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Old 27th May 2011, 14:50   #61
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Default Re: Road Trip to the Last Village of India

Fine 69

Did you checked with anyone what are road conditions ahead on way to Kaza & Keylong ? I am planning for trip in next few days - any update will be helpful .
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Old 2nd June 2011, 22:15   #62
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Default Re: Road Trip to the Last Village of India

Day 3 - Chitkul

Having seen the sunset yesterday I had no plans of capturing the sunrise as it was going to be abrupt as well. Of course that didn't mean the morning wasn't going to be beautiful.

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Today was going to be an exciting day for we were to go to the last check-post and also to the other side of the river. As advised by the care-takers of the hotel we didn't plan on leaving too early as mornings were just too cold. We woke up around 7 am, had some yummy paranthas, omlette and tea for breakfast, got our lunch packed and started treading the Last Motorable Road, yet again.

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Besides being beautiful the morning was cold and a little windy too. Today was also when we realized that the sun was being exceptionally harsh and it wasn't until the next day when we got to know that the typical red cheeks of mountain people isn't because of the cold but because of the sun

The check-post was only around 3 kms from the village and we knew that we would be back in 2-3 hours so we stopped a lot (even on a 3 km trek) and clicked a whole lot of photographs. But the thing about being in a valley is that you run out of fresh views to click after a certain time. However, the same view in person looks more refreshing than the last time you looked at it.

As we got away from the village and the sound of the river subdued we started hearing sounds from the dry bushes around, like a small animal quickly hustling in to them. At times it would be just besides us, at times behind us. Now we love nature alright but are real scared of god's not so good looking creatures, specially lizards. Soon we spotted one, I don't know what its called but some part of it was red and it looked like an athletic version of the regular lizards, just writing this down gives me creeps. This was the only downside of the otherwise wonderful trek.

Pics from the trek

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The village left behind

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The snow reflecting the sunlight made it look like white velvet

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It looked angry

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The only flower on the entire trek

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Something similar to this tore my jacket yesterday while we were crossing the rock walls

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...to be contd!
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Old 2nd June 2011, 23:00   #63
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Default Re: Road Trip to the Last Village of India

Thanks for sharing your log and pictures from this wonderful place. Takes me back to last June when we went there. The road adjacent to Shahenshah and Panchali was then full of boulders and a stream of water flowing on those boulders - so for reaching Panchali, you literally had to drive on a stream for the last 50 meters or so.

Have finalized plans to go there again later this month, this time planning to stay for three nights. Your travelogue is one of the things (along with our memories from last year of course) that is driving me there again so soon.
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Old 6th June 2011, 09:46   #64
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Fine 69

Did you checked with anyone what are road conditions ahead on way to Kaza & Keylong ? I am planning for trip in next few days - any update will be helpful .
Sorry for a delayed response but I didn't check of the road conditions up ahead.

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Thanks for sharing your log and pictures from this wonderful place. Takes me back to last June when we went there. The road adjacent to Shahenshah and Panchali was then full of boulders and a stream of water flowing on those boulders - so for reaching Panchali, you literally had to drive on a stream for the last 50 meters or so.
I think I know what you mean. In case the water is too much it is bound to come on that road. We also had to cross a water stream in order to get to the hotel but it was pretty small.
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Old 6th June 2011, 10:19   #65
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Day 3...contd!

I so very much wanted to get to the other side and dip my feet in the water.

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Though what I ended up with was more than my feet, more on that later.

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Since the sun was getting brighter & hotter by the hour we starting looking for a stop in the shade and soon found one.

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Water-crossing Left to Right, Up to Down and you'd know why I have that grin, my wife's not going to like this, lol

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We were now looking at a bunch of houses coupled together, was it the check-post?

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We soon found out that it was indeed the last check-post, thanks to the famous sign-board

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We decided to rest there for a few mins but then an army officer, who came from the village side, told us not to stay there for more than 5 mins. Well there wasn't much to do as such so after about 5 mins we started back.

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Now came the time to decide where exactly we'd be going once we are on the other side. My wife was pretty scared of going in the snow fearing that she might get caved in but I was looking for the spot where we would find maximum snow, little did I know that what looked small from here was going to be huge in actuality.

Looked like a road on the other side

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Stopped at the same spot again

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See me?

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Back to the village

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Going past our hotel, swift looked whiter than ever

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Upon asking how to cross the river we were told that we'd have to take the wooden bridge. Well a wooden bridge, we thought it'd be pretty easy. See the bridge?

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It wasn't until we actually got to the bridge did we realize that it wasn't going to be so easy. And why would they call it a bridge, they should've said that some wooden planks have been coupled together to form a bridge kind of thing.

