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Old 8th May 2016, 11:06   #16
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

5 October, 2015, Tyari to Killar

Moving ahead after Lunch from Tyari. We all knew what was next, Slowly in the first gear we climbed the first incline towards Killar and we were welcomed by the deadliest road in the world.
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-1.jpg

In the above picture the cliff part looks a short drive, isn't it? don't be under that impression, it will take another 45 minutes to reach there.

From Tyari onwards till Killar, it is continuous driving on the edge for 35 kilometers approximately, the road is extremely narrow, only one vehicle can pass at a time. It is steep climb all the way from Tyari to Sansari. No tarmac, only loose soil, where tyre can spin. There are numerous hair pin bends and maneuvering through those bends would definitely increase your blood pressure, all you have to aim is turn the vehicle in one shot. Few water crossings and it can be very deceptive as you don't know if there is big stone underneath the water or big pothole. If it rains, crossing this section would become very difficult.

We were slowly driving through the narrow road, 100% concentration on the road. All 3 of us were super active in this section, numerous photography breaks as well. You can't just let your eyes of the road, also as a driver you can't peep out of window, cause the view down would be dreadful, 1000+ feet of free-fall into the River. 45 minutes and we have still not reached the point where mountain cliff literally comes on the road. The entire drive was in first or second gear.

Finally we made it to a point where the mountain cliff comes on the road. Numerous photos clicked and why not, we have driven through 6 states just to drive across this road. 10 minutes of break and we were again moving towards the destination of the day. My impression was that the road will not be difficult ahead, but my perception was 200% wrong, the difficulty level kept on increasing, at one point I was literally stuck and car would not bulge ahead, Saurabh quickly moved out of the vehicle to help me in navigating, some reversing, 1 inch of right on the edge, again left and we moved out of the first hurdle, again you should not loose momentum else you will stall as there is hair pin bend awaiting us. Saurabh had to literally jog for 500 meters. Slowly we kept moving towards the destination and again got stuck at 1 hair pin bend. The hair pin bends are extremely steep and the space to pass is limited, also there are big stones awaiting to hit the under-body of the vehicle in the corner, because of this you loose momentum and stall. Again Saurabh gets out of the vehicle, we do the recee of the hair pin bend and gave it another shot, I reversed the car for few meters in order to get the momentum, with all the 140 horses in XUV 5OO i started and voila we crossed this dreadful hair pin. 5 minutes of drive there was another hair pin and by now i had learned the technique, so Saurabh didn't had to take the pain of navigating me.

Finally we made it to the Vantage Point, there is temple at this point, we thanked almighty for taking us here safely and clicked the picture of what we experienced few hours back.
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-2.jpg

Believe me, my blood pressure was literally double when I made it to this point. We couldn't believe that we had just come from this road.

It was already 4.30 PM and Killar was still around 25 kilometers. Slowly we kept moving and now we enter the jungle, yes the road passes through the jungle, huge plantation on both the side and road remains narrow and full of dirt, rubble, stones. 5 kilometers took us 30 minutes, you can imagine, how bad the roads were. I was now getting eager to reach Sansari Bridge / Checkpost. I was being told by friends who have done this circuit previously that Sansari Bridge is the Border of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, finally we see a Checkpost building of Jammu & Kashmir, which was deserted, we stopped to see whether any entry is to be made in the register, etc but didn't find anyone. Finally we saw Sansari Bridge and we were delighted, 10 minutes of photography break and we started moving.

Around 5.15 we made it to the Sansari Checkpost. To our surprise, Sansari Checkpost Guys were very strict, they noted each and every details of all the 3 members present in the car. They thoroughly checked our luggage as well, they were really co-operative, after checking our luggage, they helped us in packing it again. They never asked for anything and that was a real surprise. The same situation in our states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, etc. inspite of showing them everything, they expect us to pay 100 bucks. Nevertheless we started moving quickly now, as it was getting dark. Road never improved so movement was slow.

In mid of all this, we made one mistake, which costed us 45 minutes. We took a road going towards Dharwas Village.

Why we made that mistake?
The road going towards Dharwas was tarred road and after battling for 10 hours on the worst roads in the country, any normal human being would give away. 5 kilometers down the road, we realized we have made a mistake, but there was no space to make a U turn, finally reached a village where we found place for a making a U turn and drove back again to same place, this time we enquired with a Taxi Guy and he guided us onto the correct road. Now it was completely dark and we were slowly moving towards Killar. Finally around 7.30 PM we made it to Killar. Exactly 12 hours, remember we had started at 7.30 AM from Kishtwar.

