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Old 12th February 2008, 17:22   #1
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Default Kasauli - a travelogue long overdue!

OK guys, since we’re close to celebrating the anniversary of our trip to Kasauli in March last year, I thought it was high time that I posted a brief travelogue!

(At this point, I will stop & thank Samurai for having posted his travelogue on his Dzongri Trek real, real late, which kind of gave me the impetus to finally wake up & post this one!)

It was during the Holi weekend in March 2007 that we drove up to the sleepy climes of Kasauli with inputs from Prajesh (kpzen), Navdeep (where are you these days mate?) & Tanveer (our good old mod Tsk1979). Not to forget our latest proud parent Mr Saazid Singha who saved me quite a few kilometers & a whole lot of time by giving me his inputs on the route that I should take from Gurgaon to Azadpur Subzi Mandi - lol! It all started off with a discussion on the route to take to avoid all that crazy construction work & culminated in a healthy debate, for more of that, click here –
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...hlight=Kasauli (Delhi to Kalka - current road conditions)

Well, we set off on a Saturday morning (3rd March) at 7.43 am from Phase V, DLF, via Dhaula Kuan, Punjabi Bagh etc – it was a breeze at that hour & we reached the Azadpur-GT Road crossing in about 40 minutes or so. We averaged 50 kmph for the first hour & then let the beast rip for the next hour in which we crossed the Delhi-Haryana border, then Sonepat & finally zipped through Panipat before the chaos started (flyover work in progress). We averaged 73 kmph in the second hour & then pushed on to make the first pee-and-legstretching-halt at the Karnal Dhaba at 10.13 am (164.9 kms from the house).

We re-started at 10.26 am & proceeded to cross Kurukshetra/Pipli, Ambala Cantt & covered 80 kmph in the next hour before passing through Rajpura & taking the right turn that would take us to Zirakpur. I must thank Navdeep & Tanveer for coaxing me to go through Rajpura - although there was a lot of discussion about how much extra I would be traveling by doing this, in hindsight & actual measurement, it was not much & it did save us a hell of a lot of time. And I had good fun ripping the Safari on some real good stretches of tarmac. We arrived at Zirakpur crossing (holy mess that it was too!) at around 12.05 pm, then the Panchkula turnoff a little later at 12.19 & then finally Panchkula itself at 12.31 pm. Obviously, average speeds had come down drastically near & after Zirakpur, so we made 62 kms in that hour post Rajpura.

Progress in the next one hour was, as expected, very slow, we averaged 37 kmph passing through Pinjore, Kalka & Parwanoo town. Thereafter, we reached the Dharampur turnoff (from the NH) at 1.37 pm, passed by the famous Lawrence School, Sanawar & then passed gleefully through some slushy red mud before reaching Kasauli town (1,951 meters above sea level) at 2 pm & then Hotel Ros Common at 2.08 pm, with 360.9 on the odometer. We covered this distance in 6 hours & 25 minutes, including a 13 minute halt at Karnal – not bad for a behemoth of its proportions. And it really showed its true class on the highway in “cruise” mode – totally planted & completely unflappable. I’d kept it between 120 & 140 on all the empty stretches that we passed through & overtaking was also a breeze because vehicles made way when they saw the behemoth’s lights flashing in their mirrors. It was my first long drive in the Safari & I had absolutely no fatigue whatsoever. Driving comfort was real good & as for the passengers – they were all praises. Particularly the kids, who were ecstatic about the comfort & SPACE of the middle row, nay make that the Sofa!





There was one bit from Kasauli town coming up to Ros Common where I remembered a post of Desert Fox –

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert fox View Post
No,ALSO when the clutch is being released.assuming you are talking that you are trying to move the vehicle when you get the 'Clang" 'thud' etc!!

Remember when you have the steering under full lock and release the clutch,the power steering robs a fair amount(upto 20% in some car's)of power,hence your clutch get's burdened,hence the occurrence,
Very true because, at that point, you have to take the left fork to go towards the Hotel & it’s a very steep incline. I’d forgotten that I had a 3 ton beast with me & followed my usual practice of stopping to ask the way & then holding the clutch just at the point of release to prevent a rollback (handbrake too but it was a really steep incline). Now, I had to take a sharp left turn & go up so obviously the beast protested with a thud, clang and stalled immediately when I let go the clutch in full left lock! Then I remembered the golden words, let it roll back to even land, revved the engine, full left, let go clutch & full throttle up the incline. But, my earlier stunt must have put some stress on the clutch because we got a strong burning smell on our last half a kilometer to the Hotel. Lol, I was thinking, I’ve burnt it out, now what!?

