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Old 18th August 2012, 11:31   #151
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by lloydofcochin View Post

What would be the driest months which will facilitate a safer drive? You wouldn't want the road to turn more risky with all the slush around.
The KHillar-Sach Pass-Chamba road usually opens only in mid-June after its winter closure, and closes down by end-Oct/mid-Nov. It rains heavily in Jul in the Chamba & Kishtwar regions, but this year there have been no rains, hence normally Jul is avoidable. I think Sep should be the driest month.
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Old 18th August 2012, 11:32   #152
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Hats off to all of you. Excellent driving on the dangerous and scary roads. you guys have great skills and mental abilities.

Superb!!

5* from my end.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 19th August 2012, 12:05   #153
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Saw the videos and then saw the videos and then saw the videos. Just one question in my mind. WHAT are you?

Amazing!!!

To be honest I do not have 'that thing' made of steel to even consider driving on these roads.
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Old 19th August 2012, 12:45   #154
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The KHillar-Sach Pass-Chamba road usually opens only in mid-June after its winter closure, and closes down by end-Oct/mid-Nov. It rains heavily in Jul in the Chamba & Kishtwar regions, but this year there have been no rains, hence normally Jul is avoidable. I think Sep should be the driest month.
Was it a coincidence that there happened to be no rains and you planned the trip OR did you have good research on this year's rainfall in that area and only on affirming no rains, you made these plans? If it was a coincidence, you must be damn lucky you did not get stuck anywhere. I did experience in Sikkim in remote places (but thankfully not as remote as these) when there used to be rains, landslides and muddy water crossing and the cranes had to be summoned to literally pull out vehicles out of the mud and people had to get out of the vehicle and walk thru the mud and the army ppl used to help in as well. Thank goodness you didnt get stuck in this terrain.
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Old 19th August 2012, 18:37   #155
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

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Was it a coincidence that there happened to be no rains and you planned the trip OR did you have good research on this year's rainfall in that area and only on affirming no rains, you made these plans? If it was a coincidence, you must be damn lucky you did not get stuck anywhere. I did experience in Sikkim in remote places (but thankfully not as remote as these) when there used to be rains, landslides and muddy water crossing and the cranes had to be summoned to literally pull out vehicles out of the mud and people had to get out of the vehicle and walk thru the mud and the army ppl used to help in as well. Thank goodness you didnt get stuck in this terrain.
My trip was planned at short notice & the big risk factor was the rains. I had been following the advance of the monsoons & rains had not reached even Delhi when I left Bombay and I was reasonably confident that I would not get stuck because of rains. However, I was prepared to re-route had I received info about the closure or problems with the roads. At the end of it all, I guess we were extremely lucky.
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Old 19th August 2012, 21:56   #156
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

@Laluks ,Another great TL , the roads look so dangerous and at the same time oh so inviting. Your photographs teamed with the details of the trip are amazing which call for another vote for the 5*
@HVK Sir, The fine details you give on every trip of yours, is of such help to people like us when we drive into these unknown paths. We took your log details along with us when we did our trip to Leh and were of great help. Thank you so much.
Regards
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Old 20th August 2012, 04:33   #157
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Dear Sir, (HVK)
This is absolutely amazing (as usual) , this is one route, i will also have to do one time atleast, with your guidance.
Have gone through this at least twice, high adrenaline route, with breathtaking (Stopping) views.

Laluks
Lovely photography, Thank you, do envy you this one ride.

Last edited by PM - B : 20th August 2012 at 04:37. Reason: add line
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Old 20th August 2012, 21:53   #158
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

HVK,

As always....awesome spine chilling experience! Hats off to your patience and passion that you are 'gifting' us these pictures, videos & travelogues!

Truely admiring and daring! What an inspiration you are to the motoring world
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Old 21st August 2012, 09:28   #159
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

My impressions so far from the drive from Jammu onwards:

Surprise: What a superb road it was from Batote to Kishtwar via Doda
Shock: Terrific cliffhanger roads from Kishtwar to Khillar
Awe: Glaciers, waterfalls & great Himalayan landscapes from Khillar towards Chamba....

.....that story will be told now
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Old 21st August 2012, 10:16   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar
TYARI-SANSARI-KHILLAR SECTOR

I saw the photos of the Tyari-Khillar road – are these photos morphed?

!
Great answers, you epitomise the spirit of true wanderlust.

My only question is, where next?

Last edited by mobike008 : 2nd September 2012 at 09:54. Reason: DO NOT quote long text, pictures or videos
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Old 21st August 2012, 10:38   #161
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

KHILLAR-CHAMBA SECTOR




OK, you guys have reached Khillar, what happened next?

