Morni is a village and a tourist attraction in the Morni Hills of the Panchkula district in the Indian state of Haryana. Located at a height of about 1267 metres, the place is at an unfrequented distance of around 45 kilometres from Chandigarh and 35 from the Panchkula city. Apart from being the only hill station in the state, Morni is known for its mesmerising Himalayan views, the fascinating range of flora and fauna in every direction around and the pleasingness of the encompassing lakes around the place. The name, Morni, is believed to be derived from a queen who once ruled the entire territory around.
My husband and I were coming back from Chandigarh when we decided to explore this place. To start with, we caught sight of the beautiful fields bordering the roads as we approached the place, it was in that moment that we slowly but eventually took ourselves off from the hustle and bustle of the city and levelled ourselves with the calmness and peace of the view around us. As we got to the village there were several diversions and attractions specified by Haryana tourism on the way.
The Morni Hills branches out from the Shivalik Hills of the Himalayas, which run in two parallel ranges. The village is positioned along the mountainside, at an altitude of 4,000 ft above mean sea level. Adjacent to the hills lie two lakes, the larger one of these being about 1,800 ft long and 1,510 ft broad, while the smaller one around 1,198 ft either way.
The village is occupied by fields and mountains from all sides. Small and yet comfortable houses are build at varying heights all over the place. With the dazzling view from their window and a befitting climate all over, the rooms make it a pleasant stay at the place.
MORNI HILL FORT:
Morni Fort, a stone masonry structure nestled right at the top of the Morni hills at a height close to 4000 ft is a prime attraction around the area. Built sometime around the 17th century, the fort is essentially in ruins now.
The fort is completely hidden by a thick canopy of tall Eucalyptus trees that have been planted all along the hill top on all sides of the fort. The climb towards the fort through the hill announced to me of what was waiting for me up there. The picturesque location and sheer grandeur of the whole place added to the whole beauty of the vacation.
The fort is strategically located and dominates the road to Badiyal towards Sarahan in Himachal, the road to Trilokpur, the ridge road towards Thapli/ Mandana and the road to the Tals as well. The fort also overlooks the Morni town or Bhoj Jabial.
The fort has four towers out of which the south tower is located right at the corner overlooking the Shivalik hills. There was a well/reservoir in the centre of the fort, which is now filled up. The air circulates through the wends in the domes to keep the atmosphere cool during the summertime. I sat nearby the south tower and enjoyed the mountains and the fresh breeze. The fort was in a dilapidated condition until the Haryana Forest Department took it over for restoration in the late 1970s, the restoration continues till date. What separates the fort from the ones you see in Delhi or Rajasthan was the seclusion and withdrawal from the population. For here you will find no queues for tickets, no guide books or vendors selling knick knacks, but just the fort itself standing mammoth for you.
On my way back from the fort I came across a number of other attractions that I somehow missed on my way up. A beautiful Shiva temple that awaited me near the entrance of the fort. On the left-hand side of the fort was a Pheasant Breeding centre managed and run by the Wildlife Department.
Shiv Temple: A brightly painted Shiv temple stands outside the Eastern Gate and breaks the gloom presented by the quiet, deserted fort and the shade of the Eucalyptus trees.
Pheasant Breeding Centre: A pheasant breeding centre managed and run by the Haryana Forest Department adjacent to the fort and seems a rather poor cousin of the state-of-the-art Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre being run by the department in partnership with the Bombay Natural History Society near Birshikargarh Wildlife Sanctuary.
TIKKAR TAR LAKE:
Another highlight of the place are the two lakes surrounding the whole region. A hill bisects the lakes, the larger one is called Tikkar Taal which is 550 meter wide and 460 meter long and the smaller one is called Chota Tikkar Taal (Little Tikkar Lake) is 365 meter wide and long. Myth, mystery and history also have a place in Morni’s attractions as there stands a belief from early days of a secret hidden channel that links the two lakes somewhere as the water level of the two lakes remains roughly the same always. Natives look upon the lakes as sacred and gather around for ceremonial occasions.
Another attraction is the Morni Hill Waterfall. It’s lovely seeing water stream flowing from the mouth of the hills. While standing underneath it, the sky gives the impression of being the source of the waterfall.
A lavish resort that provides fitting dining, accommodation and a number of recreational activities and opportunities such as trekking, rock-climbing and other adventure sports in the area. We enjoyed the peaceful water-boat ride there. There were other families and kids around playing and frolicking over the swings.
We had our lunch, and then witnessed the beautiful sunset adding a little lustre to the hills.
The whole view, stay and ambience is so pious, peaceful and relaxing that you don’t feel like leaving the place however eventually we had to. We bid our final goodbye to the Morni Hills with a promise of coming back as soon as possible.
My 10 second takeaway
With a cool climate, natural vistas and abundance of greenwood everywhere Morni is an idyllic retreat for a holiday for relaxation, peace and fun at the same time. Apart from being a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts the place, you’re bound to miss the place for the scenic beauty and quietude. Spending a week or so in Chandigarh, Panchkula? Reserve a few days for Morni!