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Old 7th April 2016, 12:26   #1
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Default The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

I was driving on one of the world’s most dangerous road, carefully navigating through the curves, enjoying the landscape and sound of river passing 1000 meters below the road. 50 kilometres took more than 5 hours, still wasn't tired.

Suddenly a vehicle comes from opposite direction with a big honking. Honking broke my sleep and I quickly got up and realized, I was dreaming. Crazy isn't it, it was 27 September 2015. The D – Day was still 3 days away, so after having a glass of water I went back to sleep again.

Well till the time I get up again, enjoy the teaser collage of the trip.
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It was 12 days trip, lot of information / details / routes will be shared. I will post day-wise details along with pictures and videos.

Okay, tell me where you are going, what are the sightseeing spots and places of interest.
I always got such questions from my friends, colleagues, parents, etc. Well it was very difficult to explain them, where I was going. Initially I told them, I am going to Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, their immediate response was Wow, Visit Gulmarg and Dal Lake in Srinagar, Rohtang Pass and Solang Valley in Manali. In Shimla, if you are lucky you will get to see the snowfall.

All of you here can very well connect to what I have done.

1. Mughal Road
2. Sinthan Top
3. Cliffhanger Drive i.e. the road connecting Jammu & Kashmir (Kishtwar) and Himachal Pradesh (Killar)
4. Killar to Gramphoo
5. Gramphoo to Batal (driving on rocks)
6. Chandrataal lake
7. Kunzum Top
8. Kaza Circuit
9. Golden Temple.
10. Husainiwala Border Post.

Now how to explain them, so I made them search videos on you-tube with Tag such as World's most dangerous road", "Road between Kishtwar and Killar" and told them this is where I am going.

It didn't go well with anyone so following are the further set of questions I got

1. Why you want to go here, what’s there to see in these mountains?
2. Why you want to take so much risk?
3. You would be driving whole day, what is the point of taking holiday?
4. What if car breaks down?

All the above points are valid for which I didn't had any answer so I calmly listened to them and kept quite. There is no point in justifying, because it would be difficult for people to understand.

Answer to the above questions:

1. For me it was a matter of taking my driving capabilities to different level. For doing the above circuit lot of patience is required, you got to take care of yourself as well as your vehicle.
2. Risk? It’s always there, each day, every day. Things can go wrong when you are commuting from Home to Office and vice versa. So that was never a worry.
3. For me holiday is exploring new places and driving.
4. Yes, this was the biggest worry, but a well maintained vehicle ideally should not give you problems. I was optimistic about it.

Here I was dreaming of driving on one of the world’s most dangerous road and the trip itself was still in dilemma.

What?
Yes, the trip wasn't sure till 27 September 2015. Below details will explain you why.

Why is the Name of Travelogue “The Great Escape?”
Everything happened which could have easily put the trip in shadows. I literally had to hold my nerves and calmly fight against the negatives. I knew the name of my story from the moment I left my home for the trip. Following is the list of reasons which motivated me to keep the name of the travelogue as “The Great Escape”

1. Work Pressure.
2. Crazily hectic week before the D – Day.
3. One of the main drivers backing of the trip just a week before the D – Day.
4. No backup driver.
5. Convincing parents and brother for driving solo.
6. Convincing the friend of mine who was going to join me for the drive and making him understand his role in the trip.
7. Convincing myself for such a treacherous drive.
8. Zero preparation for the trip till 3 days before the D – Day.
9. To whomsoever I consulted for the drive and inputs, response were not encouraging.
10. Snowfall at Kunzum Top just 4 days before D – Day.
11. Rainfall in Jammu & Kashmir, closing down the Jammu – Srinagar Highway just 4 days before the D – Day.

But in spite of all this negatives we began our drive on 1 October 2015.

Few Teasers for your eyes only.

The road between Kistwar & Killar
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-10.jpg

From the Vantage Point, Kistwar - Killar Road
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-11.jpg

Somewhere near Akhnoor
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-1.jpg

Starting point of Mughal Road
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-2.jpg

Sinthan Top Descend
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-3.jpg

Somewhere before Gulabgarh
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-6.jpg

Sohal, Kishtwar - Killar Road
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-8.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-9.jpg

Somewhere below Rohtang Pass
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-12.jpg

On the road to Spiti Valley
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-13.jpg

Majestic Chandrataal
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-14.jpg

Spiti Valley
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-16.jpg

Golden Temple
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-teaser-17.jpg

Last edited by nndp87 : 7th April 2016 at 14:21. Reason: Adding Content
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Old 7th April 2016, 18:10   #2
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Default re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

How this trip happened?
In first week of July 2015, my cousin calls me up and says let’s plan a cliffhanger drive this year; we haven’t driven together since long. I immediately agreed and in next 30 minutes we even finalized the dates. It was kept as 1 October 2015. We 2 had driven together to Ladakh in June 2010, so there was never a problem in understanding each other. Days went by and we discussed various things about the trip, we kept each other updated regarding the latest developments on the drive circuit.

Parents Reaction!
I disclosed about the drive in front of my parents, the obvious reaction was, No, there is no point in taking so much risk, your cousin is married, he has responsibility, you are also elder one in the family, understand your responsibilities. Well a week went by in convincing the parents, finally dad agreed, to my surprise, he was equally interested to see, how the drive was. So I had Kumar HV and Lalu KS Blog to make him understand the drive circuit, I also showed him the videos of the Kishtwar and Khillar drive circuit posted on YouTube. My dad kept only one condition, that in case if drive in those terrain becomes too dangerous, you guys will turn back. I happily agreed.

August 2015 came by, we got busy with the preparation of my younger brother’s migration to US, August went by quickly and I never spoke about the drive in the entire month. Initially we were only 2 members for the trip, so we decided to add one more member, so I quickly asked my friend to join us for the drive, without hesitation he agreed. On 1 September 2015, I just reminded my dad that trip is just 1 month away; September was a hectic month due to my profession. On 13th September 2015 we met Kumar HV to finalize the drive plan, 2 hours of discussion and drive circuit was ready. Days passed by quickly.

Shock of my life!
19 September 2015, my cousin calls up, “can we cut short the trip and return on 8 October 2015”, I asked, “why?”, His answer was “I have vendor meeting in that week, which cannot be avoided”. I was literally blank for few moments, I responded, “we cannot cut short the trip”, so his immediate response was “cancel it this year, we will plan it next year”, I said “fine” and then hanged up. Next 30 minutes, it was literally impossible to concentrate on work. I myself was confused whether to go ahead or not, there is thin line of difference between being practical and being mad, I had to decide between the two.

