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Thread: Incredible Himachal-The Complete Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul-Jalori Loop >

  1. #1

    Incredible Himachal-The Complete Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul-Jalori Loop >

    All pictures are copyright of respective owners. Pictures by deba and adc. Shot with Canon 400D and Canon S3 IS Powershot
    Prologue


    We [me, wife and our 3.5-year-old son] was what it was planned but then one of my friend, Deba, asked me if he could come also as he wanted to experience definitely the destination that we were going to but also the road journey, highway all night journeys in car. However, he does not know driving at all but still made a very good companion in the night drives, always awake and chatting with us as we munched up miles on highways through the night.

    Also while coming from Kaza to Manali via Kunzum and Rhotang, we had one more passenger, a backpacker who fell from a truck while travelling on top and had his hand immobilised on a wooden plank. We dropped him off at Manali as there was inadequte x-ray facility in Kaza.

    A few maps were downloaded from the internet and also a detailed road map of Himachal was bought. Websites and articles on the net were consulted and came up with the quite encompassing route.

    No pre-booking of hotels were done, as we were going just before the Durga Puja holiday season started. We just had a rough plan of being where on what day and modify our travel plan as per the situation.

    Himachal witnessed some of the worst weathers in 45 years just 10 days before our journey, with 48 hours of non-stop rain and snow. People had to be evacuated by helicopters and blankets were air dropped. But luck was on our side, we got some of the best weather as it cleared up in the subsequent days.

    Name:  Himachal-Pradesh-Kaza-Spiti-Lahaul59d.jpg
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    But with a child of 2.5 years we were not taking any chances. The Safari was loaded at its back to the roof. Will post a picture of what we all had but that comes up later. Other than 4 bags full of clothes, we had a trunk full of blankets, a gas stove, a 5 kg cylinder, a sack full of utensils and food, and a 20-litre Kinley jar. Safari has a 65-L tank and so did not take any fuel cans.





    contd...

  2. #2
    Kolkata-Asansol-Mathura RT

    As per the plan it was decided that we move out to Asansol on Friday evening, Sept 26, to my cousin sister's house, thus thereby not only meeting up with her but also going forward some 250 km up on the Kolkata-Delhi GQ road.

    As it has to happen, Friday I am swamped with work and it was only around 8 pm that I was able to get up from the desk. But then everything was arranged and taken care of by my wife and after a early dinner by 9:15 pm we start the journey towards Asansol. I then pick up my friend [from EM Bypass] at around 9:30 pm. As said, though he does not know driving he was accompanying us on this journey via road as he wanted to feel and experience a long distance road journey and he enjoyed it to the max, he was awake the whole time and kept engaged us in conversation time to time. He later separated from us in Manali when he took the train back from Kalka while we continued the road journey via Jalori Pass to Delhi and then to Kolkata.

    We hit the GQ in another 40 mts. The Kolkata - Asansol trip took around 4 hours with a break in between and the slow stretch at Panagarh till Darjeeling more where the roads condition has deteriorated considerably.

    So by around 2 am on Saturday, Sept 27, we were off to a sound sleep at my cousin sister's house in Asansol. I got up late with a good night's sleep, around 8 am. We all had one good hearty breakfast and started from Asansol at around 9 am and on the GQ to Delhi within 10 mts. The plan was to drive as long it was possible for me and to drive fast with minimum breaks and then take a halt for night as necessary.

    Progress was smooth, VTT was going fast and then slowed down [as much as an SUV should in a bad stretch] as we passed the dusty unbuilt GQ portion in Jharkhand [Parasnath stretch]. Lost also some time at the rail gate.

    Scenic roads of Jharkhand





    But then back to highway reality, GQ, NH2



    And sun sets down somehwere in Eastern UP




    Have to say that Bihar portion of the GQ is fantastic and we had average speed of around 90 kph.

    By around 4 pm we crossed Varanasi by the bypass and the progress was good and Allahabad was the next city to be crossed. Just around 30-40 km from Allahabad the GQ vanishes and it becomes a single road. And the pain starts. It was a evening rush traffic typical of a unplanned city.

    Tiredness came up on me fast, all the good thoughts of GQ vanished. I was in the midst of all kinds of vehicles, from cycle rickshaws to the innumerable bikes to suicidal car drivers and it already dusk has set in.