We checked into Hotel Chamunda View at Killar. There is another option of Government Guest House as well, but we were too tired to search for it. The temperature were freezing in Killar in comparison with Kishtwar. After checking in, first all 3 of us made a quick call back home, informing them that we are safe and sharing the experience of the day. We borrowed the phone from the Hotel Guy. Around 9.00 PM we had heavy and delicious dinner at nearby lodge. Finally around 10 PM we were fast asleep.

If you guys remember, I had prepared very hectic trip itinerary and this was the day we had to take a call, whether to skip Sach Pass or Spiti Valley. Lots of discussion between us and finally we decided to skip Sach Pass and zeroed on to Spiti Circuit. It was very difficult decision but then there is always something for next time.

Good Night from Killar.

Not for faint hearted.
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Pirate posing on the Dangerous Roads of the World
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We too got out of the car to Click
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-team-1.jpg
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Have a look, where the hell this photographer is taking us
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-team-4.jpg

Mountain Cliff on the road
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Old 8th May 2016, 13:43   #17
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

Mountain Cliff on the road
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-mountain-cliff9.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-mountain-cliff10.jpg

Nandeep, you are making me walk too much
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Few Clicks of The road we traveled through, those crucial hair pin bends
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-roads-travelled-1.jpg
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Scary, isn't it
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-scary-1.jpg
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Entering Himachal, Sansari Bridge, Good Bye J&K
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-bye-jk.jpg
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Welcome to Himachal Pradesh
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-bridge-6.jpg
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Where is this road located ? Is it Himachal Pradesh or Jammu & Kashmir.
This major part of Kishtwar to Killar road is located in Jammu & Kashmir. Kishtwar to Sansari is the part of Jammu & Kashmir and Sansari to Killar is the part of Himachal Pradesh. Tyari is the last big village on Jammu & Kashmir Side. The Jammu & Kashmir part of this road is known as Padder Valley and Himachal Pradesh part of the road is known as Pangi Valley. We have hardly heard of this names, this are the remotest region of India.

How important this road is?
From Pangi valley's point of view, this road is extremely important because in deep winters the only access to the other part of the world is through this road. The other connection to Pangi Valley is shut off completely i.e. Chamba - Sach Pass - Killar, Manali - Rohtang Pass - Tandi - Udeypur - Killar and Kaza - Kunzumla - Batal - Chatru - Gramphoo - Tandi - Udeypur - Killar. Killar is the headquarters of Pangi Valley.

Below picture will help you understand the circuit properly.
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ge-main.jpg

Whats with River?, I am seeing that it is running all the way from Kishtwar with you all.
Yes, the River Chenab and River Chandrabhaga, even I am confused, it accompanied us all the way from Kishtwar to Killar and it will not leave us till the time we reach Tandi on Manali Leh Road. Well it made it interesting for me to search about the river and here is what i have found

"The river Chenab (or Chandra Bhaga) is formed after the two streams the Chandra and the Bhaga merge with each other. The Chandra and the Bhaga originate from the south-west and north-west faces of Barelacha pass respectively in the Himalayan canton of Lahul and Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh. The Chandra initially flowing southeast for about 88 kms. sweeps round the base of the mid-Himalayas and joins the Bhaga at Tandi, after traversing a total length of about 125 kms. The course of Bhaga upto the confluence is 80 kms only having a steep slope with an average fall of about 24 metres per kilometer. Thereafter the united stream, known as the Chenab or Chandra Bhaga, flows in a north-westerly course for about 46 kms where it receives its first major tributary the Miyar Nalla on the right bank. Then it flows for another 90 km generally in a northerly direction in Himachal Pradesh when it crosses the Pangi valley before entering to Padder area of Doda district of Jammu province in Jammu & Kashmir State. The river flows in a northwest direction in this reach for a distance of 56 km. when it is joined on the right by its biggest tributary, the Marusudar at Bhandalkot. Further Downstream, the river flows in a southerly direction for a distance of 34 km. upto Thathri and then takes a west ward course. In this reach about 17 kms downstream of Thathri, Niru Nallah joins the Chenab on its left bank. The river Chenab thereafter flows generally in a northwest direction for another 41 km. till it receives a tributary Bichleri on the right bank. Afterwards, the river traverses in a westerly direction for a distance of about 50 kms. In this reach a number of small streams join in, namely Chaini, Talsuen, and Ans on the right bank, Yabu Nallah, Mandial and Painthal Khad on the left bank. Downstream of Ans river confluence the river changes its direction and flows in southerly course for about 45 kms. upto Akhnoor where-after it enters into Sialkot district of Pakistan. Total length of the river from confluence of Chandra & Bhaga to Akhnoor is about 504 km.