I immediately called my dad and informed him about this new development. He asked me to calm down and discuss things when you are back home. I reached home and discussion started about the drive. All genuine questions were raised by dad regarding solo driver, problems, challenges, etc. obviously for which I didn't had an answer, since I myself was confused, that night I somewhere read this quote;

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”.

That quote was enough for me to take a final call. 2 days passed without any discussion, in between 2 days me and my friend discussed about the pros and cons of doing the trip with a solo driver. Both of us were optimistic, so we knew we were going. Finally my dad agreed on 22 September 2015, but he was of opinion that, it would be better if you try for one more guy who knows driving, if it didn't materialize then we don’t have an option since you are adamant about going.

First message I sent was to Delhi based friend, Nitin, asking him to join me, but he was too tied up with work in the first week of October, I messaged other 2 friends of mine, but their response was negative. On 24th September 2015, Saurabh Tyagi from Meerut, a common friend through HVK Online Forum messaged me asking about the details of trip, details got exchanged and he was almost final for joining the Drive. We all were relieved now. Saurabh got to knew about the trip from Nitin and this is how third member of the trip joined in.

Preparation
I had put a query on various forums and my day wise schedule was like this

1st Oct to 2nd Oct: Mumbai - NH8 - Kishangarh - Hanumangarh - Ferozpure - Amritsar - Jammu
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/aLbePZVPdmJ2

3rd Oct: Jammu - Akhnoor - Bafliaz - Shopian - Anantnag - Sinthan Top - Kishtwar (Mughal Road Circuit)
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/qsAvh4g6o4H2

4th Oct: Kishtwar - Gulabgarh - Sach Pass - Killar (Cliffhanger Circuit)
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/V4SeWuWFCkA2

5th Oct: Killar - Udaipur - Tandi - Keylong
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/VsTeTTs3c4M2

6th Oct: Keylong - Chhatru - Batal - Chandrataal
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/A2tf3cu81co

7th Oct: Chandrataal - Kunzum Pass - Kibber - Tashigong - Key - Langza - Hikkim - Komic - Kaza
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/1qDGLAGhL2u

8th Oct: Kaza - Mud - Dhankar - Kaurik - Sumdo - Nako
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/U5Wpzwuc4z42

9th Oct: Nako - Shipkila - Dubling - Kalpa - Sangla - Chitkul
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/6Dftb4os7jm

10th Oct: Chitkul - Rampur - Narkanda - Shimla - Parwanoo - Panipat - Rohtak - NH8 - Jaipur - Kishangarh
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/UVs6hZC5wbA2

11th Oct: Kishangarh - Udaipur - NH8 - Mumbai.
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/9mQAfhhHgEp

Got various responses from fellow members asking me to revise the schedule. I knew it from the word go that completing the entire circuit in such a short time is not possible, so something or the other needs to be skipped. What to skip? Every place mentioned is beautiful, so I left that call to decide during the drive depending upon the situation.

27 September 2015, I managed to get a day off, First thing I did in the morning was getting in touch with Friend of mine followed by Check-list of To do for the trip starting from things to be bought for vehicle, medicines, winter wear, other important stuff. 30 minutes of discussion and we were on the way for collecting long list of items from the market. My Bags for the trip was packed by the end of the day. So now only car check-up with ASC and purchase of few car related stuff were pending. On 27 night got a call from a friend who was doing the similar circuit, it really helped in boosting my confidence, he thoroughly explained me details of the route along with timings, constraints, places to stay etc.

28, 29 and 30 September that was it and I would be on my way to the most awaited trip of my life. 3 days were crucial from work point of view, so never got time to think about the trip but back of the mind it was always there. 30 September came by I was in office by 08.00 AM, luckily I was able to close the day by 06.30 PM and I was racing back home. Along the way I bought Puncture Kit, Battery Water, WD40 Oil, Electronic Air Pump, Fuses etc. I was all set for the drive. After packing everything I quickly slept and to my surprise had a nice 7 hours sleep, generally sleep is out of question a day before the trip.

So here I was ready for the most memorable trip of my life, away from all the comforts and luxuries of home, food, connectivity, parents. For Next 12 days Car is my Home. I didn't knew where I will stay, I didn't knew how the weather would be, I didn't knew what food I will eat, I didn't knew how dangerous the roads would be. Being optimistic was the only option.

Preparation for the Trip
Car:
It is absolutely essential to get your car thoroughly checked, since it would be your home for next 2 weeks.
1. Make sure your Clutch plates are in excellent condition, since the circuit has lot of steep inclines.
2. Make sure brakes are working properly, any worn out brake pad, immediately replace it.
3. Ensure all electrical connections are working properly.
4. Make sure there is no problem in wiring of the car, especially if the car is censor based.
5. Get Alignment done before the trip, handling of the car is prime importance in the trip.
6. Make sure your tyres are in good condition, check for side wall cuts, in case if there is one, replace the tyre immediately.
7. Visit workshop before the trip and ask the mechanic to check every aspect of the car, starting from timing belts, fan, air filter, fuel filter, AC, etc.
8. If your car is censor based, visit the workshop and understand the meaning of each and every sign that comes up in the Dashboard, also ask him in what circumstances it is fine to drive the car. This point is of at most important because if vehicle goes kaput, you are screwed, help is miles away and repairing vehicle with local mechanic is just not possible in case if ENGINE Check Light comes up.

Things to be carried:
1. Tool Kit
2. Screw Driver Set
3. Air Pump
4. Puncture Kit
5. Tape
6. Engine Oil
7. Coolant
8. Extra Head Light and Brake Light Bulb
9. Towing Rope, absolutely essential
10. WD40
11. Wire, in case needed to tie something, especially engine guard.
12. Extra Fuses
13. Jute Bags, In case of too much cold, cover car bonnet with jute bag when you park it at night, it helps avoiding starting problem in the morning.

Is this circuit more difficult then Ladakh?
Kishtwar - Killar Circuit, Killar - Keylong / Gramphoo Circuit and Keylong / Gramphoo - Kaza Circuit is more difficult in comparison with Ladakh Circuit in my view. I have done Ladakh Circuit previously. There are no roads, you will be driving only on stones, mud, etc. So please prepare your car thoroughly before undertaking this trip.

