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Old 16th July 2015, 01:30   #16
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Superb thread.
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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
Amazing travelogue DriveTrain.
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Originally Posted by drive2eternity View Post
Wonderful travelogue. You really allowed the Duster AWD to showcase what its built for.
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Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
Awesome dada, What more to say!
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Originally Posted by John View Post
Wonderful travelogue and superb photographs, DriveTrain. Now I know where to go for our next vacation!
Thank you ampere , S2!!! , drive2eternity , gearhead_mait & John for your words of appreciation, glad that you liked it.

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Beautiful. I love destinations like this. Few families might not really appreciate your enthusiasm of going to Leh/Laddakh..
Thank you Sheel. As a family we were completely bowled over by Ladakh and dream to drive there some day , possibly more than once! (our last trip was not a self driven one). And make a trip by air during the winter as well .

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Originally Posted by mi2n View Post
Great drive across some of the country's best highways..

Although, the road conditions at few places does not seem to be hatch friendly, it is only a matter of time till Mr.Samba lugs his Etios up there and then the herd shall soon follow.

Though Kolkata-Delhi drives are unanimously copyrighted by the Senguptas, I would still like to shoot a query to you as you have just done the stretch. What other possible night halts on this route did you consider apart from the usual Varanasi, Allahabad?
Thank you mi2n. Yes , please do visit if you can , it is really worth it.

If it does not rain and the track is dry , a hatch can easily make it to Hotel Dwarika Residency. With A/T tyres it can probably make it in moderate slush as well. But not to worry , this is only the last 1.5 Kms , you can always park at Mandhol and Mr Khimta will send the Gypsy to ferry everything upto the hotel. A hatch can go to Chanshal as well , provided there is not much snow or heavy rain. We had an Alto for company at the top.

In fact SS-Traveller did his favourite leg again in June but the experience he posted was not good. It seems that in peak summer the road is actually better (read empty) in the morning and afternoon. With heavy truck traffic at night , plus the travails of the local sand mafia in places - it may be better to sleep the night out.

I did not consider a night halt outside of Varanasi as my wife decreed that we simply cannot omit the Darshan. I actually saw quite a few eateries on the way that provided rooms , really did not keep a note except for a place called "Athithi Restaurant" where we had food. This was near Aurangabad and the rooms looked decent from the outside. I will send you the co ordinates over the weekend - need to hunt that out from the Dash Cam GPS log. There is a Bihar Tourism resort in Mohania before Varanasi , but Varanasi and Allahabad are the best bets. After crossing Kanpur there are again a few restaurants that offer rooms - but unfortunately I did not keep a log.

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Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Hey that is a good trip experience. Canyou share route in to hills - say from Ambala to Ambala - on googlemaps?
Thank you sudev , give me a couple of days , will pm it you. Have still not downloaded all the GPS logs.

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Sirjee,
a. Outstanding snaps. Which camera do you have? What's your software workflow?
b. Excellent mileage for a 110 bhp beast! You drove well!
c. Above all, kudos to your family for letting you drive that long (instead of wanting to fly to Delhi).
Thank you phamilyman. I have a Canon EoS 7D. It is still paired with the EFS 18-135 mm Kit. The zoom was with a Tamron 70-300. I process the Raw files in DXO Optics Pro. This travelogue has photos from the main camera , a couple of mobile phones as well as a dash cam. The mobile and dash cam shots were cleaned using Adobe PSE. I used the Content Aware Tool to brush off the embedded Date and Speed data in the dash cam shots , you can clearly see the blur at the corners - was too lazy to spend much time to clean it up properly.

After so many years , my family now silently endures my idiosyncrasies. They love to travel as well - the freedom to stop anywhere and go where you like plus the ability to dump anything and everything into the boot at the last minute is a game changer.

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Originally Posted by R.I.P View Post
Wow, been a while since i saw home. This is where i grew up. 20 odd kms from kharapathar is a village called sharontha. My maternal grandma's place.
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Originally Posted by noidea View Post
Great photography and brilliant narration. I grew up in that part of the country and you took me back to my childhood.