Luckily, like all else, the behemoth took this in its stride, just parked it at the Hotel for a while & let the afternoon breeze do its bit in terms of getting rid of the stink! So there we were, at the Hotel, it was a really nice property of HPTDC and we had taken the Deluxe Double Bedroom at the back which had a wonderful view across the hills along with a separate small sitting area as well as a changing room. Prajesh had told me how nice the place was & I could see for myself. Ros Common is a colonial bungalow with a lot of old world charm & some spectacular views across the valley.









So, a quick wash to refresh ourselves, a nice warm lunch & we were ready to explore the lawns & the road adjoining the Hotel. Oh, the grille & headlamps of the Safari were coated with a layer of dead bugs that it had lapped up on the way so I took a wet cloth & cleaned them out.





Then off we went for a walk to the town, picked up some munchies & a LARGE bottle of Coke, saw a thermometer that indicated the temperature to be 9 degrees C (at around 4.30 in the afternoon lol) & went back to the Hotel.

As mentioned in the HPTDC brochure, Kasauli is a sleepy town where you feel like you are caught in a time warp in the 19th century. Life carries on in an unhurried place & you can take long walks for as far as your eyes can see. Once the sun went down, we could see the lights of Simla twinkling far away across the hills from our room. Kids had the TV on, we went through the couple of newspapers we had carried from Delhi & read them from cover to cover. After that, a bit of Team BHP browsing on the Blackberry & we were set for the most important part of the evening (for me at least) – the Bacardi & Coke bottles were opened, the chicken pakoras were ordered & what else could one ask for – nirvana!



So after a few rounds of liquid nourishment, decided to walk across to the Dining room for dinner. BIG MISTAKE!!!! It was bloody freezing outside!



But we made it nonetheless, caps & all – the dining room was nice & warm of course with the heaters going so, a hearty meal, a quick jog through the ice-cold pathways outside & then back to our room for the night. Heaters on but then we discovered that the skylight didn’t close all the way down so we made sure we were adequately covered in a pile of blankets that were available!

The next day (4th March) was Holi so we decided to spend a relaxed day at the Hotel, stayed put & didn’t venture anywhere because I didn’t want to get into any confrontations on the way about water balloons, color etc. I had been told that the locals do not indulge in any form of misbehavior but it was the non-locals that I was more concerned about.







The Hotel saw quite a few large family groups landing up for lunch but each group stuck to their tables & didn’t hassle anyone else. In the evening, we took another walk towards the town



& then walked up towards what they called sunrise point or something. It was a long & steep climb & none of us were really inclined to walk another 3-4 kms so we came back midway after soaking in the nice smells of the forest so to speak & decided to do it the next time around. In the Safari, not walking. Lol. Returned to the Hotel & saw some nice views from the room







The rest of the evening passed off similarly to the previous one what with Pakoras, Bacardi & Coke anaesthetizing the effects of the almost sub-zero conditions outside!

(to be continued in Part II)

Last edited by suman : 12th February 2008 at 17:37.
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Old 12th February 2008, 17:23   #2
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Default Part II & the Conclusion

The next morning (5th March) we decided to make a trip to Simla since it had been a few years since we had last passed through on our way to Kalpa. We left the Hotel at 10.23 am & reached Hotel Holiday Home at Simla at 12.38 pm – a tad over 2 hours & a distance of 80 kms from Ros Common. I had good fun putting it through its limits on some of the hairpins & got the tyres to squeal & complain on a few of them! We parked the beast at the Hotel, walked to the lifts & then up to the Mall.



Walked around a bit, grabbed lunch, did some quick purchases & then headed back to the beast. We left Simla at 3.10 pm & got back to Ros Common at 5.35 pm, passing some real nice views of the snowline etc on the way back & stopping in a couple of places to get a few snaps.






This time, approaching the Hotel from Kasauli town, I engaged 4H on the fly & went up that steep slope quite comfortably.

Back at the Hotel, the usual blues set in at the realization that we’d have to return to the hustle & the bustle of the NCR the next day. Kasauli (and Ros Common) really grows on you – the peace & the general sleepy atmosphere all around as well as the gorgeous views. Not to forget the quaint cobbled road



& so many beautiful gardens. But, cest la vie and work & all else was beckoning so we went to sleep after the customary rum & coke & dinner in preparation for the drive ahead the next morning.

We didn’t feel like doing a very early start so after a light & leisurely breakfast on 6th March, we left the comforts & the spectacular views of Ros Common





at 8.42 am & set off for out journey back. Average speeds were as follows –

1st hour - 36 kmph
2nd hour - 55 kmph
3rd hour - 94 kmph - this was easily the best timing both ways & on the stretch between Zirakpur & Rajpura, I managed to almost max out the Safari for a 2 km stretch. The speedo indicated between 150 & 160 (sorry guys, was too busy looking at the road to give it a more accurate estimate) & the beast was rock steady.