Is the above Circuit meant for 4X4?
4x4 would be an added advantage, but in no terms you can term it as easy, since driver's capabilities play crucial role. I have a friend of mine who have done this in Fiat Punto.

What about Ground Clearance, will that be an issue?
The above circuit would be much easier for Cars with High Ground Clearance i.e. SUVS and Cars having decent low end torque. Eg: Scorpio, Fortuner, Pajero, Sumo etc. I am not saying cars with Lower Ground Clearance cannot do it, however difficulty level will increase in comparison with SUVS.

Anything else that needs to be taken care?
Lots of things
1. You should be aware of the entire circuit along with name of villages, towns en-route, petrol pumps, stay options, etc.
2. You should also be aware of shoulders you have passed on the way, in case, if their is no space for 2 vehicles to pass, you will have to reverse it to nearest shoulder.
3. Reece / Analysis, while tackling with difficult section, I would suggest you to do a Reece / Analysis first and then go ahead.
4. Navigator, Don't think of doing this trip Solo, although I have come across people who have done solo run, however it is not at all recommended to do a solo run, because if things go wrong, only GOD can help you.
5. While approaching any steep incline, always keep a momentum, if you are stuck on the incline, don't burn your clutch plates, come down to a flat surface and give it another shot. While tackling steep decent, engage reverse gear and then slowly slide down, too much of breaking will heat up your discs.
6. Don't switch off your engine, while doing a Reece / Analysis, when you are waiting for a small landslide to clear, when you are down clicking pictures, since the entire route is landslide zone.
7. Early Morning Start, this is the Guru Mantra, reasons being, the risk literally doubles when you are driving in the night and you miss on the lovely views.
6. Don't try anything stupid and be patient.

Other Preparation
Food:
1. Electral
2. Glucose
3. 20-litre Water
4. Maggi Noodles
5. Biscuits
6. Chocolates
7. Hard boiled sweets
8. Dry Fruits/Pista
9. Dry Fruits/Badam
10. Dry Fruits/Cashewnut
11. Hot water Flask (works off car adapter)
12. Tissue Paper Roll
13. Plastic Bags

Clothing
1. Woollen Socks
2. Woollen Cap
3. Woollen gloves
4. Thermals
5. Jacket
6. Sweater
7. Shawls
8. Scarves/Bandanas
9. Cotton Wool
10. Knee Caps, if required

Medicines
1. Diamox, (Helps in curing / avoiding Altitude Mountain Sickness) absoulutely essential
2. First Aid Kit
3. Bandages
4. Domstal (Helps in avoiding Vomitting)
5. Combiflam (Painkiller)
6. Tixylix (for Cold / Fever)
7. Recofast (for running nose)
8. Suncreen
9. Lip Guard

Any other medication as per the your individual requirement. There are many other things to carry along as far as clothing and other personal stuff is concerned. I have listed down the most important things essential for undertaking this trip.

Last edited by nndp87 : 9th April 2016 at 10:13.
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Old 9th April 2016, 10:17   #3
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Default re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

Introduction
A quick introduction of the team. (Left to Right)
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Saurabh Tyagi from Meerut, he is an entrepreneur by profession and rider / traveler by Hobby. He was last minute entrant into the trip. Also he was Co - Driver for the Trip.
Shyam Sojitra from Mumbai, he is a Chartered Accountant by profession and traveler by Hobby. He was the least expected person to accompany me. But that’s how destiny is, it plays wonderful games.
Nandeep Pathak from Mumbai, I am Chartered Accountant by profession and driver / traveler by Hobby.
An the Black Beauty standing behind is my Beloved Mahindra XUV 5OO, also known as "Pirate"

1 October, 2015 and 2 October 2015.
Around 1.00 AM Shyam calls up and tells me, “is it possible to postpone the trip by 1 day”, my immediate answer was “No”. I asked him the reason for postponing, the reason was silly, what?, he told me that he still has to collect few stuff, like dry fruits, biscuits and other items which was allocated to him. Well I clearly told him that we can manage on the way, let’s not worry about it, and sleep for now. See you in the morning.

Finally the Day has come. Now I was literally desperate to leave the City as early as possible, the desperateness was due to uncertainty that I had faced in last few weeks. The car check up with Mahindra ASC was pending for which I had taken prior appointment. By 08.00 AM I was on my way to ASC. The ASC staff was in the workshop by 08.45 AM and car was quickly taken over for check up, in the meanwhile I got information from the mechanic as well as RM regarding the signs that are being shown in the dashboard. Everything was sorted, Car Check up was done and I was back home by 11.00 AM. Final check up of things to be carried and documents and I was downstairs with my luggage.

Well when we went to Ladakh in June 2010, at least 20 people were there to see off us with bouquets and greeting cards, that was a big moment in our family, we were first one to undertake such journey in the entire family. Years went by and we kept on travelling, exploring new places, travelling has become a routine now. Those memories rolled down when I was adjusting our luggage in the car. My Dad and 2 close friends were there to see us off.

Well saying bye is one of the most difficult moments in the trip in my view, because the problem is you are very excited and happy about the trip but your loved ones are equally sad and depressed about it. Well in my case my parents are very supportive, few emotional moments and I was racing out of the city towards mountains.

In no time we were approaching Nashik, NH3 is fun to drive post Kalyan junction, even Bypassing Nashik was quick, thanks to the flyover, which lands you on the other side of the city. Well we were so desperate to leave from Mumbai that we didn't have lunch while leaving from Home. Post Nashik a quick halt for lunch. Delicious homemade thepla and subzi. Stomach full, ready to move. NH3 was quick all the way till Dhule, decent speed can be maintained. Around 07.30 PM we crossed Dhamnod, a quick round of tea and we got moving again, roads are in decent shape till Ratlam, once you cross Ratlam, excellent highway all the way. Around 10.30 comes dinner break at Dhaba post Ratlam. Well food is always excellent in Highway Dhabas and this time we had a company of spicy ratlami sev, heavenly feeling isn't it.

