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Old 13th August 2012, 22:35   #76
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Thumbs up Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Laluji,

Thanks for unraveling virgin Kashmir to us. The pics as always are beautiful and tells the story.

Eagerly waiting for more
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Old 14th August 2012, 00:03   #77
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Great! I was a bit behind reading thru this, just caught up with pending posts I'm eagerly waiting for the 'chap rasta' now.
Both of you have talent guys, the way you are describing and the amount of details from HVK is really good. Please continue to share the wonderful pictures and invaluable information.

Last edited by Ketan : 14th August 2012 at 00:08.
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:00   #78
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

We were almost at the water level
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The rapids were very dangerous

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The roads continued along the river

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We found a waterfall

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HVK decides to get some water service
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continued...
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:14   #79
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

We continued on the exciting roads
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A small settlement on the right bank of the river
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We reached Affani
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Ace doing its job
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The river waters the cultivation
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Nice shade of green in the middle

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Old 14th August 2012, 06:29   #80
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

The bridge to the right bank
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We saw a Gompa to much of our surprise
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The signboard says it all
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The roads continued...
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The settlement from a height
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continued...
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:50   #81
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

The roads continued...
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The river still visible
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We had miles to go

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Scary heights
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Board says Deep Gorge, Check your brakes!

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HVK Scorpio waiting for me to return after the clicks

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HVK contemplating the next move?
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Or just enjoying the waterfall?
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continued...
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:57   #82
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

The roads continued...
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We crossed a furious stream
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A small video of the place



The roads continued...
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continued...
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Old 14th August 2012, 07:05   #83
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

Scary heights!!
(Multiple clicks for a perspective)
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Old 14th August 2012, 07:10   #84
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

Everyone is thrilled
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The road continued...
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Suddenly we see only a thick cover of dust
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Old 14th August 2012, 07:20   #85
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

A bulldozer was clearing the debris
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The bulldozer in action


Checking out the levers!
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Maintenance Schedule of a Bulldozer
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We waited for almost 45 minutes here from 10:30AM. We were very near to Tiyari by then.We parked near a small shop at Tiyari and decided to finish lunch, as if we move ahead lunch is going to be a distant dream till we exit Sach pass
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The road ahead from Tiyari
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We had nice hot lunch from here.

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There was a young guy who was doing his college in Jammu. He and Romin should be by now connected on Facebook or by email.

By 12:00 we rolled on towards some of the scariest sections for the day!

continued...
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Old 14th August 2012, 07:41   #86
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Laluji, Exciting locale and the pictures that make one feel they are a part of the entourage.. Keep clicking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks;287093
Ace doing its job
[ATTACH
969357[/ATTACH]
A similar shot would have confused TATA Motors' ad agency while framing their 2011 annual report.

Last edited by rajeev k : 14th August 2012 at 07:44.
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Old 14th August 2012, 09:46   #87
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketan View Post
Great! I was a bit behind reading thru this, just caught up with pending posts I'm eagerly waiting for the 'chap rasta' now.
Both of you have talent guys, the way you are describing and the amount of details from HVK is really good. Please continue to share the wonderful pictures and invaluable information.
"Chaap Raasta" has been now made world famous by the equally world famous ADC. I wonder where he is now. Last I heard from another source he is now touring these "chaap raastas" on a mountain bike as according to him that is the only vehicle he has not used on these roads . I remember being on some of these kind of roads albeit for shorter distances when I was in Arunachal in 2005 and visiting some far flung gompas near Tawang.

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 14th August 2012 at 09:49.
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Old 14th August 2012, 16:13   #88
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Superb. Especially the pic where the scorpio is shot going out of zoom frame by frame. It looks as if you were moving back rather than zooming out. Nicely done - I am thoroughly enjoying. Rating this thread "Super Star"

Last edited by AlphaKilo : 14th August 2012 at 16:31.
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Old 14th August 2012, 21:56   #89
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

What was the drive plan for this day, July 24th?

Today was to be the most challenging, unexplored & unknown drives. We were to drive non-stop from Kishtwar south to Khillar crossing the Padder Valley into the Pangi Valley. Last time, one of our friends did it, he said it took him 8 hours to cover 120 kms. Did the day end at Khillar? No way, we were to go on & cross Sach Pass & target some place in the Chamba Valley. It was to be a drive across some of the most desolate parts of the Himalayas.

Chenab, Chandrabhaga, Chandra & Bhaga – am confused now, explain it?



