Hills

Weekend trip to Corbett Tiger Reserve from Noida

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On 29-Jun 2014 morning, we took the bus at 6:30 am from Ramnagar bus stand and reached Nainital at 9:00 am. There were some taxiwalas standing for sightseeing packages but we denied them and thought to roam around on our own. So we walked on our foot till Tallital bus stand and hired a bike on rent for Rs. 1000 and Security Rs.2000. Then we have gone for boating in Mallital and Tallital Lake for Rs. 210. We have done our breakfast and shopping on Mall Road itself which is near to Tallital bus stand.

Then we moved ahead on bike for RajBhawan(Governor’s House). Wow it is a very beautiful place and the gardens, the sightseeing near it is really awesome. The guide there guided us and told us about the history of this place. Then we headed towards Himalayan view point, Lover’s point and Suicide point. Awesome the weather, the scenery, the clouds coming over the hills, just WOW:) And then monsoon 1st rainfall started :D so we moved back to Mall road for some shopping near Tallital bus stand. We returned our bike at 6:00 pm and got our Security money Rs. 2000 back. There were tourists and tourists only all around on the Mall road. No vehicles are allowed between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm. The traffic management is very good. At 7:00 pm, we booked 2 seats in a Volvo bus. There were agents sitting in some shops on Mall road.

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Road Journeys – Mount Abu: “An oasis in the Desert”

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Evening is extremely lively in Mt. Abu, unlike other hills, the Mall road here remains crowded till late in the evening, say upto 10 – 11 pm at least. One of the safest hill station, less colder due to lower altitude and superb law and order, I was always pleased to see the care free atmosphere there. Diwali being just passed, the decorative lightings of the shops and hotels were still shimmering, adding extra charm to the already charming place. The vibrant stalls, mostly laden with Gujrati & Rajasthani stuffs are bound to lure your better half. Rows of ice-cream shops, pastries, cookies and crushed ice-balls (Golas) in different flavor are the trade mark of Mt. Abu.

Activities around Nakki Lake are however, stalled at 8 pm for security reasons. The surrounding is expanding with growing popularity and increasing inflow since I have last visited the place in 1998 and again in 2008.

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Manali to Rohtang : Yes! We did it finally

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Rani Nallah was waiting for us for a long jam. Took at least an hour in which cab driver of ours & of the one in front of us putting hard work to help out others to come out that water logging at Rani Nallah which is a norm due to both side snow walls constantly melting. I still think that BRO can sort this issue by creating a slope kind of but they are the experts out there & know their jobs better, so let’s wait when this issue gets sorted out.

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Mandi to Manali – the charm begins

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I was prepared in advance for the journey but still wasn’t sure that where the 3Kms long tunnel is (Its at Aut BTW), also when would Pandoh dam would come and if its on the same road or again offroad like Bhakhra one was probably. So, we asked and got to know that Pandoh dam would be roughly 20km far from the place we had lunch.

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Kausani and Ranikhet – Mighty Himalayan View

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Kausani: The absence of crowds was a welcome change in this place as well. No mall road to boast about but the available accommodation was good enough. The ‘wow’ factor is the spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas – 300 kilometers of unhindered and unmatched majestic view. Peaks Nandadevi, Nandaghunti, Trishul etc. glistening in the morning sunshine, gives lovely viewing pleasure. On a clear morning as you open your bedside window, the sight of these snow-capped mountains which sometimes seem to be bending towards you, simply take your breath away.

Gandhiji spent a few days here in the Anashakti ashram – which is right in the middle of the town and displays some photographs from his life – and called this place ‘the Switzerland of India’. Hindi poet Sumitra Nandan Pant was born in this place.

Baijnath, 19 km downhill from Kausani, boasts of a 1000 year old temple complex situated on the banks of river Gomti. Children enjoyed feeding the fish here.

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To 13800 ft and back on foot – Sar Pass – I

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The Sar Pass Trek itself is for 11 days with 3 days at base camp, 4 days climbing and 3 days descending and breaking on the last day. It costs around Rs. 3000/- per head including accommodation in tents at all base camps, Rucksack, Sleeping Bags and food for the entire 11 days (Vegetarian). Participation is very heavy averaging about 55-60 per group at the rate of one group per day for 30 days.

So, I duly made my bookings got the necessary permissions from the Office and patiently waited for D Day. In the mean time preparations were on in full swing – medicines, winter wear, rain wear and most important – Shoes. I did so much research on shoes to wear – Hi Tec, Action, Bata Hunters, Merrel, Woodlands – There were so many brands and so many recommendations on so many websites. I finally zeroed in on Weinbrenner from Bata and I was not disappointed.

