State where once Rolls Royce’s were deployed to collect garbage, could not have been an ordinary place. Legend of Maharaja Jai Singh of Alwar is well known, how he bought Rolls Royce company to its knees. Apart from the legend of Maharaja jai Singh Alwar is acclaimed worldwide for its famous dessert Kalakand (Milk-Cake). 

Located midway between Delhi and Jaipur, Alwar is one of the oldest cities in Rajasthan, with history going back to the time when Viratnagar used to be flourishing center. Viratnagar, the same Matsya Desh dating back to the times of Mahabharata, where Pandavas spent last year of the 13 years of exile. Despite located close to Delhi, Alwar somehow gets missed out from the itinerary as crowds prefer opulence of Jaipur or probably information about unseen spots in Alwar is rather limited.

Alwar City has several spots, which make it a worthy weekend getaway destination. Though Alwar is a dry region, but has a celestial Siliserh lake, which shall be the first spot in the Alwar itinerary. The Siliserh Lake is a big man-made lake, constructed by Vinay Singh in year 1845 AD and was supposed to provide the water supply reserves for Alwar state.
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Bisrakh Village - Birth place of demon king Ravana

An old temple stands in Greater Noida’s non-descript small Bisrakh village. Got to know one fine day, that Bisrakh village near to Noida is believed to be birth place of demon king Ravana and that ancient temple stands testimony to that. Ooh la la, I have been in Noida for the last 8 years but never had heard about this village and this associated history piece.

After speculating for a couple of weeks about the place and searching on internet about it, one fine Saturday I decided to just drive and find out more about this place. It took me around 30-35 minutes from my home to reach Bisrakh village, the birth place of Ravana. Finally I reached the spot where an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva stands. Here I am at the temple entrance praying to lord Shiva and seeking benevolence to explore this spot.
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Jatoli Shiv Temple, Solan

Solan is a small town in Himachal Pradesh, but has one of the oldest breweries in India, is popular as “Mushroom city of India” and is also known as “City of Red Gold”. First 2 are self explanatory, well the "Red Gold" is for the tomatoes production, almost highest in the country.
Solan once a cantonment settlement, is one of the secrets of Himachal to be explored with some beautiful temples and scenic landscapes. Not just temples, Solan is home to tallest Lord Shiva temple in Asia, Jatoli Shiv Temple.

On way to Shimla from Kasauli, via Solan take a right turn on Rajgarh Road and drive for 8 km. to reach the scenic hilltop grand temple. Jatoli Shiv Temple is one of the sacred destinations in Solan, which attracts devotees from all over the country. Jatoli Shiv temple is the tallest temple of Lord Shiva in Asia and is also one of the very ancient temples. It is believed that Lord Shiva had visited this place and stayed for some time and reason behind the 112 ft. height of this temple is the Jatas (Hairs) of Lord Shiva.
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Asan Barrage - Waterfront stay with Nature

Along the scenic confluence of the river Asan and Asan Barrage, there stands a resort that feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. The journey to get here includes a drive amid the scenic hills, incredible valleys and dense forests setting a perfect stage to disconnect from the fast lane and reset your soul at this secluded spot.

Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) started this "Asan Conservation Resort" in 2016 and provided four beautiful waterfront cottage suites for wonderful lifetime memories. It also offers 18 dormitories at the back side of the resort.

As the resort is located alongside a lake created out of the Barrage, there is a facility where guests can paddleboard good looking boats and enjoy lovely evenings. 

The resort is accessible throughout the year and is a much sought-out destination for bird watching in the months of January-March.

About the Resort:
Budget: 
Waterfront Cottages (SUDLX) ~ Rs. 2800
Dormitories ~ Rs. 350

Please check GMVN website for prevailing prices.

The Accommodation: Cottages consist of two rooms, one each on ground floor and first floor, connected by a spiral staircase. One cottage can comfortably accommodate a small family of three to four and is ideal for those coming in a small group for picnic.