We were some 100 kilometres away from Chittorgarh, and felt the need of power nap, so we quickly pulled over to a safe place on the highway itself and slept for 45 minutes. Around 1.00 AM we start moving towards Chittorgarh, roads drastically improves, so does the movement, in no time we were approaching Chittorgarh, now we were suppose to leave NH79 and join on NH76 towards Bhilwara. A quick transit and we were moving towards Bhilwara, around 04.30 AM, again felt need to relax for some time. So a quick pullover at petrol pump near Bhilwara followed by conversion of XUV’s 2nd and 3rd row into bed and we were fast asleep, 06.30 AM, we were back on out seats again moving towards Kishangarh. Roads post Bhilwara are strictly average, expect nasty few kilometers post Nasirabad. By 09.30 AM we were at the beginning of Kishangarh – Jaipur Expressway. A relaxed breakfast and we were flying again on NH8 towards Jaipur. Well coincidently our breakfast place at Kishangarh was same in June 2010 during Ladakh Trip; it was good to be back again.

Well Jaipur came in no time, quick transit through Jaipur Bypass and we were moving towards Capital city. Lots of things have changed post 2010, roads have become much better few flyover were still pending to be completed it was fun to drive post Behror, Likes of Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen definitely made drive interesting. Well in mid of all this a turn-off point from NH8 towards Rohtak / Panipat comes, very easy to miss, however our navigation was on and it flawlessly guided us on to correct turn-off point, this route avoids Delhi and directly connects you on NH1A at Panipat. The roads after turn-off point were just fabulous, just go on and on. Lunch was at one of the Toll Gate, menu was our very own theplas and achar and we were good to go for next 8 hours around 4.30 PM we touched Panipat and there was no way we were stopping, along with Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso also joined the race, believe me it was super fun to drive along with them, all and all spirited driving, which keeps you on the toes and keeps you engrossed. 07.30 we entered Chandigarh after few wrong turns around the city, we finally made it to the correct point not before paying the fine for driving on High Beam, of course being other state vehicle, we were very vulnerable to traffic police in Chandigarh. Amidst all this Saurabh joined us and now he was our guide for moving outside the city. Well Jammu was still 350 kilometers, it was around 08.45 PM, we were full of energy, of course not me, Saurabh is also a co – driver for the trip, so he took over the wheels post Chandigarh. Being from West, eating Punjabi food at Highway Dhaba is kind of a fascination. So post Hoshiarpur, we had dinner at local dhaba, we were amazed to see the amount that we paid for the food, around Rs. 220 for 5+ Chapatis, 2 Subzis. That’s how it is. Jammu is still long way, so it was unanimously decided to break at Pathankot. Well roads across the Punjab were Fabulous; it gave us quick access to NH1A and then Pathankot was 45 minutes drive. Checked in one of the Local Hotel, Rooms were fantastic and we were suppose to make most out of it, since we were not aware what kind of rooms we will get from tomorrow onwards. Hot water was our priority for the moment and luckily it was available in the room at those hours in the night. Mumbai to Pathankot, 1950 kilometres, 36 Hours.

Well Good Night for now. The drive from tomorrow is very crucial especially from security point of view and of course we enter into Kashmir Valley.

Pirate Fully Loaded
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-img_20151001_112705.jpg

See off Moments
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-img_20151001_112750.jpg

Delhi is not so far
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-img_20151002_133656.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-img_20151002_133756.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-img_20151002_133727.jpg

Information Part
When you are travelling Northwards from South / West and taking Western India route, you are spoiled with options.

There are 3 options
1. Mumbai – NH3 – Nashik – Dhule – Dhamnod – Manpur – Leave NH3 and Join NH79 – Ratlam – Jaora – Mandsaur – Neemuch – Nimbahera – Chittorgarh – Bhilwara – Naisarabad – Kishangarh.

Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/BuqWKJ113eo

A slow route during Night Drive, the road has four lanes all throughout; expect speed breakers at every major town enroute. A very good option if you are travelling from Banglore / Pune, you can directly connect NH3 at Dhule and continue towards Kishangarh.

2. Mumbai – NH8 – Surat – Baroda – Ahmedabad Ring Road – Himatnagar – Udaipur – Chittorgarh – Bhilwara – Nasirabad – Kishangarh. (in this you can skip Baroda - Ahmedabad Expressway, Ahmedabad Ring Road and Himatnagar if you turn off from NH8 at Baroda and take Halol – Godhra – Lunawada – Modasa – Shamlaji and again join back NH8 at Shamlaji)

Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/kLUdU6hH4KT2

Fastest route in my view, it has six lanes all the way till Baroda, post that decent 4 lane highway all the way till Kishangarh, Udaipur Bypass can be mess during night, go through the city and connect on to Chittorgarh Road.

3. Mumbai – NH8 – Surat – Baroda – Ahmedabad Ring Road – Mehsana – NH14 – Palanpur – Abu Road – Pindwara – Sirohi – Pali – Beawar – NH8 – Kishangarh.

Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/uYSirwHV1aE2

This is new option, I haven’t tried it entirely from Mumbai, however I have driven it from Ahmedabad to Ajmer via this route and I was not disappointed. Excellent road all the way till Kishangarh.

Kishangarh is the point where two routes gets bifurcated.

1. If you are going to Amritsar / Jammu / Srinagar then you will have to take following route: Kishangarh – Kuchaman – Didwana – Sujangarh – Sardarshahar – Rawatsar – Hanumangarh – abohar – Fazilka – Ferozepur – Harike – Amritsar – Lakhanpur – Jammu – Udhampur – Anantnag - Srinagar

Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/5CjjshHG6Bk

2. If you are going to Delhi then you will have to take following route: Kishangarh – Jaipur – Shahpura – Behror – Neemrana – Dharuhera – Gurgaon – Delhi.

Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/JV7GqHB3fQq

3. If you are going to Manali then you will have to take following route: Kishangarh – Jaipur – Shahpura – Behror – Neemrana – Jhajjar – Rohtak – Panipat – Karnal – Ambala – Rupnagar – Kiratpur Sahib – Mandi – Manali.

Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/cwJLQVz2EgT2

4. If you are going to Shimla then you will have to take following route: Kishangarh – Jaipur – Shahpura – Behror – Neemrana – Jhajjar – Rohtak – Panipat – Karnal – Ambala – Panchkula – Solan – Shimla.

Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/vFKrdQ4sg7q

Last edited by nndp87 : 9th April 2016 at 12:47.
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Old 10th April 2016, 19:18   #4
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Note from Support: Thread moved to Travelogues section from Assembly line. Thanks for sharing
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Old 13th April 2016, 11:14   #5
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3 October, 2015.
The word “Jammu & Kashmir” the moment we hear this words, beautiful landscapes, snow peaked mountains, wonderful weather comes to our mind, terrorism, fear, insecurity are free of cost alongwith it. Today we were supposed to enter Jammu & Kashmir, during our previous visit, we had driven to Gulmarg under security cover of the Indian Army, so that was quite afresh in my mind. Nevertheless, on the positive note we started the drive from Pathankot. You will keep getting calls from your loved ones at regular interval, so don’t get irritated by it.