Source of Information: India - WRIS. Water Resources Information System of India.

We entirely traced our path along the River excluding Baralacha La. Wow that was another feather in the cap.

Why this roads are so bad? Who maintains this roads?
Building a road in such terrain itself is a task, forget being bad. This road is maintained and repaired by PWD and not BRO. Hats off to the workers who maintain this roads. A huge effort is taken to keep this road operational, entire road is landslide zone, you will see presence of bulldozer at every small village en route. This road is kept operational in deep winters as well, however there would be delay in clearance of landslides.

Does this road has any high passes or is it near the Line of Control?
No high passes on this route, It is no where near Line of Control. It is normal road called as State Highway connecting between Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

Driving:
Keep a long view on the road to see if any vehicle is coming from opposite direction and also keep an eye on the shoulders to adjust yourself incase vehicle comes from opposite direction. Real Cliffhanger starts from Gulabgarh, absolutely narrow path, only one vehicle can pass at a time. Keep a long view on the road to see if any vehicle is coming from opposite direction and also keep an eye on the shoulders to adjust yourself incase vehicle comes from opposite direction. Numerous Ascends and Descends. Keep calm there are numerous hairpins, very narrow path, I would suggest, get out of the vehicle, park it on flat surface, do reki of the area and then go ahead. You enter Himachal Pradesh after crossing the Sansari Checkpost / Bridge, road continue to remain same all the way till Killar.

Rain
If it rains, the difficulty level would rise drastically, rain, mud, slush, slippery stones. All this will add to nightmare.

Few Images from Google Earth and believe me it will be super scary.

Aerial View of Gulabgarh

The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ge1.jpg

Gulabgarh to Sohal
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ge2.jpg

Sohal
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ge3.jpg

Tyari Cliffhanger
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ge4.jpg

Another View of Cliffhanger
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ge5.jpg

Sansari Checkpost.
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ge6.jpg

Drive Videos of Cliffhanger Section

Video 1


Video 2


Video 3


Before we move towards Lahaul Valley and Spiti Valley, a quick recap of the trip.
1. Start of the Travelogue / Round of Teasers (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)
2. How this Trip Happened / Preparation (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)
3. Introduction followed by drive from Mumbai to Pathankot, 1st October, 2015 and 2nd October 2015 (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)
4. Pathankot to Surankot, 3rd October, 2015 (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)
5. Surankot to Shopian via Mughal Road, 4th October, 2015, Part1: Surankot - Mughal Road - Shopian (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)
6. Shopian to Kishtwar via Sinthan Top, 4th October, 2015, Part2: Shopian - Aharbal - Kulgam - Anantnag - Kokernag - Sinthan Top - Kishtwar (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)
7. Kishtwar to Gulabgarh, Cliffhanger 1, 5th October, 2015, Kishtwar to Gulabgarh (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)
8. Gulabgarh to Tyari, Cliffhanger 2, 5th October, 2015, Gulabgarh to Tyari (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)
9. Real Cliffhanger Starts, Tyari to Killar via Sansari (The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more)

Coming up, drive towards Lahaul valley and Spiti Valley.

Last edited by nndp87 : 8th May 2016 at 14:00.
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Old 9th May 2016, 14:19   #18
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Hi Nandeep

Thanks a lot for the detailed writeup with wonderful pictures. I would be hitting this road in July. Few questions if you can help me:

We would be starting from Killar towards Kishtwar.

Now as per the details the real cliffhanger part is from Killar till Gulabgarh right? The route being : Killar - Luj - Ishtiyari - Tiyari - Sohal - Gulabgarh

What are the eating options on this route? I know we can get at Tyari, any other options? Also is there any fuel pump in Killar?
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Old 9th May 2016, 16:01   #19
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Hi Nandeep

Thanks a lot for the detailed writeup with wonderful pictures. I would be hitting this road in July. Few questions if you can help me:

We would be starting from Killar towards Kishtwar.

Now as per the details the real cliffhanger part is from Killar till Gulabgarh right? The route being : Killar - Luj - Ishtiyari - Tiyari - Sohal - Gulabgarh

What are the eating options on this route? I know we can get at Tyari, any other options? Also is there any fuel pump in Killar?
Absolutely, the real cliffhanger part is from Killar to Gulabgarh. The only place where food would be available would be Tyari, post that directly Gulabgarh, so stock up necessary food items with you. Killar doesn't have a fuel pump, since you are doing it from Killar side, you will have to tank up at Chamba, before ascending Sach Pass.

