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Old 2nd July 2013, 09:25   #1
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Default Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

Hello everyone,

New Delhi,city went through extreme HOT climate experiencing temperatures as high as 47 Deg Celsius. Pollution, the heat, long queues of vehicles on the road were becoming a pain.

Memories, the sweet old memories taking me back to the days where i am sitting on the stairs with a cutting chai in one hand and a wet wada pav
in other ,raining heavily and there is thousand liters of cold water gushing down the stairs and i am right in the middle of it sitting with a bunch of friends enjoying one of the best times of my life.

Tiger Point ,Lonavala - 2009
Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh-lonavala.jpg

Those were the days when trips to the mountains were never pre-planned. Heavy rains over-night was enough to hit the mountains on the following day and coming back the same day. Back then I was in Mumbai, and sayadri ranges had a lot of destinations which was close to the city.

The capital city may not be close by to mountain terrains for a quick get away,but it is indeed close to Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand offering a lot of scenic mountain terrains.

So, here i am writing my first travelogue on Team BHP : A quick road trip to Chail-Kufri-Shimla-Chandigarh. I am not a good writer,but will try and make it a good read.

Planning :

First week of April we shifted to our new home on the outskirts of New Delhi . We had a tough one month in getting settling down and acquainting ourselves with the surroundings. Day to day weather made it worse.
This was my first summer in the capital city and probably the last one.Our bodies were tired, we wanted a break!

My cousins decided to team up and travel to delhi for a week. From here we decided to head further north ,up into the mountains. We debated ,discussed on the possible destinations.

Since we had just 3 days(12th-13th-14th June) ,as we had to go to Agra as well and 1 day for Delhi sightseeing.
The destinations shortlisted were :

Dharamsala - Dismissed , too far.
Nainital - Dismissed, Been there.
Manali - Dismissed, too far.
Uttarkashi - Short listed.
Chail - Short listed.
Shimla - Dismissed, Been there.

Uttarkashi was out as we were not able to find vacant rooms in any of the hotels. In the end it was Chail.

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The final plan was :
Day 1 : New Delhi- Chail
Day 2 : Chail-kasauli-Chail
Day 3: Chail -New delhi.

and it changed to:
Day 1: New Delhi-Chail
Day 2:Chail-Kufri-Shimla-Chail
Day 3: Chail-Chandigarh-New Delhi

The Ride:
It was our 4 year old Wagon R Duo LXi . With 3 of us close to 6ft,and car being a DUO we had restricted boot space. We all were aware that it will not be comfortable journey , we decided to take halts as and when the 3 people sitting at the rear needed too. I was worried about the stock ZVTS on the car which were due for change,the car had clocked ~ 79000 kms.

The Journey Begins
Day 1:
We started at 4:30 AM . Fueled up at Indian oil on NH-24 after Gazipur. Reached murthal at around 6 AM. Stopped at Phalwan Dhaba for breakfast. 45 mins halt and couple of parathas followed by a cup of coffee.

Heavy breakfast @ Murthal.
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Would recommend the place to everyone travelling on NH-1. It is 12 kms from Sonipat,just after a flyover.

Proceeded further towards our next halt at Dharampur. Till Murthal AC was off,as the morning breeze kept us all happy. After leaving Murthal had to turn on the AC, blower at 3. Car doing well till speeds upto 90km/h.
Did not go over that in the entire journey.

Before reaching zirakpur. Stopped to stretch. My cousin and me sitting in the front were comfortable but had to stop for 3 others sitting at the back.
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After bypassing Chandigarh ,we reached Himalayan expressway.This is where the car started to feel strained.Now the blower was at 1.And anything above 40-50 km/h on the expressway was scary,as i could feel the body roll on curves and had to reduce speeds gradually on curves.As soon as we reached timber trail ,air was pleasant and we said bye-bye to the hot and humid weather for the next 3 days. It was a RELIEF!

Himalayan Expressway
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I have done New Delhi-Shimla twice before this trip , so i was aware of the route . I wanted to stop at Giani da Dhaba at Dharampur for lunch .
Was assuming that will reach there by Noon and we all could have a early lunch . To my surprise we reached dharampur at 11:15 AM and we decided to stop at Giani da Dhaba on our way back.