The bridge

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After spending a few mins speculating & analyzing what happens if either of us falls in the river (by the way wife can't swim) we decided to give it a shot. I got the backpack, the tripod and the camera and was in front holding her hand. Now I must tell you all that crossing a bridge like this should be done alone, unless your wife, like mine, doesn't want to do it alone.

We started moving and it looked pretty ok. We reached the middle where it was just 2 long wooden planks running parallel to each other, about a half a foot wide, and nothing in between. As and when we both stepped on it the bridge started shaking, pretty badly. Now it was shaking when I stepped on it but since I knew where I was putting pressure I was okay with it, as and when my wife had stepped on the two planks I couldn't anticipate the pressure on either plank and hence it was shaking. It got pretty difficult to move but the shaking wouldn't stop so with no option left and anticipating that wife could scream anytime now, I stepped further on the more stable part of the bridge and was able to pull her too. All this took not more than 1 minute but felt like forever, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.

Finally to the other side

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Being here was an amazing feeling, I don't know how good the pictures can portray what we actually experienced there.

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to be contd...
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Old 6th June 2011, 11:08   #66
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I think I know what you mean. In case the water is too much it is bound to come on that road. We also had to cross a water stream in order to get to the hotel but it was pretty small.
From your photos, it looks like a dirt track now. Earlier, it was full of boulders. If you see the following post:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post1954154 (Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010)

there are two pictures, one taken in 2009 and one in 2010. Sen2009 visited there in 2009 - that time there was a stream of water flowing alongside it, and when we visited last year, they were constructing a proper channel for that water to flow through, and probably because of that, during the construction, all the water was diverted on that boulder strewn `road' itself, turning it into a stream on which one had to drive for last 40/50 meters.

Anyway, coming back to your TL, one place we didn't have time to explore was the other side of the river. But we did see a manually operated cable car to cross the river, and locals and few visitors were using it. Was it not there this time?
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Old 6th June 2011, 13:48   #67
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Anyway, coming back to your TL, one place we didn't have time to explore was the other side of the river. But we did see a manually operated cable car to cross the river, and locals and few visitors were using it. Was it not there this time?
I forgot to mention, yes there was a cable car & I wish I had taken a pic of it to show why we decided against it. What I mean is that the probability of the bridge collapsing or we tumbling over it looked less than the cable ripping off , such was the condition of the cable car.

May be it gets better by the time you go there but then without any snow on the other side may be you wouldn't want to go there at all.
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Old 8th June 2011, 20:11   #68
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Day 3...contd!

We had a lot of fun on the other side of the river. We played in the snow, wife even made a snowman but the reason there isn't going to be a pic of it is because of how good a snowman it looked.

After spending a few hours we decided to have lunch by the river-side. Being by the river-side meant going down towards the river which meant sliding down the snow? Well all the slopes were covered in snow (see pic below) and the only way to get down was to go over it. Now the slopes were steep so one couldn't just walk over it, did it mean we had to slide down, of course we had to slide down, there just wasn't any other option. Moreover, the slopes that we chose to slide down from had 1 feet or more of snow on them and it was later when we realized that if we would have walked 100-200 meters more we could've come down from places that had very little snow and some even dry.

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Now sliding down the snow looks and sounds all fun but it turned out to be a very scary experience. Imagine you are to slide down a slope covered with snow, only that there are boulders on the slope and the space between them is covered with snow and getting caved in means you don't go down as a whole but only enough to break your leg, and then there's small rocks which could hurt you in the most sensitive parts of your body when you slide, doesn't sound that much fun now, does it!

So what we decided was that I'd go first and I took the position in which I was going to slide down, face down and on my stomach, just like you see kids in the waterpark. Ok I'm kidding, I was sitting, scared as hell, and the only plan was to just go down sliding with a little speed and keep my legs & back spread over the snow to minimize pressure. As soon as I sit on the slope I go about a quarter feet down in snow, well that was expected, without wasting too much time I just slide down, and I make it! Well that was easy, now I ask my wife to do the same but first she needs to throw the backpack and the tripod to me. She slides the bag down and I put it aside, she slides the tripod down but it gets stuck midway, neither she can reach the tripod from up there nor me from down here. After exchanging some pleasantries we decide that its I who has to go up a little to get the tripod and not her who could just pick it up on her way down. Now I can't slide my way up, can I?

10 minutes and a few minor heart attacks later I manage to get the tripod. Another 10 minutes and I'm able to convince her that she can slide down too, she does and the cycle of sliding down repeats 2 more times in the exact same way minus the tripod issue.