The View
The cottages are sitting pretty along the shore of the lake, the guests taking full advantage of the beautiful natural setting. To check-in, they need to follow a lovely landscaped path, picnic tables and chairs perfect for quiet mornings with or a more jovial gathering in the evening. 

After the necessary formalities and before you head to your room, please take the front desk number for ordering tea, coffee, lunch, snacks and dinner.
The cottage has a convertible sofa-cum-bed on the ground floor which is like a living area with television. There is a spiral staircase connecting the first floor. 

The first floor and is equipped with a bed, tea table for two, slanted V shape ceiling, and balcony on both sides.

The Ambience
The property, which is off the popular tracks from Dehradun, is all about putting brakes to the rat race of a life and giving yourself a much-needed break. With flowered lawns to walk around or laze about on a sunny day, summers here are as enjoyable as winters. 
For kids, these lawns are like an extended play area.
Enjoying your food alongside lake will be one of the best memories to cherish:

 As will be standing in the balcony in the misty morning.

You will Love It –
Couples looking for a romantic escape and families trying to find a place for a calm vacation will love this property. Those who love to walk around in the gardens and dine alongside the lake in open air will come back here again and again.

You might Not
If you like to be surrounded with fancy restaurants, shops, late night activities and a lot of sightseeing options, better stay at Dehradun. 

Amenities:
Exploring the tranquil water of the lake on paddleboats with hills surrounding it.

Booking amount includes Parking and Breakfast only. Consumables are charged as per the prevailing menu, which is present in every room. Meals choices have to be informed well in advance as the feedstock need to be arranged by evening.

How to reach:
Dehradum is the nearest Airport and Railway Station, 50 km. from Asan barrage.
By Road: 270 Km. from Delhi.

You will love driving to these nearby Attractions (distance mentioned from Asan Barrage):
  1. Ashokan Rock Edict, Kalsi – 20 km.
  2. Lakhamandal – 100 Km.
  3. Renuka Lake – 51 km. (and on way - Poanta Sahib Guridwara, 8 km. and Citrus fruits' orchards at Dhaula Kuan, 24 km.)
  4. Dehradun
  5. Mussourie – 70 km.
  6. Chakrata – 65 km.
To Summarize:
If you love to connect with nature along with relaxation and that too in lake front accommodations, the resort is the perfect place. Also you may carry your e-books to enjoy reading from this waterfront wonder.

Keep Travelling Guys.
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Ashokan Rock Edict at Kalsi

While driving around Dakpathar (40 km. from Dehradun) came across a signboard showing way to “Kalsi”. Totally unaware about this spot we asked the locales about Kalsi. What we heard was “There is one stone with some ancient inscriptions”. We had some time in hand so started driving for Kalsi.
It took us around 45 minutes (approx. 21 km.) from Asan Barrage on Vikasnagar - Chakrata road, to reach the entrance gate of Kalsi.
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Mohan Shakti Heritage Park, Solan

If you think that mountains are all about valleys, flowing water streams and precisely located temples, well your thoughts may be going for some serious reconsideration. 

Coming from Jatoli Shiv Temple in Solan and after travelling 8 kms towards Shimla, turn right on a narrow downhill road. You have to be a very confident driver for this 7 km. of road, if driving yourself, in order to find this Khul Ja Sim Sim like Treasure of our Heritage.

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Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Alwar

1.      One Man who brought the Rolls Royce company to its knees and
2.      One of most haunted place in the world.
What is the relation?

The man was King Jai Singh, who bought entire available fleet of Rolls Royce (6 cars) on one day in year 1920 and ordered the municipality to use the Rolls Royce cars for garbage collection at his kingdom. Those were the times when Rolls Royce were used to sweep the streets in India.

The haunted place is “Bhangarh Fort” where entry before sunrise and after sunset is prohibited by law. Still not making sense. Let’s add one more point in the list.