Sach Pass generally opens up in July first week, so make sure that it is open, when you attempt in July.

I hope the above information helps.
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Old 9th May 2016, 16:13   #20
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Thanks Nandeep.

Sach pass is not in our itinerary as of now . We would be coming from Leh and stopping at Keylong. Next day start from Keylong and compulsory halt at Killar (Planning on a strict early morning start for Cliffhanger). Now Keylong to Killar is 135kms approx. Do you think we can attempt Sach pass on Keylong to Killar day? Considering the long 400km journey the previous day . We are on Enfields btw.
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Old 10th May 2016, 10:12   #21
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Thanks Nandeep.

Sach pass is not in our itinerary as of now . We would be coming from Leh and stopping at Keylong. Next day start from Keylong and compulsory halt at Killar (Planning on a strict early morning start for Cliffhanger). Now Keylong to Killar is 135kms approx. Do you think we can attempt Sach pass on Keylong to Killar day? Considering the long 400km journey the previous day . We are on Enfields btw.
If you are starting from Keylong, the only refuelling option is Tandi, post that next fuel pump is Kishtwar.

1. Keylong to Udaipur (HP) will take around 2 hours, it has a mix of good and bad roads.

2. Udaipur to Killar will take around 7 to 8 hours including photography breaks. Expect average speed of 12 to 15 kmph. No roads at all. So Sach Pass is not possible on the same day.

3. If you want to do Sach Pass then, I would suggest start early morning next day by 5 AM, it would easily take 3.5 hours to 4 hours one side, return back from Sach Pass to Killar Bypass and then continue towards Kishtwar. (you need to make sure that you start from Killar by 2 PM) Reaching Kishtwar on the same day is not possible, so you will have to end the day at Tyari, where accommodation is available at (Dhaba/Hotel). Make sure you carry enough fuel with you. Killar - Sach Pass - Killar is around 80 kilometers, average speed would be 10 to 15 kmph.

4. Next day continue from Tyari towards Kishtwar.

Keylong - Tandi Fuel Pump - Killar:
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/iw7asiHi2Q72

Killar - Sach Pass - Killar Bypass
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/pLKaRSeyJ9m

For Sach Pass, you need to continue from Killar towards Kishtwar. 5 Kilometers down the road, comes the diversion, left goes to Sach Pass and Straight goes to Kishtwar, you need to take the left turn and start moving towards Sach Pass, while coming back you need not go to Killar, when you reach a diversion point, you will have to take up the road going towards Kishtwar.

Killar Bypass - Kishtwar
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/ShfsEmdVUE92
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Old 10th May 2016, 13:09   #22
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Looks like an epic trip nndp87!

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Now what to do?
Reverse engine braking, what are you talking? yes, put the car in reverse gear, release the clutch, reverse engine braking will get activated, press the clutch, car will slowly go down.


This is intense abuse for your clutch!

I'm surprised you didn't burn it up completely at this point itself! Did you get any of that 'rotten-egg' smell in the cabin (indicating a burning clutch)?


If your brakes couldn't manage to keep the car in control (in addition to some engine braking from 1st gear) - you should probably have your brakes checked.

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Old 10th May 2016, 13:49   #23
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2. Udaipur to Killar will take around 7 to 8 hours including photography breaks. Expect average speed of 12 to 15 kmph. No roads at all.
Thanks a lot for all the info Nandeep. That chucks out Sach pass for now. Maybe next time. Let me not hijack your wonderful thread further, and please let the Spiti adventure begin .
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Old 10th May 2016, 15:48   #24
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Life priorities : Revisited.
Therefore, thread rated : 5 Star.
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Old 13th May 2016, 12:12   #25
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6th October, 2015, Killar to Gramphoo
Today we were going to cross the Pangi Valley and enter the Lahaul Valley. When we started in the morning the plan was to reach as close as possible to Chandrataal Lake. After a decent sleep and freshening up we started the drive towards Udeypur. The road remains same all the way till Udeypur, however we knew that HPTDC Bus operates on this route, so road would definitely be broad enough for 2 vehicles to pass. Nevertheless we slowly moved out of the Killar and connected onto the the road going towards Udeypur / Keylong / Manali. Generally we don't give lift to anyone, but in between we met a guy who was walking all the way to work and asked him to join. We got lot of insights about the area, he was a teacher at Government School in Sach Village. During winters commutation really becomes difficult for this people since entire region is snowed out, in case of medical emergency, the patient will have to be airlifted to Manali. In 30 minutes we made it Sach Village bypass and bid goodbye to the teacher and carried on with the journey ahead. Drive was slow and picturesque and we were enjoying every moment of it. Now we saw few trucks lined up on the road and were waiting for landslide to get cleared, in the meanwhile I got out to check what was happening, the actual road was gone due to Landslide, so a makeshift arrangement was made by PWD team to give a clear passage to the vehicles. Well on seeing the makeshift road I was horrified, it was very steep with a turn to negotiate and full of loose stone, getting traction would be definitely difficult, in the meanwhile one truck gave it a shot to the very steep incline and it failed, he reversed it an gave us the room to pass, now I was out navigating Saurabh. Saurabh started from flat surface with full momentum and crossed half way and got stuck, he reversed it an gave another shot but it didn't work, however we made progress and were just few meters away from the strong surfaced road.

