A trip to Narkanda – Sangla – Chitkul – Kalpa – Jalori Pass

3rd June 2011 – As usual we have started our journey to at 3:30 AM on 3rd June from my house at Faridabad. It is the best time to start to avoid Delhi Traffic. Our target was to reach Narkanda via Fagu before noon. With good sunshine and no major hurdles we were able to reach Shimla by 12:30 AM. But road from Shimla to Fagu, then Fagu to Narkanda was not good, further traffic jam near Kufri makes it worse and we had decided to take Lunch near Fagu only. After having good lunch we proceeded towards Narkanda, at least 20 KM road between Shimla to Narkanda has bad patches and delayed our journey and we reached Narkanda at 3:30 PM. Narkanda is a small hill station having 8-10 Hotels for tourist. There is a small temple in main market.
White snow peaks towards East has welcomed us, I have been visiting different hill stations a lot but every time I reach here it gives me huge pleasure and satisfaction. You just forget how tired you are. I had visited Narkanda in Feb 02, that time it was covered with snow with fewer crowds. This is beauty of hills it changes shape and colour in each season or month. This Narkanda was entirely different than I had visited 8 years back. As planned we have taken accommodation for one day stay at Narkanda.

Temple at Narkanda


After a pleasant evening walk nearby Narkanda and taking some snaps we decided to take rest in Hotel to conserve energy for next day driving.

4th June 2011 – Towards Sangla

In 4th June morning after leaving the Hotel we decided to visit Hatu Peak. It is a temple of Goddess situated approximately 8 KM from Narkanda. There is a steep and narrow road, I tried to drive my Cruise, but after 3 KM of risky driving (As per my standard) we decided to park our car and started trekking towards Hatu Peak. It is a good trek surrounded by trees and lots of greenery. It was a lovely trek but the kind of trekkers we had it was really difficult to reach Hatu peak in limited time. We left Hatu peek for next visit and decided to go back so that we can reach Sangla in time which was 200km from Narkanda. Here I met one gentle man who is working with HPSEB, we exchanged our mobile number.

Trekking for Hatu Peak

Around 10:30 we started from Narkanda to Rampur. It was treat driving from Narkanda to Rampur. Newly constructed road allowed me to drive up to 70-80 KMH at hills. We have travelled downwards from 2700 mts (Narkanda) to 1000mts (Luhri), Satluj joined us just after 30km from Narkanda. we took break and tried to capture the first view of the river knowing that it will be giving us the company till Karcham. Rampur is a small beautiful town in the valley at the height of 1165mts. Without taking any risk we refueled our vehicle and withdraw money from ATM .After taking lunch at Jeuri we continuously moved and reached Karcham dam at around 2pm.There was lot of construction going on( courtesy Jaypee )for 1000MW Hydro power plant. Here we said goodbye to satluj and said hi to baspa, one could clearly demarcate the difference in the colour of their water, while satluj is grayish brown, baspa is transparent green. We took a break for at least 15 min as we were mesmerized to see the beautiful encounter between these two rivers.

Baspa meeting Satlaj

After crossing the dam towards Sangla, condition of road was not very good and it was narrow too, however it was fun driving through this chilling route along with green Baspa. My wife and son were also lost in this beautiful valley but my 13 yr daughter was alert enough to remind me to blow the horn at every blind turn which I think is advisable while driving on hills. Before reaching Sangla my kids were excited enough to peep the scenic beauty through the sunroof.

One for the road

We reached Sangla at 4 in the evening and settled comfortably in Mehta hotel and resort .We were really impressed by their fine service and dinner at economical price. Sangla valley is 60km long valley covered with snow peaks all around, pine trees and greenery covering the lower part of mountains and Baspa flowing beneath.

In the evening we were lucky to see gathered clouds on the peaks playing hide and seek with sun further adding to its charm.

Sangla

We went for an evening walk to the local market where one could find items for daily use and one or two Chinese café selling chowmein , momos and thuppa run by nepalese .We could not locate any tour or travel agency who can guide us further however locals informed that road to Chitkul is in good shape ,hence we planned to visit Chitkul next day.

