Route to Morni
There are 7 main routes to the Morni hills. This includes 5 main routes through Haryana and two additional routes through Himachal. The routes through Himachal are only for the motoring/ biking enthusiasts and are generally taken for making detours for exploring the area. Routes 1, 2 and 7 are generally the most popular, with bulk of the tourists using Route 1 via the Major District Road 118 that connects NH 73 and Morni.
Route 1 (via Mandana- 33.5 KM):
The best route by way of road quality and popularity amongst tourists is the route from NH-73. While moving from Panchkula take the road to NH-73 that starts from the flyover at the intersection with NH-22 (Shimla Highway), locally known as the Majri Chowk and then proceed eastwards on NH-73 that connects Panchkula to Roorkee through Ramgarh, Yamunanagar and Saharanpur. Drive across the Ghaggar bridge passing Nada Saheb Gurudwara on the right and turn left at the T-Point intersection with the hill road to Morni.
The point is marked by prominent signage and is 2.5 KM from Majri Chowk flyover. A Guga Marhi Temple faces the turn to Morni on the intersection. A small shop located at the intersection is the last chance to pickup mineral water, cigarettes etc as there are no shops till Mandana some 20 KM from the intersection. The drive to Morni takes one along a winding road with moderate gradient crossing the office of DFO Wildlife, Morni and the beautiful Shiv Dham temple.
About 2 KM from the T-point one crosses Hotel Golden Tulip to the left, a modern 4 Star Hotel that is part of an international chain.
A kilometre and a half later one reaches the checkpost of the Forest Department with a drop barrier, crossing the Holy Child School on the right. The Forest Guards/ local police often stop the vehicles for checking at this point and note down the particulars of the visitors.
One crosses the Berwala bridge across a seasonal rivulet and one can frequently spot peafowls on the dry river bed. This is aslo the Berwala Bird Sanctuary area. One generally sees troops of monkeys on the road near Berwala being fed bananas by the devotees of Lord Hanuman, in openly violation of the prohibition by the forest department of the practice.
One then crosses the Berwala Temple a small white-washed shrine dedicated to the Goddess surrounded by dense mango trees. The mandir is believed to be frequented at night by the elusive leopards.
One then drives on till one reaches Mandana, the largest village in the hills. Mandana Resort and Green Park Mandana are two popular roadside dhabas ideal for a tea break. A short walk from the Green Park resort takes one to the edge of the cliff and offers an impressive uninterupted view of the plains beyond.
About 2 KM from the dhabas after crossing the village one reaches the Guga Marhi Temple to the right with an impressive Banyan tree with prominent aerial roots to the left. One can frequently spot the tourists getting photographs against the tree.
The view of the plains to the right is breathtaking. A kilometre from here lies the T-point intersection with the road to Chandimadir through Thapli, Jallah and Burj Kotian. This road joins the Shimla Highway at Chandimandir. This point is 20 KM from the Morni T-point. The drive to Morni now affords excellent views of the Tipra range to the left and the Ghaggar river that seperates Tipra from Morni hills.
The road is less winding than the drive till Mandana. About 4 KM from the Thapli road T-point one crosses a large Ashram to the left painted in a bold pink! The road now affords views of the plains to the right.
Some 6 KM from the Thapli T-point lies the intersection with the road to Kumarhatti through Chhamla, Barisher and Naina Tikkar that connects Morni to the Shimla Highway. The Green Pine Resort (dhaba) is located by the road in the shady pine grove short of the turn for Barisher. One then crosses Thana, Tikri and Urhion villages with a couple of small resorts at Urhion. The Morni Women Polytechnic lies to the right. The Lal Munia Forest Rest House lies to the left. One then crosses the large Morni Resort to reach Mountain Quail a well maintained motel some 9 KM from the turn towards Thapli road.
The Morni fort lies a kilometre further at the intersection with the road to Tirlokpur and Raipur Rani.
The Morni Town lies to the left of the fort on the road to Sherla-Badiyal. The road narrows down considerably as it descends sharply if one continues eastwards from Morni fort to reach the twin Tikkar lakes 9 KM fom the fort crossing the cottage hotel Rock View at Rasoon.
The road to the tals offers good views for photography of the landscape and also offers a couple of popular picnic spots under the shade of pine trees.