Stuck! Now what?
We got the towing rope out but realised it would not hold on. PWD workers came to our rescue, they had bulldozer in the front and steel wires as well, they prepared a temporary tow rope and tied it to Bulldozer and with my front guard hook, the temporary tow rope gave up, however we moved ahead by 2 meters. In between one guy suggested to go back or wait for a day till the proper road is built, I politely replied him that going back isn't possible and requested his team to push the car from behind, he agreed and we gave it another try with 5 men pushing from behind and bulldozer pulling it from the front and we cleared it, after thanking the BRO team we moved ahead, in mid of all this we wasted some 30 to 45 minutes and roads were bad, to add to this photography breaks. The progress was really slow.

River Chandrabhaga
We were accompanied by River Chandrabhaga all the way from Jammu & Kashmir and at one point after Tindi, we were running very close to it. Car Stopped an we quickly ran to the river bank to soak ourselves and get clicked. Wow, what a feeling, the water was ice cold.

After freshening up, we were ready to move towards Udeypur, one of the major town in Lahual Valley. Landscape changed drastically now we were able to see yellow coloured trees, greenery and of course numerous clicks as well. Very quickly we saw a board welcoming us in Udeypur and yes we were hungry, lot of mouth watering and delicious option in Udeypur and we all hogged sabzi, roti, rajma, dal and chawal and all our stomach were happy. It was just 3 PM when we left from Udeypur and road will be all good till we reach Tandi Junction. By 04.45 PM we made it to Tandi Junction. Initially we were suppose to stay at Keylong. However next day we had to move into Spiti circuit, so staying at Keylong would increase the travelling time next day, so after refilling at famous Tandi Petrol Pump we started moving towards Gramphoo, roads were quick and relief to drive.

Night Stay
We were not aware of the road condition from Gramphoo to Batal, so that concern started creeping in our mind. We stopped en-route for a tea break and enquired with Truckers and all views were negative. Still we didn't get convinced and started moving ahead, again saw one trucker and enquired with him. He clearly told "Saab voh sadak raat ko chalne layak nhi he" meaning "that road is not meant to be driven at night", it was enough for me to decide that we will be staying at the next best option. Now as we approached Sissoo, saw a huge bus stand like place bang on the main road. Lots of stay options including PWD Rest House, on enquiry with PWD rest house, we were turned down since it was full. The manager suggested us to stay at home-stays just opposite the rest house, so enquired with them and finally sorted out the room there, it was really cold outside. After calling our parents back home we settled in the room along with small session of drinks, which was absolutely essential, since it was going to be the coldest night of the trip just below the Rohtang Pass. Dinner was pretty same, Rajma, Subzi, Rotti, Dal and Chawal. Met a group of PWD workers at Dinner they shared lot of insights about the region and they were taking the same route as ours towards Spiti. After bidding them Good Bye, we went back to our room for a cold sleep below Rohtang Pass.

Vital Information
Road from Killar to Udeypur is completely dirt track, however it is wide enough for 2 vehicles to pass at a time. At few places it becomes narrow as well, the River Chandrabhaga continues to accompany you all the way and there is steep fall into the River from road in this sector as well, similar to Kishtwar Killar route. On this route, you will find many small villages offering home-stay, so accommodation will never be a concern. In case of break down, again no option other then towing the vehicle to Manali / Chamba / Pathankot.

