Ambitious Drive to Jalori Pass

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.

Dense Fog near Ambala

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.

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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.
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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….!!

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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..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…..

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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.

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Jalori Jot Temple

Jalori Jot Temple

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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

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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.

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After another 2 Km we noticed a small pond of frozen water and got very excited to see snow all around us.

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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……

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Photographers.... In Action

Photographers.... In Action

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Thats me and Lill ALTO

Thats me and Lill ALTO

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……..
http://picasaweb.google.co.in/shalini.koli/JaloriPassNarkanda?feat=directlink#

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42 Comments

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    hi Shalini,

    Let me have opportunity to comment first on your write-up.

    In spite of two accidents you have completed your journey. Salute to your courage.

    Very informative post supported with beautiful photographs.some of the pictures is like hand made picture. Well done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • SKoli says:

      Hi Mahesh, First of all, Congratulations for beingone of the top Ghumakkar.

      Thanks for reading, Just one correction we had seen two accidents but fortunately we were not part of any of them…….

      Photo courtesy —- My hubby and his Canon 500D (with two of his Fav lenses)

  • Virag Sharma says:

    Nice long drive … good picture.
    Surprise to know that Alto can reach Jalori pass is at 10,800 ft :-)

    Thanks for sharing info

  • Mani says:

    Fantastic trip narration with “Take your Breath away” pics. Very well done, congrats.

  • Hi,
    Journey to Jolari pass is really difficult but decent. I have also visited
    Narkanda ,Hatu peak , Chindi ,Karsog valley & Jolari pass in 2007 with my friends. I visited Narkanda & Chindi thrice. Chindi is also a very beautiful place with a hotel of HPTC .I fell myself very happy whenever I read any article about Jolari pass . Your beautiful photographs reminded me our lovely tour to Jolari pass.
    I suggest you to have a visit to Sarahan , Chitkul and sangla velly for spectacular view of Himalya.
    Thanks for reminding Jolari pass.

    • SKoli says:

      Hi, We have visited Sangla, Chitkul & Kalpa in June’09, you can see our post “Sangla – unexplored india” in most viewed section.

  • nayan says:

    hi…i have visited hatu peak and jalori pass twice…i felt driving down from jalori is tough, my car’s brake shoes were almost caught fire….luckily streams are common there.

    some really good photographs…

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Improved a lot, Shalini. :-)

    The bits of experiences and the beauty of the place is captured well; some nice pics also.

    Need to spend more time on text editing. Also, some of the images are avoidable.

    • Amita says:

      I agree with Patrick. Shalini, both the write-up and pics needs serious editing. However, it does seem to be an ambitious jouney…

      amita

      • GSK says:

        I don’t agree with both of you. It seems 95% of people liked it and appreciated ….. both photographs and writeup…. and that enough.. it is not possible to make every one happy…

        • Patrick Jones says:

          Its a free world, GSK. 95% agreed on something doesnt mean there can be no dissenting voices.

          Appreciation elates but criticism helps us to improve.

  • Deleep says:

    Hi shalini,
    where did you see snow for the first time in your trip? I am going to shimla to experience some snow on jan 10th. There is no snow in Kufri, but can we find snow at Narkanda? or can we get into the frozen lake?

    Deleep

  • nandanjha says:

    Indeed an Ambitious drive, and with Alto – you guys really rock. I often say, that the real horsepower is in the driver and not in the machine.

    From my experience of driving, leaving at 2.45 AM doesn’t sound like a great idea. Its still pretty dark and our driving eco-system (signages, road quality, lighting, driving , drunken driving, warning signs and so forth) is probably not geared up to support it. Thats a personal suggestion, I know a lot of my friends where driving late night has been working well.

    Haven’t been to Jalori but I drove through Thandear on the way to Sangla. Pics are super and its a big deal clocking those many miles during this time of year. I can see a great ghumakkari-build-up in coming year. all the best.

    • SKoli says:

      Thanks Nandan for your concern, the whole idea to leave early to get out from Delhi b’fore city woke up as after that it become messy to cross Delhi.

