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Old 11th June 2017, 16:09   #1
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Default SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

“भाइयों और बहनों,
To break the grip of corruption and black money, we have decided that the 500 rupee & 1000 rupee currency notes presently in use, will no longer be legal from midnight tonight, which is 8 November 2016. This means that these notes will not be acceptable for transactions from midnight onwards. The 500 and 1000 rupee notes hoarded by anti-national & anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper. “


This speech will be remembered in the Indian history. The speech, that sent chills in the bones of each citizen. A sudden commotion throughout the country.

But, the story here was altogether different. There was anxiety, confusion & fear.
Will I be able to do it?
What could happen?
What if it goes south?


SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-.jpg

SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-b.jpg

SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-c.jpg

After enjoying the Diwali break at home, it was time to hit the road. 12th, 13th & 14th Nov'16, the closest long weekend, to sate the hunger for driving my new companion, Mystique. The date was set, and the destination was not difficult to finalize. Tirthan Valley was on our want-to-go list since a long time, and it was perfect to spend the cool days, lying inside blanket, isolated from the hubbub of the city. Tirthan Valley is known for Trout fishing and the best time to go is March-April. But apart from fishing, there is a lot more that you can do. Like camping, trekking or may be just lay back and enjoy the tranquillity of the place. And the best time for that, is winters!

It was going to be an easy and relaxed trip. All we were going to do was, enjoy the drive and chit chat at the valley, beside the river. We were all ready to go.
Then came the infamous speech -
“Brothers and sisters, the current 500 & 1000 rupee notes are no longer legal.”

Already having a knack of using digital payments, there was very little impact on my routine and thus, I remained focused on the trip. However, my friend having lot of cash with him had to decide. To choose between going hometown or do the trip.
The trip was cancelled on 10th November.

There was a sudden silence, tension & anxiety, with thoughts gushing my mind. It had happened before, when I was stuck with the choice of going alone, or getting stuck at home, doing nothing. The choice I made earlier was wise, but left me unsatisfied. A doubt - What if I had gone?

So, this time, on 11th November, I chose to go SOLO.

Cannot inform anyone in family for this trip.
Only have 300 rupees in wallet, long queues at ATM everywhere.
Unfamiliar destination.
Long drive of 12 hours.
No hotel/homestay surveyed.
New car, less confidence.
Important of all, I have to leave TOMORROW.


But, I will not hold back. It's time to get out of the comfort of home, and deal with the outside world. There is no time to make lists. Just pack whatever seems essential, especially blanket, just in case, if I have to spend the night in car. The car was clean and ready to roll out. It's going to be an impromptu trip, where nothing is planned except for the destination.

So, there was no hurry, no need to fight the time, no dependency. Do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want.

Getting to the trip, the itinerary was simple. Go to Tirthan, do nothing & come back.
12th Nov.’16 - Drive and Reach Tirthan
13th Nov.’16 - Explorer Tirthan Valley
14th Nov.’16 - Return to Gurugram

Day 1: Anxiety & Excitement
(12.11.16)

Distance: 529 km
Actual Time: 14 hrs
Expense: INR 1400

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The motive of the trip was to get good FE, but at the same time avoid night driving. Therefore, it was better to stretch a bit in plains. Hence, the first stop was after driving 300 km for 6 hrs, at Heritage Haveli in Ropar, Punjab.

The first pic of the day. The first check-in of the day.

Heritage Haveli @Ropar.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-1.jpg

Road that drives you to drive. (Ropar-Pathankot)
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-2.jpg

No No No! You can't swim yet.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-3.jpg

At Kiratpur Sahib.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-4.jpg
Till Kiratpur Sahib, the roads were perfect. Moreover, at first fill-up, I got 22 kmpl efficiency (tank full method). Then started the hilly drive & sudden drop in FE!

The Satluj River.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-5.jpg

Just before entering Bilaspur.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-6.jpg

Last edited by Ashir : 22nd July 2017 at 10:27.
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Old 19th June 2017, 17:38   #2
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

Who took this photograph?
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-7.jpg
"I am on trip with my friend. And he took this pic, and many more." - This is what my parents knew when I checked in. Thanks to the stones, my phone and my smart Moto 360 which did the job of a remote to click my photographs.