The below image will help you in understanding the routes from Killlar
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-map-1.jpg

The below image will help you in understanding the routes from Tandi
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The first view from Killar towards Udeypur
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Mesmerizing Views
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The Bridge, One side is Pangi Valley and Other side is Lahaul Valley
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The Mountains
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Snow clad peaks
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The River
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The Scary Road
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HPTDC Bus
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We found them as well
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Pirate
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Old 13th May 2016, 18:29   #26
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Pirate
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Few Selfies as well
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Now time for us to pose
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Welcome to Lahaul Valley
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I will not leave you, "Yeh kaha Laya He Mujhe"
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Style
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"Mujhe Log Shahenshah kehte he"
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I am Rockstar
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And I am too sweet to Handle
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What about this?
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Finally
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Old 27th May 2016, 17:22   #27
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2 Favourite pictures of mine in the entire trip
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Change in Landscapes, one can feel the yellowness around
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Even I will pose
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Our Photoshoot
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I don't recollect the location, but picture has come out really beautiful
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Tandi Fuel Station
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Near Gramphoo
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Drive Video of Killer to Gramphoo, Himachal Pradesh


This is where we got stuck, the actual road was affected due to landslide and temporary road was built by PWD workers. 2 attempts without help didn't work, 2 attempts of pulling the car by bulldozer didn't help either, finally human effort worked for us and we continued ahead towards Gramphoo.

Video will tell you the above story.
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Old 18th July 2016, 11:21   #28
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7th October, 2015, Gramphoo to Kaza
Good Morning from Gramphoo (just below Rohtang Pass)
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-below-rohtang-pass.jpg

Night was super cold. However we didn't realise it much because of our cozy room. When we woke up in the morning and went outside the room, cold winds attacked us in full power. The temperature indicator showed 0 degree. Even washing our hand was difficult. Quick breakfast and we moved to the car, it was completely covered with white layer. Did it snowed last night, yes. First crank and car came to life immediately. We kept car on for 10 minutes an then the drive begins. Immediately comes the turn-off point for Spiti Valley Road. Now remember yesterday evening we took a call of staying put at Gramphoo on the basis of information given by truck driver.

Quote:
"Saab voh sadak raat ko chalne layak nhi he" meaning "that road is not meant to be driven at night"
How correct he was, there was literally no roads, completely dirt track, slush, stones, water crossings etc. Slowly and steadily we continued ahead, I literally felt how difficult my life is, such was the road. After struggling for 1.5 hours we made it to Chattru. Break was inevitable, luckily found one dhaba who had facility of hot water, got freshened up and started moving ahead, movement was slow all the way, en-route few oncoming vehicles warned us about the difficult section, and those oncoming vehicle was Ford Figo and Maruti Swift, so I wasn't much worried because if Swift and Figo can cross then XUV can definitely cross it.

One of the most difficult situation of the entire drive
1. Huge stones in the middle of the road, which way to go was a question, we got down analysed the situation and started the vehicle. Saurabh was navigating, to gain momentum I reversed the car for few metres and gave it shot, cleared, yes we cleared that patch in one shot of-course with a hit on the foot-guard and engine guard, we cooled ourselves a bit after crossing this section.

2. As soon as we started and took the first turn, there was another traffic jam waiting for us. Now the story goes like this, Truck had broken down on the actual road, so makeshift road was built and when I saw that road, I was horrified, 100 thoughts came to my mind, including, "If I had not sold off Scorpio, I would have crossed this section easily". There were other vehicles waiting and figuring out how to cross this section. Me and Saurabh did complete analysis including where to place the tyres so that vehicle damage is minimum, the most difficult part of this entire scenario was approach road it was 1.5 feet of gain over the stone. With the analysis and support of Saurabh and road maintenance workers I became optimistic and started the car, somehow I reached the point from where I had to take-off with all the momentum so at-least front of the vehicle crosses the big stones, I started with full power but stalled, now what, one more gentlemen comes to me and gives me an idea about placement of tyre. Attempt number 2, I was ready for take off now, I made my mind clear, come what may, I have to clear this section, with this thought I started, our first move was bang on target, I was able to take the first half of the car on the other side, momentum was there so immediately pressed the accelerator, the car skidded like anything, but fortunately it was under full control and I made it. Yes, I made it on the other side of-course not without a hit on foot-guard and engine guard.

