Ambitious two day trip to cover Narkanda , Jalori Pass, around 1100 Kms in chilly weather of December 2009. Narkanda is at 2621 metres (8599 feet), about 65 km from Shimla and surrounded by the Shivalik Ranges that span a large part of Himachal Pradesh. It is an enchanting place abounding with natural beauty, serenity and calm.
Day 1 : Gurgaon to Narkanda (around 450 Kms) 25th December 2009
Our journey started in a chilly winter morning at around 2:45 am from Gurgaon. Early morning Air was fresh but chilly. We started in our ALTO three of us, me, my husband & my brother, plan was to reach Narkanda before Sunset.
We took a small break in Muruthul to have famous Gulshan’s paratha and we all liked the taste. Our journey was going really smooth but soon got interrupted by dense fog near Ambala.
We also came across 2 accidents due to this Fog and in one driver of vehicle was so shocked that he was not ready to come out of his driving seat. We felt sad and thought who is to blame for the Fog or ……. Anyway we moved ahead.
Going a little further I noticed a person standing beside a truck with a Torch in his hand, and asked my husband what the hell is he doing in this chilly morning without much winter clothing. Girish told that his truck broke down (and none of truck’s light working) so he was standing there indicating about the truck to avoid any collision. Great Job I thought.
Leaving all these stories behind, we were finally in the lap of nature, soaking in the fresh mountain air and the soothing early morning sun. Journey from Gurgaon started in planes until we reached Kalka. After Kalka we felt further drop in temperature, but high on the thrill of twisted roads. Interrupted by heavy traffic (because of Holiday season) on the road we reached Capital of Himachal around 11 am.
The road after Shimla was sheer pleasure to drive.
Narkanda is about 65 kms from Shimla and took us about 3 hrs to reach there at about 2.45 pm we stopped the engines, in all it was 12 Hrs way to get there from Gurgaon!
We gave ourselves a break (including to our li’ll Alto) and moved to HPTDC’s Hatu. It was pretty decent and affordable Hotel with beautiful surroundings. Narkanda is at about 9200 feet above from sea level and weather was cold and chilly when we reached there. We had to have three hot cups of tea to feel a bit warmer after we check-in in to the hotel….!!
Day 2 : Narkanda to Jalori Pass (Around 85 Kms)
We started our day early and got ready to take on to Jalori Pass. Although we were not sure whether about our car (Li’ll Alto)is ready or not. Start with a super descent into the Sutlej valley – nearly, we stopped at Kumarsain which gives a beautiful view to Satluz and motivate you to move further..
At the junction at Sainj, we followed the road signposted to Luhri and Jalori Pass. This took us to a bridge and Luhri. As we progressed ahead nature unraveled it’s countless mysteries with every bend in the road. Every view was picture perfect. The river Satluz almost flowed parallel to the road after Luhri.
The road follows the river down for a few km before bearing right to climb a side valley. The road is narrow, there is very little traffic, it is pretty, but it can be steep in places.
After Ani the road climbs steeply. The snow peaks were now clearly visible their tops golden under the morning sun. There are villages on the way and odd shops until we got to Khanag.
Post Khanag next 10 KMs was a challenge to all our driving skills and a real test of our li’ll Alto’s capabilities. Road conditions are bad, narrow and steep which makes it more difficult to climb even in first gear. Finally Girish somehow managed to drove us to Jalori and up there…..
Jalori pass is at 10,800 ft and is the nearest mountain pass from Delhi. Recent snowfall made the place more beautiful than what I saw in photographs in some of the blogs. We clicked some photographs and there were dhabas at the pass, where we finally had breakfast and then it was the time to say a bye to this beautiful place. It was important for us to be back to Hotel in Narkanda before Sun-set.
Although we followed the same route back to Narkanda but each turn was coming to us as new and fresh. The rolling landscape with orchards lining both sides of the road, the hamlets dotting the countryside , the beckoning mountains drawing closer with every kilometer , the rumbling river – set three of us into cheerful mood. It follows the valley then tacks up the side of the mountain. This time we also thought to have a break beside Sutluz near Luhri. We also enjoyed doing our favorite task ….. Clicking ….Clicking… Clicking
Jalori Pass to Narkanda is around 90 Km but advised to go only with trained terrain drivers. We completed our journey to Jalori Pass in 8 hrs (to & fro) from Narkanda. We felt happy thinking about our day silently and then started looking at all those photographs that we clicked since morning and discussed everything we experienced during our journey. It was awesome feeling……… Girish made the evening special by arranging drinks from shop near to the Hotel…. Had a dinner and finally went to bed thinking about the day we spent in this beautiful place and discussing about our plan for next day.
Day 3 : Narkanda to Hatu peak
Next day as per plan we got ready and checked out Hotel Hatu and moved to Hatu Peak. Hatu Peak is 8 km from Narkanda on the route to Thanedar, the road is surrounded by pine and spruce trees. On top of the hill, ancient Hatu Mata temple is located.
We asked a local boy about the route to Hatu Peak (as the road sign which we were told would take us to Hatu Peak was showing Thanedaar, so we got confused). He very enthusiastically asked Hatu Tample.. go for 1.5 Kms straight on this road and then at the intersection of three roads take the middle road to the temple. When we drove the car for 1.5 kms we saw the intersection and a signboard to Hatu and thought how accurately he guided us. On this 8 Km path, the first 4 kilometers, the road is relatively easy but after that it straight up. It can create difficulty even for trained drivers.
After another 2 Km we noticed a small pond of frozen water and got very excited to see snow all around us.
We clicked some photographs and moved towards the peak which offered us spectacular view of the entire Himalayan ranges, snow clad mountains and in depths are the dense forests, green fields… Trust its awesome… something I can’t describe in words and no camera in the world can capture this beauty. I once again how powerful lenses God has made to capture his other creatures……
After spending around 1 hr we started our journey back to Gurgaon (with a heavy heart). I’m leaving you here with some more views of Narkanda, Jalori & Hatu Peak caught through one Canon DSLR and another two digital Cameras.
All photos can be viewed at……..