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Old 29th December 2015, 18:55   #1
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Default In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda

On a boring Monday morning, sitting in an almost empty office, I was wondering about where to go during the upcoming long weekend of 25-27 Dec. This time, I didn't want to travel too much and instead was looking for some place within 350 kms of Delhi that isn't too crowded.

After some hunting around, found a place near Narkanda - Tannijubar, a little before Thanedar. There is an old temple and lake there, good thing being, I found a great place in the vicinity - http://www.thewildernesshimalayas.com/index.php. More on it later.

But then, the memories of past long weekends came rushing in - what a nightmare it usually is to get back in Delhi after such weekends, particularly the NH1. Decided to have a go the coming weekend (18-19) itself. Took an extra leave for Friday, and we were all set.

Due to the foggy mornings, I had kept the timings flexible, and left Delhi finally around 7.30 am. Breakfast stop was at Tawa Roti, Murthal. Avoided all the known names and gave this one a shot. Wasn't really disappointed. After the BF stop, my friend took over the wheel till Apple Cart Inn, where we took a break for lunch . We were on a holiday, you see, no rush!

I was back on the wheel from here till Narkanda. The progress so far had been good and it was around 2.30 pm when we finally rolled out of Apple Cart Inn. Thankfully, no major jams encountered in Shoghi or Shimla and we were out of the urban jungle in no time. No pictures till this point.

After crossing Shimla, we started seeing some fresh snow on the road and the hill sides. Lifted our spirits somewhat as I had prepared everyone to be ready for really low temperatures but no snow.

Some snapshots from the dashcam footage.

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Before Kufri

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Dry Ice met black ice here

The car fishtailed on this widish turn, but thankfully, since the speed was low, nothing happened. I was conscious enough to not brake, just took my foot off the accelerator.

The amount of Ice on the road started increasing after this point and consequently, speeds reduced.

In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda-vlcsnap2015122519h50m07s230_web.jpg
At one point, I was headed straight to the Alto

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All the vehicles were crossing the icy sections, slowly

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A nicely modified Sumo 4x4 enjoying the vistas, couldn't spot any BCMT/HVK/TBHP sticker! Bummer!

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Near Fagu

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These 2-3 vehicles seemed like they had skidded and collided at slow speeds, body panel damages only.

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HPTDC Apple Blossom, Fagu

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Sunny sides of the hills were completely devoid of snow!

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Fuel stop @ Theog

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Nearing Narkanda

It was well over 7.30 pm when we finally reached our destination. Bon-fire was already in place when we reached, sat down by it for a couple of hours to kill the chill

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Dinner was served soon, and we retired to our warm 'wooden' rooms post dinner, in anticipation of the morning. And it was was truly beautiful!
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Old 29th December 2015, 19:13   #2
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Default re: In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda

Temperature was pretty low during the night and that ensured, no sunrise captures! (I am pretty lazy in colder conditions ). Just one picture, captured from the room.

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Morning rays

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View from our room

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Frozen water in the tanks​


By 8 am, Sun was out and shinning bright, allowing us to enjoy the beautiful vistas around. We lingered around the lawn area soaking in the 'warm' sunlight. Bliss!

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Breakfast area, The Wilderness

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Main block, The Wilderness. The open door takes you to the dining area. It is well stocked with books if you want to laze around reading.

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The block on the other end. One floor has one room/suite.

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Pretty hefty crows there

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That's Tyson - keeping The Wilderness safe.

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Fresh snow!​

Hatu Peak is the only major attraction in Narkanda. We asked the boys at the hotel to check for cabs, for a round trip. Bad news! Road was blocked near midway and it would take a 4-5km trek to reach to the top. This fact was later confirmed by a cabbie we spoke to, while frolicking near the Lake. So, Hatu Peak was a no-go this time. I wasn't much disappointed as I had been to the top in my last trip here in April 2014.

With the day's agenda cut short, breakfast was the next thing on our minds. It was served around 9:30 am. Some lovely parathas, sandwiches, omlets, toasts, fresh fruits later, we ventured down till the Lake.

In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda-img_0308_web.jpg

There was fresh snow around the banks, due to the shade of the tall trees. There is an ancient temple at one corner of this lake. It used to be an unguarded lake earlier but due to the frequent disappearances of the cattle, it was later fenced. Hmmm. So we were told.

Anyway, it was looking wonderful in the warm glow of the sun. The water had already frozen near the shore, while the middle portion was still putting up a strong defence. Maybe in a few weeks, it will be completely frozen solid.


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Fresh snow near the shady areas of the lake

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Nag Devta temple at a corner​

We spent quite some time around the lake, then trekked up a path which was going up from The Wilderness. It led to an open playground, guarded. It seemed like a primary school.

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Walk in the woods

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The playground

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The school building

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The gang!


From the playground, we could see some snow filled paths on the opposite hill. Tempted, we thought of finding a way. Thankfully, it wasn't too far and we managed to find it with relative ease. Snow was all around here, and much more than what we found at the lake.