We all were exhausted. And there was nothing on the road, we had water and dry-fruits which came in handy. Luckily pagal nala was not pagal at all, so crossed it without a fuss, slowly we were moving deep in the Spiti Valley. Barren landscapes, non existent roads, difficulties, figuring out correct road, we were definitely enjoying our life. At one point we literally had to stop and identify which is the correct route to Batal, there were so many roads going here and there, finally saw few vehicle coming from opposite direction and followed the path they used. Finally after struggling for 4.5 hours we made it to Batal, Confirmed the direction for Chandrataal lake and started the climb towards Kunzum Pass. Chandrataal turn-off point is 4 kilometres from Batal, where you will find the board specifying Chandrataal 14 kilometres, Jeepable 12.5 kilometres, the view of the road from turn-off point itself is dangerous and horrifying.

Chandrataal Drive
Well there is no gain without pain, in order to advocate the beauty of Chandrataal lake, we will have to drive through the most difficult 12.5 kilometres and then trek for 1.5 kilometres and we were already exhausted. The pictures of the Chandrataal lake was the the driving factor, after clicking photos of the Board we started for the long 12.5 kilometres drive. In plains 12.5 kilometres is hardly 15 minutes drive isn't it, but this 12.5 kilometres turned out to the most difficult drive of my life. The path to Chandrataal is absolutely narrow, sighting on coming vehicle in advance is the key, the landscapes were totally barren, slowly we were making our way to the lake. First encounter with on coming vehicle, Tavera, no way to pass for either vehicle, even shoulder was far away, finally Tavera guy reversed for some 300 metres and I had to take the front left wheel of the XUV on the mountain part, Tavera passed us without much of a fuss, Second encounter, well this time no reversing was required since, I had sighted the on coming tempo traveller well in advance and had ample time to adjust ourself. At one turning point, Sarabh and Shyam both had to navigate me to pass, there was literally no space, ahead lied the cliff and behind also the same, after reversing the vehicle for 3 times, we managed to cross it. Slowly we made it to the camping area, some 2.5 kilometres from parking area of the lake, now the climb starts, again difficult patch, the hairpin bends were really tight, pictures of lake were the motivating factor and finally we made it to the parking area.

Chandrataal Lake
Chandra Taal (meaning the Lake of the Moon), or Chandra Tal, is situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in the Himalayas. Mountains of scree overlook the lake on one side, and a magnificent cirque presents a view on the other. The name of the lake originates from its crescent shape. Situated in the Spiti part of Himachal Pradesh, Chandra Taal is a popular destination for trekkers and campers. The lake is accessible on foot from Batal as well as from Kunzum Pass from late May to early October. There is also a Jeepable road from Batal which is 14 kilometres away from Chandra Taal. Vast meadows on the banks of the lake are the camping sites. During springtime, these meadows are carpeted with hundreds of kinds of wild-flowers.

The lake is situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau, which overlooks the Chandra River.

Information Source: Wikipedia

Slowly we started the trek to the Lake, believe me those 1.5 kilometres appeared to 10.5 kilometres, cold winds blowing in full power, trying to pierce through our clothes. After struggling for 30 minutes we got the first view of the lake and immediately we forgot the pain that we had faced in last 2 hours. Beautiful, wonderful, amazing, superb are all understatement when you see the lake. We spent some 30 minutes on the lake and those were the best moments of my life. So peaceful, no one to disturb, it's you and yourself. I washed my face with water of Chandrataal and dranked it as well, felt so wonderful that I cant describe in words

Now comes the sad part, we will have to start our return journey back to the car. Slowly we reached the parking point, Now my friend Shyam started facing the symptoms of AMS, we started the drive back, reached camping area and Shyam tells me, "Nandu, I am not feeling well", I asked him, "Kya ho raha he", he replied, "I don't know, but I am not feeling well, something is wrong", Immediately I realised it's AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness), immediately we stopped the car and took our medical kit out, gave him Diamox and a water bottle, I had to ensure that he drinks water every 5 minutes now, because the climb to Kunzum Pass is next, slowly I kept driving and got him busy with talks, finally we reached the turn-off point and checked with him, "How are you feeling now", he told "better", so shall we move ahead to Kunzum Pass, he replied, "Yes". It was necessary to ask him about his health at the turn-off point because if health deteriorates, we will have to drive back to Batal, since something is available at Batal and it is located at a lower altitude then Kunzum Pass, once you start driving towards Kunzum Pass, nothing is available all the way till Losar.

Kunzum Pass Drive
It was easy drive to Kunzum Pass, without much of an issue, the incline to the pass is not steep, just be careful of few hairpin bends, where the incline is quite steep. Finally we made it to Kunzum Pass by 4.30, few customary clicks at the pass and we started the descend, descend was slow due to road construction work going on at numerous locations.