3.      A temple dating back to the time of Mahabharata, that is approx. 5000 years back.
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Mesmerized in Shimla

Some of the places are fortunate to be blessed with all-time pleasant weather and unmatched natural beauty. For such spots you need not plan, just pack your bags and go. Located at a distance of 350 km. from Delhi, Shimla is one such destination. No doubt Shimla is always a preferred attraction in Himachal Pradesh for tourists from every part of the world. 


Snow-covered peaks and picturesque valleys make Shimla a popular choice for a weekend getaway from Delhi. Excellent road condition from Delhi will ensure a fun filled driving till Shimla. But there is a better option, take a night train from Delhi to Kalka and then enjoy the legendary toy train ride from Kalka to Shimla. If you can afford a little extra time, trust me to take the toy train. Lovely stations and amazing natural settings will bring out your camera much earlier than expected. Start with the lovely Toy train, running on the ancient narrow-gauge rails...


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Batesara Temples, Reviving a lost legacy...

In pursuit to unravel the unknown secrets of Chambal Ravines, this self proclaimed archaeologist decided to follow the tracks which were once the playgrounds of the dreaded dacoits of Chambal. These tracks bear the testimony of many battles between dacoits and police forces. With dacoits now a part of history, this new Chambal is a virgin kingdom with a red carpet for vagabonds like us.

From Gwalior, one hour of drive in the ravines took me to the slopes of an isolated range of hills near Padawali village; 1.2 km. ahead of Garhi Padhavali, 40km. from Gwalior and 25km. from Morena town in Morena district. Finally I was at the site of Batesara group of temples, perhaps the most prominent in the Chambal Ravines. There is some charm in the air of such places, that people get attracted to.

Flanked by hills and hidden from the outside world, far off in the Chambal Valleys a temple complex is coming back to life like a phoenix.

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Rani Ki Baoli, Neemrana

An old saying “Importance of anything is felt in its absence”.

In absence of water, difficult to imagine life. Perhaps this is the reason why the arid state of Rajasthan has followed the tradition of preserving the precious water to the extent possible. To conserve every drop of water step wells or bawdis, also locally known as Pushkarani or Boalis wherein water gets collected at the bottom of structures have been generously built in state of Rajasthan.

One of such significant baoli is lying neglected in the Neemrana village, very close to the much visited Neemrana Fort. Neemrana has been administered by Chauhans till 1947. The erstwhile ruling family of Neemrana is considered to be the direct lineage of Great Prithviraj Chauhan, one of the most illustrious rulers of India, who holds the distinction of defeating an invading army – 17 times.

This baoli is popularly known as “Rani ki Baoli” and has been neglected for decades. It is surprising that even in Neemrana no one advises to visit this spot, however the first sight is enough to appreciate the glorious past of this monument. 
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Chand Bawdi - Oasis of the desert

When your destination is the journey itself, you will come across places which are known as "Offbeat". These places are lying hidden in our countryside to which even most of the acclaimed travel planners have no clue.


People from all over the world have been fascinated by the colourful state of Rajasthan. However, this colourful state of Rajasthan is extremely arid, where people make efforts to preserve each drop of water. To preserve the water exquisite arrangements have been made in state of Rajasthan since ages, most common of which has been Bawdis or step wells.


One of such Bawdi, which is also one of the oldest in Rajasthan is Chand Bawdi; situated in Abhaneri village, Dausa district, around 95 Km. from Jaipur on Jaipur-Agra Road. Chand Bawdi is a massive architecture consisting of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 stories. Approximately 100 feet into the ground it is one of the deepest and largest step wells in India.   


Bawdis were not just reservoirs of water, but a special architecture constructed to preserve every drop of rain water, to provide precious drinking water and respite from scorching heat. Steps were intricately constructed to guide water till the bottom of the step well for collection and minimized evaporation/ loss in the process. Unique triangular pattern of the steps is really hypnotic, try to count the levels and number of steps...