By 07.00 AM we were on our way to Jammu of course without having breakfast. The road is in good condition, in no time we touched Lakhanpur, the entry point of Jammu & Kashmir, a routine check-up by police and we were in Jammu & Kashmir. The road is wonderful all the way till Jammu. Breakfast was our first priority, in search for decent place for breakfast; we finally made it to some decent hotel, where we had Aloo Paratha for Rs. 600. Well we were not aware that it’s a 3 star property. Seeing the parking space available in front of the hotel, we went inside without enquiring much , nevertheless, that was luxurious breakfast for us. Moving ahead now our next target was to get onto Akhnoor road, after asking few locals we were finally on the correct route. Well now, due to uncertainty we stocked up food items, fruits, water and juice before leaving from Jammu. The road till Akhnoor is normal and sees lot of traffic. Slow movement all the way till Akhnoor.

Post Akhnoor, you will start climbing, “finally we were in Mountains” a wonderful feeling. The road is absolutely scenic to drive on, with small villages along the way. Important thing to note is that every village or small town has Army’s Presence in fact there is Cantonment present at every village or small town. Numerous stops for photos en-route, the progress was really slow, we were suppose to cross Mughal Road today. At one point I realized that it would not be possible to cross Mughal Road and reach Anantnag, if we do that it would be a stupidity, however I kept this thought to myself. Slowly and steadily we kept moving, In between Saurabh started feeling motion sickness, so I voluntarily handed over the wheels to him, so that his motion sickness goes away. It was absolutely important that every member is fit and fine because this was just start. Around 1.30 PM we made it to Rajouri.

One mistake we made, which ensured that we would not be doing Mughal Road today. From Rajouri we were suppose to go to Bafliaz, we enquired with few locals and we were guided to take some other route since the actual route is not in good conditions, we followed this advice and moved on, and finally after 30 minutes onto the route I realized we made a mistake, because as per my study from Rajouri the left road goes to Poonch and the right one goes to Bafliaz. Now the best option was to keep moving ahead. In mid of all this our Radio started playing FM from Gujral, Pakistan, they played some wonderful romantic numbers in Punjabi and endless advertisement.

It was 3.00 PM we made it to Bhimber Gali. From Bhimber Gali, you can connect on to Surankot road and reach Bafliaz. Well the strange thing that usually happens in an unknown territory is, in morning you are full of confidence and ready to take on anything, by the time evening is near, you are down, insecure, less confident and if its J&K then imagine the situation. Well at Bhimber Gali, we had short break for tea, so we started enquiring with local shops whether we can reach Shopian today, is it fine to travel in the late evening, and how is road. One guy was so confident that he told us that if you leave now, you will easily make it to Kishtwar, well for that we would need helicopter. Finally army guy met us, and he appeared to be a proper source of information. He clearly told us that “in J&K anything can happen at any moment, since you are new to the valley, I will advise you not to travel after sunset, looking at the time now, I advise you to stop for the day at Surankot or Poonch”, We all knew it was Surankot, Poonch was out of question, even before it was suggested, since it is one of the most quoted names in the newspaper as far as terrorism is concerned. Around 04.30 PM, we were on the outskirts of Surankot. Saurabh again started feeling uneasy, the best person to talk now would be Nitin Mendiratta from Delhi, A quick call and we narrated him the entire situation, he clearly told us to stop wherever you are, if you don’t get accommodation in Surankot, then proceed to Poonch. So with a hope we entered into Surankot.

Surankot is wonderful place, some mind-blowing views however it isn't a developed tourist place. So finding a hotel was a big task. Now Saurabh’s Health was in bad state, so we parked car at Surankot bus stop. Shyam and Saurabh remained seated in the car and I went in search of Hotel. Finally found one but it was no where visible from on the main road. Locals guided me to correct place.

Absolute shocker came when the son of hotel owner told us that rooms are full due to recruitments going on in the Army. I requested him for next 10 minutes to find some way out. After 10 minutes his father came and I explained my entire situation to him, specifying that one of my co pax's health is in bad state, it is not possible for us to go ahead, I request you to accommodate somewhere in your hotel . He finally gave us an option that, we have an inactive kitchen where he can accommodate us, he explained us that its thoroughly neat and clean, you need not worry about that, only thing is that some utensils are kept in it, I happily agreed, still he made me look at the room, I was like, no need sir, this much you have done for us, I am sure room would be comfortable. So accommodation was sorted. Now how to take this giant vehicle to the hotel, the place was absolutely narrow, but then didn't had an option as well. Slowly we navigated inside the compound of the hotel and settled inside the room.

Post sunset their was sudden drop in the temperature and winter jackets were out. Room was super cozy, quick round of tea, Saurabh was feeling better now and we were relived. Now evening dinner was important since we didn't have lunch in the afternoon. So I and Shyam were out on the road to see the small town in the Kashmir Valley. A small round across the town, we found a place to eat Sharmaji ki Hotel and the good part is that it is open till 09.00 PM. We were back in the room now discussing about the day’s drive and life in the town during its worst days with hotel owner. A quick dinner of Rajma, Roti and Daal Chawal and we were fast asleep.

The distance we covered today was around 320 kilometers in some 9 hours of driving, roads were also decent. My actual target was to start from Jammu and touch Kistwar, a gross mistake. Never keep ambitious target in Mountains, you never know, how much you can cover, this was a lesson for coming days.

Well not a bad day, the progress was slow, but then it was satisfactory, we didn't rush and enjoyed the beautiful valley with some wonderful pictures.

At Lakhanpur
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From Akhnoor to Rajouri
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Beautiful Boards
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The team poses
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Pirate posing
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Our new friend
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Our route today was Pathankot - Lakhanpur - Jammu - Aknoor - Naushera - Rajouri - Bhimbergali - Surankot
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/NPnua5ym7tu

From Rajouri you are supposed to take road towards Bafliaz. The same is explained in the below picture.
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-map.jpg

Correct route should have been Pathankot - Lakhanpur - Jammu - Aknoor - Naushera - Rajouri - Thanamandi - Bafliaz.
Gmap Link: https://goo.gl/maps/chycVhnLvNU2

Next is Mughal Road. Stay Tuned.
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Old 13th April 2016, 14:20   #6
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

Nice Travelogue Nandeep. I like the narration. You are a good story teller. The thread is also full of information one needs before embarking on such a trip. Thanks for this thread.