Post Kunzum Pass, the real Spiti Valley comes, yellow flowers, clear skies, roads full of stones, those typical Spitian Mountain Structures. Roads improved after the descend, so movement was quick and in no time we reached Losar, made entries at the Checkpost and continued ahead to Kaza. The drive was simply superb and roads were quite good. By 7.30 we made it Rangrik and called day off. Since we were driving in the dark, we missed the wonderful landscapes en-route Kaza.

At the turn-off point into Spiti Valley
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Welcome to Spiti Valley
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The Paparazzi in Chatru
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Clicked before take off moments
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Pirate relaxing after nervous moments
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The famous board "Jeepable", I call it "XUVable"
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He is Jeepy now
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Some selfies as well
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AMS inside
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First view of Chandrataal
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Closer
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Lucky to be here and get clicked

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Lucky to be here and get clicked
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One of the best clicks
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The Stones
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The Flags
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The Trio
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With the gang who met us previous night at Gramphoo for Dinner
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Enroute Kunzum Pass
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At Kunzum Pass
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Enroute Kaza
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Welcome to Spiti Valley
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The Closing Shot
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Videos of the Drive

One of the most difficult situation of the entire drive
1. Huge stones in the middle of the road, which way to go was a question, we got down analysed the situation and started the vehicle. Saurabh was navigating, to gain momentum I reversed the car for few metres and gave it shot, cleared, yes we cleared that patch in one shot of-course with a hit on the foot-guard and engine guard, we cooled ourselves a bit after crossing this section.


2. As soon as we started and took the first turn, there was another traffic jam waiting for us. Now the story goes like this, Truck had broken down on the actual road, so makeshift road was built and when I saw that road, I was horrified, 100 thoughts came to my mind, including, "If I had not sold off Scorpio, I would have crossed this section easily" There were other vehicles waiting and figuring out how to cross this section. Me and Saurabh did complete analysis including where to place the tyres so that vehicle damage is minimum, the most difficult part of this entire scenario was approach road it was 1.5 feet of gain over the stone. With the analysis and support of Saurabh and road maintenance workers I became optimistic and started the car, somehow I reached the point from where I had to take-off with all the momentum so at-least front of the vehicle crosses the big stones, I started with full power but stalled, now what, one more gentlemen comes to me and gives me an idea about placement of tyre. Attempt number 2, I was ready for take off now, I made my mind clear, come what may, I have to clear this section, with this thought I started, our first move was bang on target, I was able to take the first half of the car on the other side, momentum was there so immediately pressed the accelerator, the car skidded like anything, but fortunately it was under full control and I made it. Yes, I made it on the other side of-course not without a hit on foot-guard and engine guard.


The drive between Chotta Dara to Batal


Chandrataal Drive


Kunzum Pass Drive
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 8th February 2017, 13:47   #30
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

The TLog continuous after a brief delay, Sorry guys was caught in chaos of routine life. Finally back.

8th & 9th October, 2015, Kaza - Key Monastery - Kibber - Langza - Kommic - Kaza - Tabo - Nako - Rampur - Narkanda - Shimla - Himalayan Expressway - Chandigarh - Ludhiana - Jalandhar - Amritsar Part 1

It was one of the relaxed day, where we had the luxury of getting up late, hot water bath. Heavy breakfast and we were back on the roads to explore the Spiti Circuits. Key Monastery was one of the best spot of the day, Rajiv Kumar's photo of Key Monastery which he captured at 5 AM in the morning was the source of great inspiration.

Nevertheless, we started moving towards Key, Wonderful drive in those barren Spiti Mountains. In no time we made it to Key Monastery, of course not before some wonderful clicks en-route. At monastery, one of the younger Monk took us to their Kitchen and offered us a Tea, lots of insights in respect of region was shared by him. After 30 minutes we bid adieu to the Monk and proceeded towards Kibber, our next destination for the day.

Key Monastery
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Welcome to Key Monastery
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History of Key Monastery
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Inside the Monastery
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Deities
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Pirate Posing
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The Landscapes
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A Solo as well
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The drive to Kibber was again splendid, roads were good and very quickly we made to Kibber.
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Amazing Landscapes, How can we forget to pose
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After wonderful time at Kibber, we proceeded back towards Kaza for the drive ahead to Langza and Komic. The drive was quick all the way till Langza with some amazing landscapes. A quick visit to Langza Buddha Statue and we proceeded towards Kommic. The drive from Langza to Kommic is only on dirt road, but it's fun. Lets picture do the talking.
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Last edited by nndp87 : 8th February 2017 at 13:51. Reason: Addition
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