As the water used to get collected at the bottom; air towards the bottom used to be much cooler, almost 5-6 degrees cooler at the bottom than at the air at the upper surface. Bawdis also served as a community gathering place for locals during periods of intense heat and also a favourite hangout place. One side of the Bawdi also has a pavilion and resting rooms for the royals.

Looks like a small fort in itself...

Chand Bawdi is one of those spots in India, where you realize that the present one is more beautiful than the last one. This Bawdi has been constructed as a place where people can gather and pray to GOD as many relics are also inscribed in the walls of this Bawdi.

People can go till the bottom of stepwell to escape the scorching heat.  

Chand Bawdi was built by King Chanda of Nikumbha Dynasty around 800 AD and is dedicated to Harshat Mata, Goddess of Joy and Happiness upon completion. It is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple and was constructed in 800 AD. Blessings of the Gods were imperative to ensure prosperity of their respective states and these bawdis used to provide an ideal cushion for the seasonal fluctuations of water availability due to uneven or no rainfall. Many of the flourishing civilizations have perished due to scarcity of water. Beautiful statue of Harshat Mata - 


Such Bawdis are still present in almost every town and city of our country. The water collection mechanism/ structure is still intact. If these bawdis can be connected to the present-day water distribution system, it can solve majority of water problems which we are facing in India on a regular basis. Rainwater collected in these bawdis can augment the existing water storage/ collection facilities too.


Bawdi is also pronounced as Baori, Bawri, Baoli, Bavdi in different parts of the country. Abhaneri was known as Abha Nagari, city of brightness in earlier times, however it has got its present name by mispronunciation over the times.


What an amazing day it was, unearthing such a fantastic gem. If you do not want to go to Jaipur all the way; take a left turn before Shahpura while coming from Delhi drive to Bhangarh fort, the most haunted place in India and Chand Bawdi is only 60 Km. (via Dausa)/ 42 Km (via Bandikui) from BhangarhFort.


Keep travelling Guys...

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Chalets, Naldehra - Mystic Solace in the Himalayas...

Pampers, Grace And Greet Yourself At Chalets Naldehra!
At times you feel like planning a trip to a place which is far off from the city crowd and is quite enough to revive your thoughts. Few days back, while having similar desires, I went to explore ‘The Chalets’ on an invited stay. It surely turned out as to be a real stress buster for me.
 
The Chalets is tucked almost 22 kms away from the famous hill station ‘Shimla’. It took us almost 3.5 hours to reach the destination from the Kalka Railway station, which is supposedly the closest station to the place. On arrival, we were greeted with some hot ‘masala tea’, something that you might crave for when it’s freezing outside. Amish Sud, the Managing Director of the property then gave a broad overview of how precisely the things were planned there.
 
The owners have involved almost every single form of recreational activity at the place. They had it all to make the place feel like a ‘home away from home’ with exclusively designed separate pine log cottages for their guests with high sense of privacy. While based upon their course of needs, guests can choose either a bunglow, or an apartment or family cottages or even double room.
 
 
Our spot for stay was a beautiful cottage, right in the middle of the property which gave us a clear sight of the sunrise/sunset. It was way too mesmerizing. Something I found to be as a major setback for me was the ‘terror of monkeys’, they just happened to appear from anywhere and at anytime. But then of-course when you are there at mountains, you just don’t have a choice of escaping from them, all you can do is, stay alert!
 
Going further, I found that the different in-house arrangements made by the property owners were enough to relax and pamper my self. Well to start on my day I chose to go for the royal sport first and then for the pamper stuff. There is a Naldehra golf course, right next to the property at a mere distance of 5 minutes.
 
Might sound crazy but the longing that I showed for reaching there at the ground was ironic to the knowledge I hold about it. I hardly knew anything about this sport. It was as new and fresh to me as a play school to a three year old kid going there for the first time. It was just the name and action that I knew. The coach there gave me a good insight of it and I even tried hard to make few good shots at least. But then like I said, I was a fresher to it so couldn’t manage to do with it really well. Instead I enjoyed taking pictures at that beautiful landscape.
 