All the best & Keep Traveling !!

Regards,

Pawan

Last edited by PapaBravo : 13th April 2016 at 14:21. Reason: Spelling
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Old 13th April 2016, 14:23   #7
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

Guys,
Excellent narration and what a trip

Just a query? How is the safety perspective while driving through interior Kashmir roads ? Hope you guys did not face any untoward incident.
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Old 13th April 2016, 18:25   #8
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Just stumbled on this thread! Really informative narration and thanks for sharing it with the community. Looking forward to the rest of the travelogue!!
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Old 13th April 2016, 22:01   #9
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Nice travelogue. Totally tuned to it and waiting for further posts.I guess I saw some bits of it on the facebook as well you shared on one of the pages. Great trip you guys pulled off!
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Old 17th April 2016, 12:08   #10
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Tell us something about Mughal Road
The road is 84 kilometres long between Bafliaz, a town in the Poonch district of Jammu & Kashmir to Shopian district in the Jammu & Kashmir. The road was historically used by Moghul emperors to travel and conquer Kashmir during the sixteenth century. It was the route used by Akbar the Great to conquer Kashmir in 1586, and his son Emperor Jahangir died while returning from Kashmir on this road near Rajouri. It passes over Pir Panjal Mountain range, at altitude of 11,500 ft. Pir ki Gali is the Highest Point on this road. (Pir Ki Gali). Apart from this it is an alternative road for travelling to Srinagar.

Considering your slow progress yesterday, what’s your target for today?
Well, I was targeting Kishtwar today by end of the day.

Tell us something about the region.
Surankot, Poonch, Bafliaz, Bhimbergali, Tatapani, Chandimarg and nearby areas are simply beautiful. Believe me they are far better from crowded Gulmarg, Pahelgam, Sonamarg, during winter the charm of the place would be way beyond your imagination, snow capped villages, snow capped trees, amazing landscapes. The region may appear as under developed, but the fact is it's quite developed. The roads are decent, all major postpaid telecom network works, Internet facility, Transportation is good. The main reason for the development is because of the military presence in the state. However regular tourists are still far away from this places, even tour operators are hesitant to organize tours to this region.

This region was hot place in early days of terrorism in the Valley. Off lately peace has been restored and it is much safer place to travel now. However insecurity is always there, because once in while you hear the names of this places in newspaper, television, etc.

4 October, 2015, Part1: Surankot - Mughal Road - Shopian.
Let’s carry on with the drive. Morning was really cold, thanks to the cozy room; we all had good sleep for 8 hours, and I think that was needed since previous 3 days we were on the move. We were awake by 06.00 AM, tea was being served by the hotel guys to our room, believe me tea never tasted so wonderful, it was so wonderful that I guzzled 3 cups of tea. We were ready by 07.15 AM for departure; after bidding goodbye to the hotel owner we started for the drive ahead. The son of the hotel owner came all the way to the main road to make sure that we navigate out of the narrow lane safely. We were 15 kilometres away from Bafliaz. Bafliaz is the starting point of the Mughal Road. The road from Surankot to Bafliaz is super scenic with wonderful landscapes. In 40 minutes we made it to Bafliaz including breaks for photos. The Mughal Road Board welcomes you at Bafliaz indicating distances to various places.

We drivers always become laughing material for others when we click our picture with Boards, they discuss among themselves, “What’s wrong with guys, randomly they click pictures with Board”. Well they are right in their thinking, how would they know, why we click pictures with boards. Well after small photo session we start driving on the Mughal Road. This would be a long drive; distance is hardly 84 kilometres but photography breaks will definitely increase the time. Once you start from Bafliaz there is continues climb all the way till Pir Ki Gali. The roads are absolutely delight to drive, zero traffic, and those views will definitely make you go crazy. Few kilometres into the Mughal Road, we reach Bafliaz Bridge.

Bridges in this region are beautifully constructed, endless clicks still you feel that you missed out on something. The mountain views are simply awesome, our progress was really slow, next was Panar Bridge, Chatta Pani Bridge, Ratta Chamb Bridge again same story got repeated, click, click and click, well if this wasn't enough we stopped in between to click the views of mountains, loops on the highway, we were crawling, the number of pictures clicked had already exceeded kilometres on the Mughal Road. Finally around 10.30 AM, we made it to Pir Ki Gali. Some 50 kilometres, we took 2.5 hours. Quick darshan at Dargah, customary pictures with the board and we start descending towards Shopian.

The road is fantastic all the way till Shopian, well, we didn't had breakfast in the morning and it was already 11 AM and we didn't even knew where will we get food next, since we were not entering Shopian. All items that we had stocked up from Jammu, came in handy, we stopped at one of the view point location and started having our feast, fruits, bread butter and thepla never tasted so good, well the breakfast was inside the car, since it was too windy outside and winds were super cold. Post breakfast we quickly moved towards Shopian discussing about the valley, landscapes, drive ahead. Point to be noted if we would have started yesterday evening for Mughal Road, we would have missed so much. Well apple plantation starts appearing on the roads and it means we are nearing Shopian, Shopian is also known as apple city. The literal feeling of heaven when you drive towards Shopian, amazing view of mountains, apple plantation adds it shades, lovely houses catches your attention and pleasant climate makes it even better. We enjoyed the drive thoroughly and made it to Aharbal Junction, Shopian.

Owner's Son
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Surankot to Bafliaz
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Mughal Road
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Views en-route Mughal Road
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Old 17th April 2016, 13:24   #11
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Pir Ki Gali
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Views from Pir Ki Gali
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Mughal Road - Bridges
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Mughal Road - The Team
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Last Shot from Pir Ki Gali and One of my favourite
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Note: Back to Back Posts, Number of Images more than 30.
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Old 24th April 2016, 11:35   #12
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Descend from Pir Ki Gali towards Shopian

Lovely view of Mountains
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Bridges
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Pirate
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Mr. Shyam
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4 October, 2015, Part2: Shopian - Aharbal - Kulgam - Anantnag - Kokernag - Sinthan Top - Kishtwar
The drive from Aharbal Jucntion, Shopian to Manzgam is one of the wonderful drive circuit, you will literally question yourself are you in India. The small strip of black tarmac, lush green fields running parallel to the road on both sides. Are we dreaming? Well no, it was real life and we were enjoying every bit of it. Next we cross a bridge, connecting us to other side of river; suddenly we saw a trail going downwards to the river bed. Didn't had to think much, a glance at each other and we knew we were going, the water was literally blue, and being from western part of India, it was unbelievable for us. Some prospective profile pictures clicked and we started moving again towards Kulgam, Now hunger strikes, we somehow didn't wanted to stop in Kulgam so kept moving towards Anantnag.