There is a very small gully like cut on the highway at kandaghat from where chail is ~ 30 kms.
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En-route kandaghat
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Highway has a lot of blind curves. The traffic here is excellent! The make full use of indicators to let you know its safe to overtake.
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En-route Chail
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From Kandaghat to chail we hardly saw any cars, just some buses & trucks.I was honking at each and every curve as the roads were narrow.
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We stayed at Hotel Grand Sunset, it has a nice view. Nice staff, the local boy was very helpful.Food was nice,cleanliness of the rooms can be improved.According to the plan , we were suppose to stay at the Chail palace but we had rooms for only 1 night, so we had to spend the other night at a different hotel.So we started to look for options and grand sunset was it.

View from our room
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Reached chail at 1:30 PM . The Car gave 0 complains,but i felt the body roll at each and curve we took.We had lunch in our room. Went off to sleep for a couple of hours. Evening, we went to the cricket stadium . I read it somewhere that it his the world highest cricket ground!
So we leave our hotel to check out the stadium, and all the way we discussed about Dharamsala's cricket ground. If its the world highest how come its not as popular as Dharamsala?

It was a surprise , and so were the roads!

The side of the road was dig up and there was no room for 2 cars to pass at the same time.
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And it gets worse.
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Now suddenly a Ritz appear in front of us heading down towards the market.We stopped, i looked left there was no space to squeeze in the car but there was some space 10 ft behind. I had to reverse , the left side of the ritz was dig up.looking at the LHS mirror i took the car back and the ritz was able to pass.

I am getting excited
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And the surprise. . A Football goal post
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My friends ,i discovered a pitch which has goal post at both the sides. At the back of the goal post was a tennis court which had provisions at the both the ends for a basket ball as well. Still we stayed there for an hour,as the air was so fresh to breathe.

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We got back into the car ,and i did not wanted to go back the same way from where we came .It was getting dark. Before heading back there is a cross-junction,we stopped there wondering where these roads are leading too?
We were the only ones present over there with no one around.We started descending ,and to my horror after going into the bad stretch i see a Honda city followed by a fortuner followed by a altis and one more city. Since i was the only one in my direction, i decided to reverse back to the Junction. I got down from the car and spotted 2 Army men. They suggested us a alternative route and we took that and headed back to the hotel.

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Next Post = Day 2
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Old 2nd July 2013, 11:17   #2
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Default re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

Day 2:

Before starting the trip, i was tracking the weather for the 3 days that we would be spending in and around Chail. On the 13th of June , it was expected to be raining.

We left hotel at 9am in the morning headed towards a temple which had good reviews on trip advisor and then we continued to kufri.
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The road to the temple was in a bad state, and had some steep inclines. Car gave no issues,with 5 on board we reached the temple at 9:35am. It was deserted.The temple is very well maintained and surrounded by breath taking views!

Entering the temple
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We were able to see the snow covered mountains.
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En-route Chail market.
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Here is a video,driving down from the temple


At Chail Market
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So, we finally leave chail at 10:15 headed towards kufri which is 30 kms away.
It was cloudy,it was drizzling! Mountain breeze coming in through the window got us in the mood,empty roads made me feel relaxed behind the wheels! It was just perfect.

we entred the cloud covered mountains,and it started raining heavily.
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Another Video:


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Its around 11:30 Am and we reach kufri .Parked in front of the market. Still raining heavily, we got down and located a small stall making HOT maggie and bhajji. We spoke to the owner of the stall, he told us kufri is the place to be in winters,when it snows for skiing.He told us not to waste time here and proceed to shimla.

At Kufri
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Kufri Market
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Maggie and Bhajji
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I had been to shimla couple of times before, it was first for my cousins. I had plans to take them to the Mall road,but plans got hampered because of someones haste!

Continued to rain heavily.
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Kufri-Shimla
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We reached dhalli sabzi mandi at 1:15 Pm. For the first time on this trip we were stuck in traffic, due to clouds i was only able to see the 7 cars ahead of me. At B2B we reached dhalli tunnel to enter sanjauli and drive further to shimla.The traffic jam was because of the vehicles going in and coming out of the sabzi mandi ,and because of the 1 lane dhalli tunnel.

We lost 1 hour in the jam. Drive after the tunnel was smooth.
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Dhalli Tunnel
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Just before 2 kms from the LIFT for the mall road there was a head on collision between a BUS and a ALTO. And again we were stuck in a jam. Cars started turning around ,so did i! I took shila bypass and entered shimla from the opposite direction.

Red circle is the accident spot,went across (D-E-B-C)
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And again, we find ourselves stuck in between the jam. And this time we are not moving. 4 Hours lost , and i was frustrated. We came to shimla , we spent 5 hours in the jam and we were eager to get out of this place as soon as possible.Still raining heavily.