5th June 2011 – Chitkul
I had planned to drive only 23 KM today, which gives me a lot of time to feel the valley and its charm. We covered this distance with lot of stoppages which started at Banjara Camp 7 KM from Sangla.
We spent lot of time at the banks of Baspa, capturing the beauty of the valley in our hearts and mind as well as digicam.

Walk along the river

BASPA at SANGLA
After crossing Rakcham village we came across 18-20 people group who were trekking from Sangla to Chitkul. As we were about to enter Chitkul the ambiance was astonishing, I was driving dead slow trying to breathe in whatever was in front of us. The combination of snow peaks, wide valley, tiny glaciers and off course flowing beautiful Baspa was like the gateways of heaven. Driving from Sangla to Chitkul was one of the best routes I have ever driven. Chitkul is a remote last village of Tibet border from that side. Around 1 :00 PM we reach Chitkul and settled in one of the Hotel.

Bliss

One can trek to Yamunotri or Harsil from Chitkul directly, but these are difficult routes and need lot of accessories and preparation before proceeding for it. I wish I could have done that trek but I have to still wait till my kids are grown up to take that challenges. Chitkul is a very good place for the tourist fed up with Shimla or Manali crowd and wants some space for breathing.

Before reaching to Chitkul

After taking lunch and some rest we passed our evening in Baspa bank at Chitkul, taken some snaps. It was a beautiful 3-4 hours just chilling near River Baspa with snow peaks surrounding you.

6th June 2011 – Trekking to Nagasthy and visit to Kalpa
Next day we decided to cover a Trek of approximate 3 KM from Chitkul to Nagasthy upto last Indian post a civilian can visit. Trek was easy and flat. Weather at 6:00 AM morning was cloudy adding cold to surroundings. Before proceeding to Nagasthy we met a group of 30 Army people were starting routine trek of approximate 150 KM just to keep Indian Flag high near border. This is a difficult terrain, being petrol by Indian army on routine basis. I saw lot of enthusiasm in team as it was proceeding for Border visit.

Mighty Peaks

Trek to Nagasthy was easy and can be covered with your family. It is recommended as the view was astonishing and looking nearer to peaks. Some time it looks so close that you want t touch it with your hands. I think everybody visiting Chitkul should cover it for experiencing the beauty of surroundings.

View from Nagasthy

View from Nagasthy

Chitkul Village
It took 2-3 hours to come back to Chitkul. As we checked out in morning we have proceeded to Kalpa to see the Kinner Kailash. After reaching Karcham we were back to NH- . Road from Karcham to Kalpa turn was little scary as the road construction was going on. We need to drive through 100 mtr alongwith water stream coming down from mountain. As we were about to reach kalpa we could see the picturesque view of Kinner Kailash mountain standing tall and erect all covered with snow. We could see series of snow clad peaks one behind the other. As we could not find suitable accommodation at Kalpa, we decided to stay at Reckong Peo. Recong peo is the head quarter of district Kinnaur. Road condition from Kalpa turn to Kalpa was good, however inside Kalpa raods are narrow and difficult when two vehicle crosses each other.

7th June 11 – Reckong Peo & Back to Rampur
It was good to watch Kinner Kailash range in morning from Reckong Peo. One can sit and watch it for hours . Peo is a decent place with wide range of Kinnaur shawls available in the market,one could buy a few .In the morning after breakfast we checked out from the hotel and visited Koti mata temple.it is a typical pahadi style temple painted in dark colours.

Kinner Kailash

Temple Kotimata

We left Reckong Peo at around 11 am and joined NH at Kalpa turn. We took right from Kalpa turn although I wanted to go left deep into Spiti valley but this was not in our plan, hence we decided to drive through spiti valley in our next visit.
We reached Rampur around 4 in the evening after taking our lunch at Jeuri(only place where one could find suitable food). A gentleman , whom we met in Narkanda , helped us in getting a comfortable stay at HPSEB guest house in Rampur . In the evening we decided not to go back through the same route ie via Narkanda else return via Jalori pass through mandi and bilaspur just to make this journey more enjoyable and memorable. I have learned a lot about this route through net and it was like dream coming true but for that we had to leave our guest house as early as possible say around 5 am in the morning as we had to cover a long distance.