What kind of dashcam were you using ? Could you share the details please. Thanks.
Thank you R.I.P and noidea, you were blessed to have experienced the bounty of Mother Nature. If this turned you both nostalgic and made you re-live some of your childhood days- then I am truly honoured, thank you once again for sharing.

noidea , I use the GS90C with the Ambarella A7LA70 chip , please check the link. I have added a DIY Circular Polarizer filter to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Lovely scenery and quite a tour! Thing that I find especially stunning personally is that I've lived in Himachal ten years and considered myself quite well-traveled all over the state, and yet can't remember hearing of even one of the place names (apart from Rohru / Chakrata, which I know I've been through)...???!!! Can't wait to take out a map and try to figure out how I managed to miss all this... or else (not likely) how I managed to ride through it in a state of complete oblivion...??? :-)

Beautiful.

Many Thanks,
Eric
Eric , glad that you liked it and Thank you. Maybe you can now find some time to see these all over again ?

Last edited by DriveTrain : 16th July 2015 at 01:35.
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Old 16th July 2015, 10:23   #17
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

Great travelogue to read, savor and start telling that i should plan something like this one day (have the Dusty AWD). Enjoyed every bit of reading the travelogue. Will be great if you share the hotel in Varanasi and the dash cam model / make you use. Thanks!
Regards,
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Old 16th July 2015, 16:39   #18
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

What a wonderful voyage and a terrific writeup alongwith breathtaking photographs to keep us captivated. Not only the scenes have been captured well, the Duster seems to be a much pleasant sight in these surroundings than the contraptions some of us take to similar locations. Waiting for your next travel.
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Old 17th July 2015, 12:51   #19
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

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Originally Posted by DriveTrain View Post
Day 8 was the start of the return leg. We wanted to try a different route down................
Now the long wait begins for the next trip - plans are to be made , I can almost hear the call of the road getting stronger......

Attachment 1392244
A very pleasant & soothing thread, DriveTrain! Himachal is a place we have not been to, our trips being mostly to Uttaranchal. But your travelogue makes a great argument to widen our horizon - and Himachal is now certainly among the target destinations now.
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Old 17th July 2015, 14:42   #20
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Lovely scenery and quite a tour! Can't wait to take out a map and try to figure out how I managed to miss all this...
Okay, so the upper parts of the Pabbar River seem to require a drive east from Hatkoti off the main Rohru/Tiuni/Chakrata route (which I've traveled)...

But only one of my three maps even shows Dadra/Kwar, and then as accessible only by trekking path, same with Chanshal Ghati. Thus far not finding Mandhol shown at all. Have found a similar dilemma re: lots of other places in the state (or occasionally the opposite, where a road is shown but in reality there's only a trekking path). What maps were you using out there? Can you recommend any?

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 17th July 2015 at 14:44.
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Old 19th July 2015, 13:46   #21
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sethu.murali View Post
Great travelogue to read, savor and start telling that i should plan something like this one day (have the Dusty AWD). Enjoyed every bit of reading the travelogue. Will be great if you share the hotel in Varanasi and the dash cam model / make you use.
Thank you and congratulations on your new steed!

Varanasi Hotel - Temple on Ganges

Dash Cam - GS90C with Ambarella A7LA70 Chip and GPS

I brought it through AliExpress.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
What a wonderful voyage and a terrific writeup alongwith breathtaking photographs to keep us captivated. Not only the scenes have been captured well, the Duster seems to be a much pleasant sight in these surroundings than the contraptions some of us take to similar locations. Waiting for your next travel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shashanka View Post
A very pleasant & soothing thread, DriveTrain! Himachal is a place we have not been to, our trips being mostly to Uttaranchal. But your travelogue makes a great argument to widen our horizon - and Himachal is now certainly among the target destinations now.
Thank you 1100D and shashanka

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Originally Posted by mi2n View Post
I would still like to shoot a query to you as you have just done the stretch. What other possible night halts on this route did you consider apart from the usual Varanasi, Allahabad?
mi2n , paste these coordinates 24.704858,84.471977 in Google Maps and it will provide the location of Athithi Hotel and Restaurant , I mentioned in my earlier reply. It is about 495 kms from Kolkata and before Aurangabad , takes about 8 hrs to reach. This had rooms , we ate our lunch here while going towards Delhi and breakfast while coming back. Food was quick and good , toilets were clean and the place looked nice and airy. Here is a dash cam snap..

Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!-athithi1_1.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Canyou share route in to hills - say from Ambala to Ambala - on googlemaps?
sudev, here is a link to Google mymaps , this provides the route I took from Ambala to Mandhol , from there to Chanshal and the route I took on the way back. You can either take the main route back to Ambala , or should you choose the Hatkoti - Tiuni route , from Ladwa you can continue straight on to Kurukhestra and then on to Ambala on NH1.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...EA&usp=sharing

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Okay, so the upper parts of the Pabbar River seem to require a drive east from Hatkoti off the main Rohru/Tiuni/Chakrata route (which I've traveled)...

But only one of my three maps even shows Dadra/Kwar, and then as accessible only by trekking path, same with Chanshal Ghati. Thus far not finding Mandhol shown at all. Have found a similar dilemma re: lots of other places in the state (or occasionally the opposite, where a road is shown but in reality there's only a trekking path). What maps were you using out there? Can you recommend any?

-Eric
Eric , the link above should give you the required details . The blue track is the route taken from Ambala to Mandhol. The orange-yellowish track was my route to Chanshal while the green was my route back. The blue track from Chansal to Dodra Kwar is very much motorable, but I did not travel here. If you plan to travel to Kwar , you need to spend the night there or come back to Larot and stay there . Larot has a PWD rest house and Dodra has a basic Inspection bungalow , having your own camping equipment in these parts will surely help. It appears that the portion of the road that goes to Dodra from Chanshal is not very good and may need a vehicle with high ground clearance.

I am also posting some additional images for easy understanding, hope that it helps. There is very much a motor able route to Chanshal and Dodra- Kwar , it is open in summer but closed due to snow in winter. You also have HP State Transport buses plying on this route. This was a trekking track earlier but it is motor able now since several years. In fact I understand that a motor able road linking Dhaula in Uttarakhand to Kwar is also in the making , it is a trekking route now.

I myself prefer Google Maps , almost all maps are good within the Indian cities or major roads , however once you go off route or in the interiors , I found that Google still provides the best coverage , even though it might not be very accurate at times. Even though my car has built in navigation and GPS , I still rely on Google. I download the area that I intend to travel from Google using an older version of MOBAC (Mobile Atlas Creator) and use these custom maps on a software called Locus Pro in Android. The route - I pre map using Google Mymaps and import the tracks in Locus Pro. This gives me a local version of the entire map set and route for my intended destinations and I do not need to depend on any network coverage. Locus Pro also saves all tracks that I travel.

The routes
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Mandhol and around
Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!-mandhol.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.I.P View Post
Wow, been a while since i saw home. This is where i grew up. 20 odd kms from kharapathar is a village called sharontha. My maternal grandma's place.
R.I.P , check the map above , you can clearly see Sharontha on the top left.

Chanshal and Dodra-Kwar
Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!-chanshal.jpg

Walk from parking space to Hotel Dwarika Residency
Name:  Walk to Dwarika Residency.jpg
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Old 19th July 2015, 23:47   #22
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

Superb travelogue. The photos are awesome and the road pics highlight the changing driving conditions of India. And of course my favorite car the Duster to top it.Cool
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Old 20th July 2015, 15:01   #23
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

I just skimmed through your travelogue to take a short break from work. Lovely pictures and wonderful narration. I have to revisit it again during the weekend to read the complete story. The last line of your travelogue pinches in my heart to remind that it's been months since I last hit the road. Thanks for that!
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Old 20th July 2015, 18:10   #24
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Default Re: Lure of the Himalayas – Himachal beckons again!

Thanks for sharing this wonderful travelogue with us.This has inspired me to take my next road trip as early as possible.
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Old 20th July 2015, 19:46   #25
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Superbly written and amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing the travelogue and like others, giving me an idea about my next holiday.

Just one question though, do you think if this route is doable in December?
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Old 21st July 2015, 22:57   #26
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Just one question though, do you think if this route is doable in December?
The route to Chanshal pass is a definite no as the road is only open between May and Oct. Upto Mandhol very probably yes , unless it snows heavily . Best would be to check with Mr Sudhir Khimta for his advise , he is the owner of Dwarika Residency and you can find his details in the hotel link. The hotel homepage actually has jaw dropping snow covered vistas of the hotel during Winter.

This link does not seem to be very inspiring http://hillpost.in/2014/12/theog-kot...omment-page-1/

Last edited by DriveTrain : 21st July 2015 at 23:00.
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