Dehradun is just like any other bustling city. Big, crowded but what sets it apart from others is its proximity to the hills and to be in a valley that sort of makes the weather and overall ambiance a bit better than its other city counterparts.
For those looking for options to do a hiking but do not have the luxury to take a few days off or perhaps materialize a trekking idea that took shape just a day before, there’s something in store for them in Dehradun itself. ‘Barlow Ganj’ is a quintessential town located a few blocks below mussoorie. The famous JP Manor hotel is located here, opposite one of the british era boarding school called the St. George’s.
So where do we start from in Dehradun? Well, you can drive down to the far end of the Rajpur road (in Rajpur to be precise) at a place called Shahanshahi Ashram. I took an Ola from EC road and it took me about 20-25 minutes to reach this ashram (fare for an OLA micro – 340/- bucks). There was a small tea shop located at the corner of the ashram’s entrance. The place was brimming with people especially the cyclists for whom this was probably the finish line. The shop serves great tea as well as other eatables that can go alongside. I highly recommend you to buy a bottle of water and perhaps something to munch along the trek. You will not find any shop until Jharipani ( 4.7 kms from here).
Attention!! – Some of the internet posts mention that the trek route starts from inside this ashram. I would like to categorically mention here that the route from insidie ashram has been closed down by creating a wall. Instead, you will have to walk down the road until you reach the pebble road / a small temple is also located here . This would be about 700-800 metres from the ashram entrance / the tea shop.
As you start the climb, you would see 2 pebbled roads, to trek to barlow ganj , one needs to follow the path on the left. It’s a decent climb up and I had a good view of the morning sunrise from here. Lots and lots of greenery and you start to feel on top of the city of Dehradun. The views would get better and better as you move further. The path is proper and it has been properly levelled. Around 2.5 kms into the trek , there is a diversion and one needs to follow the path on the left towards Jharipani / Barlow Ganj. If you continue walking straight, you would hit the Jharipani falls. One needs to be attentive here to follow the right path. I too made a mistake but thankfully someone was nearby who showed me the right route.
About 4.5 kms into the trek, you hit another pebbled road that originates from the check-post located on the Dehradun – mussoorie road. You need to take a right from here and walk along the road that goes further up. You will come across some houses until you hit the main road – i.e. the Dehradun – barlow ganj – onwards to Mussoorie. The entire remaining distance is now on the main road with cars/ buses moving alongside. 100 metres ahead is the centre point of the Jharipani town. There’s a jharipani castle on the left. It’s a nice small property where you can have breakfast while enjoying the beautiful landscape of Dehradun city. Just across this castle, there’s a path that goes towards the jharipani falls (about 2 kms from here).
If you continue walking for another 2 kms, you will arrive at Barlow Ganj. Of this 2 kms, half of it is a decent climb up. At Barlow Ganj, I could clearly feel the change in the weather. The clouds were pretty much around us and there was a slight nip in the air. Barlow ganj is a brimming town that is known primarily because of the famous hotel it houses – the JP Manor as well as the famous british era residential school set-up in 1888 (the St. George’s college). This is the end of the trek. There are some nice shacks on the road. I decided to have my breakfast here ( Barlow Ganj Tea stall) . Shops are reasonably priced. Should you wish to have a meal at JP, you can certainly go there. I was told that the breakfast is worth Rs. 899+ taxes.
Overall, it took me about 1.5 hours to complete the entire trek. I was happy to do the trek given that this is so accessible from Dehradun. I will highly recommend going for this trek if you are in Dehradun and desire to go for some short hiking. It is absolutely safe and an easy climb.