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Old 11th October 2015, 10:37   #1
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Default Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran

When the wind calls, you know, that somewhere in the mountains, it has found the answers that you were looking for. The pull of the horizon overcomes the inertia of reason…And you just have to go. ~ Vikram Oberoi

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My daughter drew this quite a few years ago, to win a prize at a drawing competition with the topic My Inspirations. The mountains and a river flowing through. Inspired by our travels. And we returned to those same beloved mountains again in the beginning of October.

The Parvati River at Jari
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The Beas flows quietly through the mountains, somewhere near Bilaspur
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View of snow peaks from Kasol
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The road meets the mountains
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Waiting for the first rays of the sun to inspire its existence
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Old 11th October 2015, 12:58   #2
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Default re: Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran

October 2 being on a Friday this year, there was this extended 3-day weekend. Not quite the kind of break we look forward to, since the whole world is out on the highway, and traffic jams are tiresome. The hotels and restaurants even in out-of-the-way places are overcrowded, with poor service and inadequate staff to cope with the sudden influx of tourists, and they overcharge blatantly.

To avoid the early morning traffic, we decided to leave before daybreak, and were on the road at 3:45 am. Yet, NH1 still has its share of heavy traffic and mad drivers.

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A brief stopover at Ambala to meet a friend and hand over some goodies, meant that by the time we were back on the highway, the traffic had tripled and more. This is going to take a long time, I pondered.

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Kiratpur Sahib has this newly operational Reliance pump, with diesel at Rs.45.89 (Rs.45.00 at Delhi). A chat with the polite chaps manning the pump revealed that Reliance pumps have been permitted to reopen in PB, HP and HR since 25th September, after eight-and-a-half years. Across the rest of the country, they will now become operational in phases.

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The traffic jams begin soon after. This is the first jam soon after Kiratpur Sahib, just before entering HP. The gentleman in shorts hopped out of a Ghaziabad-registered Innova taxi and started to energetically and pointlessly direct traffic, as his taxi driver tried to squeeze me out of my lane from the left.

The gent in shorts came up and tapped on my window. Aap humein zaraa jagah chhod doh... hamaari gaari mein bachcha pareshaan hain... 12 ghante gaari mein baithe hain... (Let us through. Our kid is distraught, sitting inside the car for 12 hours at a stretch...). Well, that's a pretty cool excuse, I thought. One more weirdo on the highway.

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In fact, the highways were full of crazy people on that Friday. There were dozens upon dozens of self-drive rental cars of all shapes and sizes - Zoomcar, Myles, Revv and others - being driven by young folks out to have a good time, driving rules and safety be damned. Many of the jams we crawled through were caused by incapable drivers who had poor control over their cars.

Another long line of vehicles as we approach Swarghat
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Traffic jam through Sundarnagar
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Following a Team-BHP LTD sticker into the Aut tunnel

Bhunter will not allow us to pass through unimpeded either
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Finally, we get to go across the Beas, and head up the road to Jari, our destination, 20 km ahead. It's already becoming dark
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Driving to Jari through the darkness, we encountered these cows on the road.

The traffic jams kill some of the enjoyment no doubt, but the views and scenery made up for that. A few pics along the way...

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20 km after crossing the bridge at Bhunter, we are at the village of Jari. Mercifully, we do not need to find a hotel. There are a couple of rooms at a guest house on a private property waiting for us, and all we need to do is reach there and find our rooms and dinner waiting.

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Old 11th October 2015, 15:04   #3
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Default re: Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran

The roar of the Parvati River flowing past our room lulled us into deep sleep, tired as we were by the journey yesterday.

The next morning - the only day we spent at this lovely place - dawned bright and clear. The sun lit up the mountains all around, though the valley of the river remained in darkness for a long while.


It was time to go for a walk, and spend an hour and a half beside the river, reading a book. The camera accompanied me, looking for those answers.

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Old 11th October 2015, 16:45   #4
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Default re: Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran

The valley of the Parvati River is at an altitude of 1334 metres, with the town of Jari overlooking it. Inside the bowl of the valley, it was warm, and the sun shone brightly as the day progressed. Some views from the area.