Ner Chowk by-pass before Mandi.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-8.jpg

Finally, a little chill in the Air!
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-9.jpg

The dawn is upon us.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-10.jpg

Just after Pandoh Dam
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-11.jpg

The magical moon.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-12.jpg
I do need to get a camera.

Reached by 7PM. It was already dark. The valley was dead silent. Songs in the car could be heard at the other side. With no soul in sight, I was reluctant to look for homestay and decided to settle inside the car only. The driver seat reclined fully. An inch gap in one of the window. Changed clothes inside and dozed off. A tired day finally came to an end. But it was far from being over.

The temperature dropped to 10 degree late at night. Enough to make the whole body shiver. Besides, temperature, there was back pain due to improper posture. And somehow the night was spent with intermittent sleep.

Day 2: Tranquil & Peace
(13.11.17)

Distance: 50 km
Actual Time: 12 hrs
Expense: INR 200

A tiring day it was. Refreshment was must before exploring the valley. Himalayan Trout House, the most recommended place to stay at Tirthan Valley, was way out of budget for a person carrying 300 rupees legal & 500 rupees illegal currency. The place is known for its hospitality, which was evident when Christopher, the owner, agreed to book a room for an hour along with a sumptuous breakfast for mere 100 bucks. He is known throughout the valley as well as in the surrounding region. "If you are coming from Delhi, you are probably looking for Christopher." said a helpful passer-by.

This where the car was parked.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-13.jpg

A room in Himalayan Trout House.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-14.jpg
After resting for a while, it was time to explore. So, there are only 3 activities to do in Tirthan, 4 if you are in a group.
  1. Fishing
  2. Trekking
  3. Relaxing
  4. River crossing, rope walking, etc.
With fishing possible only in March-April, I was left with only 1 option, which is Relax, since, I was reluctant to trek alone. But that's what I came here for. RELAX.

The Tirthan River
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-15.jpg

All is set.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-16.jpg

And....Click!

Last edited by Ashir : 22nd July 2017 at 11:18.
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Old 27th June 2017, 22:15   #3
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-17.jpg
No?
Other one..

SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-18.jpg

Look how connected they are. From roots to the top.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-19.jpg

Another SOLO traveller.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-21.jpg

SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-20.jpg

The mystical sound of the river.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-22.jpg

Only those, who listen, can hear.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-23.jpg

My Cameraman
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-24.jpg

Guess where?
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-25.jpg

Bucketlist.. Check!
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-26.jpg

Last edited by Ashir : 22nd July 2017 at 11:18.
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Old 2nd July 2017, 10:47   #4
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

The Present is a gift from God. Live it!
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-28.jpg

Because of mountains on the west side, sun was set very early. Now, it is not at all recommended to venture out in the dark, so I decided to call it a day. Came to the same spot and started setting up for the night. By 5PM, it was already dark.
Thanks to JIO, I could easily watch a movie online. Though, I would not call it watching a movie, when all of the time I was texting a friend. But anyways, the time was spent and after clicking a few full moon pictures, I dozed off. This time, I kept the windows closed.

Full Moon
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-29.jpg

Not in my phone though.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-30.jpg

Surprisingly, I woke up only to the early morning alarm. A very comfortable sleep.

Day 3: Confidence & Satisfaction
(14.11.16)

Distance: 531 km
Actual Time: 15 hrs
Expense: INR 1900

Total Trip Expense: INR 3500 only

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Same place, yet so different!
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-31.jpg

There was different kind of feeling when I woke up. There was this smile on the face. A sense of self-confidence. Satisfaction from what I have achieved. Before the trip, I was just me. But now, it was much more than just me!
It was a long day ahead, no time to get lost in the thoughts. A quick face wash at a small waterfall before I bid adieu to Tirthan Valley. The trip was far from being over. Literally, 531 km far, pun intended.

Only one thing remained to do in this trip. There were rivers beside the road for the most part of the trip. I had spent lot of hours at the river bank. But, I was sad for my companion, Mystique, as her feet could not get the feel of the chilling river. No place was found, where I could drive the car to the river.

Alas! On my way back, I saw an opportunity. Though not a wise option, but I could drive down the slope and park the car just near the river.