At the end of the 3rd hour, we stopped at Karnal for the customary pee-break, 10 minutes & we were on our way again. So –

4th hour - 71 kmph – would have made better time but for the mess at Panipat
5th hour - 57 kmph – including the nightmare that is Azadpur crossing.

We made the next 40 kms to DLF Phase V in 53 minutes, reaching home sweet home at 2.50 pm. Lol, really needed the shower & grabbed a quick bite of the food that we’d ordered in advance. Another nice trip came to an end but all in all, it was good to put one’s feet up on one’s favorite sofa & flip through the channels on the 32 inch after driving through some serious traffic towards the end of the journey. Again, very good timing on the return journey as well, 6 hours 08 minutes only, including a 10 minute break thanks to that Rajpura stretch. Of course, we made better timing in the Safari in all those patches where there was heavy traffic & jams simply because of the bullying factor & the road presence – I wouldn’t have risked it in the Fiesta!

When I sit back & think that almost a year has gone by since our last trip to Himachal, I’m amazed – and sorry too! We used to do trips a lot more frequently till last year. Now that we have the vehicle of our dreams as far as going off the beaten path is concerned, our schedules & circumstances do not permit us to do it! Anyway, as they say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” & “while there’s life there’s hope” so I’m not giving up just yet. We’ll do Himachal again &, hopefully – soon!

Last edited by suman : 12th February 2008 at 17:38.
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Old 12th February 2008, 17:35   #3
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Lovely travelogue and awesome pictures Suman, if i am not wrong, i think you posted these pictures way back last year. I recall seeing the safari parked in the resort.
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Old 12th February 2008, 17:40   #4
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Lovely travelogue and awesome pictures Suman, if i am not wrong, i think you posted these pictures way back last year. I recall seeing the safari parked in the resort.
Thanks mate, a couple of the pictures are in my BHP Garage so that's where you'd have seen them
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Old 12th February 2008, 17:47   #5
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Good travelogue and pics. Enjoyed the pics and reading it.
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Old 12th February 2008, 18:12   #6
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Nice report and pics Suman Ji
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Old 13th February 2008, 14:28   #7
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Thanks guys, I'm surprised myself that I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday
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Old 13th February 2008, 15:44   #8
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Nice Travelogue and pics and definitely every trip worth remembering flashes all over on revisiting it through a report and also through pics. Good travelogue there Suman.
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Old 13th February 2008, 15:56   #9
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A decade and a half or so back I used to dream about getting a job in Delhi. The idea was to buy a Gypsy (then dream vehicle for nomads) and hit himalayas every weekend and camp out. Never happend!!

Thank you for the writeup. You almost took me there. Excellent pics too. NoOw I am waiting for your April-May trips
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Old 13th February 2008, 16:04   #10
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Quote:
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Thanks guys, I'm surprised myself that I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday

You also remember the exact times or arrival and departure, down to the last minute! How do you do it? Any pointers?
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Old 13th February 2008, 16:10   #11
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You also remember the exact times or arrival and departure, down to the last minute! How do you do it? Any pointers?
Oh, those are from the trip logs that my wife maintains whenever we go on one of these trips. Rule of thumb - the overall mileage & step mileage is noted every hour from the starting time (or restarting time) as also the timings & mileage for any important city, town or landmark.

Makes it easy if we have to go again & are trying to figure out the best possible timings etc

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Originally Posted by VJ_MAVRICK View Post
Good travelogue there Suman.
Thanks mate!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteKnight View Post
Thank you for the writeup. You almost took me there. Excellent pics too. NoOw I am waiting for your April-May trips
I can relate to your post - so many unfinished dreams - like a trip to Leh or to do Delhi-Kalpa-Kaza-Rohtang-Manali-Delhi.

April-May trips - lol, may they happen real soon, cheers:

Last edited by suman : 13th February 2008 at 16:14.
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Old 13th February 2008, 16:12   #12
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Nice writeup...

Better late than never
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Old 13th February 2008, 19:12   #13
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Lovely travelogue, Suman. I must say that you have a superb memory...you remember the timings to the precise minute even after a year has passed by !!
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Old 13th February 2008, 19:39   #14
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Lovely travelogue, Suman. I must say that you have a superb memory...you remember the timings to the precise minute even after a year has passed by !!
Thanks mate but my memory is not that phenomenal. As I mentioned below -

Quote:
Oh, those are from the trip logs that my wife maintains whenever we go on one of these trips. Rule of thumb - the overall mileage & step mileage is noted every hour from the starting time (or restarting time) as also the timings & mileage for any important city, town or landmark.
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Old 13th February 2008, 20:21   #15
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Hey suman,

Finally you did it and its a wonderful travelogue,of course Kasauli is one of my fav places.

And kudos for awesome logistics you maintained during the trip.
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