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

  1. #6
    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

    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.


    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].


  2. #7
    Narkanda-Hatu Peak-Baghi-Thanedar-Rampur-Sarahan

    We left Narkanda around 930 am after a heavy breakfast for Hatu Peak. The road narrow and but again the journey fascinating.

    Up to the Hatu Peak, Kinnaur - just wide enough for a Safari
    You Tube:

    On top where the road ends, a circuit house is there and the view from there was magnificient. Surely, if and when I go next, will be staying once over in this circuit house.

    On top where the road ends, a circuit house is there and the view from there was magnificient. Surely, if and when I go next, will be staying once over in this circuit house.

    Circuit house, Hatu Peak

    We left Hatu Peak in direction of Baghi, all through we were now going through forest of pine trees, very similar to our North Bengal forest journeys of Lava and Lepchajagat. We wanted to take the less travelled route of Baghi to Khadrala to Sungri to Taklech and then joining the NH22 at Nogli. But the route after Baghi was closed due to landslides and thus from Baghi we went in the direction of Thanedar and Kotagarh.

    Here we first came to see the apple gardens, some gardens still full of apples as the plucking season is coming to an end. Well the unwritten law being that one cannot pick any apples from the trees but those lying on the ground. We found a person in the garden and he gave us 5 fresh juicy apples.

    Apples galore

    As we get on the NH22, we have Sutlej river now by our side. The road is wide but due to rains and landslide suddenly some portions have a width of a single lane. We cross Rampur and get stuck as a landslide is being cleared. That was done in half an hour and we now go off to
    Sarahan, famous for the Bheemakali temple and Shrikand peak.

    Near Rampur

    Landslides galore

    On reaching Sarahan, we found rooms at Bheemakali Temple guest house and also at a small hotel but beautifully located with the temple at one side and Shrikand peak and the mountain ranges on the other side. Again off season rates, and we checked into the hotel rather than Bheemkali temple guest house as the mountain range view was better from the hotel than the guest house.

    The small child of the hotel owner

    Evening went to the temple complex and other than that just sat on the hotel verandah having tea and watching sunset over the Shrikand mountain.

    As sun sets over the Shrikand

    So, there ended our that day's travel, Sept 30, 2008, Tuesday, at Sarahan.


  3. #8

    Oct 1, Early morning we all get up to see the sunrise over the mountain range and also after that visit the Bheemakli Temple. One cannot take photos of the temple inside, so pics of the temple are that of the courtyard.

    Early Morning Bheemakali temple and the Shrikand

    Bheemakali Temple complex

    Morning over Srikhand

    After a filling breakfast at the temple canteen, we set out for Sangla-Chitkul [Baspa valley region].

    Chitkul is the more remote part and the motorable road ends there. With our plan to stay at Chitkul, we set forth. It is at Karcham where one leaves the NH22 for Sangla and Chitkul.

    SARAHAN – SANGLA – CHITKUL........(121 km)
    Sarahan – Jeori (1250m) ………..18 km
    Jeori – Chora (1260m) ………..11 km
    Chora – Bhawa Nagar (1450m) ……..20 km
    Bhawa Nagar – Wangtu (1830m) ... 09 km
    Wangtu – Tapri (1683m) ………..10 km
    Tapri – Karchham (1899m) ……….. 09 km
    Karchham – Sangla (2680m) ………..18 km
    Sangla – Chitkul (3480m) ………..26 km


  4. #9

    The road to Sangla and Chitkul is narrow with huge drops. It is mostly metalled till Sangla after which it does become a gravel road in most of the places.

    Towards Chitkul, metalled road portion

    On road towards Chitkul

    Chitkul is basically the last village that can reached by road and has barracks of the ITBP, from here the soldiers march on towards the border areas of Tibet.

    View from our hotel room

    Dusk at Chitkul on Oct 1

    We take the last hotel that is there, at the end of a gravel road, still further from where the motorable road ends. The view from the hotel was fantastic. Chitkul is a must visit place, both for the remoteness and tranquility but also for the absolutely stunning mountains that seemed to start up right in front of us. Again, great off season rates and we decided to spend 2 days in Chitkul, i.e, Oct 1 and Oct 2.

    Next day, Oct 2, 2008, we plan to get up early, go for a walk along the river and see the sunrise. Also we planned next day to explore the wilderness on either side of the Sangla-Chitkul road.


  5. #10

    Next morning we set out to explore the surroundings of Chitkul and the different gravel roads that go down towards the river.

    This day was thus spent exploring and lazing around and seeing out our last night in Chitkul - thus we spent 2 night in chitkul. For all, chitkul is not to be missed - sure will be back here some day later.


    There ends the day, Oct 2, Tuesday and we set out now for Kalpa and Roghi.


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