Tehri Dam is a precious gem located in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. Uninhibited by too many tourists, this place is a perfect getaway for people seeking quality vacationing time up in the hills.
Tehri is a destination packed with something for every type of explorer. A scenic lake for the traveler seeking solace in the lap of the hills to a myriad of heart-numbing adventure sports for the daring wanderer to holy temples for the religious treveler to a mind-boggling dam for the one who has an eye for man-made marvel.
Tehri Dam: An Overview
|How to reach Tehri?|
|By air: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun 93 kms away|
By rail: Rishikesh Railway Station is 75 kms away, motorable roads to Tehri
By road: bus services from major towns like Haridwar, Dehradun
|Best Time to Visit|
|Summers (March to May)|
|-10 to 10 degrees in winters and 8 to 20 degrees in summers|
|The weather is pleasant and slightly cool during summers but the winters witness snowfall and the temperature dips very low|
|Kirtinagar, Ghansali, Pantwari Village|
|Throughout the year, however, the snow in the winter might make it difficult.|
|Tehri Dam, Sightseeing, Adventure sports in Tehri Lake|
|The place isn’t a very costly one but how much you spend depends on what you’d like to do. A trip to the Tehri Lake(adventure sports) would easily cost around 1000-1500 per head, travel excluded. Apart from that, it’s mostly the travel that costs most.|
The majestic Tehri Dam. Photography by Annu Chauhan
Tehri as a Place for Exploration
Climbing is the closest that you can come to flying, they say. To this, I’ll say, “Mountains are the closest you can come to the sky.” When it comes to voyaging the mountains, Tehri is a town that gives you a rousing opportunity for exploration.
It was in the summers of 2017 that I decided to trail the valley of Tehri. At first, I was a bit unsure of my decision but with every passing moment in Tehri, it kept proving me right. To most people, Tehri is only a place that they’ve read in textbooks or newspapers, owing to the very controversial Tehri dam. But only a person who visits Tehri will realize that this valley has so many different, awe-inspiring facets to offer.
Reaching Tehri and the Dam
I began my road journey from Dehradun to Tehri and sadly, it lasted only for 3 hours. Sad because the journey was so picturesque that I did not want it to end that soon! The roads were easy but like all other mountain roads, they got more and more meandering as the altitude increased.
Like all dreamy road trips this one too had to end and to me, this news came as I reached the Hemvati Bahuguna University. Being an ardent lover of good architecture and man-made marvels, I had decided to stop at this University ever since I had come to know of its existence. To my pleasure, the halt was worth it. People often say that life in the mountains is difficult. It is harder to do construction, agriculture, business and whatnot. But this university has refused to adhere with any such belief and has defied them all. Even at a height of 1750 meters, this university is built with great ideas of architecture. It has a three-floored library supported by computers and technology, something that is hard to find even in the plains. And I bet your feet would find it hard to stay in place and get pulled to its beautiful sports courts once you see them, as happened with me!
After being left awestruck by this modern marvel, I hopped back in my car to continue my journey to the valley. As I traversed a few more kilometers, I saw a green coloured board welcoming me to this dainty little town called New Tehri, and I knew that the wait is over!
A Visit to Tehri Dam
I had to drive downhill to reach the Tehri dam and when I got the first glimpse of it, oh boy! It was a gigantic man-made structure fitted in an even more gigantic natural structure. One has to drive across a bridge, standing in the middle of which feels like being engulfed by the mountains from both sides. Tehri dam is not just an educational structure but also something that leaves you in continuous awe as you watch it. You need to arrange for passes in advance to visit the Tehri dam from inside. Tehri dam is unbelievably beautiful.
After this, came the part that I love the most. The adventure part! Just a few minutes of drive away from the Tehri dam is the place where you can do boating and rafting in the middle of the valley. As I reached that place, I quickly had the urge to remove the layers of woollen I had draped around me because this part of the valley was very hot.
It is also one of the best boating experiences, to be surrounded by mighty mountains from all sides while rowing in what feels like the deepest points of the valley. For those who like a silent, moment of solitude in such settings, the are many little shops that sell Maggi and other snacks that you can munch on while resting yourself in that places, roaming your eyes over what looks like a perfect scenery out of a beautiful painting!
The Scenic Beauty of Tehri Dam
Close to the signboard that welcomed me, a line of cars parked at a distance grabbed my attention. I saw a few people standing in a group and as I went to know what they were looking at, I was mesmerized to witness what lay before me. The view was of the town of New Tehri in a zoomed-out mode, which, seeing from above felt like it had come straight out of a postcard or a city’s blueprint of planning. Queues of colourful, similar-looking houses were stacked closely. The image of that sight is still engraved in my mind. It looked like a child had organized little toy houses in rows and I was looking at that.
The houses present are similar to each other because new Tehri is literally a new town that was built for the habitation of the people who lost their homes to the Tehri dam in the lower part of the valley. As a new city had to be constructed, a uniform design and architecture were followed and hence such a view.
Pass, Permission and Rules at Tehri Dam
In order to visit Tehri Dam, you will have to procure a legit pass in advance. Photography is strictly prohibited in and around Tehri dam. So kindly keep this in mind at all times.
Accommodation Options at Tehri
To get a better essence of a place, I try to plan my stay in camps or with the locals. Fortunately, I had found a contact- a family- who was ready to welcome me in their home for the day. But you can very easily find good hotels to stay in and book them online or on-the-spot. The prices are nominal.
It was the month of June that this journey was fated to be in and being a Delhite, I am accustomed to sweating filled, blazing sun summers. As I was high up in the mountains, I did expect a drop in the temperature scale but this place was cooler than the November cold of Delhi. I was surprised the most when I went inside the room I was given and looked up, only to find a bare ceiling. It did not even have a provision for a fan because even in the peak of summers, the weather stays cool enough for a half sweater. So, remember to keep your woollens prepared even for a summer-visit to Tehri.
Exploring the Town of Tehri
That evening I decided to visit the Nav Durga temple and roam around the local markets in the night. A walk under the starry sky is a must on such trips. Despite not being a religion enthusiast, I enjoyed the visit to the temple. It is built at a platform raised a bit, which gives an amazing feeling when you are in it and rest your eyes on the mighty mountains that stand in view.
Now it was time for the fun part- roaming the streets and markets. What’s different and good about the local markets of Tehri is that they’re all covered and build in a subway sort of construction to avoid being washed away from rainwater or snow. And hence, it’s a very warm feeling to wonder about them. You can buy woollen clothes and jewellery for souvenirs. For me, the memories were enough!
I had a local chaat and decided to walk back home. It had become very windy but the air that rushed past me felt so clean and cool that I found myself enjoying the cold.
From all the visits to the mountains, I have learnt that people from the hills are very hardworking and follow a decent lifestyle. Not to forget a set routine of waking up early and going to bed early. This is something all of us should learn. Despite being a night person, I automatically shift my sleep cycle and go to bed early while traveling to the hills. After all, the next day was going to be a big one!
Tehri Dam: Important Facts
The Tehri Dam is built on the Bhagirathi river.
Tehri Dam is a multi-purpose rock and earth-fill embankment Dam.
Owing to a mass exodus of inhabitants due to construction of Tehri Dam, a new settlement called ‘New Tehri’ has been established.
Tehri Dam is the highest in India.
Plan a trip to Tehri dam soon and rejuvenate amidst in the mountains.
Happy wayfaring 🙂
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