Route 2 (via Ramgarh-Mattewali-Parwala-Plasra/ Morni-Tirlokpur road 42.5 KM):
The second route is the longest (excluding routes through Himachal) but involves the shortest hill drive. Take the NH73 from Majri Chowk Flyover at Panchkula. You cross Nada Saheb Gurdwara, Morni T-point, Panchkula Police Lines, Fort Ramgarh, the extensive TBRL Campus, ITBP campus at Bhanu, the turn for Billa-Aasrewali road, the turn for Kot-Bunga road, until you reach Mattewali about 14 KM from Majri Chowk You turn left towards Khangesra and drive straight on, parallel to the Morni hill range crossing the turn for Toka-Tibbi road till you reach the intersection with the Tirlokpur-Raipur Rani road some 7 KM frm Mattewali. You turn left again and drive straight towards the hills crossing Parwala (some 5 KM from the T-point) till you reach a right turn for Bhood some 2.5 KM from Parwala. The road hereafter is a narrow single road. The gradient picks up very gradually as drive for 3 KM to reach a bridge across a seasonal rivulet crossing village Paonta.
Another 2.5 KM later you reach Plasra, a large village with a prominent school building and brick houses. The gradient picks up sharply here after. The traffic is negligible but a rare bus can sometimes put the novice hill driver in a tight spot. The road provides opportunities for landscape photography including the picture perfect Khadoon Bana village.
The road snakes up the hill side crossing Kandeela until it touches Morni almost directly under the fort, some 8 KM from Plasra. The route is recommended for a motorbike journey and is an ideal route if you are bothered by hill sickness. The road was extensively damaged in the rains in 2010 but has since been repaired. This route is best avoided in the rains and during late hours.
Route 3 (via Parwala direct to Tikkar tal 38 KM):-
One can make a detour and turn right at Parwala on the Raipur Rani-Tirlokpur road and head directly for the twin lakes (Tikkar tal). One crosses the village Tikkar and the Angler’s Parc Resort to reach the Haryana Tourism Restaurant and Motel some 12 KM from Parwala. The road has been repaired after extensive damage during the rains in 2010. You may then climb the 9 KM distance to Morni crossing the temple with 1000 year old excavated sculptures. The road from Tikkar tal to Morni is a single road with sharp gradients at some locations. It offers views of the lakes and the meadows ensconced by the hills. The road from Parwala to Tikkar tal is advised only if one wants to reach the lakes directly without first reaching Morni.
Route 4 (via Mattewali-Raipurani-Naraingarh-Kala Aamb-Nahan-Barisher 135 KM)- is a long circuitous drive through Nahan. One takes the NH 73 (Panchkula-Saharanpur-Roorkee) from Panchkula to turn left at Mattewali (14 KM from Majri Chowk) on to the Khangesra-Toka road to turn right on T-Point with Trilokpur road to hit SH 1 (Jagadhri-Naraingarh-Raipur Rani). One then turns left and drives through Raipur Rani (10 KM from Mattewali turn) to hit NH 72 (Ambala-Dehradun-Haridwar). One then turns left to reach Naraingarh (17 KM from Raipur Rani) and drives to Kala Amb (12 KM from Naraingarh) and further to T-point with Himachal State Highway 2 (Nahan-Sarahan-Kumarhatti). One then ascends SH 2 driving through Nahan (18 KM from Kala Amb) to reach T-point (9 KM from Nahan) with road to Jamta and the historic Jaitak fort, the scene of bloody conflict between the British and the Gurkhas in 1815. One keeps left on SH-2 and reaches the T-point (21 KM from Jamta turn) of SH 2 with road to Barisher and Morni. One turns left crossing Jhajjar, Jaman-ki-sair, Thaku-dwar while descending from the Bursingh Deo hills to the valley below to reach the intersection (16 KM from T-point on SH 2) with the road to Naina Tikkar. One keeps left and drives on crossing Barisher and the Ghaggar at Chhamla bridge and then climbs the Morni hills to reach the road to Morni (Major District Road 118) 14 KM from turn for Naina Tikkar. One turns left and drives for 4 KM to reach Morni Fort. The distance from Panchkula by this route thus turns out to be 135 KM!
Route 5 (via Pinjore-Parwanoo-Kumarhatti-Naina Tikkar-Barisher 98 KM):-
A circuitous approach to Morni through Himachal is the route via Kumarhatti and Naina Tikkar. You take the Shimla Highway from Panchkula.
12 KM from Majri Chowk, you take the newly constructed Parwanoo bye-pass near the Pinjore Garden. 11 KM from here you hit the Timber Trail Resort. 23 KM from the resort you reach Kumarhatti. At kumarhatti you leave NH 22 (Shimla Highway) and turn right on the Kumarhatti-Sarahan-Nahn State Highway (SH 2). You reach Naina Tikkar after driving South East for 19 KM. Naina Tikkar is a picturesque village located at the North-Western edge of the Bursingh Deo Range and it gets its name from the ancient Naina Devi temple located in the village. You now leave the State Highway to take the smaller road that descends sharply to reach the tri-junction with the Morni-Nahn Road some 14 KM from Naina Tikkar. Another 15 KM and you would have reached the Morni-Mandana road (MDR 118). The drive through the valley is enjoyable and you cross large Green houses where roses are cultivated on a commercial scale.
