The area close to Dehradun is truly blessed with many mountain trails that gives one a complete experience of walking amidst the nature with verdant greenery and fauna to see and enjoy. In this blog post, I present a short-walk (hike) near the Thano Village. Thano is a small idyllic village that is located close to the Dehradun Airport (approx. 4 kms away). Dehradun city is located about 25 kms from Thano.
Thano, despite being a small village, has been known and well regarded since ages by the people in the Garhwal region.
Why Thano is revered highly
1st Perspective (more on the mythological side) – Dehradun was also known as Dronanagiri which means the abode of the Guru Drona, the mighty Guru of the Kauravas and the Pandavas from the Epic Mahabharata. It is said that the centre of Dronanagari used to be Thano. The word Thano comes from ‘Than’ which in itself means ‘Pure’.
2nd Perspective (a more recent one that still holds ground) – In the 18th century, a mandi (place for trading) was established at Thano. It is said that people from as far as Harsil (remote part of Uttarkashi District) used to come to Thano for trading goods. While the mandi is still functional here, the charisma it used to hold in those days, certainly seems to have been lost somewhere.
We bring you back now from history to the walking experience around Thano. A small (patchy) road goes towards the hill-side from the Thano Village. One needs to drive on this road for about 5 kms. The drive is an easy one and you suddenly find yourself in the lap of mountains, surrounding you from all sides. The trail/walk starts from a village called Sangaon. There is a small eatery on the road-side and ample of spaces to park your vehicle. You will see a walking trail going-up just opposite this shack.
The walk is of an easy grade and covers a total distance of about 700m – 800m. The walking path is well defined and there is no way you will get confused. You cross the small farm fields with mighty hills watching you from all directions. You will find lush greenery (pine forest) all around, which will surely tempt you to click photos/selfies. I recommend walking at a slow pace so that you get to admire the nature. It should take you about 20 minutes to reach the top which is a flat area known as the “Maidan Bungalow”.
Picture – This area used to have a ‘Maidan Bungalow’ that was built in 1860. Perhaps the 1st forest bungalow built by the British in Northern India
The irony is, there is no bungalow or any old structure that remains but only a flat area with grown-up grass. But it is said that the place used to have a bungalow that was built by the British in 1860. And this was the 1st forest bungalow that the British built in the entire North India region. This is the time when British were increasingly invested in the area due to the abundance of the sal trees. Trees were used as an input for making the rail coaches by the British.
You also get to see a watch tower near the bungalow. Soothing to the eyes, the tower still stands tall today and one can climb to the top platform using the narrow iron stairs. The views from the top are stunning with the Rajaji National Park, the Dehradun Airport and the Thano village, all visible clearly. This is worth experiencing. I can confidently say that during the rainy season (when the haze is not there), the views will surely be more stunning and the cameras will surely capture some great images. You indeed feel as if you are on top of the world.
The watch tower was used by the forest officials to track the movement of the elephants (Rajaji Park is known for elephants). May be if you are lucky, you can still spot them somewhere in the jungle.
So, that’s a quick historical + factual narrative of a nice/small walk located on the outskirts of Dehradun. To and fro from Dehradun should take you about 3 hours in total. 3 hours and so many experiences all clubbed together, wouldn’t you like to experience it yourself ?????