After coming back from there, I decided to relax my cells a bit. The house got it all ranging from a soothing spa, temperature controlled pools, health club facilities of international standards including massages, sauna, Jacuzzi pool, steam room and all those things that you may seek at a leisure trip.
 
The delicately built cottages interestingly owe their design to the Finland– based architecture; also the lodges used to build the cottages are all the way from Finland, the place of their origin. Evening went on to be extremely soothing followed by perfect dinner arrangements at the revolving restaurant. The staff remained on their toes to shape the things well for us. The service was quick and apt. There even had arrangements for the live setup for BBQ in the garden pavilion and a live kitchen as well. During our stay there, we tasted the Chinese, North Indian and Italian cuisine. All those dished served there had a natural tint n’flavor within them.


Chalets, Naldehra happened to be a perfect off-beat destination for me. Such small trips, far off in the mountains can surely play as a complete stress buster.

Keep travelling Guys...

Contributed by Kamya Kandhari
 

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Deeg Palace - the water world

"Jal Mahal (जल महल)", Water palace is a specialised architecture marvel, wherein a structure is constructed in water. India has mastered the art of Water palaces over the centuries. Water palaces found in India are unique and unparalleled.

 

Jal Mahal in Jaipur and Udaipur are acclaimed world wide for their splendid appearance. However we bring to you one more Jal Mahal at Deeg, which is lying hidden in Bharatpur district, despite the fact that it is very close to cities of Mathura and Agra.


Popularly known as "Deeg Palace", this Jal Mahal was constructed by the powerful Jat rulers in 1722 AD. This palace is unique in construction as this is a cluster of small palaces. Situated just 32 Km. to Bharatpur, 36 Km. from Mathura this can be comfortably visited in 2 hours while visiting Mathura/ Agra.

First one to greet you is the largest palace of all, Gopal Bhawan (गोपाल  भवन ), which used to serve as the royal residence of the king. As seen from the entrance -

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Dehradun - Blended in culture of city and hills

Capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun is a small, charming city that is known for its scenic surroundings, acclaimed educational institutes, cool environment and lots of interesting attractions to explore.


Such is the location of Dehradun that one can enjoy the journey either via Haridwar/Rishikesh or via Nahan. If you are coming via Nahan then enjoy a number of spots in the way too. First one being citrus fruits' orchards at Dhaula Kuan (58 km. from Nahan).


HIMCO shop on the main road sells fresh juices, squashes and pickles. Do not forget to try.
Moving 17 km. ahead it is the time to pray at Poanta Sahib Gurudwara. Poanta Sahib is a sacred town built in the memory of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.

Gurudwara serves 24 hrs. langar (free kitchen) to everyone. Though it is not necessary, but if possible "Do contribute something to support this divine initiative" by the Gurudwara. Pray for a few moments here and continue the journey to Dehradun.


Another 27 km. straight drive will take you to barrage at Dakpatthar. This is slightly (5-6 km.) off the track from Dehradun. Continue straight from Herbertpur crossing, right turn will take you to Dehradun. Thanks to my special friend, I got to enjoy such a lovely point. 


Apart from the barrage, there is also a beautiful children's park here. From here Dehradun is only 40 km. ahead. Also if you have time, you may consider rock edit at Kalsi (7 km.).

Coming back from Nahan, a brief stopover at Dehradun is both wise and refreshing. Dehradun is a little town that boasts of hustle-bustle of a city with some quiet and calming corners.

First in line was Tapkeshwar Mahadev temple. The legend has it that this place was often used by the gods and saints for offering prayers to Lord Shiva. Guru Dronacharya, after many years of worship, too got the gift of the archery knowledge by Lord Shiva. The knowledge was later transferred on to Arjun, the greatest archer that ever lived and ever would live.
The huge temple premises looks like a small tour of Gods’ land. It starts with Lord Shiva’s temple, the cave where gods and saints prayed for years. It daily attracts a large number of devotees who worship numerous forms, statues or shivalings that represent Lord Shiva.

