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Old 6th August 2008, 16:33   #1
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Cool Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang

Hey folks, me and wifey had been planning a trip to some real mountains for a long time and when chance came, I grabbed it and decided to head to Kinnaur in HP. The places in my mind were Kalpa, Sangla and Chitkul. Time in hand was around 10 days, and was pretty excited for spending them in
peace and tranquility. So our journey began!

Day 1: Noida - Narkanda

Left home around 5:30 in the morning all pepped up roaring to reach the hills ASAP. The drive on NH1 was good as usual, but there was this real heavy downpour after Karnal almost till Ambala. Luckily there was this convoy for some VIP ahead of us and they were going at a good speed of over 100, so I just tucked in behind them. Zirakpur as usual was a bottleneck as we wasted almost 20 minutes stuck in a jam in there (really sucks). After that it was a breeze till Solan where we stopped a Gyani for
breakfast. Much to my disappointment we were about an hour early for me to enjoy there chicken curry as it was not even 11 and they started preparing it only after 11:30. So it was bread omelette's for us. After that got the car tanked up and headed for Narkanda. Reached there around 2:30 and checked in into the HPTDC hotel. It was real cloudy and kinda cold in there so took out the bottle of good ol' Old Monk and had a few drinks with wifey. Spent the evening in the hotel's lawn sipping rum, chatting and enjoying the scenery.

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03532-copy.jpg

Day 2: Narkanda - Kalpa
This was the day that I had been waiting for as it was the one I would enter Kinnaur. Left Narkanda around 11 AM after having a light snack and a brief car check. The drive was amazing with great views all around.

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03579-copy.jpg

But we were forced to wait for around 30 minutes as there had been a landslide recently and an earthmover & a couple of dump trucks were in the process of clearing it.

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03592-copy.jpg

Stopped at Satluj Cafe in Rampur for breakfast and after that began the wait for the "Kinnaur Dwaar". Soon we passed it and knew we were in the heavenly lands. The road width decreased considerably and full of sharp and lot of blind curves. Many BHPians had told me how perilious those roads are and now I fully agree with them. One mistake on that road can be fatal! But it was real fun to drive in there, being surrounded by high mountains and the Satluj
gushing by in the valley below. Passed Bhavanagar and after sometime the road deteriorated real badly. There was a whole lot of construction going with all the Power projects going on and the pace of the drive decreased. For more than 25 Km we drove through a dirt track filled with stones and the air filled with dust. Things only got better when we passed Kharcham and started the steep climb towards Kalpa. A few Km before Recong Peo, we were delighted to see the Kinner Kailash mountains so close by and I stopped the car to click a few shots. Then moved ahead and me in my excitement missed the main road from Recong Peo to Kalpa and instead we ended up on a lesser used road towards Kalpa. It was a tough going on it, but it was definitely a lot more exciting than the regular road. Soon reached our destination and checked into the HPTDC Kinner Kailash cottages (the hotel rooms were pretty expensive). The location of the complex is awesome as one has a panoramic view of the Mountains and feels that you can just reach out and touch them. Spent the day just sitting outside the cottage, chatting with wife, sipping rum, clicking pics and just letting my mind wander around.

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03665-copy.jpg

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03778-copy.jpg

Day 3: Kalpa
Woke up early and went for a walk along the Apple Orchards that throng the area. Soon it was time to have breakfast, so returned to the hotel and had a chat with one of the room service guys about the place and its people.

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03802-copy.jpg

Trekked to the Chinni village closeby and visited the small monastry in there. Then walked over to the Roghi village and were rewarded by a nice view of the valley & the river below sitting on a cliff high above. Believe me, it was a real long way down from there! Wife saw a fruit laden tree and thinking it was applle asked me to get some for her. It turned out to be
Apricot and pretty raw and that time. The remaining time was again spent staring at the mountains and boozing.