A rocky ride it was but I maneuvered around and touched the river.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-32.jpg

Bleed Blue?
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-33.jpg

Look at the grin. She is happy too!
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-35.jpg

After wasting almost 2 hours there, I continued towards home.
Just before joining the Aut Tunnel, the rivers also join.

Tirthan meets the mighty Beas!
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-36.jpg

Who said, its not a good phone ?
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-37.jpg

Last edited by Ashir : 22nd July 2017 at 11:20.
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Old 2nd July 2017, 11:07   #5
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

At the same place.
The moon is right on top of that mountain.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-38.jpg
Though, couldn't wait there for sun to set and allow moon to shine.

The Manali Highway is surely a wonder among hills.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-39.jpg

10km of fun remains...
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-40.jpg

The hilly road after crossing Mandi was pretty much the same, boring & tiring.

Took a halt at Sarai Bharatgarh, after crossing Kiratpur Sahib, to freshen up and take a break from the long continuous hilly drive.
Met a group who were there in the Himalayan Trout House during my short stay.

Sarai Bharatgarh
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-41.jpg

Saw this in Tirthan as well.
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-42.jpg

Next stop only after the sunset. It's the same old road where I have been traveling since childhood, though renovated.

Burger King @ Karnal Haveli
SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!-43.jpg
The last stop. The last pic. Not the last trip.

Last edited by Ashir : 22nd July 2017 at 11:21.
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Old 15th August 2017, 10:33   #6
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

Travelogue moved here from Assembly line. Thanks for sharing the travelogue with us
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Old 20th August 2017, 16:29   #7
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

It's certainly a different kind of experience to travel solo. I must say that your travelogue too is a bit different read. Keep traveling and keep writing.

Best,
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Old 16th April 2018, 19:42   #8
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

Nice Trip !

How much time are we expecting if we are coming down from Tirthan Valley to Gurgaon ? 12 hours is a safe bet with breaks etc ? starting at 9AM, would be able to reach Gurgaon by 9PM ?

Also, which of the way is better - via Manali, or via Narkanda/Shimla ?
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Old 17th April 2018, 06:48   #9
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptaneja View Post
Nice Trip !

How much time are we expecting if we are coming down from Tirthan Valley to Gurgaon ? 12 hours is a safe bet with breaks etc ? starting at 9AM, would be able to reach Gurgaon by 9PM ?
Expect 13-14 hours with sufficient breaks, considering the traffic while entering Delhi on Sunday.
I have been to Tirthan twice. Both of the times I reached Gurgaon by 1 AM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptaneja View Post
Also, which of the way is better - via Manali, or via Narkanda/Shimla ?
Actually there is a Jalori pass between Tirthan & Shimla. This pass is slushy & has steep climb while coming from Tirthan Valley.

So commonly followed routes are:
1. Gurgaon - Mandi - Aut - Tirthan - Aut - Mandi - Gurgaon
2. Gurgaon - Shimla - Jalori - Tirthan - Aut - Mandi - Gurgaon

Considering difficult terrain at Jalori & highway widening construction on Shimla highway, I'd prefer Option 1. The roads are perfect to drive throughout from Tirthan to Mandi to Gurgaon.

Hope I have answered your queries.
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Old 17th April 2018, 07:26   #10
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

Wow!

Have gone through many travelogues where people have done so many different things.

Never thought a travelogue in which someone did nothing would be so interesting to read!
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Old 17th April 2018, 08:19   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashir View Post
Expect 13-14 hours with sufficient breaks, considering the traffic while entering Delhi on Sunday.

Considering difficult terrain at Jalori & highway widening construction on Shimla highway, I'd prefer Option 1. The roads are perfect to drive throughout from Tirthan to Mandi to Gurgaon.
Perfect, makes sense. It would be via Mandi both ways then. I would plan to enter Delhi on a working day - not on a weekend, lets see if it makes a difference.
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Old 17th April 2018, 08:48   #12
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Default Re: SOLOtude at Tirthan Valley!

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Wow!

Have gone through many travelogues where people have done so many different things.

Never thought a travelogue in which someone did nothing would be so interesting to read!
Haha thank you Honeybee.

It could be far more interesting if I could express myself better
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