  • GANESH says:

    hi,
    congrats.
    let me know when you are going next time to any outdoor.
    i want to come.
    i am ganesh from pune m30.
    i have my car.
    i like to travel in himalayas and rajasthan.
    i want to join you for outdoor adventure.
    thank u

    • SKoli says:

      Hi Ganesh Sure… We are planning a short trip in Jan end (around 26th Jan), I will let you know the details once finalised.

  • Smita says:

    Congratulations for a mlestone trip, the truckload of memories and a feasty-post for all ghumakkars. Indeed a great new year gift to those who are seeking to be inspired for such ambitious spurts :)

    And the pictures are great too (though I’d agree with Patrick on the number) And I’m sure it was even better in person!! Good going, Shalini!

  • Krishna says:

    Hey,

    Superb Pictures !!! I hope u had a wonderful Journey, Some Pictures have come out really well….Enjoy

    Krishna

  • Jatinder Kaur says:

    Kool trip fr a 2 kool person lik u, plac seems 2 b really nic.. m thinking 2 go thr 2….. n yes do plan sumthng wth us also sumtime……….

    God Bless

  • Vinay says:

    What a photographs…..!!! Its worthit to visit link provided….Great.

  • Raj says:

    First of all …NICE photographs….Congrates to Girish as I think he is who is behind ALTO as I know it require lot of mental peace to drive on Jalori road…as you get traffic from other side all of sudden and only people with cool mind and mental peace can only handle that…..

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Shalini,

    It was interesting travelling with you to the Jalori pass and I really wondered how much there to see in India. Your description free-flowed and the pictures aided it. Some of the pictures are marvellous – worth mentioning are the last two that looks like an artists impression than a real picture. I will also like to mention the pictures of dense fog (the first one), the sunrise and the picture of sutlej flowing in the valley.

    Enjoyed the trip a lot. Looking forward to your next ventures :-)

  • Shalini says:

    I have decided not to post anything on ghumakkar.. As it seems people here looking for some expert writer or photo editor than the spirit of travelling or sharing your experience. Good Bye guys…. kepp travelling

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Shalini,

      I will not appreciate the decision taken by you. Most of the readers appreciated your post.

      So keep traveling & share your experience for the other Ghumakkars.

      We will be very happy if you could change your mind for the benefit for the majority , who enjoy the spirit of your traveling & post.

      Cheers :-)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Shalini – that would be unfair for the major lot who did enjoy the spirit of traveling with you :-). Everyone deserves an opinion and we may decide to agree/dis-agree with it. There are not too many posts which boast of so many comments.

    Its not for nothing that your story is ranked among all time high among the posts which have come up in last 3 months.

    Traveling builds tolerance, travel more and share more, it would make this world a better place to live. C’mon Shalini.

  • Manish khamesra says:

    We are a small group of ghumakkars Shalini, voluntarily contributing, encouraging, criticizing, learning from each other. So when any of us is not visible on ghumakkar for a long time it hurts and his/her coming back is well celebrated as well. So when you write about leaving ghumakkar because of deeply hurt feelings, it hurts more.

    I will just put forth another point of view: Just think that everyone commenting on our posts will always appreciate us. Don’t you think that it will be a total waste. We will never know, what we have written is really good or there is something we can improve on. Don’t you think that we want frank and true opinion of our readers rather than all of us praising.

    When we write on public forums we are more susceptible for criticism, but that should be welcome. Not everyone has the same taste, but may be sometimes such criticism may hit the target and we agree with that.

    So dear fellow ghumakkar, I am inviting you to rethink on your decison, but I am also looking forward to your acceptance of criticism. As no criticism means we will not improve and will be satisfied with the rough articles we write and we will never be able to refine them.

    I may agree or disagree with my criticizer but I will always be looking forward to hear his true opinion and I look to hear more from the person who has highly cricized me because only then I will know that I have excelled :-)

    And believe me, it takes guts to criticize someone and some of us only do so because we feel that the writer has more potential.