    Things were not good, just followed the general direction all the vehicles were going and soon was bang in middle of Allahabad and the traffic became denser. We kept on asking for directions for Kanpur as there were no traces of highway, we are in the city with the traffic that you would expect at around 630 pm.

    Around 40 km on either side of Allahabad GQ is not complete and never take it during the evening hours or even in the morning hours. Trucks are allowed to enter only after 10 pm. [As of May 2010, Allahabad bypass is ready and functioning and no need to go through the city now].

    From then it was again a fast journey to Kanpur and everytime I see a police van at a distance I put down the windows. There was not a single car, big or small, with tinted windows. Anyway crossed Kanpur fast over the flyover that totally goes on top of the city. Fantastic roads now, just some occasional diversions that do come up suddenly on you has drive fast.

    As you cross UP in the night, you feel darkness both literally and figuratively. The power situation is dismal. Whatever pumps or shops are open, they are running on generator. And then around 2 am looking for a small break at some roadside shop or dhaba, I had to stop at Auraiya and that too as said at 2 am. In fact since ignorance was bliss and did not know about Auraiya's past reputation, I in fact thought this was a more secure place!!! There were two private guards with guns on guard and that what made me stop. Well later on I learn about Auraiya from friends at Mathura Refinery Township. Anyway after a good stop of around 30 mts we took to the GQ again with intention of halting this leg of the drive at Mathura. Mathura Refinery Township[RT] is at some distance from Mathura and on the GQ itself.

    My friend who accompanied me used to work at Haldia Petrochemicals and thus he had some good friends at Mathura RT. We decided to halt over there for the night and our host [friend's friend] welcomed us warmly at around 4 am at Mathura.

    We all promptly went to sleep and next day for me just lazing out and meeting some of my friend friends and all coming up to see me, almost everyone had a question like why I am doing this by road and not by the Kalka mail. My friend was also very happy that we stopped over here, giving him the oppurtunity to meet all this old friends which otherwise he may not have met for a long long time.


    Mathura Refinery Township is full of domesticated peacocks!!!



    Enjoyed the hospitality to the max, in fact we had lunch invitation at another of the friends house and then had good afternoon sleep with the intention of starting around 6-7 pm, entering Delhi around 9-10 pm and then driving all night towards Shimla, making a halt either at Chail or Narkanda as per the situation.

    Asansol to Mathura around 18 hours of journey [including break time of around 3.5 hours and traffic and stop time lost in Allahabad]


    contd...

  3. #3
    Mathura RT-Delhi-Chail-Narkanda


    So around 730 pm on Sept 28, Sunday, we started from Mathura RT and distances were covered fast. In around 3 hours were at Delhi border and crossed Delhi taking the right turn towards Ring Road from Ashram. Ring Road travel was fast, Sunday traffic at around 10 was at a minimum
    and the flyovers had clear signage about which way to go.

    As we passed Delhi, of course with our tinted windows down, we were now on NH1 and smooth one-way roads. Windows were up soon as we passed Delhi city. Long and monotonous NH1 you can say but then I am enjoying this night drive. Soon you come up to Murthal, with all the No 1 parantha shops lined up. Heard about Ahuja No.1 being the better one and stopped over there. Had aloo parantha but then it was so-so for me, in fact I expected some non-veg items. With a 40-minute break we were soon on towards Sonipat and Panipat. The Panipat flyover is done and the town goes by in a jiffy.

    Night drive on NH1 [towards Shimla] with a Skoda as a pilot car
    http://<iframe title="YouTube video ...reen></iframe>

    All along we are paying tolls like anything, the purse size remains the same, in fact gets fatter as rupees as replaced by all kinds of coloured toll papers. Total around Rs 600 toll was payed from Kolkata to Narkanda, with the last toll being at Solan, HP.

    Anyway we moved fast and other than all cars being checked from outside with a torch by Punjab Police, nothing much happened. Crossed Zirakpur [flyover still under construction] without any traffic and now the Safari was truly pointg towards the Shimla.

    As we enter Himachal round 430 am, my wife remember's that 29 Sept, Monday, was Mahalaya and those immortal chants [as Mahishasur Mardini by Birendra Krishna Bhadra] flow out from the AM channel as we enter Shimla.