Kasol is located about 30 km from Bhunter which incidentally is the airport nearest to Kullu. Any of those numerous Volvo buses from Delhi to Manali will drop you at Bhunter. From there an hours ride to Kasol which is just 5 kms before Manikaran. The camp is located just outside of Kasol with the Parvati river flowing right beside it. The camp is made entirely of tents. There are bout 18-20 tents for the participants, Ladies on one side and gents on the other, A big lounge tent, Reception tent, Kitchen tent and the Camp Directors and other camp staffs tent. The only permanent buildings are the toilets. Each tent is large enough to accommodate 14 individuals – bit of a crush actually but the company is really good.

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Ride to Kibber

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ad astra per aspera
which literally means, “a rough road leads to the stars” and this pretty much came true for us when we started our ride from recong peo to tabo. recong peo was a let down. i am being honest in my criticism…it was a disappointing place and the only thing that was worth remembering is the sight of the mighty kinnr kailash. I am feeling blessed to have seen it.
post recong peo, we were heading towards Tabo. en route we stoppd at nako and we were simpy bowled over by the place… the place was so quite and peacful…
we had a sumptuou tibetan meal followed by a hot cup of tea. here we also fulfilled one of our long pending wishes- tieing prayer flags on our bikes..so each one of us picked up a prayer flag and tied it to our bikes. the old lady at the shop told us to write our names in the flag. we also met this vry nice kid by the name of Ajay who ofered to take us on a guided tour of the nako lake and the monastery..

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Solo Travel, Himachal Tribal Circuit – Lahaul Valley

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During this stretch, a car had a flat tyre in the middle of a stream. The traffic had halted and the passengers of our bus, helped in changing the wheel. We started crawling forward, for being blocked once again by the same car, which was ahead of us. This time the car got stuck in a stream having big boulders. Again the passengers and staff of the bus came to the rescue of the car. Stones were planted strategically in front of the car tyres to provide some friction and the car was literally lifted out of the stream by the passengers.
We descended to the valley at Batal and from there we moved in the valley, literally on the river bed up to Chatru, which was our mid-day meal stop. Trekkers going to Chandratal from Manali or Keylong can stay here overnight. Chatru was the smallest village I have seen in terms of population, with a population of just 20 people. In fact there are no houses here, just 3-4 eateries catering to needs of the entire spectrum of passengers.

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Solo Travel, Himachal Tribal Circuit – Spiti Valley

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Next morning brought a very pleasant surprise. In the morning, I was having tea in the hotel balcony, clicking pictures of the serenity of Spiti valley. One youngster arrived in the compound of the hotel on a bike. It took me a while to recognize that he was one of the two boys from Mumbai whom I had met three days ago at the time of land slide traffic hold up near Karcham. Thus far, I was thinking that the bikers must have turned back from Nako village, where the road was totally destroyed. I was curious to know, how they had crossed that stretch. He [Alok} informed me that when they reached Nako village, being a Sunday, there was no BRO labor at Nako. So, they took a night halt in Nako village and next morning, with the help of BRO labor, they lifted their bikes across the steel girder. Hats off to these adventurous souls.

In Kaza also, I had to hire a car for visiting Key monastery and Kibber village [highest altitude village in the world- accessible by road}. In these valleys, government buses to remote villages go in the evening and return early next morning. Thus, 4-5 hour trip by car would take two days by public transport. We went about 7 kms. on the highway towards Manali and then took a right turn uphill for Kye monastery. It is an old monastery some 15 kms. from Kaza and the uphill road is good. But this monastery is not considered as important as Tabo and Dhankar monasteries by the Buddhists. The monastery is in much better shape, compared to the Dhankar monastery.

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Doing nothing in Fagu, beyond Shimla

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I must tell you readers about Fagu-which is 23km away from Shimla (and 3km from Kufree) is a great place for doing nothing and morning walks among apple and potato fields. Fagu is ,situated on the Hindustan Tibet Road at a height of about 2500 mts. We drove through Chhotta Shimla,and other crowed parts on to the road to Wildflower Hall and Kufri, stopping on the way to enjoy the fantastic views. You go thro the Victory Tunnel to CHHOTA SHIMLA- part of Kannaur Shimla, through Sanjauli,,cross another tunnel, through wooded forest toward KUFRI which is about 19 km from Shimla ,thro KUFRI by-pass and Fagu is 3km from Kufri on the Hindustan -Tibet road. It took us about 90 minutes, in our Skoda to reach the hotel of HP Tourism — Peach Blossom. Its a small village with only few small typical shops selling essential, nothing else. But the place is dotted with Apple gardens, terraced fields, potato fields etc . There was another group of People from Mumbai–all senior citizens, enjoying the place. We went down the hill though the apple gardens and fields. you can literally walk for hours- surrounded by Himalyan range so close,you could almost touch it. We were lucky that during our stay from 3rd April to 5th April, it became very very cold and we could see fresh snow falling on the peaks, and the whole area was totally covered by low clouds for hours.

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