  • SKoli says:

    Hi, I am not sure whether the opinion of Ms. Shivani was with an intention to help me, in imporving my write-ups for future or … Anyway I have always taken criticism in positive manner and even asked P Jones/Nandan to guide me as I had never written anything before. And anybody in the world can see the difference between my first and the most recent write-up (credit goes to both of them for their valuable inputs).

    Trust me, I have loved this website and people call me “Ghumakkar.com” in my office. And it really hurts when someone says “this definitely is not a travelogue which could be one of most viewed.”

    • Manish Khamesra says:

      Thanks Shalini for this last comment as I fully agree with you that that particular comment was written in bad taste.

      Have you read Shivani commenting many a times on ghumakkar? I think it was the only time I read that, may be I am wrong, she might have commented several times, but in my short memory that was the only time I read from her.

      Now, someone who is a sporadic reader, an outsider, or may be someone who is just envious of you, envious of us, envious of our small effort to let everyone know about all beautiful places in our country or on our earth, will you allow that individual to govern your decisons. I will request you not to do so.

      Please remain with us Shalini.

      A lesson from this, ” Nandan, I think the whole episode has a point here. An author has a right to discuss with the administrator that why a particular comment should remain published on his or her story”. I feel may be it is not possible for administrator that he can keep track of all such malicious comment. Can you put it clearly that an author can discuss any such mal-intention, malicious comment with you/administrator and get it subsequently deleted on administrators judgement.

      Shalini, I now understand and acknowledge the hurt that comment has caused. I hope with Nandan’s action, you will remain part of this family. We are proud of you and you can see that we too are learning :-)

      Nandan, Any comment. And Shalini/Nandan if you agree we can delete the whole conversation as well.

    • Patrick Jones says:

      Writing in a public forum would always attract criticism; some helpful, some devastating, some may even question your integrity. We need to take it in the stride. It is indeed the easiest to say wonderful to any and every post but that would help none. The process of evolving happens when we respond positively as you have done so far.

      None of us are established writers (barring a Ram Dhall or a Jerry, perhaps) or photographers but blogging gives us an opportunity to grow with the help of countless others. We should be proud that many people are benefiting from the shared experiences.

      Glad you took my earlier comments in the right spirit. I try to restrain myself from giving negative comments but when I see potential in a person I do give mild warnings which often results in positive outcome as in your case or of Anandarup Nandi. So take what you can and forget the rest.

      Had Galileo quit when incarcerated for his support to the theory of a heliocentric universe, mother earth wouldve still been the centre of the universe!

      So take heart, travel often and write more.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    I do not own the ‘editorial’ board of Ghumakkar but yes I can be contacted for anything around publishing/removing/editing-pics/adding-nonsense-humor/general gossip and I would take relevant action, and trust me I do wield enough influence on the ‘board’ (MK is part of that board).

    MK – I took action (wrote to SKoli) on this last night. We wont make it easy for her to leave :-)

    • Manish Khamesra says:

      Nandan,

      Question is also about that comment from Shivani and may be all such future comments?

      In my opinion, if an author finds a particular comment derogatory/wrong intention, there should be some mail id to which it can be forwarded and if agreed it should be removed with immediate effect.

      That mail id should be visible as well.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    And I am offering myself to act as the local photo-finisher for your next post.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    MK – Yes. Please utilize info@ghumakkar.com for flagging all such comments.

    In this particular case, I would suggest that we move on. Anyone who is reading here would read all the follow-up comments as well.

  • testerrahul says:

    Fantastic post and superb photographs. Please keep writing.

  • shekhar walter says:

    Beautiful post…..very well done indeed!The photos are really pretty

  • Patrick says:

    This journey on an alto???? wow and i though only SUVs could do it.

  • Govind Ram Chauhan says:

    hi
    a am also from kullu ,i offten visit jalori pass on foot bcz my house is not so far from jalori.
    and today iam missing its beautiful ,bcz i am out of distt.

  • Sanju says:

    Nice write up. I am up fro Narkanda and then Manali from there via Jalori Pass. Heard many stories that the roads are bad but lets see. Will take the NH-21 rute to Manali.

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