River Chenab is dammed at Bagligar near Batote. We saw that yesterday when we drove the Batote-Doda-Kishtwar road. We followed the River Chenab upstream till Kishtwar. Near Kishtwar, the river has a sangam with River Chandra Bhaga.

The River Chandra Baga comes from Tandi near Keylong – we had followed it last year during our Ladakh 2011 expedition from Tandi via Udeypur & Tindi to Khillar. The Kishtwar-Khillar road hugs the mountain sides as it follows the River Chandra Bhaga all teh way to Khillar, cutting a way through the high mountains.

Trace back the history of the River Chandra Bhaga beyond Tandi? Very exciting, the River Bhaga starts at the Baralacha la (on the Keylong-Sarchu-Leh road), and the River Bhaga cuts across the Lahaul Valley from Chandra Tal near Kunzum la (Gramphoo-Kaza road).

We are thrilled to be doing this road today, having seen these glorious Rivers Chandra & Bhaga in different forms & at their point of origin during earlier trips to the Himalayan region.


Padder Valley & Pangi Valley – never heard these names before?!

Padder Valley is a fertile green Valley watered by the River Chandra Bhaga and extending via Gulabgarh towards Khillar. Pang Valley is in Himachal Pradesh, is one of the remotest of Valleys in India, very dry, shut off during winter, although it can be accessed from Keylong (Lahaul Valley) & Chamba (Chamba Valley) during summer. It ends at Sach Pass on the Khillar-Chamba road. Today, we were planning to run from Kishtwar, cross the Padder & Pangi Valleys & reach somewhere in the Chamba Valley.

What is the strategic importance of this road we are travelling on?

The Kishtwar-Khillar road is a very important link for the residents of Pangi Valley. Even with thick snow all over, the road is kept open since that is the only access with the outside world after the roads to Keylong & Chamba close down.

Why were we cheering because there were no rains?

We were quite unhappy to hear that the monsoons had failed in the region & farming had suffered although the shrewd villagers were growing other crops too instead of rice, the staple in this region. Before the trip begun, my biggest concern had been about rains in this sector & I had anxiously scanned weather reports and taken regular updates from my Jammu friend Ajay on the extent of rains. I need not have worried though....

But when it rains, the “roads” turn into roaring rivers of mud. The mountain sides collapse sending down slush & boulders down to the “road”. The water flows across the road deep & in furious rage, deterring anyone from driving across.
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Old 14th August 2012, 22:52   #90
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What was the detailed route from Kishtwar & timings in each sector?


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Let me cover this drive in 2-3 different sectors.
The first was Kishtwar-Gulbagarh-Tyari, in the road leading to Khillar.


We left Kishtwar at first light at 545 am. We wanted as long a day as possible, but did not want to compromise on any of the landscapes by driving out in the darkness.

Truly beautiful landscapes, this land is blessed with lots of water & good soil, the entire countryside is filled with green fields, the poor rains this year notwithstanding!

Decent tarred roads. Hugs the mountain sides all the way, with the River flowing down far below. Great views. The river flows wide. The river flows through narrow gorges. Rapids of the level that no whitewater rafter can dream of doing. The road finally dips down to the river level.

The Padayana check post cops were very friendly. One has to enter details of the car, etc here, the first of 3 check posts on the road to Khillar. No one mentioned any time restrictions (especially night). The cops encouraged us to pluck some of the pears in the trees around the check post. Fresh, juicy, delicious.

Several small villages on & off. Very quiet. Lovely weather, the sun was not even peeping out. But there is hardly any traffic, I remember just 1 Sumo taxi going our way. No trucks can go on this road, apart from being narrow, the overhang of the cliff on the road is too low-slung.

Gulabgarh is like the end of the road, the last of the big villages. After that, the road starts climbing steeply and becomes total dirt. The first climb after the village can be particularly treacherous if it rains, could become a sea of moving mud.

There are narrow roads, cliffhangers like this one,

....or steep sections like this,


We enjoy the drive, the diesels biting into the gravel firmly in first and second gears all the time.

Lots of waterfalls, some water crossings too. Lots of photo opps.

Land slide clearance delays us by 30 minutes just before Tyari. We reach Tyari and decide to stop at a small tea shop there for lunch. The chappie who is serving us is studying in a Jammu college, was there on vacation, has a Face Book account! As usual, simple rajma chaawal never tasted so good before!

But the worst sections are just ahead....will the food churn in our stomachs?
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