A wonderful incident, I would like to narrate here, we had stopped for refilling at a fuel pump near Anantnag, Seeing my vehicle number, I always got attention and fuel pump owner strikes a conversation, well in next few minutes we were moving in his car for a decent place to have lunch in Anantnag Market, so modest, so down to earth, so concerned, we were lucky to meet such person. Once conversation started, I just asked him regarding proper place to have Lunch, he told me that don’t worry park your vehicle here itself in fuel pump and I will drop you to the market at one of the famous local place for lunch. Would you believe that?

It was 4 PM, and Kishtwar is still 160 kilometres away, and roads post Sinthan Top is not good. I anticipated the expected time of arrival in Kishtwar around 8 PM. The road from Anantnag to Sinthan Top is super fast but the views en-route are also breathtaking, slowly we kept moving towards Sinthan Top. We were able to see the snow capped mountains while ascending from Kokernag but that was it, we never anticipated anything else.

Didn't get it, what is anything else?
We were 20 kilometres from the Sinthan top and it started raining, well lot of thoughts was hovering in my mind. What if it rains tomorrow in Cliffhanger Circuit, Is it sane to attempt Cliffhanger Circuit in such rains? etc. Amidst all this we saw big water droplets falling on the windscreen and it was white. None of us believed what was happening, it was snowing, my god, my friend was witnessing snowfall for first time in his life, and so his excitement was unstoppable. Snowfall started increasing and by the time we reached top it was heavy, met one swift guy from Delhi on the Top, clicked few photos for memories and started descending quickly towards Kishtwar. Kistwar was 80 kilometres from Sinthan Top. It was already 6 PM and started getting dark. It was still snowing and every one of us wanted one more photo session, we got down at one point, clicked ourselves, car, selfies, etc. Once satisfied, started moving again. Roads were bad, we got that sense once, the descend from Sinthan Top started. We quickly understood our Arrival time in Kishtwar would be extended by 2 hours, around 8 PM, we were still 45 kilometres away from Kishtwar, and we stopped en-route a small shop for tea and started moving again. 15 minutes later, we got absolute shocker.

There was leopard on mid of the road, yes, leopard. We immediately stopped the car, for few seconds we guys were literally blank, we didn't know what to do, and we were not able to find our camera / phone. Finally Saurabh got his phone in his hand and clicked few pictures. After 2 minutes leopard realized vehicle approaching and he made his way down through valley. Crazy day, we all were charged up again and approaching Kishtwar, around 9 PM, we were 20 kilometres short of Kishtwar. Phone network was back and we immediately connected to our respective families. Roads were bad all the way till Kishtwar. Around 10.15 we made it to Kishtwar.

Kishtwar is a big town, has all the facilities including Hotels, petrol pumps, ATMs. To sum it up, some wonderful memories for the day, starting from Mughal Road, Ahrabal River Bed, Snowfall at Sinthan Top and Leopard Sighting. The weather was normal is Kishtwar and it didn't appeared that it will rain, so I was much relieved.

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

The Riverbed
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-riverbed-1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-riverbed-2.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-riverbed-3.jpg

Happy Faces
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-happy-faces-1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-happy-faces-2.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-happy-faces-3.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-happy-faces-4.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-happy-faces-6.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-happy-faces-7.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-happy-faces-8.jpg

Aharbal Kulgam Road Landscapes
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ahar-1.jpg
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Distant View of Sinthan Top
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-sinthan-1.jpg
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Old 25th April 2016, 13:03   #13
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

Sinthan Top
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-sinthan-top-1.jpg
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The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-views-enroute-1.jpg
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The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-views-enroute-4.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-views-enroute-5.jpg

Pirate got amazing gift on its Birthday
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-pirate-gift-1.jpg
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The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-pirate-gift-5.jpg

Crazy fun for the team
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-team-1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-team-2.jpg
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The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-team-5.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-team-6.jpg

Selfies as well
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-selfie-well-1.jpg
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Last but not least, The Leopard. This is the best shot which we could get it
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-leopard.jpg

Kistwar: It is a big town in Jammu & Kashmir and a district headquarters of Kishtwar District, having various Government offices, rest house, hotels, and fuel pumps. Kishtwar National Park is one of the major attractions, if you are lucky you will sight animals like Snow Leopard, Antelope, Wild Yak and the Tibetan Ass. You can enter into Himachal Pradesh via Kishtwar. This were all the good points.

Kishtwar Jungle is home to various militancy activities, you will definitely keep on hearing news of attack in Kishtwar, explosives found in nearby area of Kishtwar, etc. Till 2010, the region had lots of issues especially militancy. It was not safe for tourists to go. As of now the region is far more peaceful. However in remote places you need to alert and cautious even today.

How to reach Kishtwar?
If you are coming from Jammu Side then best route to touch Kishtwar is Jammu - NH1A - Udhampur - Patnitop - Batote - Leave NH1A - Doda - Kishtwar.
https://goo.gl/maps/fVXbAcavhy32

If you are coming from Jammu Side and doing Mughal Road and want to touch Kishtwar then your route should be Jammu - Akhnoor - Rajaouri - Bafliaz - Peer Ki Gali - Ahrbal Junction before Shopian - Kulgam - Anantnag - Kokernag - Sinthan Top - Kishtwar.
https://goo.gl/maps/ts8bf6PW62U2

If you are coming from Srinagar Side then best route to touch Kishtwar is Srinagar - Anantnag - Kokernag - Sinthan Top - Kishtwar.
https://goo.gl/maps/xuLodD5uM1J2

Accomodation
Many options near Kishtwar Bus Stand. We stayed at Hotel Kishtwar located on Gulaba Road. Nice rooms, in-house restaurant.

