Kanatal-An Idyllic Place for Workation in 2021
- November 23, 2020
- Tanushekha Agnihottri
Kanatal is a small village lying between the famous towns of Chamba and Dhanolti in Uttarakhand. You might find little information about this place on the internet, but it is still not very well known among travellers.
Kanatal has derived its name from a lake that used to exist in the vicinity of the village. Since the lake dried up, the place is now called Kanatal, meaning “dried lake.” Interesting, isn’t it?
I went to Kanatal on a solo trip in the first week of November 2020 and was totally swaying in the joy when I reached this little town. A friend of mine suggested me to visit this place. I searched for Kanatal on the internet and didn’t find much about it. And at that moment I know I want to explore this place.
Here’s a thing about me; I always choose places where I get in minimum contact with humans. I am not anti-social, but when I am travelling, I prefer staying closer to nature away from the chaos of humans and introspect my life.
Thanks to COVID, social distancing is now a thing that every human needs to follow for quite a long time.
As I was moving from Chamba town towards Kanatal, I could hear more clear and loud sounds of nature. The birds were chirping, the smell of deodar was intoxicating, the monkeys were hopping around fearlessly, the sky was the bluest I have seen in a long time, the colours of Autumn looked beautiful. In a place like Kanatal, where tourist influx has always been low, the lockdown has enhanced its beauty.
Sitting inside the local taxi, I was wondering how peaceful this place must have been during the lockdown.
How to Reach Kanatal?
Kanatal is easily accessible by road. In fact, you would love the entire stretch to reach Kanatal.
It is approx 325 KM from New Delhi, a drive of 8 hours. From Dehradun and Rishikesh Kanatal is 76 KM and 74 KM respectively.
If you’re not driving your own car, you can take any local bus going to Chamba from Dehradun or Rishikesh. From Chamba, grab a local taxi to reach Kanatal, which is only 20KM away.
Nearest railway stations from Kanatal are Dehradun & Rishikesh, and the nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun at a distance of 75 KM.
Places to Stay in Kanatal
There are enough accommodation options available in Kanatal. One of the prominent and old properties is Club Mahindra. And this property attracts a majority of the crowd to Kanatal. Of course, the tariff of the resort is very high, but don’t worry, there are cheaper alternatives.
Athithi Himalayan Homestay is an option that I would recommend. Spacious rooms with great views, the same as from Club Mahindra, and delicious food are available at this property.
If you are up for some adventures, there are lots of camping facilities available in the area.
Please note many of the local properties are not listed on the internet, and hence you can only find them only once you visit Kanatal. Or feel free to drop us a query in the comment section, we would love to help you out.
Best Time to Visit Kanatal?
Kanatal has a pleasant climate, and like most of the other hill station, every season has its beauty.
Winter Season ( October- March) – Winter season is the best time to visit Kanatal. The temperature varies between 1-15 degrees. By the end of November, Kanatal receives a considerable amount of snowfall that continues till February. The thick sheets of snow convert Kanatal into a fairyland.
Summer Season (April-June)– The temperature ranges between 20-35 degrees, but there is a significant drop during the nights. Even during the Summer, the cold breeze blows to give travellers a relief from harsh Summers of North India.
Monsoon Season (July-September)– Kanatal receives heavy downpours during the monsoon season. Though valley turns lush green, it is advisable to avoid travelling during these months as there is a high risk of cloudburst and landslides.
Top Things to do in Kanatal
There is something for every type of traveller in Kanatal. If you wish to stay back in your hotel room, Kanatal has cosy weather and majestic views for you. It’s an ideal place for work from hills too. And if you’re an avid explorer there are plenty of places to visit.
Commuting in local taxis and buses could be a little challenging here because of low frequency. It is best to bring your own vehicle or hire a cab in Kanatal. Well, I was lucky to get a two-wheeler on rent and commuted everywhere with ease.
1. Visit Surkanda Devi Temple
History of Surkanda Devi Temple
Surkanda Devi temple is one of the famous Hindu temples located at an altitude of 9,051 feet. As per the Hindu mythology, Goddess Sati immolated herself in her father Daksha’s sacrifice. Lord Shiva was enraged by her death. He wandered all over the region and performed Tandava (dance of cosmic destruction).
In order to stop Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu destroyed the corpse of Goddess Sati and her pieces fell all over different places which are now known as Shakti Peeths. Surkanda Devi temple is one of those nine Shakti Peeths.
Hike to the hill-top Surkanda Devi Temple
To reach the Surkanda Devi Temple, one has to finish three KM long hike. And mind you, it is not an easy one. The entire uphill stretch is quite steep, and you would need all your strength to keep yourself going.