8th June from Rampur to Delhi via Jalori Jot
It was a long drive today hence we have started early in the morning from Rampur. Locals informed us that Jalori pass route is clear but one have to drive very carefully. Near Lauri we have taken right path and left the road directly going to Narkanda. 20 KMs from lauri towards Jalori pass route was very nearer to Sutlaj. Little rain was making it wet and wild.


SATLUJ near ANI

After taking breakfast as Ani we reached Jalori pass around 11 AM. Driving for last 5 KM near Jalori was little tough but not risky if you are not looking towards valley while driving.

Jalori pass


Jalori pass is a beautiful place, and have facilities to stay in tents managed by HP Forest Division.

But staying at Jalori was not in our plan and we after passing some time we started downward journey. Road condition was not good atleast 20 KM after Jalori Pass, it has passed through very dense forest. There are number of guest house and tents are available near Shoja to stay. I wish we could have delayed our journey one day to camp at Shoja.

After Shoja we have we come across two rivers Sainj & Thirthan which finaly join Beas. After crossing meeting point of above rivers we join Beas and taken the Manali Delhi route in between. Journey after that was merely a drive to reach to Delhi. Around 2:00 AM we reached to Delhi ending a fairyland journey.

This was a family trip driving very beautiful and some time risky route, One have to be very disciplined while driving at Hills but it gives immense pleasure and thrilling experience.

26 Comments

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  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Pradeep,
    Welcome to Ghumakkar.
    Let me grab the opportunity to comment first on your first post on Ghumakkar. The post is beautifully written adorned by quality description and awesome snaps.

    “The combination of snow peaks, wide valley, tiny glaciers and off course flowing beautiful Baspa was like the gateways of heaven” …… What a magical narration.

    The snaps of mighty peaks, Bliss, River, Temples, Sangla, Meeting point of Bapsa and Satluj, Trekking at Hatu peak…….All the pictures were breath taking.

    It was a DHAMAKEDAR entry on Ghumakkar. Keep traveling, Keep sharing.

    Thanks.

  • Silentsoul says:

    yes good narration and good fotos. How much we have to walk to reach Hatu top ? cant we reach top by cars ?

  • Sahil Sethi says:

    Pradeep, Welcome to Ghumakkar.
    A very nice start.
    Its always feels very nice when I remember my trip to Sangla – Chitkul. The Hatu Peak road is very narrow. Its a very scary uphill drive.

    Sahil

  • Pradeep_Neha says:

    Thanks Sahil,

    Thanks Sahil, It is beautiful. But t

  • Amit Kumar says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    This year I visited to Hatu Peak through a cab from Narkanda but came back on foot. That was a pleasant experience. Hatu peak is definitely worth visiting. Anyways you can visit this place through this link
    http://www.ghumakkar.com/2011/05/29/never-been-to-such-a-height/
    Amit

    • Pradeep_Neha says:

      Ya, Hatu Peak is worth visiting. I have visiting Hatu peak long back. This time our target was Chitkul.

      Watched your pics at above link. It is beautiful.

      thanks

  • Pushpinder Singh says:

    your Photos are awesome I have traveled up to Hatu peak but seeing your Photos I am itching to do the rest of the circuit . By the way I too am in Faridabad in Sec 21-C

    • Pradeep_Neha says:

      There is another circuit entering in Spiti Valley, and then kunjum pass and return through Rohtang Pass. I am planning it in next summer.

      Let us meet to plan it jointly.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Great debut, Pradeep.

    I think that we owe a big salute to our armed forces for the superhuman effort they put in every day to protect us. Your phrase “a group of 30 Army people were starting routine trek of approximate 150 KM” says it all. 150 km Himalayan is routine for them. That’s amazing. For us ordinary folks, that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; for them its just routine. Thanks for reminding us.

    How was your experience driving the Chevy Cruze on narrow mountainous roads? Do you think that a powerful small car like the Skoda Fabia is preferable or maybe a 4 WD SUV ? Would like to know your opinion. Thanks.

  • Pradeep_Neha says:

    It was great talking and meeting these Peoples. It was an achievement of our visit. I saw a lot of enthusiasm in this team.

    4WD is ofcource a better choice.
    Cruze is powerful and It is treat driving it in hills.