Temple premises is distributed on either sides of a small stream of clear and cool water, to reach the other side of the premises you have to cross a small water stream (do that bare foot and bid adieu to all your tiredness in a flash). There, one temple each is dedicated to Goddess Santoshi, Lord Hanuman and Goddess Vaishno Devi, which in fact is a replica of the cave in Jammu and Kashmir.


The reach to the small sanctum sanctorum of Vaishno Devi temple, through the small cave route, is both spiritualistic and thrilling. 

What catches the eye and strikes inquisitiveness in one and all is a marble stand with a small square platform and some cylindrical marble pieces on it. A close look at it tells you that it is your guide to nine planets, their properties and how they affect your life.

Next is Japanese Temple or Buddha temple for a similar soul-satisfying experience. This is an important of Dehradun and is widely acclaimed for its impressive architecture, beautiful interiors and pleasing surroundings.

One can easily spend a few hours to explore the huge premises of this temple and every minute spent there is worth it. The temple attracts large number of tourists and Buddhist followers from every corner of the world. Major attraction within the temple is 103 ft. high statue of Lord Buddha, dedicated to Dalai Lama.

The main stupa of the temple, about 220 feet in height, is built as a replica of Mindrolling monastery, Tibet. It is claimed to be the largest reliquary in Asia.

Stupa with company of adjacent structures, craft its own identity and presents a magnificent skyline to Dehradun.

 

From the towering Lord Buddha statue, giant stupa, calm praying halls to little monks showcasing some brilliant football skills, the place seems like without any worldly trouble. Watching monks play football is something which no one should afford to miss. You can also join them and hone up your football skills. Free accommodation, clothing, food, and other facilities are provided by the Buddha Temple authorities to around 500 monks who live here and study.

 

The colourful gardens, full of various types of roses, other flowers, plants and lush-green trees add to the place’s decor and peace. The shops and temple garden are open for the public seven days a week. However, the interior of the temple remains open only on Sundays.

Too much of spirituality lets now proceed to some cave exploration at the much acclaimed – Sahastradhara, around 11 km from the city of Dehradun. The earlier generation tells you tales of these mountains squirting out water streams in all their resplendence. However, the scene is not as stunning, but still too beautiful. However, the cool water, slowly trickling down the mountains around you makes your journey fulfilling.


Take a dip or just sit on the huge rocks with your feet in water or better still do some casual climbing to discover a your very own hidden pool or some historic cave. Once there, do not forget to try something from the small eateries. Pick your favourite from hot and crispy pakoras, vegetable maggi or mouth-watering aloo tikki.

And you can end your brief meeting with this small town amid its main market, bustling with energy. Just a few moments away from its new-age cafeterias, bakeries, restaurants, and shopping centres, is the old market near the clock tower. A look at that age-old clock tower and any Ruskin Bond fan would immediately identify with his many characters’ experiences and stories. It is perhaps the lanes of this market only that his famous character – Rusty – ran down with his local friends to savour local sweets and delicacies.

 

The market not only is a treasure trove for souvenirs, junk jewellery and local handicrafts, it also houses decade-old eating joints serving the flavours from across the country in authentic style.


Even if for a day or two, the time spent here would make for lifetime memories.


Way to Explore: Nahan – Dhaula Kuan (58 Km.) – Poanta Sahib (17 km.) – Dakpatthar (27 km.) – Dehradun (40 Km.)

From Dehradun one can go to Rishikesh (54 km.)/ Haridwar (53 Km.) or come back to Delhi. If you are interested in continuing the journey, head off to Mussourie (35 km.), to enjoy below panoramas:

Happy travelling Friends... 
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