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Old 16th March 2015, 01:40   #1
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Default A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours

"Four college friends pursue their first roadtrip, Shimla, Kufri, Chail, in 35hrs, unaware of surprises awaiting them!"

It had been a long time since I had hit the highway for a long drive. With so many unsuccessful attempts to plan a trip, I knew it had to be a spontaneous decision. Whoever create hindrance has to be left behind. Best time would be the weekend just after our Mid Semester exams. 13, 14, 15th March, 2015 leaving immediately after our exam on Friday morning. I started my search for feasible destinations, with Udaipur, Tirthan Valley, Jim Corbett and Rishikesh in the order of preference. The itineraries were planned in my mind. Rough budget calculated. BUT then came the date sheet of exam.

Last exam on 14th March, evening session (3.30-5.30PM). There goes my plan again. Throughout the exams I kept looking for destinations on google maps. Nothing till 13th March. At evening after watching last episode of Star Wars, I came across a video on Facebook about The Lawrence School, Sanawar (Solan). My hostel where I spent my pre teen (5th - 7th class). This is it! I'll be off to Sanawar on Sunday recollecting all the experiences with the hostel. And for company? Who other than my cousin who shared same experiences in Lawrence School. Gave a call to him but he seems unsure. Unsure if his parents would allow to accompany me to Sanawar via road with me as his driver in Wagon R. And it went as expected, refusal for him as well as for me!

I was dying for a road trip and it had to be this weekend. After all it’s my birthday on 17th March! I thought why not let's revisit Shimla, second time in a year. Not only Shimla, the most down voted BHPian weekend getaway destination, but Chail and Kufri too. The decision was much more than spontaneous. The last exam was only a few hours far and for the trip, I (we) had to leave immediately after exam to minimise night driving in hills. I planned a rough route. 14th March night in Chail. Then next day drive to Kufri, Shimla and back to Patiala the same day. Hectic eh? Read on!

Route, Sourced from chailonline.com
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Next phase was to estimate the budget.

Petrol - 13 kmpl (409 km) - Rs. 63 per litre ~2000
Hotel- 2000
Food - 1000 per person Total budget: Rs. 2000 (for 4 persons)

Next was to convince 4 people that immediately after exam we had to leave for the proposed "hectic" trip. And that also when they were too busy with the final hour’s preparation for exam!

After exam, we met and one of us dropped the plan. But the budget for 3 could not allow us to go for it. We all had managed for Rs. 2000 but not sufficient for trip of 3. Too many lavish dinners to keep our spirits high during exams. We all were much excited for the trip and could not cancel it. Somehow managed to get the 4th person but it was 7.30 PM already when we left the college.

We took some snacks on the way as dinner was to be at Gyani Da Dhaba in Dharampur. The drive was smooth without any stops till we crossed Parwanoo. And for the rest of the trip, I'll allow the photographs to rule.

A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-1.jpg

Panchkula Toll Plaza
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-2.jpg
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-3.jpg

MC Donald's to satisfy our hunger
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Random stops
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Everything went well till we reached Sandhupul (bridge). It was late at night with no soul being spotted. Before booking hotel, the manager informed us about the closed Sandhupul. There is a diversion about 500 meters before the bridge which might seem to be off road but the unmetalled part on that road is only about 500 metres. But we were unsure about the initial run on that diversion because of huge gradient down the unmetalled road. Besides we were unsure of the route. So, we and another by-traveller in their Dzire decided to stay at some place in Kandaghat. Since it was around 1am we didn't not expect to find a cheap hotel but came across “Ashish Inn". First of all, being greeted by a smiling face, then only Rs1100 for a double bedroom with 2 extra beds, it was like an angel sent to our aid!

A sleep we never had in our life. Left hotel by 12PM, never aware what wonder awaits us. Hence continuing photographs to rule.