A local guide suggested me to visit the temple, and he informed me very casually that there’s a small hike. I straight went to Kaddukhal, where the hike starts. Within ten minutes into the hike, I was struggling for my breath. But the views throughout the trails were worth all the pain.
The temple premises has panoramic views of snow-capped Himalayan ranges. I stood in the silence, just absorbing the good vibes of the surroundings and gazing at the mountains through the mist that played peek-a-boo with me.
Also, the Government has sped up the construction of ropeway to the hill-top. Once finished, it would be a great relief for pilgrims. Right now, you can take pony or donkey rides to the top that costs up to 400 INR per person.
2. Jungle Safari in Kodia Jungle
One of the coolest things to do in Kanatal is this epic Jungle Safari that many people do not know. Right outside the Eco-Park, you’ll find Safari Jeeps that take you on a thrilling ride through the Kodia Jungle. I know most of us to think it’s not worth the money. But Kodia Jungle being unspoiled and well preserved offers spectacular views along with the diversity of various flora and fauna. It’s a bliss for bird watchers and nature photographers.
A Safari Jeep carries up to six people and charges anywhere between 1700 INR to 2500 INR, depending on the season.
3. Hike through the Woods in Eco Park
Right in front of Club Mahindra, there is an Eco-park that has a stretch of approx one and a half kilometres. I went there for a morning walk and came back all energised. The trail goes from inside of Kaudia Jungle but hey don’t worry it’s safe to walk through during the day time. Make sure that you start at 6 AM to catch the fresh sun rays peeping through canopies of tall trees.
4. Adventure Sports & Camping
While I stayed at Club Mahindra, I would totally recommend staying in camps when you visit Kanatal. I bet camping cannot get any better with the spectacular night sky of Kanatal. I discovered these camps while I was strolling through the village. Camp Carnival, Kanatal and Camp Little Jaguar, Kanatal are two of the best options for camping.
Apart from camping, you can also give yourself an adrenaline rush with adventure sports in Kanatal itself. There are plenty of activities available like Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Valley Crossing, Burma Bridge, Zip Lining and the Giant Swing.
Tariffs are usually up to 400 for each sport, but the packages are cheaper. I paid only 1000 INR for four action-packed adventures.
5. Water Sports at Tehri Dam
Tehri Dam is 30 KM away from Kanatal and you can either take a local bus or hire a taxi to reach there. Frequency of local buses is limited so, make sure that you gather correct information from the locals before planning the trip. Taxi charges up to 1700 INR for a round trip.
Tehri Dam is famous for water sports activities like Jet Skiing, Flyboarding, Knee Boarding, Banana Ride, Surfing, Motorboating, Canoeing, Paragliding, Hot Air Ballooning and Rowing.
The tariffs for these activities are reasonable and fall in the range of 350 INR to 800 INR. You can opt for packages as well that cost up to 1700 INR for any three activities.
Please note that many of these activities are seasonal.
6. Chase Sunrise & Sunset
I am a sucker for Sunrise and Sunsets both. While sunsets of Kasar Devi remains my favourite for the longest time, I couldn’t stop drooling over Sunsets in Kanatal. It literally looks as if someone has painted the entire sky with orange. I love sipping a hot beverage while grasping all the good energy radiating at the time of Sunset and Sunrise.
7. Visit Dhanolti
Dhanolti is now trending on every traveller’s bucket list. The major reason for the popularity of this place is the picturesque views of the Gharwali Himalayas. Tourists usually consider this place as a pitstop and visit the twin garden called Amber & Dhara, but I would recommend one night stay in Dhanolti. And if you’re a photographer, then Dhanolti would not disappoint you.
Explore more about Dhanolti.
Since this was a solo trip, all the expenses mentioned below can be brought down by dividing among the number of travellers.
Tariff at Club Mahindra was 1770 INR for two nights. Well, a friend of mine has the club membership, and he was kind enough to let me use his membership. I know, such friends are gems! There are many other resorts, homestays and camps available at affordable prices.
I had spent 1500 INR on delicious food over three days.
- Rishikesh to Chamba- Local Bus- 105 INR only.
- Chamba to Kanatal- Local Taxi- 50 INR.
- Two Wheeler Rent & Fuel- 800 INR.
4. Miscellaneous Expenses
- Adventure Sports in Kanatal- 1000 INR per person for four activities.
- Jungle Safari- 1700 INR. If you opt to cover the distance on foot, a local guide charges 300 INR per person.
- Tehri Dam Cab- 1500 INR
- Tehri Dam Sports Activities- Depends on activities opted and charged on per person basis.
These are not mandatory expenses you can avoid them. And most of the things in Kanatal are wild & free. I absolutely loved this tiny hamlet which is by the way also a great place for converting your work from home into work from hills.