The next Let’s Go trip is to a not so known place called Kalsi. The place have been suggested by Amit Gupta2… We would be leaving on Friday, 21st July night and be back by Sunday, 23rd July. Will do booking in GMVN guest house. Detail logistics to follow…. Meanwhile reproducing here below extracts from AG2’s mails describing the place.
Distance from Delhi: 288km
Drive Time: about 5.5 hours
Altitude: 2789 ft. above sea level
Kalsi faces Chakrata foothills to the north & Mussoorie hills to the east. Tons & Giri rivers meet
Yamuna here & its within sight of Himachal Pradesh. Its 27km ahead of Paonta Sahib & 49km from Dehradun. Summers are mild & fragrant while winters get quite cold.
Restless and belligerent from its Himalayan odyssey, the Yamuna River bursts out of the hills in the Jaunsar-Bawar region in the Doon Valley, to continue its travels across the great Indian plains where it will meet the holy Ganga. The young, bubbly, crystal-clear stream is a far cry from the sullen, withered creature you encounter in Delhi.
Seven folds of emerald hills, mist-scarved and woolyheaded high above the emerald quilted banks fill the frame. Stretched out below a gaggle of rooftops punctuates the verdure – a red brick dome structure catches the attention, but the roar of the river diverts you as it gurgles and foams its way into the panoramic horizon. Greenery reaches out in hiccups to the canal-lined road before leaping the boundary wall in an even spill of hedges, manicured lawns, flowering beds and graceful trees.
Little known Kalsi slumbers on the banks of the writhing Yamuna. Once an important little township in the region (the two parganas which were once a part of Sirmour which were annexed to the British Empire after the expulsion of the conquering Gurkhas), it deteriorated eventually into a decrepit little village. In earlier days the region has seen the invasion of Timur in 1398 and in the 3rd century BC it marked one of the furthest limits of the dominion of King Ashoka amongst the Himalayan foothills. Today this tiny hamlet shoulders its historic lineage with quiet ease.
This gorgeous tract of land, enriched and nourished by the waters of the Asan River, and the confluence of the Yamuna River and the Tons at Kalsi, offers some of the finest landscapes of the Doon Valley. Bounded by the summits of the densely wooded hills of Chakrata, this picturesque plateau offers visitors the pleasures of hill living without its discomforts.
Situated as it is in the cleft of the hill states of Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh, Kalsi is a divine location for enjoying this gorgeous slice of the Doon. It’s also the perfect base for forays into the Chakrata and Mussoorie Hills. The prefect scenery invites long drives and leisurely picnics by the riverside and for the more active there’s river rafting (for the first time on offer on the Yamuna) and angling for mahseer, and hikes and treks in the surrounding hills for all age groups.
An incredibly charming and easy walking trail (about 3.5 km) runs along the ashram road all the way to Katta Pathar Village, where the Yamuna first bursts out of the mountains.
To your left are the glorious 180 degree panoramas of the Chakrata Hills embellished at their base by the patchwork quilt of cultivated fields edging the banks of the turbulent Yamuna River.
The river may be a muddy brown when it rains, but it’s a glorious aqua, clear as crystal, when the monsoons are banished. River crossings in the shallows are then most rewarding for anglers who can find a secluded spot to lure mahseer, which abound in these waters.
Drives and Picnics
Widen your explorations of this side of the Doon’s landscape with driving, tours and picnic out of Kalsi. The drive to the Asan Barrage last the power house (a true engineering marvel as the water of the Tons is channeled through a tunnel cut through the hills) and Dak Pathar further on will enchant you with their waterways and birding opportunities. You can stop at Paonta for darshan at the temple, by crossing the sturdy bridge over the Yamuna, after the Asan Barrage. The return drive to Kalsi via the serene and verdant Timli Pass (through which columns of British soldiers once moved to assist Major General Ochterlony in his retaliations against Gurkha general Amar Singh Thapa’s army) is a delight.
For the History Buff
Pencil in a tryst with history in your crowded agenda for enjoying nature’s bounty at Kalsi. Cross the new iron bridge over the Yamuna to Haripur (see the handsome carved stone piers of the old cantilever bridge, a magnificent example of engineering expertise, on your right) and the Kalsi bazaar where a rocky path leads down to the celebrated Ashokan Rock Edict.
Housed within a brick structure (created in the early 20th century to protect it from vandals) is the 2000-year rock edict of the Emperor Ashoka, discovered by an Englishman one Mr Forrest in the year 1860. When first discovered the rock was covered with the grime of ages. Once this film of moss was cleaned the surface emerged almost marble white.
The Kalsi edict appears to be in fine condition in comparison to other Ashoka edicts that have been discovered. The 10-ft high and long and 8-ft wide pear shaped quartz boulder inscribed with the edicts of King Ashoka, is the third of fourteen scattered in the outer reaches of the dominion of the emperor’s kingdom in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and several cities in Pakistan.