You pass Barisher on entering Haryana and then cross the Ghaggar through the bridge at Chhamla. The road then rises sharply to reach the Morni road. You turn left at the intersection and drive for 4 KM to reach Morni Fort.
Route 6 (via Pinjore-Himshikha-Bir Shikargarh-Thapli-Daman-Chhamla):-
One drives straight on from the Majri Chowk flyover towards Pinjore on NH 21 (Shimla Highway) and takes the road turning right under the Pinjore by-pass bridge near the Pinjore garden to take the road to CRPF Centre at Himshikha and Mallah village. One crosses the bridge over the Kaushalya nadi and can see the dam and the reservoir to the right.
The road takes one through the Bir Shikargarh wildlife sanctuary. One can take a detour to visit the Vulture Breeding Centre with prior appointment. One can also take a turn for Mallah and trek up to the scenic lake created by a check dam constructed by the forest department at the deserted limestone quarry of ACC that was shut down in 1997 by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The road ends at the ghaggar river where a bridge is under construction to link the road to Jallah-Morni road at Thapli. A motorcycle or an off-roader can negotiate the river bed during the dry months and one has the choice of taking the road from Jallah (described under Route 7) or the more adventurous trip through Daman to Chhamla and Barisher road and Morni.
Route 7 (via Jalah and Thapli 30KM):-
The shortest and easily the best route to Morni if you are willing to forego the 20 KM winding drive through the forest that forms the Khol-hi-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary from Morni T-point to Mandana. One drives straight on from the Majri Chowk flyover towards Pinjore on NH 21 (Shimla Highway) and after crossing the toll plaza one turns right at Chandimandir on the road through Burj Kotian, Jalah, Bharal and Thapli. The turn (T-junction) is at 6 KM distance from Majri Chowk.
One crosses the Kaushalya (a tributary to Ghaggar) to enter the newly constructed road through the erstwhile stone crusher zone along the bank of Kaushalya. The crushers have been shut down due to Apex Court intervention given the fragile ecology of the Shivalik foothills and the entire area bears the look of a ghost town of the American wild west.
Ironically the five kilometre long double lane metalled road through the crusher zone to Jalah was built to satisfy the Courts for minimizing the pollution caused by the to and fro movement of tippers, tractor trolleys and diggers through the area but was completed only after the crushers were shut down. The road to Jalah is, however, a blessing for the Morni lovers as one gets to Jalah some 6 KM from the Shimla Highway within minutes. Of late Haryana PWD has started levying a nominal toll on the road users.
To one’s right one can see the Mandana hills.
About a kilometre from Jalah one crosses a turn to the right for Chandi-ka-vas, one of the 7 hamlets that comprise Mandana.
One then crosses Bharal. A short walk along a dirt track can take one to a stone-masonry dam across a seasonal rivulet built for water harvesting at Bharal. About 4 KM from Jalah one crosses the Haryana Forest Department’s Adventure Camp at Thapli with fancy bamboo huts and swiss tents. Beyond Thapli the road bends sharply to the right and one begins a sharp climb to gain altitude rapidly. the road is narrow for the next 4 KM till one reaches the main Mandana-Morni road.The road was extensively damaged in the rains in 2010 but has been virtually rebuilt thereafter. Two kilometres from Thapli one reaches a viewpoint offering uninterrupted view of the meandering Ghaggar and the fields along the banks.
One can also see the picturesque Dangrana village and the Tipra range across Ghaggar.
A roofed shelter has been built at this spot that is generally occupied by youngsters. Two kilometres from the spot one reaches the road from Mandana to Morni (Route 1) and one turns left to head towards Morni fort that lies 10 KM from this spot.
Short-cut for travellers approaching from Delhi:
For travellers visiting Morni from Delhi, The Tramp recommends a detour from NH-22 at Derabussi that takes one directly to Ramgarh to avoid the nightmarish traffic jam under the Zirakpur flyover. The entire traffic bound for Panchkula, Baddi Industrial Area, Shimla and deeper Himalayas has to take the turn on the congested junction located under the bridge. The conflicting traffic stream from Chandigarh turning for the Patiala road causes terrible jams that can potentially spoil your holiday. Having crossed the Dappar Toll Plaza 9that is 25 KM short of Chandigarh) one should drive on towards Chandigarh for 8 KM until one reaches the Derabussi Flyover. One should then NOT climb the flyover and instead take the narrow lane that runs parallel to the bridge on its left and take a U-Turn under the bridge and then turn left for the Derabussi-Ramgarh road. Ramgarh is at a distance of 9 KM from the point where one leaves the NH-22. One then turns left and drives 5 KM on NH-73 to reach the Morni T-point from where its a 31 KM hill drive to Morni. There is a petrol station located on NH-73 near Panchkula Police Lines and one can tank up before taking the Morni road as there is NO petrol station in Morni area.