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Old 18th May 2015, 20:27   #1
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Default Summer sojourn to Kinnaur Valley

Solo travel has several advantages, that's what a quick google search reveals. I find myself in Shimla at my parents house with several leaves at hand but unfortunately no travel partners for the first time. My previous driving trip was last year and I felt a new trip ought to be arranged soon. But alas it seems my plans won't see the light of day as my friends can't accompany me mid-week. I seriously start considering the option of travelling solo. I have seen countless travelogues of fellow BHPians travelling solo. A quick google search reveals how travelling alone can be a journey of "self-discovery" and "a great confidence booster" among other things. I am still skeptical and feel that loneliness will set in eventually and this solo trip might just turn out to be me lazing in expensive hotel and checking my Facebook page

I look at a few more travelogues and finally decide to go for a short trip alone. I consider nearby places for a short trip, several places are considered but in the end I decide to go to Sangla Valley since I haven't been there for 10 years.

Day 1
I start on the familiar NH22 at 0700 hoping to make it as far as Kalpa. You gently rise in elevation till Narkanda followed by a steep descent to 1000 m (Rampur). Rampur can get pretty hot in summers.
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A mostly uneventful drive till Rampur, the road conditions are pretty good up to Jhakri after which the road condition starts deteriorating.
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Dusty road before entering Jhakri.
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I finally reach kinnaur after 5 hours. Driving next to knife edge cliffs is an exciting experience.
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The Tapri-Urni-Karcham stretch is definitely the worst of the trip and it took almost two hours for this 20 km stretch. Construction of several massive hydro-power projects has significantly contributed to the worsening of road conditions and the increased the frequency of landslides.

I finally reach Kalpa after driving for 11 hours. Kalpa is at 3000m so it gets really cold there even in may. Kalpa is known primarily for its apple orchards, apples being the main cash crop and the mesmerising view of the kinner kailash range that it offers. I look around for a good hotel and finally settle on hotel apple pie. The young manager advised me to park the car and have a pleasant walk around the place. My amateur photography skills fail to do justice to the beauty of the place. The Kalpa to Roghi road is a photographer's delight.
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Last edited by Aditya : 26th June 2015 at 12:18. Reason: Spacing
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Old 23rd June 2015, 20:02   #2
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Default re: Summer sojourn to Kinnaur Valley

Days 2 and 3
Unfortunately, I get an upset stomach on day 2 and decide to go find a chemist shop. I descend down to Reckong Peo and am able to locate a doctor at 6 am in the civil hospital!! I head towards Karcham, there is a diversion towards Sangla from NH-22 at Karcham. The kuccha roads are a nightmare when it rains, and it rains a lot in Kinnaur.
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From Reckong Peo to Karcham
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As you approach Sangla, the road conditions improve and the views get grander. The Baspa/Sangla valley starting at Karcham and ending at Chitkul is the one of the most beautiful drives in HP. The forested slopes and the beautiful Baspa offer an enchanting drive. The Baspa valley is still not on the radar as a "popular tourist destination" and I come across hardly 20 to 25 vehicles and a couple of buses on the way from Sangla to Chitkul.
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The Chitkul road has lots of these mini water crossings.
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The end of the road? I enjoy the view after a long drive, the weather's cold as it always is in Chitkul. After a great lunch I move down to the river. Chitkul is the ideal destination for people like me who are weary of crowds and heavily crowded tourist spots this time of the year. You literally feel like you have reached the end of the road. After exploring the area for a couple of hours I decide to go back and find a place to stay in either Raksham or Sangla.
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Last edited by Aditya : 26th June 2015 at 12:21. Reason: Spacing
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Old 24th June 2015, 00:21   #3
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Default re: Summer sojourn to Kinnaur Valley

Days 2 and 3 continued
I pick up a couple of locals going to Raksham on the way back and they suggest a nice tenting arrangement in Raksham for overnight stay. It was a great deal for 1200 bucks a night, nestled in a picturesque valley . The owner by the name of Mr. Negi suggested a walk along the Baspa in the afternoon. Me and a couple of fellow residents walked for 4 hours along the valley in company of the Baspa that day!! The cool breeze and mild rainfall made for a great experience. I met a guy from Kerala who was doing the exact same walk for 3 straight days with his camera. In the evening we lit up a fire and tried the local apple wine .
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It was really cold in the morning so I used some warm water to defrost the windshield at 6 am. I believe this was the first time ever that my car would not start on first or second crank. It rained heavily last last night so decided to leave early fearing the heavy downpour last night might have caused blockages and landslides. My fears were unfounded and the road was in good condition. I decided to stop by at Sarahan and visit the magnificent Bheema Kali temple. It features great wooden architecture, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali presiding deity of the Rulers of former Bushahr State. This concluded an eventful three days, my first solo adventure and I hope plenty more will come in future .
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Last edited by Aditya : 26th June 2015 at 12:24. Reason: Spacing
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Old 26th June 2015, 12:24   #4
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Default Re: Summer sojourn to Kinnaur Valley

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th June 2015, 12:17   #5
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Default Re: Summer sojourn to Kinnaur Valley

Fantastic and crisp travelogue with some really great images! Solo trips can be daunting, but traveling on your own terms always brings something more to the experience.
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Old 29th June 2015, 14:37   #6
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Default Re: Summer sojourn to Kinnaur Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Fantastic and crisp travelogue with some really great images! Solo trips can be daunting, but traveling on your own terms always brings something more to the experience.
Thanks for the kind words. You are right, solo trips are a unique experience.
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Old 30th June 2015, 00:44   #7
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Default Re: Summer sojourn to Kinnaur Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by bullrun87 View Post
This concluded an eventful three days, my first solo adventure and I hope plenty more will come in future .
Solo drives are of different dimension! It allows you to observe not just mother nature but also your own self. Your pictures are serene and quite apt for the occasion. I enjoyed being tagged along your journey through your writing. Thanks for sharing your beautiful travelogue.

Best,
Golam
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