Other Information
1. If you are moving ahead to Killar, Himachal Pradesh, then make sure your vehicle is 100% fit for the drive ahead. Remember incase you vehicle faces brake down, you will have to tow it to Kistwar only, since Killar has no facilities.
2. Stock up food items, water and other necessary items. Kishtwar is the last major town en-route to Killar, Himachal Pradesh.
3. Make sure you reach Kishtwar by 06.00 PM, so this will help you in collecting above stuff, since next day you are supposed to leave before the town wakes up.
4. Make sure you call your loved ones from Kishtwar, post Kishtwar, no connectivity.
5. Make sure your fuel tank is full when you leave from Kishtwar. Next petrol pump is at Tandi on Manali Leh Highway and Chamba after crossing Sach Pass.

Before leaving from Kishtwar, lets enjoy this small drive videos for the day.

Mughal Road from Bafliaz to Shopian


Aharbal Landscapes. Shopian to Kulgam


Sinthan Top. Kokernag to Kishtwar


Note: Back to Back Posts, Number of Images more than 30.
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Old 5th May 2016, 14:40   #14
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

5 October, 2015, Kishtwar to Gulabgarh

Finally, the day I was waiting for has come. Today was most challenging, difficult, unexplored drive through some desolated parts of Himalayas. We were to drive from Kishtwar to Killar, crossing Padder Valley into the Pangi Valley. Also this route is the connecting link between Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. I was being told that it would take more than 8 hours for 120 kilometers.

Nevertheless after a good night sleep, we were ready for the most challenging day ahead. There were mixed feelings when we started from Kishtwar, there was excitement, anxiety, fear, confidence and of course determination. I knew it from the word go that once we cross Gulabgarh there is no chance of turning back. Our Destination for the day was Killar. A quick refuelling at Kishtwar and we were on our way towards Gulabgarh.

Roads start deteriorating post Kishtwar, however you will not be bothered by it since views en-route will keep you interested. We left Kishtwar around 7.30 AM, 1 hour behind the schedule, How does that matter? lets wait for the end of the day.

1 hour into the drive, Saurabh started feeling fatigue, it was matter of concern since we were to drive through the most difficult terrain today. Slowly we made it to Dool, a small village en-route. 15 minutes break for tea and started moving ahead, Saurabh was behind the wheels, since it would make him feel better, In next 30 minutes we reached Padyana Checkpost, Complete details were noted by Policemen and we were moving ahead, Saurabh was feeling better now, so I was back to my original place behind the wheels. Slowly we were moving deep inside the Padder Valley, crossing the small villages. Numerous photography breaks made sure our progress was slow, but the views en-route were just not avoidable. On one side of the road was big towering mountains and on one side, River Chandrabhaga flowing in it full glory. Some wonderful landscapes, zero traffic and wonderful weather. 5 kilometers before Gulabgarh, roads literally disappeared and which made us realize, what's next.

Around 12.15 PM, we made it Gulabgarh, I prefer to call Gulabgarh as School Painting Town, why? I will explain in one of the pictures of Gulabgarh.

Did you stop at Gulabgarh?
No, we were already behind schedule, so we quickly got onto Road going towards Himachal Pradesh.

Lets go ahead then, we were waiting for the drive ahead!
Sure, but lets enjoy some pictures till Gulabgarh.

Pictures from Kishtwar to Gulabgarh
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-2.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-3.jpg

River Chandrabhaga
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-rc1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-rc2.jpg
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Lord Shiva welcomes us to Padder Valley
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-ls.jpg

Winding Cliffed Roads
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-wc1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-wc2.jpg

Someone lives there?
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-den1.jpg

Even remotest of the place has hobbies
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-hobbies.jpg

Team photo-shoot
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-t1.jpg
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The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-t15.jpg

I prefer to call Gulabgarh as School Painting Town, why?
When you see the below pictures, it will remind you of your drawing days in school. I vividly remember that we use to draw a picture of village with mountains, river, small houses, garden and sunrise. When you see this village, you will definitely recollect your drawing days in school.
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-gulab-1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-gulab-2.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-gulab-3.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-gulab-4.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-gulab-6.jpg
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Old 5th May 2016, 15:46   #15
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

5 October, 2015, Gulabgarh to Tyari
First Climb after Gulabgarh itself will give you clear picture of what lies ahead. After a small break, we proceed towards Tyari. Gulabgarh is like end of road, post Gulabgarh road totally disappears, it is all dirt track. Nevertheless, River Chandrabhaga will always be running alongwith you some 1000 ft below. The first village en-route is Sohal.

What is so special about the first village i.e. Sohal?
Nothing special, the road passes through village and the descend and ascend to and from village are dreadful. The Descend and Ascend angle would be easily around 40 to 45 degree.
Braking is very crucial while descending, but the descend angle gave a feeling that there is high pressure on brake pads, so time to use engine braking, now car is in 1st gear, but descend speed was still high and I had to use the breaks.

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 how we descended to Sohal, the first view is of the bridge above the waterfall, photo breaks were inevitable, small photography break and we were now able to see another hurdle, Now what? The Ascend. The approach road before the ascend was full of stones, so getting a momentum was also difficult, a small analysis and we started moving in the first gear, another problem was big stones on the middle of the ascend, you need to be perfect about the placement of your tyres right on them to gain traction, 1st gear, 5, 6, 7, finally 10 kmph and we made it to the flat road again.

The views en-route were just beyond our imagination, the towering mountains and the Blue River. Nothing less then heaven. Numerous landslide zones en-route and once in a while you will find PWD trucks for clearance of road block, if any. Around 1.45 PM, we made it to Tyari. We had a nice 7 course meal of Roti, Sabzi, Dal, Chawal, Onion and Achar, the lunch was never so satisfactory, maybe because of the immense concentration on the road. The exciting section is just ahead. Stay tuned.

Enjoy the pictures from Gulabgarh to Tyari
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-1.jpg

Waterfall on Road
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-w1.jpg

Winding Roads
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-wr1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-wr2.jpg

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

The Waterfall i had mentioned
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-waterfall-1.jpg
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The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-waterfall-5.jpg

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

Observe the remoteness, terrain and landscapes
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-oberve-terrain.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-oberve-terrain1.jpg
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The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-oberve-terrain4.jpg

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

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

Pirate
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-p1.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-p2.jpg
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-p3.jpg

The Team Posing
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-t1.jpg
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Selfie Time
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Hotel at Tyari
The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more-tyari-hotel.jpg

2 Drive videos from Gulabgarh to Tyari.



Descend that I was talking about


Ascend that I was talking about
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