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5 Reasons to Visit Kanatal, a picturesque hill hamlet nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas

Siddhartha Sen

The picturesque and quaint mountain hamlet Kanatal is located deep in the Garhwal Himalayas overlooking the “Bandar Poonch” mountain range. According to village elders, the name Kanatal is the marriage of the words Kana (Dry) and Tal (Lake) and was coined in memory of the lake that once existed here.

When you approach Kanatal, it is pretty evident why this small hamlet, where nature has painted extraordinary vistas with scenic mountains, pristine blue skies, wild colorful floral beds, green cedars and oaks, has charmed visitors from time to time.

While travel has taken a slow start around the country amid Covid-19, people are increasingly looking for weekend getaways. Hence, we give you not one but 5 Reasons why Kanatal should be on top of your travel list.

1. Surkunda Devi Temple

Situated at a head-spinning altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level, Surkunda Devi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Sati. Legend has it that when Goddess Sati died, her husband, Lord Shiva carried her body back to Kailash, which is when her head fell at the spot where the temple was then erected.

Surkunda Devi Temple

The trek to the temple is the most popular one in the area. This arduous trek originates from “Kaddukhal” village and it is about 2 km of zig-zagging pathways and can be done in an hour. The panoramic view of the “Bandar Poonch” and “Kala Nag” peaks from the temple premises is just jaw-dropping.

2. Kaudia Forest

Kaudia Forest is a picnic spot and popular for hiking in Kanatal. The 6 km walk through the jungle is leveled and the forest all of a sudden opens up into a vast expanse of verdant valleys, rolling hills, and gurgling water springs.

Snow in Kaudia Forest , Kanatal

The jungle is an amazing dance of nature and is home to a plethora of species of flora and fauna. From scented cedars to vibrant rhododendrons, dense oak and pine trees, Kaudia has it all.

It is also a natural habit for wild animals like Leopard, Foxes, Mountain Langoors, Barking Deer, Peacocks, etc. One can hire a jeep safari and enjoy the attractions of the jungle

3. Tehri Dam

One of the most prominent tourist places in and around Kanatal, Tehri Dam, at an astonishing height of 260 meters, is the tallest dam in India and among the tallest in the world.

Situated about 36 km from Kanatal, this dam is flocked by travel enthusiasts and adventure junkies all-year-round who engage in sports like paragliding, jet skiing, and the popular Banana boat ride, among others.

Tehri lake. Tehri Dam

It is also flanked by the “Richie Rich” who enjoy a unique experience offered by houseboats and floating huts built on the adjacent Tehri Lake.

4. Delectable Garhwali Food

The popular Garhwali cuisine is available at many places in Kanatal. Garhwali meals are healthy, with a balanced use of fats, ghee to temper lentils, mustard oil for greens and vegetable oil for the preparation of other dishes. Spices are used minimally.

Chilies, garlic, ginger, and asafoetida are an integral part of the Garhwali cooking process. Characteristically the food is grain and cereal-based, made up of simple ingredients.

Tourists visiting this hamlet can savor the robust ‘Madue ki Roti’, with aromatic gehat dal (Horsegram) tadka, earthy tukulu (pumpkin) greens speckled with crunchy Jakhiya seeds, pungent mustard infused Raita, and spicy Chullu (Apricot) chutney.

In short, Kanatal is a delight for people who like rustic village food.

5. Adventure Activities

Kanatal also provides ample opportunities for adventure-loving freaks. Perched on a ridge, the area has deep and picturesque valleys on either side and has more than just enough opportunities to please trekking enthusiasts.

The trekking trails are not only adventurous, they are scenic too. Activities such as rock climbing are conducted across the hamlet. One can try out other fun adventures like all-terrain vehicle (ATV), mini zip-lining, ladder bridge walk, sky walking, monkey crawling, and valley crossing at many locations.

How and when to go

Kanatal is approximately 300 km by road from Delhi and it takes about 9 hours to reach. The nearest railhead and airport to Kanatal is Dehradun (78 km), from where one can get a taxi or take a bus to reach the hamlet in 3 hours.

The weather in Kanatal is pleasant all the year-round, however, the best time to visit is Summers and Winters.

Summer Temperature – Max: 28c | Min 15c
Winter Temperature – Max: 10c | Min: Below 0c

Clothes to Carry

Always remember to carry warm clothes, raincoats and comfortable footwear to brave the unpredictable weather and rough terrain. In summers visitors should carry light woolens and in winters heavy woolens are recommended. In addition, warm winter caps and gloves are a must.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The author is an experienced PR professional. He is also an avid nature lover and trekker. He has explored places like Kumaon, Garhwal, Himachal, Sunderdunga Glacier, Pangot, Binsar, Keylong, Ladakh, Alchi, Leh, Nepal, Darjeeling, Old Manali, Chaukori among many others.

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