Where to travel
Are you a professional skier?
Then, Mundali ski slopes in Dehradun District, Uttarakhand, Indiaare perfect for a winter adventure. The Himalayan range forms an impressive backdrop to the slopes. When you get tired of sliding on the skis, watch and capture the sky-kissing peaks on film. At the end of the adventure, enjoy langar (free food) and feel and share the faith of Sikh and other communities that assemble at the Jhanda Fair in Dehradun during March-April.
What to do & see:
Mundali (2,700 meters)
The alpine meadow amid lush woods, Mundali is located at2,700 meters. Mundali environs, blanketed with deodar forest, are home to barking deer and rare musk deer.
Jhanda Mela (Fair)
Jhanda Mela is organized at the Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Jhanda Sahib) complex in Dehradun. The fair starts on the 5th day after Holi during Chaitra month (March-April) as per the Hindu calendar. The word “Jhanda” means flag, the main attraction of the fair. A flag is hoisted to commemorate Shri Guru Ram Rai, the son of seventh Sikh Guru, Shri Guru Har Rai. Devotees take a holy dip in the tank located near the flagpole.
The Jhanda Gate, where flag is hoisted, is the principal entry point to the complex. The dome of the gate is profusely decorated with fine murals. Floral motives used for the murals complement the architecture of the gate. Murals also feature portraits of famous personalities from different communities. For instance, portraits of Naraian Das, Pritam Das and Prayag Das, famous mahants (chief priest), in different poses adorn the walls of the gate. Drawings of Radha Krishna and a wall panel that has a drawing of traditional Jhanda Fair procession are worth a frame.
Do not forget to explore and experience distinct lifestyle of Jaunsaris while you are in Chakrata (2,118 meters), a cantonment located in the Jaunsar region. Jaunsaris, people of Jaunsar, still practice polyandry and polygamy, and sacrifice buffalos on special occasions in the shadows of Kharamba (3,084 meters), the highest peak in the region.
Chakrata to Mundali Route
This scenic route lends itself to spectacular views of the Greater Himalaya Range. However, about14 kilometersdrive from Chakrata to Deoban (2,850 meters), an alpine meadow in Jaunsar region, is scary because of narrow rough road clung to precipitous rocky cliffs.
Beyond Deoban, you may have to trek for five kilometers or more to reach the Mundali ski slopes, depending on road condition.
When to go
Mundali skiing season – November-April
How to reach
Chakrata is about 320 kilometers from Delhi, the national capital of India.
From Chakrata, you can hire a taxi to Mundali, which is about 40-kilometer drive, via Deoban. This unmetalled forest road is generally closed during winter due to snow cover. Therefore, you have to trek with camping and ski equipment.
You can stay at the forest rest houses (FRHs) in Chakrata, Deoban and Mundali. Each of these FRHs comprises two bedrooms only. The Mundali FRH charges INR 100.00 per room (US$1.91, €1.43, £1.23) for peak and non-peak seasons. However, you have to shell out INR 500.00 per room (US$9.57, €7.16, £6.16) for other two FRHs during peak season and INR 300.00 per room (US$5.74, €4.30, £3.69) for non-peak season. The Chakrata FRH has LPG, geyser and electricity, but other FRHs do not have electricity. All three FRHs offer cooking facilities. Contact District Forest Office, Chakrata for booking.
You can even camp at Deoban and Mundali, but you have to carry all equipment.
In Chakrata, you may stay at Hotel Snow View or Hotel Himalayan Paradise. Hotel Snow View accommodation tariff ranges from INR 700.00 (US$13.40 , €10.02 , £8.62) to INR 1850.00 (US$35.41 , €26.49, £22.78) depending on season. http://chakratasnowview.com/contact-us.php
The Hotel Himalayan Paradise features a dormitory and guestrooms.
Dehradun has several low-, mid and high-end hotels. You can browse through the following online travel booking websites to find a suitable hotel:
- Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, http://www.gmvnl.com/
Bring all skiing equipment.
Remember that services of skiing instructors are not available in Mundali.
Plan the trip in advance.
Since Deoban and Mundali are army-training areas, a permit is required. Contact the Uttarakhand Forest Department at Chakrata for details.