    Entering HP approx 4:30 am on Mahalaya 2007
    http://<object style="height: 390px;...390"></object>


    That was an experience, as my friend said, "Ja ta byapar" - he had this habit of saying when something wonderful is happening or "ektu chap hoye gelo" when there is some tension coming due to diffcult hill roads with sheer drops.

    As we enter HP at around 4-430 am


    We cross Barog and we then take the Chail route, thus not going towards Shimla. It need not be repeated that Chail route is very scenic. It like our N Bengal forests, big pine trees and as early morning Sun filtered through the trees we took a break to soak in the atmosphere. Since it was so early morning, the Chail route was totally empty, encountered only car on route, do remember that Chail route is quite narrow and with a HP transport bus on the other side you would have to backup till you get a wider portion.

    A random stop at Chail, enchanting





    Also came up to this hotel cum tea shop, just opening up for the day, on the Chail route and had our morning tea. Fantastic and enchanting - tiredness wasn't felt after all felt elated that we have crossed the first stage [entering HP] successfully. After a small break of 30 mts, we then moved on, with the aim of going till Narkanda.

    A very refreshing morning tea after a night long journey - in Chail


    Narkanda is soon reached by around 930 and we fill up diesel to the max at the only petrol pump available. Went up to the PWD circuit house for rooms but then had some govt officials coming up.



    sssssssssssss








    The Wanderers!!



    The view up from there was very beautiful so just posed for some photos and came down to have a hotel for the night. Got some off season rates. After having a very refreshing bath and a hearty meal, went for a walk along the road and then went off to sleep soon late afternoon. Got up in the evening, again went for a stroll and of course excited in anticipation as we enter Kinnaur from tomorrow.

    Mathura RT to Narkanda was around 14 hours of driving [including break of around 2.5 hours].



    contd...

  4. #4
    Mathura RT-Delhi-Chail-Narkanda


    So around 730 pm on Sept 28, Sunday, we started from Mathura RT and distances were covered fast. In around 3 hours were at Delhi border and crossed Delhi taking the right turn towards Ring Road from Ashram. Ring Road travel was fast, Sunday traffic at around 10 was at a minimum
    and the flyovers had clear signage about which way to go.

    As we passed Delhi, of course with our tinted windows down, we were now on NH1 and smooth one-way roads. Windows were up soon as we passed Delhi city. Long and monotonous NH1 you can say but then I am enjoying this night drive. Soon you come up to Murthal, with all the No 1 parantha shops lined up. Heard about Ahuja No.1 being the better one and stopped over there. Had aloo parantha but then it was so-so for me, in fact I expected some non-veg items. With a 40-minute break we were soon on towards Sonipat and Panipat. The Panipat flyover is done and the town goes by in a jiffy.

    Night drive on NH1 [towards Shimla] with a Skoda as a pilot car


    All along we are paying tolls like anything, the purse size remains the same, in fact gets fatter as rupees as replaced by all kinds of coloured toll papers. Total around Rs 600 toll was payed from Kolkata to Narkanda, with the last toll being at Solan, HP.

    Anyway we moved fast and other than all cars being checked from outside with a torch by Punjab Police, nothing much happened. Crossed Zirakpur [flyover still under construction] without any traffic and now the Safari was truly pointg towards the Shimla.

    As we enter Himachal round 430 am, my wife remember's that 29 Sept, Monday, was Mahalaya and those immortal chants [as Mahishasur Mardini by Birendra Krishna Bhadra] flow out from the AM channel as we enter Shimla.

    Entering HP approx 4:30 am on Mahalaya 2007
    http://<object style="height: 390px;...390"></object>


    That was an experience, as my friend said, "Ja ta byapar" - he had this habit of saying when something wonderful is happening or "ektu chap hoye gelo" when there is some tension coming due to diffcult hill roads with sheer drops.

    As we enter HP at around 4-430 am


    We cross Barog and we then take the Chail route, thus not going towards Shimla. It need not be repeated that Chail route is very scenic. It like our N Bengal forests, big pine trees and as early morning Sun filtered through the trees we took a break to soak in the atmosphere. Since it was so early morning, the Chail route was totally empty, encountered only car on route, do remember that Chail route is quite narrow and with a HP transport bus on the other side you would have to backup till you get a wider portion.

    A random stop at Chail, enchanting





    Also came up to this hotel cum tea shop, just opening up for the day, on the Chail route and had our morning tea. Fantastic and enchanting - tiredness wasn't felt after all felt elated that we have crossed the first stage [entering HP] successfully. After a small break of 30 mts, we then moved on, with the aim of going till Narkanda.

