When to go: Rafting camps, the only places to stay here, operate from mid-April to mid-July
Tourist office: GMVN, 74/1, Rajpur Road, Dehradun
Tel: 0135-2740896, 2746817, 2749308
Delhi office: GMVN, 102, Indraprakash Building, 21, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi
Tel: 011-23350481, 23326620
Air: Nearest airport: Dehradun (187 km/3¸ hrs)
Rail: Nearest railhead: Dehradun (173 km/5 1/2 hrs)
Road: via Meerut, Roorkee, Dehradun, Mussoorie, Kempty, Nainbagh, Nowgaon, Purola and Jarmola to Mori
In the well-visited state of Uttarakhand, Mori is a charming, relatively undiscovered little hamlet. If pristine nature and a quiet break to recharge your tired soul is what you are looking for, you won’t go wrong by responding to the lure of the Tons Valley, with its crisp, pine-scented air and gorgeous views of the river meandering across the valley.
There may not be many tourist activities at Mori, but there are just enough for an exciting weekend. You could give company to the Tons River as it lazily winds its way to the plains, stopping only to look for the best rafting deal. Or splash around in a deep pool formed by a bubbling creek or bike down a boulevard of yellow mimosas and pine trees, far away from the city.
Legend has it that the Tons was born of the tears of demoness Surpanakha. Some of the angst survives in the treacherous rapids; though from a distance the river looks beguilingly calm, it is strongly advised that you test the waters only in the company of experienced guides and life jackets.
Things to see and do
To get the most out of the valley, you can pitch your own tent or head to an organised campsite on the sandy banks of the Tons River. The day begins with birdsong and the spectacular sight of the entire valley bathed in the gentle first rays of the sun. You can choose to raft, cycle, trek or simply laze around by the riverside under the shade of the tallest pine tree in Asia. For people who enjoy historical sights, a visit to the ancient temple built by the Pandavas is a must. The Tons Valley also boasts of the only Indian temple dedicated to Duryodhana, the antagonist of the Indian epic Mahabharata.
Even if you are not the active type, rouse yourself enough to do the walk to Lunagad Creek. The walk goes through a narrow gorge, pine forests and past Gujjar huts, and at the end of it, there’s a clear blue pool with a small waterfall.
Treks and Trails
The Tons Valley is a base for treks to Kedar Kantha, the gorgeous Har-ki-dun Valley and the remote Ruinsara Tal. You could also trek to Kinnaur and onto the Yamuna and Bhagirathi watersheds. Plus there are several unused trails suitable for mountain biking.
Fishing and Rafting
There’s plenty of trout in the Tons, but you need special permits from the office of the DFO at Purola (01373-223328) if you plan to go fishing in the river.
Rafting or kayaking down the river is highly recommended at Mori. If you do not have your own equipment, the camps here will arrange it for you. But be ready for some hard paddling; the crazy rapids do not allow for much opportunity to soak in the sights. Make sure that you venture in only with professional guides and that you are wearing a life jacket.
Where to stay and eat
Good campsites for rafting are set up in Mori every summer. Himalayan River Runners’ Tons Camp (Delhi Tel: 011-26852602, 26968169; Tariff: INR 3,300-4,000 per person) is open from May to the end of June. It offers tents and activities such as rafting, rock climbing, rappelling and nature walks. Continental and Indian meals are part of the package.
Situated at the confluence of the Lunagad Creek with the Tons (5 km down-stream from Mori), the Aquaterra Adventures’ Camp Lunagad (Delhi Tel: 011-29212641/ 760; Tariff: INR 7,250 per person for 2D/ 2N, with meals, rafting, beach activities), runs from May to 15 June. It offers spacious tents. Activities include river rafting, rock climbing, rappelling, and nature and village walks.
Himalayan Eco Lodges and Camp’s Camp Mystic River (Gurgaon Tel: 0124-4081500; Tariff: INR 3,300) has comfy tents and a multicuisine kitchen.
MHE’s Tons River Camp (Delhi Tel: 011-23340033/ 6209; Tariff: INR 3,660 per person, with meals and one round of rafting) also sets up tents by the Mori river.