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Certain slopes had such a thin layer of snow which we only found out later

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Skiing by locals?

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And finally we get to the river-side. My job now was to procure the dining table.

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Lunch was stuffed aloo paranthas with some yummy pickle and Mirinda. The flat rocks in the pics is what I was arranging.

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We ate, rested for a couple of mins and then went to the river, again looking for a good spot to sit and relax. When we found one I think we spent around an hour just talking and enjoying the water.

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We decided to head back but only after walking about 50 meters we stopped again as the water here was more calm but mainly because we hadnít had enough of the river yet.

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Know what she's upto?

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Girls!

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She even made me do this! sirf pandit ki kami thi

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River + Flat stones = Pic below (reminded me of childhood days)

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After spending another hour and a half here we finally decided to head back, this time without any more stops. Wife said that we should continue walking besides the river bed as it was more enjoyable. I told her that it'd be all rocks throughout and the path was almost non-existent around 50 meters ahead so walking so close to the river wouldn't be a good idea but she insisted that we take the river-side to walk back.

Now as we reached a spot where there was no path left, steep slope on the left and river on the right. I told my wife that it wasn't a good idea to proceed further but she said that we can still make it by stepping on the big rocks, only the rocks were IN THE RIVER, imagine this from someone who doesn't even know how to swim. Gathering some courage I stepped on the first dry rock that was in the river, then put my right foot on a not so dry rock (green with algae) and splash! I was in the river from my waist down and another minor heart attack later I somehow managed to get hold of another rock and finally stepped out of the cold water.

Now as I had fallen I heard a loud scream from behind my back (yes my wife screamed, yet again) but as I got out of the water she burst in to a fit of laughter. I wanted to yell at her but instead started laughing myself. Having had our dose of laughter I did yell at her for what happened. We then started to walk back so that we could get up the slope from where there wasn't any snow but with water in my shoes we had to make another stop. We stopped for another half an hour while my shoes and socks got dried up, got up the slope and after about another half-an-hour of walk back we were at the infamous bridge.

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No prizes for guessing that she didn't want to cross it alone. I held her hand, and the same set of events as described earlier got repeated and we were able to get to the village side.

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We were very tired after such an adventurous day and the only thing we were looking forward was to head back to the hotel room and collapse.
It took us another half-an-hour to cover the 250-300 meter distance from the school to the hotel as we were dead tired. Finally to the room and we ordered aloo-pyaaz pakoras with tea and had one of the most delicious pakoras of our life.

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As the sun went down it started to get colder. We watched a movie, had dinner and called it a day as we had to start up early next morning in order to reach Hatu Peak before sunset.
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Old 19th June 2011, 12:17   #69
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Day 1 - Delhi to Sarahan

Before we reached Basantpur I got another call from @log who told me that the Chaba-Luhri road was almost non-existent. But I wasn't going to take this road anyways. A last minute update by another bhpian (I can't thank him enough) had me plan the route from Shimla to Rampur via Naldehra-Basantpur-Kingal. I tell @log that I'd be taking the Kingal road and he asks me to update him on the condition of the road so that he has the option of taking it while coming back. So we are on this road to Kingal and extremely happy since its super smooth tarmac, a job well done by BRO. After about 5-10 kms we see a dam kind of thing besides a wooden bridge. Is it a dam? Do I stop the car and get out to look or continue driving straight? I continued driving straight, passing the wooden bridge on my left and wondering if any four-wheeler actually crosses that bridge.
Less than 50 meters and the road turns bad, we continue moving and it gets worse. We cross a small village and there's no road anymore, well the road's there but its not made of tar, pebbles instead. This slows us down to 5 kmph, no kidding. It starts getting narrower to just about one single lane but not before I have to let a bus and a sumo taxi overtake me. They are driving at about 20-30 kmph and there's no way I can keep up with them. I check the odo reading in order to later calculate the total distance of this bad stretch. We continue and within 2-3 minutes the bus and sumo are out of sight. It looks like this isn't a road less travelled, its the least travelled!

We pass by a few workers who are pebbling (repairing) the road and they look at us as if they haven't seen any of our kind. Another 5 minutes and we pass by another set of workers on the road. Wife tells me to ask them if we are on the right path but men will be men! So now its close to 45-50 minutes that we have been on this road, the only signboards we've seen is for a village called Badalaaya and I think that since we've already been slowed down to snail pace why not take a break and click some pics too. I stop the car and get down. I click a few pics of the car and see a bike coming from behind. Just to assure my wife that we were indeed on the right path I ask them if it was the road to Kingal and as it turns out, IT WASN'T!!