    A very refreshing morning tea after a night long journey - in Chail


    Narkanda is soon reached by around 930 and we fill up diesel to the max at the only petrol pump available. Went up to the PWD circuit house for rooms but then had some govt officials coming up.



    sssssssssssss








    The Wanderers!!



    The view up from there was very beautiful so just posed for some photos and came down to have a hotel for the night. Got some off season rates. After having a very refreshing bath and a hearty meal, went for a walk along the road and then went off to sleep soon late afternoon. Got up in the evening, again went for a stroll and of course excited in anticipation as we enter Kinnaur from tomorrow.

    Mathura RT to Narkanda was around 14 hours of driving [including break of around 2.5 hours].



    contd...

  5. #5
    Mathura RT-Delhi-Chail-Narkanda


    So around 730 pm on Sept 28, Sunday, we started from Mathura RT and distances were covered fast. In around 3 hours were at Delhi border and crossed Delhi taking the right turn towards Ring Road from Ashram. Ring Road travel was fast, Sunday traffic at around 10 was at a minimum
    and the flyovers had clear signage about which way to go.

    As we passed Delhi, of course with our tinted windows down, we were now on NH1 and smooth one-way roads. Windows were up soon as we passed Delhi city. Long and monotonous NH1 you can say but then I am enjoying this night drive. Soon you come up to Murthal, with all the No 1 parantha shops lined up. Heard about Ahuja No.1 being the better one and stopped over there. Had aloo parantha but then it was so-so for me, in fact I expected some non-veg items. With a 40-minute break we were soon on towards Sonipat and Panipat. The Panipat flyover is done and the town goes by in a jiffy.

    Night drive on NH1 [towards Shimla] with a Skoda as a pilot car


    All along we are paying tolls like anything, the purse size remains the same, in fact gets fatter as rupees as replaced by all kinds of coloured toll papers. Total around Rs 600 toll was payed from Kolkata to Narkanda, with the last toll being at Solan, HP.

    Anyway we moved fast and other than all cars being checked from outside with a torch by Punjab Police, nothing much happened. Crossed Zirakpur [flyover still under construction] without any traffic and now the Safari was truly pointg towards the Shimla.

    As we enter Himachal round 430 am, my wife remember's that 29 Sept, Monday, was Mahalaya and those immortal chants [as Mahishasur Mardini by Birendra Krishna Bhadra] flow out from the AM channel as we enter Shimla.

    Entering HP approx 4:30 am on Mahalaya 2007
    http://<object style="height: 390px;...390"></object>


    That was an experience, as my friend said, "Ja ta byapar" - he had this habit of saying when something wonderful is happening or "ektu chap hoye gelo" when there is some tension coming due to diffcult hill roads with sheer drops.

    As we enter HP at around 4-430 am


    We cross Barog and we then take the Chail route, thus not going towards Shimla. It need not be repeated that Chail route is very scenic. It like our N Bengal forests, big pine trees and as early morning Sun filtered through the trees we took a break to soak in the atmosphere. Since it was so early morning, the Chail route was totally empty, encountered only car on route, do remember that Chail route is quite narrow and with a HP transport bus on the other side you would have to backup till you get a wider portion.

    A random stop at Chail, enchanting





    Also came up to this hotel cum tea shop, just opening up for the day, on the Chail route and had our morning tea. Fantastic and enchanting - tiredness wasn't felt after all felt elated that we have crossed the first stage [entering HP] successfully. After a small break of 30 mts, we then moved on, with the aim of going till Narkanda.

    A very refreshing morning tea after a night long journey - in Chail


    Narkanda is soon reached by around 930 and we fill up diesel to the max at the only petrol pump available. Went up to the PWD circuit house for rooms but then had some govt officials coming up.



    sssssssssssss








    The Wanderers!!



    The view up from there was very beautiful so just posed for some photos and came down to have a hotel for the night. Got some off season rates. After having a very refreshing bath and a hearty meal, went for a walk along the road and then went off to sleep soon late afternoon. Got up in the evening, again went for a stroll and of course excited in anticipation as we enter Kinnaur from tomorrow.

    Mathura RT to Narkanda was around 14 hours of driving [including break of around 2.5 hours].



    contd...

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