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Slippery slope

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The moon appeared out of nowhere​

Once satisfied with the photos, we came back to the hotel. Afternoon was spent playing carrom in the sun! Ah the pleasures of board games! In this smartphone age, we have forgotten about the simple pleasures of board games. Couple that with Maggie, it was an afternoon truly well spent.

By the time sun went down, our bon-fire was ready and rest of the evening was spent around the fire, chit chatting. Called it a day little early to start early the next day.

Got up, had breakfast and left by 10 am. The snow patches we encountered during the onward journey were all but gone. At places, the local authorities had put some mud to help with traction. Lunch break was again Apple Cart Inn around 1 PM. Did not encounter any major jams on the route (shockingly even within Delhi!) and was home before 9 pm. Try that on a long weekend.

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Heap of snow? Actually snow on a heap of stones.

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Last pic of the steed!

That's all folks! Thanks for reading.
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Old 29th December 2015, 19:15   #3
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Default re: In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda

Our stay -

http://www.thewildernesshimalayas.com/index.php

Pictures of the place are already shared above, just sharing some more details -

+ Location - amazing views.
+ Service - we were the only guests at the property, so enjoyed the exclusive attention.
+ People - both Deepak & Satpal are thorough gentlemen. Even the owner, Mr.Rajesh is a delight to spend time with!
+ Room/Suites are good
= The climb up to the parking is steep and narrow, one needs to be careful.
- ~12km away from Narkanda town, no shopping areas etc nearby (if you are so inclined).

Will I stay again?
Probably yes, if I head out that way again. For a transit stop though, HPTDC Hatu might be a better bet being right on the highway.
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Old 30th December 2015, 13:57   #4
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Default Re: In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda

It seems like you had a nice, chilled-out holiday. Nice write up with some very inviting pictures Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
By the time sun went down, our bon-fire was ready and rest of the evening was spent around the fire, chit chatting. Called it a day little early to start early the next day.
For some strange reason, I was also expecting a mention of a snow fight. Although it might sound childish, but it's a lot of fun even in today's day and age of technology.
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Old 30th December 2015, 14:11   #5
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Default Re: In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda

I flashed;flashed and flashed, but you didn't notice.
Do you remember a Fiat Linea flashing lights behind your Scorpio near Dera bassi toll on Ambala-Chandigarh stretch; Well that was me.

Excellent pictures; being close to foothills has its advantages, and Narkanda is my favorite weekend getaway,
have lost the count, as to how many times i have been there, just waiting for a fresh heavy spell of snow, and i will head out.
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Old 30th December 2015, 17:27   #6
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Default Re: In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
[b]
Will I stay again?
Probably yes, if I head out that way again. For a transit stop though, HPTDC Hatu might be a better bet being right on the highway.
Beautiful nice, short and crisp log. Loved the pics. Was your vehicle a 4x4?

Also if you can please share how much you paid for the two nights you were there and whether or not you did an advance booking for the resort?
I too am thinking of taking a small vacation and was thinking of Hotel Hatu Peak, HPDC but this looks to be much more promising. Will be traveling with wife and kids <10 and the sole purpose is to chill out and relax.
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Old 30th December 2015, 20:13   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
It seems like you had a nice, chilled-out holiday. Nice write up with some very inviting pictures Thanks for sharing.



For some strange reason, I was also expecting a mention of a snow fight. Although it might sound childish, but it's a lot of fun even in today's day and age of technology.
Thank you.
Well, yes, there was one! And it was indeed quite fun. The fresh cotton like snow was really tempting.




Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay4587 View Post
I flashed;flashed and flashed, but you didn't notice.
Do you remember a Fiat Linea flashing lights behind your Scorpio near Dera bassi toll on Ambala-Chandigarh stretch; Well that was me.

Excellent pictures; being close to foothills has its advantages, and Narkanda is my favorite weekend getaway,
have lost the count, as to how many times i have been there, just waiting for a fresh heavy spell of snow, and i will head out.
Sorry mate, like I mentioned on fb, my friend was on the wheel and I was a passenger. He does spot stickers in plain sight (vehicles up ahead) and lets me know, but I guess he missed your flashing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harjeev View Post
Beautiful nice, short and crisp log. Loved the pics. Was your vehicle a 4x4?

Also if you can please share how much you paid for the two nights you were there and whether or not you did an advance booking for the resort?
I too am thinking of taking a small vacation and was thinking of Hotel Hatu Peak, HPDC but this looks to be much more promising. Will be traveling with wife and kids <10 and the sole purpose is to chill out and relax.
No harjeev, mine is a 2wd. We paid around 5500/night/room (MAP plan). It's a nice place if all you want to do is laze around, in peace.

I booked it about a week in advance.

Do give Rajesh a call and ask for rates, it usually varies depending on the time of year and rush.
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Old 1st January 2016, 14:13   #8
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Default Re: In search of Snow - Weekend at Narkanda

If some of these snaps are added in a Swiss or equivalent travelogue, very few will find the difference.
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