This is where I'd stopped to click pictures when I met the guys on the bike

Attachment 547916

I was told that we had come about 12-13 kms the wrong way, we were supposed to take the wooden bridge and it wasn't besides a dam but a concrete bridge that had collapsed - Bridge collapses in Shimla - News@glance: Mumbai building collapse, price rise & more. Just when we had crossed it I and wife were arguing whether it was a dam or a bridge but having witnessed no collapsed bridge ever I never thought it could be a bridge.

I'd take a minute to clarify why my basic geography sense had failed me as pointed by @phamilyman. If the bridge (in the pic above) would have been in place I would've most definitely taken it against the not so appealing road up front but due to lack of any signboards the decision was between a narrow wooden bridge towards an abrupt left and a not so appealing road straight ahead. Had it been a regular road, which means at least one soul in sight or a sign-board in place, I'm sure I wouldn't have been lost but this stretch was totally devoid of people and signboards.
The concrete bridge that collapsed was built a couple of years back by the BRO but it collapsed in the ensuing rains after 3-4 truckers decided to park their fully loaded vehicles on one side of the bridge and have some tea in the nearby Dhaba. the place is called Nottikhad.

This specific route to Rampur is extremely scenic and the traffic is pretty much non existent after Basantpur - the road is in top notch condition with constrant work going on to improve the bad patches. A much better alternative to the road through Narkanda IMO.

I go down this stretch of the road almost every month as I am building my vacation getaway about 15 kms from the collapsed bridge - it should be complete in the next 2-3 months. If any of the T-BHP members are on their way down this road or would like to enjoy an idylic vacation at a farmstay location (complimentary of course), do give me a shout. Would be happy to oblige once the vacation house is ready come winters.

thanks

Ankur
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Old 15th July 2011, 12:08   #70
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Do you have the contact details for Shahenshah Resort in Chitkul?
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Old 15th July 2011, 12:22   #71
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Do you have the contact details for Shahenshah Resort in Chitkul?
Sir 9433483411 & 9816803505 are the two phone no.s that I got off a Tour n Travels poster that was on one of the walls of the hotel. Not sure if it belongs to the agency or the hotel itself but either ways you'd be able to reach the hotel people for booking etc.
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Old 15th July 2011, 16:08   #72
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Do you have the contact details for Shahenshah Resort in Chitkul?
Last Month when I was there Shahenshah had some serious plumbling/bathroom/water issues . Next door Panchali resort would be another little better options. Both hotels are owned by same peoples. One of the owner is Sandeep. He also owns Rakpa Regency at Kalpa. He is from Kolkata but during summers he stays at Kalpa. You can contact him @9816803505 (mentioned above by fine69). There are 12 +12 Rooms in above two properties. He quoted me 1200-1600 and I paid him 700/-. August will be lot cheaper.

Mind you both hotels are very basic. Panchali is little better.
Photo of Panchali: 5th Photo on Post#62 (above)

Regards
Dinesh

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Old 15th July 2011, 18:07   #73
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Do you have the contact details for Shahenshah Resort in Chitkul?
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Sir 9433483411 & 9816803505 are the two phone no.s that I got off a Tour n Travels poster that was on one of the walls of the hotel. Not sure if it belongs to the agency or the hotel itself but either ways you'd be able to reach the hotel people for booking etc.
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Both hotels are owned by same peoples. One of the owner is Sandeep. He also owns Rakpa Regency at Kalpa. He is from Kolkata but during summers he stays at Kalpa. You can contact him @9816803505 (mentioned above by fine69).

Owners of both the properties are in fact locals, from Chitkul village. Sandip and someone called Mr Negi have some kind of arrangement with the owners and the hotels are actually run by them.

They do not have any landline, and mobile signals do not reach that area - so one has to call Sandip (his number, as dinesha pointed out is the second number quoted by fine69) for booking - he passes on the information to the guys in the hotels when they call him.

There is a spot in the village where airtel signals reach - one can go there and make calls if one has an airtel connection. I was told that if the closest BSNL tower works, its signal sometime reaches the hotel, but during both my visits last year and this year, that tower never worked.
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Old 15th July 2011, 22:06   #74
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^^^
Both properties at Chitkul on lease from local
50% Geetanjali Tour and travels of Sandeep and 50% Mr Shivdayal Negi (Owner of Kinner Villa at Kalpa)
Sandeep Kolkata Number:9477870625 (Nov-April)

BSNL works from the Village and outside of hotel with some acrobatic

Last edited by dinesha : 15th July 2011 at 22:09.
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A short trip to Big Banyan Tree and "The Village Resort" DieselFan Travelogues 18 24th June 2012 23:56


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