Me and My cousin Gaurav decided to take this unusual route on a week long trip and cover these many hillstation in one go.Best thing was that we had no plans and just decided to follow our instinct and thats what we came up with. Must say it was really satisfying to cover so many places in one go.But beware the route is tough and terrain is unforgiving at many places.At many places we drove for hours without seeing any sign of human civilization .Heres a brief summary of our trip.
We left Delhi (Dwarka) at 0600 stopped at Karnal for breakfast after that we crossed Karnal and turned right from Pipli chowk towards yamunanagar. At Yamuna nagar (vishwkarma chowk)turned left for Jagadhari bus stand . At Jagadhari bus-stand we took right and then a left (after abt 1 km) towards Paonta sahib. Road turned very bad from hereonwards. Road was being relaid and it was just a kuccha rasta. We had to drive for about an hour on a dusty road. Just before paontasahib theres a beautiful forest drive ,road turned good from hereonwards. We reached Paontasahib at noon, spent some time in Gurudwara and; had langar there .
Yamuna runs along with Gurudwara but it was disappointing to see it was completely dry hardly any water in it.we left paonta sahib crossed Herbertpur then Vikasnagar and then kalsi. Just around Kalsi theres Assan barrage, ppl stop here for birdwatching and water sports.GMVN has a guest house here so if you want you can stop there but we decided to move along.Hills started soon after Kalsi and all of a sudden it began to get isolated.We had to stop 2-3 times to ask the way as there were no signboards/milestones even at many T-points. Guess the govt didn’t expect anyone to use this route..After Kalsi we crossed Yamuna bridge then Sumankari then Nainbagh and then Naingaon and then reached Damta . Damta is a small town good enough for a evening tea. From damta there is a long hill drive to Naugaon.
Road was pathetic at many places. many places construction/repair activity was going on thankfully it was almost completely devoid of traffic(it was scary too). From naugaon theres a sharp left towards Purola which was our destination on Day1.Road suddenly turned fantastic after that..it was newly laid road and we finally began to see some signs of a human inhabitants.It was getting dark when we checked into Purola GMVN . Purola itself is a noisy small typical hill town. There isn’t too much to see there . On day 1 we almost covered 370 Kms in 12 hours mainly because of bad roads/our frequent and long halts in between.
TIP- After Kalsi ,Purola is the only main town where you can spend the night.So if you are at Kalsi and its getting dark then its advisable to halt and restart only in morning. From Kalsi it can take you any where between 4-6 hours depending on your driving skills and condition of Roads.
Day – 2 – 28th March – Purola to Hanol
From purola we left towards Mori in the morning on the way we crossed Jarmola and; Kharsari . Views were getting really scenic and beautiful, roads were getting better , temperatures were dropping and it ws getting really comfortable now. Much to our excitement we even saw a fox crossing road in fornt of us .There is no GMVN Guest house at mori .Mori has many campsites which unfortunately work only in late april to May-June. So from Mori we took left and reached Hanol theres a GMVN rest house there just above Tons river. Tons is a major tributary to River Yamuna.
It was hard to believe it was the same Yamuna which we have in delhi. It was a treat to the sore eyes.after checking in we decided to hang around the river. Water was icecold our beer cans were boiling hot We dipped them in river for 10-15 minutes and soon cans were like just take out of a deep freezer. Even though water was cold we couldnt control our temptation to wet ourselves in flowing white water and took a plunge in the mighty Tons river..however we couldnt do it for long and soon came out shivering.
Hanol is at a height of around 1700-1800 mtrs. At night it was really cold. This entire region is called Jaunsar region and there are lots of temples here dedicated to Duryodhana and Karna.Legend has it that Duryodhana ruled over these lands and was in love with its beauty..people here still worship him.
TIP:- Theres a famous Ancient Mahasu (lord shiva)temple just adjacent to hanol GMVN many himachali turn up in great numbers to visit .dont forget to check it out.
Day-3 – 29 March – Hanol to Kharapatthar
From Hanol, the Himachal border is only 40-50 kms away. After Hanol the next main town is Tuini.Road was pathetic till Tuini. From tuini we took right towards Shimla and crossed Majog and Katang, (now we were in Himachal) .Road here was again isolated and devoid of any traffic.Road is running alongside riverand we found couple of places where we could just park the car alongside the river , savour the nature, Relax and click some pictures . We wondered why they havent build any 5 star resort here yet ? (may be because of distance).In terms of beauty this was second to none. Soon we reached Hatkoti (a major junction). From hatkoti took left for Shimla. Crossed Jubbal and moved towards Khara patthar.