  • Nandan says:

    Welcome aboard Pradeep. Sangla is a beautiful valley and you made the most of it. We went there in 2008 summers and thoroughly enjoyed it. We missed to do the Nagasthy trek though so guess good reason to make another visit.

    If you are planning to visit Kaza-Kunzum-Rohtang then I am leaving a link which might be helpful.
    http://www.ghumakkar.com/2009/08/11/shimla-to-kaza-a-road-review/

    @ SilentSoul – You can take your car. High clearance vehicle is recommended.

    @ DL – Cruze is a wonderful car. You can do Himalayas in any hatch-back with enough ground clearance for remote routes.

  • Pradeep_Neha says:

    Thanks for the Link. I will attempt Kaza-Kunzum-Rohtang this summer.

    regards

  • Pushpinder Singh says:

    sure would like to meet you my nos are 9810186423, 9136260275, 9868610693

  • Sam says:

    What can I say about the pictures ? It makes me nostalgic. Seven Years and I have still not been home without getting tensed about getting back to work. But still even five days in this God’s abode is more then enough to rejuvenate my senses. Thank you for posting the beautiful pictures of my home. But it really pains to see how people have started spoiling the mesmerizing beauty of the nature. My last visit to Hatu Mandir was great as the Mandir is finally coming to its being. The artisans are working day and night and their hard work is totally visible. But it was so disheartening to see some tourists sitting at a place (while on my way back ) ,having their drinks ( no issues with that ) but littering around as if it just doesn’t matter to them. I got down from my car and requested them to carry the litter with them which made them feel offended and i was the one who faced the music. I still cant figure out why my countrymen have no sense of responsibility. It is my urge to everyone who is reading this that please consider every place on this earth as your home.
    Active bloggers do encourage people not to litter anywhere. Encourage your children to use the bins as in the end its for them that we have to maintain our surroundings. Whats a scenic beauty for us today should not turn into a filthy picture for our future generation tomorrow.

  • vikhandan says:

    Its nice to read this coverage. Actually I am planning, with family (65 year old mother and my one and half year daughterincluded) to go on the same track from June 4, 2012.
    If you could share the phone numbers of the hotels you stayed in at Sangla and Chitkul.
    My probable route would be Delhi(4th June) to Narkanda(4th June) same day. Reach Kalpa on 5th June stay there for two days so that we can do sangla and Chitkul. Then proceed to Sarahan(8th June), stay there one full day, then to fagu,(10th June) a day break and then back to delhi. I have done reservations at Nrkanda, Kalpa, Sarahan and Fagu, all in HPTDC. Please suggest is it possible to cover Narkanda Kalpa same day. Also is it advisble to visit Sangla and Chitkul from Kalpa and come back.
    I would be going by WagonR.

  • shireen says:

    Hi mr.narayan, a very beautiful and lucid narrative of ur journey in the mountains.

  • shireen says:

    ur travelogue had inspired us to plan a trip to sangla valley and chitkul.in june 2012 we went upto narkanda and Hatu peak.and yes the uphill drive to hatu peak is very risky snd scary as the road is very narrow.without doing any net search we asked the locals the way to hatu peak and started uphill in our swiftdezire

  • shireen says:

    midway thro the ascent i started panicking and asked my husband to turn back as the road was very narrow .but he is so passionate about driving on mountain roads that he reassured me .to make matters scary a driver coming down got fearful to cross us from the valley side of the road and pleaded to let him pass from the wrong side(mountain side).for that my husband had to reverse our car with deep valley behind.
    A trek to the hatu peak is a better idea.

  • Ravi says:

    Love the details of HImachal tour by car. I am planning to visit end Dec. Could you please advise hotel to stay for family at Narkanda, Kalpa and near by shimla ?

    Appreciate your help. Pls feel free to send email to me.

    Regards
    Ravi Sharma

  • Mansi Rastogi says:

    Very informative and well written sir! Would like to read more of your travel experiences.

  • S s bawa. Advocate. says:

    This is my dream route n u hv explnd it very well. Wishing u n ur family n all d best for ur nxt trip.

  • Tbasnet says:

    I am planing the next trip to Shimla.

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