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The moon visible in the sky over H-4®
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The town of Jari, famous for its apple orchards all around
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The valley, the moon, the guest house and H-4®
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Walkway to our accommodation
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Later that morning, we would be driving up the road on the left, which goes to Malana Village
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Rambling around in the wilderness, I discovered this tunnel leading deep into the mountain. Himachal Pradesh is the land of hydroelectric power generation, and there are scores of hydel projects, big and small, scattered all over. Tunnels bored through the mountains, and gigantic pipes, bring water to huge turbines that spin at a leisurely 500 rpm to generate hundreds of megawatts of electricity. Lately, the judiciary has taken a stand against these projects due to environmental concerns, and unfinished projects with crores of rupees invested in them lie incomplete. This tunnel was supposed to be a part of a project to generate 5 MW of electricity, but probably shelters wildlife in the winter.

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Old 11th October 2015, 17:39   #5
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A simple but filling breakfast later, we were on the road to Malana Village. It's a 16-km drive, plus a 3-km trek to the intriguing village with its unique customs, culture and agriculture, and we realized that it would take too long to go there and return, as well as visit Kasol and Manikaran.

The road is rough and narrow, and winds its way along the course of the Malana Nala, climbing sharply as it goes. We stopped frequently on the way, now that we had decided to forego the trip to the village. We would climb about halfway, to a dam on the Malana Nala - one of two such on that river.

The Malana Nala flows below, on its way to merge into the Parvati River
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Jagged rocky cliffs all around
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We stop on the way numerous times, simply to enjoy the vistas and the silence all around
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Tomatoes ripening in the sun
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The penstock pipe feeding the turbines of a hydroelectric project ~500 metres below the dam we are on our way to, as a snowy peak shines in the distance
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A closer look at the massive pipe
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The snowy peak - a closer look
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At the dam, altitude around 1880 metres. The road through the gate behind the car carries on to another dam further uphill, and then on to the trekking point to Malana Village. We did not proceed beyond this point.

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The Malana Nala is now quite literally a nullah, with very little water in it.
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A waterfall, with a 'shivling'-like rocky formation below it
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The reservoir, with a bypass for the river to flow by. By the rulebook, about 15% of the water of the river has to be released; the dam cannot block all the water in the river
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And then we make our way back to Jari
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Old 12th October 2015, 21:04   #6
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Jari happens to be apple country - the heartland of golden apples that Kullu district is so famous for. And this is apple harvesting season.

Crates full of apples are ferried by cable car from the orchards on the slopes to the road, for packing and transport to the markets in the plains
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These are then packed in cardboard cartons after sorting for size and quality
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Godown where apples are stored for sorting
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We pick up a crate of golden apples too - roughly 25 kg to a crate
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A trail leads up to the apple orchards high on the slopes
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Old 13th October 2015, 14:46   #7
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Kasol. A little village just a few kilometres down the road from Jari. As we approached Kasol, the view towards the mountains is magnificent.
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The village apparently has more Israelis than Indians. Undoubtedly, there's a profusion of signboards in Hebrew script all over the marketplace.
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There are a number of cafés, and one has been in the news lately.
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Yet, on the day we were there, the crowd and the number of cars was oppressively high - so much so, that the local police was deployed on the road to control unruly traffic.
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Kasol is probably about spiritual enlightenment through the smoky route, and it was interesting to sit back and observe a temple near Kasol, where travellers were being practically force-fed prasad of some kind.
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Contemplating about nothing as the world passes him by.
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Old 13th October 2015, 20:55   #8
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Manikaran is renowned as a religious centre of both Sikhs and Hindus, and for the Gurudwara on the banks of the Parvati River which has also been in the news a couple of months ago.

