Kanatal – A Gateway to The Kumaon

Like many of my generation, I am always eager to visit new and unexplored places. Especially when it comes to hill stations, I prefer going to places where I will not find overcrowded mall roads and overbooked hotels and resorts. Kanatal was such a destination which though not totally pristine, had much to offer in terms of beautiful resorts and scenic environs.

Kanatal lies at an easily drivable distance from Delhi, gives you easy access to several nearby hill stations Photo from Flicrk

Kanatal lies at an easily drivable distance from Delhi, though since we went immediately after the monsoons, the roads were rather damaged and it took us almost three hours more than it would have on any other time of the year. The drive was spectacular though. Once you reach Rishikesh, you begin your climb up the hills and it’s time to absorb the brilliance of the Himalayas.

Mussoorie is situated about 40 Km from Kanatal and thus makes for a day excursion from there. En route, you will also pass through Dhanaulti, a beautiful hamlet which offers picturesque glimpses of the Himalayan peaks. You may spend a day or two in Kanatal then head to Mussorrie before driving back to Delhi. Chamba, another fascinating tourist destination is also only 16 Km from Kanatal. You can also make a day excursion to Chamba if you are willing enough to climb a steep road upwards.

Kanatal gives you easy access to several nearby hill stations, but there are not many other sites to visit. Trekkers will find a delight in the Kodia forest. An 8 Km trek takes you into the heart of the dense forest where you can carry your picnic baskets. This would ideally make for an unforgettable afternoon for an intimate group. Tehri dam also makes for an interesting visit. Built at the confluence of the rivers Bhilangna and Bhagirathi, the dam is a man made marvel with an artificial lake. You can also visit the Surkunda Devi Temple which is famous for its Dussera festival.

Kanatal does not have much in the way of shopping. If you are looking forward to buy some local trinkets, you should head out either to Mussoorie or to Chamba. While Mussoorie has a large market that offers all the modern amenities and products, Chamba has a small market that has local trinkets on sale.

Kanatal has several small shops selling the locally grown and manufactured rhododendron juices and concentrates. These make for excellent gifting items and souvenirs. Since Kanatal is also located close to various apple orchards, you can find fresh apple jams and juices in these shops. Be sure to get some for yourself. You will not be able to find such fresh flavors anywhere else.

How to Get There?
By road: Kanatal is connected to Delhi, Dehradun and Musoorie through a network of roads.
By train: The nearest railway stations are Dehradun and Haridwar.
By air: The nearest airport is at Dehradun. You can also land at Delhi and then take a cab to Kanatal.

Where to Stay?
Kanatal is a very small hill town but since it is an upcoming tourist destination, there are a lot of beautiful resorts to choose from. Whether you want a luxurious space to crash in or are traveling on a budget, there are plenty of options to choose from. The Kanatal Resorts and Kanatal Terraces are some of the most well known luxurious accommodations in the area. If you are travelling on a budget, Hotel Ashirwad can offer you clean room and a decent service. A lot of people book a hotel in Mussoorie and then plan to visit Kanatal as a day trip.

What to Eat?
All the resorts in Kanatal have their own restaurants. However, if you are feeling particularly fancy, you can choose from amongst the many restaurants in Mussourie where you will get both local and international fare. When in Kanatal, do not miss out on the fabulous Rajma Chawal served by some of the local dhabas. These dhabas also serve flavored teas that will surely leave you all warm inside. There are not many great options for eating out in Kanatal which is one serious drawback.


I started my career as a research and documentation associate with the Azim Premji Foundation and went on to lead several development programs with various NGOs in Delhi. I have had the pleasure of being a part of the 14 member National Knowledge Commission’s Workshop for producing recommendations on Education Reforms for the Government of India. I was also part of a 40 member nationwide team that developed and presented proposals for the inclusion of Design and Innovation in school curriculum to the National Knowledge Commission and Ministry of Human Resource Development. I was also the editor and chief contributor to a bi-monthly publication known as Student First. I currently reside in Delhi and spend my time traveling and writing about my travel experiences.


  1. Pam Brown says:

    Nice blog about Kanatal and great photo.
    How long it will take from Delhi to Kanatal by road?

  2. Neha Jhingon says:

    It should take you about 8-9 hours to reach Mussorie from Delhi. Depending on road conditions, it may take you about another 1 – 1.5 hours to reach Kanatal from there.

  3. krishnakumar nair says:

    are there shared cabs / bus services from haridwar to kanatal?
    Where can I board buses from Delhi to Kanatal in Haridwar?
    Which will be a better option for road travel to Kanatal from Haridwar / Dehradun?

  4. great photo, nice post on kanatal, I feel it would be a nice experience to explore kanatal and other nearest tourist places for a 2 or 3 days trip.

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