The drive turned very steep from hereonwards as the name suggests Kharapatthar is at towering height of 2500 mtrs.It was very cold at Kharapatthar . it was dark and cloudy we thought snowfall could start any moment but much to our disappointment the locals told us theres no chance of snow at this time of year. We checked into HPTDC guest house at Khar patthar.Views were really scenic and we could see snow on distant mountains.what a site it made.
Day – 4 – 30th March – Khara Patthar to Shimla
We left Kharapatthar and crossed Kotkhai it was a dowbhill drive now. Road was once again in pathetic condition .It was being widened .now we were again at 1100 mtrs and weather again turned warm..(still better than delhi offcourse) after kotkhai theres a village Gumma then we crossed Chailla and reached Theog. Theog is amajor junction point, we stopped for a teabreak at Theog. After Theog we again started gaining height and crossed Kufri and Fagu. These 2 are satellite hill stations of Shimla . As beautiful as shimla only much quieter and peaceful.
We reached shimla in afternoon we checked into a pvt hotel near mall and for the first time in 4 days indulged ourselves in little luxuries.Walking down the mall is like walking around CP only difference is that former is much cooler..same brands same outlets same Dominos pizza..we were happy and sad at same time. Happy to see the hustle and bustle and sad to see how populated Shimla had become..loaded with houses and shops and hotels.
Except for the mall road the entire shimla is reduced to a mere tilaknagar ..Luckily some places at mall road the old charm is still alive.
Day – 5
Since we were tired we decided against travelling on day 5 and stayed in shimla only.
Day – 6 – 1st April, Shimla to Kasauli
After Shimla we knew we didn’t have to worry about the roads . We left Shimla in morning crossed Shoghi,Solan, Kandhaghat then Kumarhatti Dharampur and reached Kasauli..Needless to say Roads were fantastic. We reached Kasauli in afternoon .Finally we found in Kasauli what we missed in Shimla. It’s a beautfil little town and since its under army and airforce its kept very neat and clean (theres a fine of 2500 if you litter in Kasauli).
From certain points in Kasauli you could see the plains of Chandigarh Kalka and many other towns what a sight it was.There are many lavish bunglows at Kasauli for Army personnel offcourse. While at kasauli walking is a must..there are couple of sunset points which is a must see in the evening.Another tourist attraction there is Manki point. Temple of Hanumanji.its situated at highest point of kasauli (4.5 kms from kasauli town you can walk or drive as well) make sure u carry a photo identity with you all the electronic equipments/pendrive.camera etc are to be left behind in car or hotel.(not allowed for security reason) Manki point comes under Airforce.
TIP:- For those fond of camping and adventure activities theres a quiet campsite at Shoghi by the name of Parkwoods providing accomodation in bamboo Huts and Tents.
Day- 7 – 2nd April Kasauli to morni Hills.
Next day we decided to change the state once again and visit the Haryanas one and only hill station Morni Hills at Tikkar taal. From Kasauli we crossed parwanoo and Kalka and reached pinjaur .Now we were again in plains it was really hot out there from there we turned left towards Morni..after a while we again started climbing on hills..after a one hour hill drive we reached Morni .Tikkar tal is futher 10 kms from Morni.After checking in Haryana tourism hotel in morni we moved toward the lake.
Tikkar tal is basically 2 lakes..one is small other one is fairly big..It was a beautiful lake..Pity not many people visit here..Probably that is why its still so beautiful because its relatively untouched…theres a lot of plain ground around the taal for kids to play and enjoy.After spending some good time at lake we moved back to Morni at our hotel. Theres a Haryana tourism guest house just adjacent to lake but it has only 3-4 rooms. Its better to stay there only but make sure you book in advance.
Day- 8 – Morni to Delhi
We were a little sad at going back but we were taking some real good memories with us…From morni we crossed raipur rani and took NH 73 to reach shahbad from there it was familiar NH1 back to home..on our way back we stopped at Haveli (Karnal) for lunch..One part of our mind had already started dreaming about the comforts of home and was relaxed at the prospect of having evening tea with the family ..while the other one just wanted to take a U turn , return to those hills and be lost for ever…
Thats it from Rahul and Gaurav. Please feel free to get in touch for any query/clarification on any route etc..