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The ALTO
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Frustrated, we headed back to kufri for lunch .Finally at 6 Pm we had lunch.

Next Post =Day 3
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Old 2nd July 2013, 12:02   #3
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Default re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

Day 3:

Sunset the earlier day
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From the Hotel
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Our plans were to start at around 12 Pm,and head straight to Delhi. Early in the morning we changed plans,again and decided to visit Chandigarh.

All set to leave chail
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En-route Chandigarh
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Destination : Rock Garden
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Kalka-Shimla railway track
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Reached Rock garden at 2:30 Pm. This was my first visit to Chandigarh.As they say it did look very organised. The weather was bad, it was HOT and HUMID. We had to reach delhi the same night so we left Chandigarh at 5 Pm.

The Rock Garden,Chandigarh
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went to sector 28 for lunch. One must be aware of the quantities of dishes when travelling across north india. We ordered Half butter chicken for 2 of us.
When the dish came, me and a cousin stared at each other. It was well enough for 4 people!

Pal Dhaba, Chandigarh Sector 28
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Our next halt was Haveli. Reached haveli at 7:20 Pm. It was cloudy and drizzling.

Haveli
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Covered in mud
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The entire journey till now except the shimla jam was smooth. When we were nearing delhi, right before pind balluchi a DL registered ford figo taking a U-turn entered our side of the highway. I was doing 80 Km/h in the middle lane, I kept on flashing light at him from quite a distance. Right to me was a Innova doing 90 + .Still this figo came in the middle lane and stopped ! I reduced the speed and moved to the left lane! Thank god it was empty and zoomed past this stationary figo! Accident avoided.

Entered Delhi at 9:30 Pm. Reached home at 11:15 Pm.

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Total distance covered : 895 kms.
Fuel expenses : 4000/-
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Old 2nd July 2013, 13:37   #4
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Default re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

Good one. Nice photos and a very interesting read.
Photos of Kandghat to Chail.. these are kind of roads which I like to drive.
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Old 3rd July 2013, 13:08   #5
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Default Re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrive View Post
Good one. Nice photos and a very interesting read.
Photos of Kandghat to Chail.. these are kind of roads which I like to drive.

Thanks!
HP,UK,J&K have plenty of roads like these.
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Old 27th June 2015, 10:31   #6
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Default Re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

very beautifully written !
You have made my mood.

I am leaving for chail in 15 minutes
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Old 21st April 2016, 12:03   #7
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Default Re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

Dear all,

Is Chandigarh-> Shimla Expressway open ?

If not, how is the route from Chandigarh to Shimla these days?
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Old 21st April 2016, 12:59   #8
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Default Re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

I drove from Chandigarh to Shimla recently and though there is some work going on on the expressway, the drive was pleasant and the road condition is pretty decent till Dharampur.
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Old 3rd October 2016, 16:07   #9
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Default Re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

I am leaving to Chail on the 14th October - I want to know if the road from Chail to Kufri is clear and doable? I drive a Figo.
and also how is the road to Chail from Chandigarh

Last edited by Catalyst_delhi : 3rd October 2016 at 16:08. Reason: adding 1 more point
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Old 5th October 2016, 16:53   #10
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Default Re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catalyst_delhi View Post
I am leaving to Chail on the 14th October - I want to know if the road from Chail to Kufri is clear and doable? I drive a Figo.
and also how is the road to Chail from Chandigarh
The whole highway is in the process of being four-laned, expect narrow roads till Dharampur (atleast that's till where the construction had progressed when I last visited in July)

The road from Chail to Kufri is pretty narrow and you would need to be careful incase you are not used to driving in hills/narrow hill roads.Apart from that there should be no challenge in doing the stretch, we did it in Fiat (Padmini Premier) when I was young and M800 numerous times.
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Old 5th October 2016, 22:44   #11
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Default Re: Road Trip to Chail -> Kufri -> Shimla -> Chandigarh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkanile View Post
The whole highway is in the process of being four-laned, expect narrow roads till Dharampur (atleast that's till where the construction had progressed when I last visited in July)

The road from Chail to Kufri is pretty narrow and you would need to be careful incase you are not used to driving in hills/narrow hill roads.Apart from that there should be no challenge in doing the stretch, we did it in Fiat (Padmini Premier) when I was young and M800 numerous times.
Thank you for your reply, hill roads are ok. I lived my first 16 years in Kodaikanal.
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