Kandaghat - Shimla

View from hotel parking, Kandaghat
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-9.jpg

Ashish Inn
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-10.jpg
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Me
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Love Cars Live Cars
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OK 22 G (ok bhai ji)
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-18.jpg

Chilling Wind
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The Driver - ME
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-29.jpg

Last edited by Ashir : 17th September 2015 at 18:42.
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Old 17th September 2015, 17:44   #2
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Default re: A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours

My beloved Wagon R
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-30.jpg

Near Shimla City
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-31.jpg

Shimla

The Shmila City
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Indian Coffee House!
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Gulab Jamun, Ice Cream, Chilling Wind
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Shimla - Kufri

A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-41.jpg
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Snow!
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-43.jpg

SNOW!!! Yeah we never expected we'll experience snow! Forget expecting, we didn't even think of it.

A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-45.jpg

Left - Kufri, Right - Chail, People - Guides to eat our brain
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-46.jpg
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-47.jpg

Wagon R is happy to see snow!
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Well, I am happy too!
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Wallpaper shot
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Kufri - Chail

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Random Stop, Tea Time
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-54.jpg

Cold does increase our metabolism rate
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-55.jpg
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Hot Tea with this scenery!
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A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-58.jpg

Last shot in this trip of nature's beauty
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-59.jpg

Last edited by Ashir : 17th September 2015 at 18:39.
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Old 17th September 2015, 18:09   #3
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Default re: A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours

Alto and Thar in 1, Joking
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-60.jpg

The Chail Palace, restricted due to some movie shooting
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-61.jpg

Hello little one
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-62.jpg

Chail - Patiala

We had 2 options to reach Solan, One on state road, lots of twists and turns to reach Solan directly. Other is again via Sandhupul to Kandaghat. Upon getting a positive and motivating response from local taxi drivers, went on with Sandhupul route. Another surprise awaits us!

Off-road
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-63.jpg

Ashwani River flowing few feet away
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-64.jpg

River restaurant!
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-65.jpg

Chicken Tikka!
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-66.jpg

A Day full of surprises!
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-67.jpg

A jam, an Alto broke its rear axle while climbing
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-68.jpg

Only 1hr wasted here, Utilised by dancing outside
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-69.jpg

MC Donald's again!
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-70.jpg

The plains, welcoming Parwanoo highway
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-71.jpg

Thapar University Main Gate
A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours-72.jpg

THE END

Points to Note:
  1. Best trip till date because of surprises.
  2. Got lot of scolding from parents, but they did enjoy the travelogue.
  3. Wagon R didn't show any trouble throughout.
  4. Apologies for very poor quality photographs. Most of the photographs are from Moto G 1st gen.
  5. Got banned on 17th March (also my birthday date) before I could complete my travelogue. Reason: Repeatedly making grammar and spelling mistakes.
  6. Two more travelogues on way, one to Jaisalmer and another one to Lansdowne. They are complete but will take time to upload photographs on forum.

Last edited by Ashir : 17th September 2015 at 18:38.
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Old 18th September 2015, 07:42   #4
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Default re: A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!


Nothing like a road trip with friends!
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Old 16th October 2015, 00:13   #5
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Default Re: A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours

Wonderfully written Travelogue

I am planning to surprise my better half by taking her to Shimla from bangalore.
Plan is to fly till Delhi and travel to Shimla by hiring Zoom Car.

Few queries as to,

How safe is the road? I own Ritz Zxi and had done road trips to Mangalore, Ooty, Yercaud, Chennai and Coorg.
How safe is to take zoom car like Swift/Figo/Ecosport? Which car is better suited?
Is the route and road at this time of the year proper?

Thanks in advance.
Hector
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Old 16th October 2015, 09:54   #6
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Default Re: A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours

I would suggest staying at Chail instead , Shimla is too commercialized.
make a daytrip to Kufri, Shimla instead
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Old 16th October 2015, 16:43   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hector View Post
Wonderfully written Travelogue

I am planning to surprise my better half by taking her to Shimla from bangalore.
Plan is to fly till Delhi and travel to Shimla by hiring Zoom Car.

Few queries as to,

How safe is the road? I own Ritz Zxi and had done road trips to Mangalore, Ooty, Yercaud, Chennai and Coorg.
How safe is to take zoom car like Swift/Figo/Ecosport? Which car is better suited?
Is the route and road at this time of the year proper?