Day 4: Kalpa - Sangla
After Kalpa, I was looking forward to go throught the Sangla Valley and reach Chitkul to spend 3 days in there. Checked out of Kalpa around 11 and headed back for Kharcham to take the road to Sangla. Luckily for us, just a few Km from Kharcham, my wife asked me to inquire about petrol bunks along the way and to my surprise were told that it's either Recong Peo or all the way to Jeori. So we headed back and got the tank topped. Finally we were on the road to Sangla and it was again a steep climb and a pretty narrow road. Stopped at the small temple (I guess it's a ritual) and were given "The best of journey" and parshaad by the priest. The road condition again deteriorated and we had to slow down. In couple of hours we were in the Sangla valley and the excitement levels were rising with every Km that went by. Passed Sangla village (more of a town now) and were bewildered as everything (shops, hotels, food joints) was closed. We were getting hungry big time, and managed to get Maggi at a small village called Rakcham. Alas, we also recieved a very disappointing news from the locals in there that we would not be able to make it to Chitkul as a nallah along the way was flooding and our car would not be able to make across it. I was really shocked by that news but decided to check out the nallah myself and decide if we could cross it or not then and there only. While going there, saw couple of Indicas and an Alto coming back and on asking was told that the nallah cannot be crossed. Moved ahead anyways, and on reaching there saw that any attemt to cross it would be futile and I would definitely manage to get my car stuck. So wife and me just stood there, for how long we don't know just thinking about the lost oppurtunity, but it was time to make a decision on what to do next as there was no place to stay in Sangla that day and if we needed to be someplace else, there was no time to loose. So we decided to turn back and go to Sarahan. I was feeling real bad for spending just a few days in Kinnaur when I had planned my whole trip to be in there. Anyways, the glass was still half full and we moved forward for Sarahan and reached there by evening. It turned out to be a good choice as the weather was great in there and the apple trees were in full bloom. Found a place where no one was looking and I managed to pluck a few apples and we were kinda excited eating freshly plucked ones! Spent the evening/night watching the town below from the balcony and boozing.

Day 5: Sarahan
Visited the Bhim Kali temple close to our hotel. The temple's a real beauty and dates back to 1500 A.D. The insides walls of the temple were of silver, with nice carvings into them. Then went to a point that a local said gives a nice view of the valley, but didn't find it good. And my wife was real nervous in there and we were surrounded by geckos all around and some of them were big (more than a foot types!). Roamed through the local market and again tried plucking an apple or two, but were told no by the locals. I relished on the momos, soups and thupka available in the food joints there. That evening we sat down and thought about the next place we should go. In the end, it boiled down to choosing between Kasauli or Chail, and we picked the latter one.

Day 6: Surprise (headed for Rohtang-Keylong-Spiti)
So we left after checking out and headed back for Shimla to take the road to Chail. Someplace in between we saw a signboard informing that Kullu was 129 Km and then and there we decided to head for Manali, rest for the night in there and then see if we can get to Spiti via Keylong. Took the appropriate turn for Kullu brimming again with excitement. And what can I say for the route, it built for adventurous spirits. Very narrow road, lotta bad patches, steep climb and sudden isolation after a point. I mean we just climbed and climbed (from 1100m to 2800m) and there was no vehicle or habitation around for quite a while. Moreover, it was cloudy and soon there was rain. We were both feeling thrilled and concerned at the same time. But eventually the road got better, rain stopped and we surfaced into civilization, much to our relief. Then came the wonderful surprise after Aut, which was the long tunnel which never seemed to end, and it was quite an experience driving through it. Reached Manali by late evening and checked into a hotel away from the main town, went to the market for dinner and retired for the day.

Day 7: Rohtang Pass
Left for the pass after having breakfast. The weather wasn't in our favor as it was real cloudy and was raining all the way. To top it all, the road was in a pathetic condition. Anyways we kept going hoping that the road conditions would be enough to let us make it to Keylong and onwards. Reached Rohtang in about 3-4 hours and all the rain and winds had made it pretty chilly up there, hence decided to warm ourselves up before continuing. So ordered Maggi, Omlette bread and opened up bottles of Rum and Vodka. Spent an hour enjoying the yummy snacks and letting the booze warm us up. The view was great with snow around and the breeze was also pretty enjoyable. After that started our journey ahead. Reached Keylong and checked into the HPTDC hotel there and retired for the night.