We reached Khillar at 230 pm, the same time that we did last year too. We did not go into Khillar town – it is the only one with a hotel, rest house & some shops – but instead turned off into the Chamba road before the town itself. BTW, there is no mobile connectivity anywhere on this route so far after Kishtwar including Khillar.


Having taken nearly 9 hours to drive just 120 kms, wasn’t it too late to attempt the next 20 kms before sun down?

I guess I was confident about the drive ahead because I had already done it the previous year and was familiar with the road, conditions & worst-case-scenario situations. I planned to stop over at either the Satrundi check post, Bhairavgad or Tissa that night instead of going all the way to Chamba.


We have not seen Lalu’s photos of this route yet, but can you briefly explain this route?

Lalu takes 3 holidays every month, so pardon the delay in seeing his photos here. I too am awaiting with great anticipation his photos. Seeing the Himalayas from my driving position is quite different from squinting at it through various impossible angles that Lalu coaxes out of those rocket lenses he sometimes carries!

This Khillar-Chamba road does not exist in the G Maps, etc. Even map-makers like MMI who were given my GPS tracks free after my 2011 drive on this road have not bothered to update their maps with this route, maybe they still think Lalu morphed his photos & I doctored my log books!!!

The road cuts through the Pangi Valley & climbs up rapidly to over 4000 mtrs at Sach Pass, before descending into the Chamba Valley. Pangi Valley is full of glaciers & water falls, but devoid of rain, whereas Chamba Valley is one of the rainiest in the region. Dirt road throughout, it was hardly a mule track till 2 years ago when they “widened” it. Yes, what you are seeing now is a “widened” road!


What were your day’s targets?

We did not want to go to Chamba since our destination (for next day) was Kishtwar, and for that you have to turn off the Chamba road at Kothi some 30 kms before Chamba. Hence, going till Chamba & driving back the next morning was not an exciting prospect. So I identified Satrundi Check Post, Bairavgad & Tissa as possible night halt destinations. I reckoned that I would be able to end the day’s drive by 8 pm.


Is there a petrol pump in Khillar?

No.
Kishtwar is the last pump. None in Khillar.
If you go south via Tindi & Udeypur, the next pump is at Tandi near Keylong.
If you go towards Chamba, the next pump is at Chamba.
Since we were not even going to Chamba, for us the next pump was at Bhaderwah.
We need not have worried, since the distance we have to travel (but not the time!) was less than the range of our tanks. Nevertheless, I was also carrying 15 litres of extra diesel just for contingencies.


More traffic than the Kishtwar-Khillar road?

You must be joking. This route is totally uninhabited for the full 80 kms from Khillar till you cross Sach Pass & reach Bairavgad. The “road” itself is open only 4 months a year. There are no villages en route. The only “human” posts are the Bogotu check post & the Satrundi Check Post. The road-work workers have some camps here and there, but some even go down to stay overnight (like the bull-dozer driver we befriended last year when he took a lift with us from Bogotu to Bairavgad).

This “road” sees only 4 jeep taxis a day and some Bolero pick-up traffic, transporting farm produce & essential groceries/ building materials to the villages around Khillar.


Are there any driving restrictions on this route?

No. There are 2 check posts, but you can drive during night also. That is, if you dare! This is not the kind of road you will do at night – road itself is hardly distinguishable from the mountain side, land slides keep happening, fog can be terrible in some sections & water falls can get real bad late evenings.


But why would you want to do this road again – I thought you drove on it last year too?

As you must have picturised by now, we were doing a Kishtwar-Khillar-KOthi-Baderwah-Kishtwar circuit. That is why. In our dictionary, there is always a “next time”, and sometimes that happens in less than 12 months! I would hardly have imagined when I did this route last year that I would be back there in less than 12 months!

For those who want to see details of the drive last year, check out the TL here:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...adesh-128.html (HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh))

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Old 22nd August 2012, 21:59   #162
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Sorry Guys, been away for a relaxing holiday in the Queen of Hills. Shall continue with the log soon.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 22:14   #163
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

So we continued our drive towards Sach pass
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Madam Safari dwarfed by the mountains

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We started seeing snow that was left from the last winter

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continued...
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Old 22nd August 2012, 22:23   #164
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

We reached the first Glacier in our drive
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The road is clear for travel, but look at the height of the ice
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A vehicle for a perspective
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Madam Safari and Scorpio near the Glacier

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Scorpio waits for some pictures
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Look at the height and width of the glacier

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continued...
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Old 22nd August 2012, 22:30   #165
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

The Ice was melting and water flowing to the road
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I wanted to check inside
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It looked like entering the mouth of a huge beast

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The water flow

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Inside surprisingly it was quite warm and a lot windy

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Agent Vinod finally getting a chance to show his feelings to HVK for taking him through Tiyari Sansari roads
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continued...
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