Thanks in advance.
Hector

Thanks Hector! It was my first travelogue and I am not fond of writing :P

Shimla is a place where you can take any vehicle without any problem, best on 2-Wheelers but 4-wheelers would not at all disappoint.

Just for the sake of choosing, If it was me, I would choose whichever has the lowest body roll, (Perhaps Swift) so that you can cruise the smooth and wide roads at good speed.
The National Highways from Delhi to Parwanoo are very comfortable.

Delhi to Ambala - 6 laned with 3-4 diversions.

Ambala to Chandigarh (Zirakpur) - 4 laned, super smooth

Zirakpur to Parwanoo - 4-8 laned, again super smooth, look out on your speedometer to check if the speed is not crossing the limit set in Zoomcar. I once touched 140 without even knowing. Not at all recommended.


Parwanoo to Shimla and a little beyond - Hill road starts (4 laned). Expect a little traffic on this stretch, and rash bus drivers.

Except for new year and major festivals, there is no bad time to visit the place.

And as a suggestion, do look up for places nearby Shimla, like Kufri, Chail. A little higher places could be found in various travelogues!


Quote:
Originally Posted by BUXX View Post
I would suggest staying at Chail instead , Shimla is too commercialized.
make a daytrip to Kufri, Shimla instead
+1

Or you could find a resort around Shimla (example Summer Hill, etc). I have been to a resort: Shimla Heavens in Summer Hill, isolated place, perfect for peacefully enjoying the weather.

In Chail, The Chail Palace is the best place to stay, but do ensure the availability when planning.

Another thing regarding the roads, the National Highway going through Shimla is very good. No problem in night driving, but you would not want to miss the beauty.

Other state highways are comparatively narrow, with negligible rough patches, though no surprises. Extra care must be taken at sharp turns. And it might get lonely in these roads, so avoid night driving.
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Old 17th October 2015, 10:55   #8
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Default Re: A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours

Awesome trip! I was reminded of the scenes from my recent trip.

You could also stay at places like Naldehra or Mashobra. That side of the scenery is beautiful too - you can drive all the way upto Tattapani via Mashobra and Naldehra : very enjoyable.

We were comparing Shimla to Ooty all the time : so much similarity. Except of course that there is no snow.
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Old 20th October 2015, 18:14   #9
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Default Re: A Wander that made us Wonder - Shimla, Chail & Kufri in 36 hours

Thanks guys !! Update:
I have Booked Swift zoom car at Delhi. Planning for 1 day stay at Chail and 2 days at Fagu.

Just wanted to know if the road to Chail from Kalka is good. I read somewhere that there was bridge wash away in July.
Also, Chail-Kufri-Fagu road is drive-able?
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Old 22nd October 2015, 12:01   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hector View Post
Thanks guys !! Update:
I have Booked Swift zoom car at Delhi. Planning for 1 day stay at Chail and 2 days at Fagu.

Just wanted to know if the road to Chail from Kalka is good. I read somewhere that there was bridge wash away in July.
Also, Chail-Kufri-Fagu road is drive-able?
OK so here it is.

There are 2 routes, one via Kandaghat and other is directly to Chail. The latter one is just a normal road so might not be good to venture. I have not been there, nor heard anyone go there.

But the first route is easily motorable. Till Kandaghat it is the Shimla-Parwanoo national highway. And beyond Kandaghat its state highway, little narrow but easy drive.

The catch in this route is, a bridge broken due to which there is a diversion via a little offroad. And during the day, I don't thing the huge gradient down the hill would be a problem. It might look dangerous, but its hardly 200-300m. Lot of trucks and cars commute through that diversion and help would be easily available in daylight, if required.

It is also possible that the bridge is repaired and there won't be any problem.

In short, go via Kandaghat.

Chail - Kufri is easily motorable. Might be a problem for 2 trucks to overtake but cars are easy. Moreover, you won't find much traffic there.

Kufri - Fagu I am unaware. Sorry.
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