The damage due the landslide is still visible, leaving one in awe of the forces of nature.
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Some photographs from the Gurudwara Shri Hari Har Ghat Manikaran Sahib Ji and its surroundings

Multi-storey car park. The glazed tiles on the ceiling caught my attention

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View of the Gurudwara complex from the upper storeys of the car park
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The cow shed. The odour is intense
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Cows on their way to graze
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Entrance to the Gurudwara complex
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Building that appears to be used as an office
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Bridge across the river to reach the Gurudwara
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Architecture above the main entrance
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The bridge, and steam rising from the hot water spring
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Sulphur marks on the rocks
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The Parvati River flows by
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Old 15th October 2015, 16:11   #9
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Default re: Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran

It was late afternoon, and time for a luxurious lunch. The Sanjha Chulha Restaurant at The Himalayan Village Resort came highly recommended - somewhat expensive, but there was a decent discount made available for us.

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Tandoori trout on the menu - the zingy accompaniments are delicious too, and make the fish taste better
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Patrodu is something new for our palates - a little like Paatra from Gujarat, but distinctly different in taste and texture
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Old 16th October 2015, 18:35   #10
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Default re: Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran

For the previous 48 hours, none of us had watched television. That's how enchanting the trip was.

A word of warning: People with herpetophobia and arachnophobia may want to stay away from the place
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.
Rabbits in a cage might make sense, but why cage some perfectly lovable and docile canines? This was at the Himalayan village Resort. Do the dogs jump around and scare guests?
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Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran-malana_150k300.jpg

Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran-malana_149k300.jpg

Some animals are so docile, they don't even move!
Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran-malana_9k300.jpg

Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran-malana_234k300.jpg

Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran-malana_233k300.jpg

Sunday morning, it was time to drive back. We left a little after 9 am, trying to beat the returning holiday traffic. And we did. Almost. It took us 6.5 hours to cross the border from HP into PB, while on the way out it had taken 8 hours.

But then we stopped for lunch at a dhaba which had this interesting sign. Roughly translated, the Hindi bit reads: (In the air-conditioned rooms) one can't have one's own food. So what are we supposed to do? Grab food from the neighbouring table? And just pay Rs.100 per table (as a cover charge perhaps)? But we didn't like what the folks at the neighbouring table had ordered, and in any case, they looked mean enough not to take kindly to our grabbing the food off their table.

Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Jari, Malana, Kasol & Manikaran-malana_235k300.jpg

So we ordered our own food. Thankfully, no one grabbed it off our table either. And sadly, the bill was much higher than the Rs.100 that was promised.

Another stopover at Ambala with the friend, and we were back home before midnight.
::::: THE END :::::

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 16th October 2015 at 20:28.
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Old 17th October 2015, 09:09   #11
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th October 2015, 09:49   #12
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Thanks for sharing this lovely travelogue SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Tandoori [i]trout on the menu - the zingy accompaniments are delicious too, and make the fish taste better.
Patrodu[/url] [i]is something new for our palates - a little like
While I can't wait to have my first trout, I think this patrodu is eaten at our place too. It is being made from wild plants having big leaves known as kacchoo in Hindi. Delicious once cooked in mustard
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Old 17th October 2015, 13:49   #13
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Wonderfully detailed travelogue/photologue SSda! Thanks to your travelogue, I came to know of Malana.
It's sad that you couldn't reach the village. From what I read on Wiki, it will definitely be one of the top items in my bucket list! Potrodu seemed interesting too, is it really Kochu - as pointed out by Sheel?!
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Old 17th October 2015, 14:06   #14
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Quote:
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...I think this patrodu is eaten at our place too. It is being made from wild plants having big leaves known as kacchoo in Hindi. Delicious once cooked in mustard
Yes, the main ingredients are somewhat similar, but the balance of spices and the cooking process is different. Here, there is no mustard used. The preparation for patrodu is by steaming followed by lightly frying, then served with desi ghee and a combination of fresh condiments, including a sauce of mint and coriander leaves.

Yes, GhostRider28, one of the main ingredients is the leaves of the kochu (Bengali) or arbi (Hindi). Besan (gram flour) is added between the leaves.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 17th October 2015 at 14:10.
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Old 18th October 2015, 13:26   #15
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Awesome travelogue SS Sir!! Pics are super. One question - the guest house at Jari; it looks so comfy. What is the cost of accommodation, and are there any restrictions on who can book it? Will try to visit the place next year.
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