Day 8: Water crossing sends us back
Alas, another water crossing, on the way to Sarchu La, just too much for our car, and we had to turn back and return to Manali. Reached Manali and decided it to call it quits for the trip. Spent the day roaming around the place visiting the Hidimba temple, checked out this cool restraunt & bar which kinda had a Goa beach shack feel to it and packing out stuff.

Day 9: Manali-Noida
I guess there's nothing much to write about this day as we were feeling upset about leaving the serene mountains and coming back to the noisy plains.
Attached Thumbnails
Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03858-copy.jpg  

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03876-copy.jpg  

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03881-copy.jpg  

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03903-copy.jpg  

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Old 6th August 2008, 16:37   #2
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Nice pictures and well written, I wish I was there.
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Old 6th August 2008, 16:43   #3
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Lovely free-wheeling holiday.

Is the flyover att Zirkapur still incomplete?
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Old 6th August 2008, 16:49   #4
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Great travelogue & pics; I can see that the Rum kept you going - you sound like my kind of guycheers:
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Old 6th August 2008, 16:54   #5
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Mr.lord nice place and mesmerising views of hill and enjoyed your 10days leave.
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Old 6th August 2008, 17:01   #6
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Amazing trip dude and nice pictures ... your pictures have me all revved up and rearing to go ...
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Old 6th August 2008, 17:06   #7
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Nice travelogue.
This travelogue memorised my 1989 trek in this region.
I had trekked Sarahan to Sangla. It was @ 10 days trek organised by YHAI.
I had seen one hydroelectric project named like bhava project.
Great place for trekking.

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Old 6th August 2008, 17:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Lovely free-wheeling holiday.

Is the flyover att Zirkapur still incomplete?
Yup that flyover's still work in progress!
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Old 6th August 2008, 17:26   #9
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Hey folks, appreciate your compliments! I guess I'll upload more pics of the trip so watch out this space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Great travelogue & pics; I can see that the Rum kept you going - you sound like my kind of guycheers:
Yeah, good ol' rum did play a big part in keeping my spirits up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellstar View Post
Amazing trip dude and nice pictures ... your pictures have me all revved up and rearing to go ...
I know exactly how you feel man. I was like that when I used to view travel pics of other people of those places. Now I am all revved up to take it up a notch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
Nice travelogue.
This travelogue memorised my 1989 trek in this region.
I had trekked Sarahan to Sangla. It was @ 10 days trek organised by YHAI.
I had seen one hydroelectric project named like bhava project.
Great place for trekking.
The Bhavanagar project's up and running now and lotta others are work in progress. The largest one being at Kharcham. We were planning to go on a trek after reaching Chitkul to the glaciers after it, but alas, maybe some other time.
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Old 6th August 2008, 19:56   #10
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Awesome. What should I say? I have no words. I could only envy you :(
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Old 6th August 2008, 20:19   #11
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Nice pics and narration too. Do post some more pics (if you have taken).
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Old 7th August 2008, 12:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snaronikar View Post
Nice pics and narration too. Do post some more pics (if you have taken).
Here we go!

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-falling-down-copy.jpg

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-clouds-fall-over-mountains-copy.jpg

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc04123.jpg

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc04057.jpg

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc04022.jpg

Travelogue: Kalpa-Sangla-Sarahan-Rohtang-dsc03866.jpg
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Old 7th August 2008, 13:26   #13
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Beautiful pictures and a dream holiday. I had spent one cold winter season a couple of years ago in the same area and visited Manali,Kulu,Rohtang and Shimla. I can almost re-live those moments after looking at the pictures.

We had gone up to Rohtang during peak winter late december and it was a dangerous experience. Also, isn't having Maggi in those chill environs an awesome experience?

Please post as many snaps as possible. Also, it would be nice to see pictures of the trecherous roads while going from Manali towards Rohtang.

Btw, even i thought two words were quite prominent in your travelogue( Boozing & Rum)
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Old 7th August 2008, 14:13   #14
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Amazing pics lord !! That is the scenary to die for.

Nice writeup as well

Abhi
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Old 7th August 2008, 14:29   #15
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Seeing all the fabulous pictures of travels in India I am now feeling there's too little time and way too much to do Thanks for sharing the pictures. The Himalayas truly are aweinspiring
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