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Old 30th September 2008, 17:41   #46
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Wow, I'm back on-line after 5 days & look at this treat that's waiting for me.

(Drools over the pictures & then sits back with a packet of Lays & anticipation writ all over the face)

Jaysmokesleaves, great narration & wonderful pictures mate, you've covered one hell of a distance, I would also rate this as the Travelogue of the Year. Sorry to see the damage on the Safari, I understood from your initial post that there was more damage on the return leg, hope it wasn't more serious.

Eagerly waiting for the next post..........

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Old 30th September 2008, 19:06   #47
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The flowing river Sutlej. We stopped at this point sitting on the ledge for around 20 minutes munching Snickers hearing the river roar through the rocks.
The weather was cool, not yet cold enough to get the jackets out.
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The entrance to Rampur which has a goddess temple and a beautiful larger than life Hanuman presiding at the entrance.
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From here we headed to towards Sarahan. It was late evening and we caught the first glimpse of towering snow capped peaks.
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Old 30th September 2008, 19:48   #48
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Sarahan is another beautiful story that I havent been able to do sufficient photographic justic. Sitting on the top of the mountains in the middle of peaks you can look down upon a beautiful valley while you are amazed by cloud settled snowcapped peaks. Enroute to Sarahan is a military cantonment too.
Its hard to believe that such a place exists away from the maddening crowds that throng Shimla & Manali not very far away.
Very few tourists and mostly the ones that appreciate the peace and quite. Facilities are cheap. We put up in this hotel for 300rs without bargaining. Where else can you get a room with roomservice and a view like this. This for me is 'tirth sthan'. One of the places that i will include in the places to see before one dies.
There are no dalaals and pundits running after you either. You are left alone to your devices. We spent 2 days there. It rained on the second day though so cudnt get any pics on day2 in Sarahan. And yes, it did get chilly at night.
So day 2 i took a long walk down till the military camp and then went walking back up till the helipad. It was quite exhausting and it made me think of the High altitude training camp at Shilaroo. Just walking up and down the hill is training enough for us city dwellers.
So let me get on with the pics.


This is the Bhimakali temple. It is supposedly the personal temple of the Rajah and his family and is open to tourists. Immaculately maintained to this day. Looks very different though. I initially thought it is a tibetian monastery. I later discovered that they have accomodation available inside the premises too.

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This is the courtyard upon entering. The picture above is on the left of the courtyard and is the entrance to the temple.
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To the right is the rooms of the resthouse. Its all made in local wood.
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Thats from where we enter
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Another old temple i dont remember which one.
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Some firang bikers from Delhi were residing in the rest house. The bikes parked in formation was a wonderful sight.
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The bell at the entrance
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Exquisite brass door handle and some excellent brass carvings nailed on to the doors.
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The temple entrance in wood and the temple inside in the backdrop.
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The temple guard. A good man. I left all my valuables outside including my leather wallet, fones, camera which were not allowed inside.
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Some more carvings on the temple entrance doors
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The inside courtyard of the temple
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The traditional guards at the temple entrance.
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The snow capped mountains from inside the temple courtyard.
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A note for visitors
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This extremely camera shy Maina would only pose when i would put down the camera. Note the exquisite woodwork though.
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Old 30th September 2008, 20:12   #49
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The view would have been so much better without so many wires passing through. But I couldnt find a suitable opening.
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Beautiful sunflowers standing tall.
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The house of the Rajah's family. No entry beyond this point. What a place to live in...?
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Another beautiful view of the mountains through the houses.
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Few photos devoted to this beautiful camera shy dog with a mane like a lion.
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View of the entire temple from the Rajah's house.
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The rest house board inside the temple premises. For anyones reference.
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The approach to the temple.
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The temple compound from a distance
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This chap got suspicious when he found me staring at him.
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The hotel we put up at for 2 days(600rs only). There are cheaper options available elsewhere too.
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View from my room.
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The road back down from Sarahan.
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Old 30th September 2008, 20:51   #50
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I notice in that "Yatri Vishram Griha" message board, that the message is repeated in Bengali. Any particular reason for that?

(leave it to us Bongs to find any chauvinistic point in our favor )
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Old 30th September 2008, 21:10   #51
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Next day we left Sarahan. The weather was beautiful. It had rained the day before but was crisp and dry now.

The winding road down from Sarahan
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The horizontal lines you see on the mountain are actually roads.
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Back on the NH22 a few kms down and I spotted this from a distance.
A carcass of a buffalo being scavenged by some crows and behold 'vultures'.
We dont see vultures even in the zoo nowadays. You can make out the size of it in comparison to the crows and the buffalo carcass. There were two. The bigger one took off before I could get the camera.
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After getting a few shots i tried to look for where the bird took off to and there down in the valley, it perched on this tree with many more birds.
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The safari with the newly acquired cosmetic modification.
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The beautiful Kinnaur valley begins here.
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Old 30th September 2008, 21:39   #52
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Jay, did you miss the pheasant breeding centre, just a short walk up a hill at Sarahan? Some truly exotic birds there.

And this travelogue seems to grow better with each passing day!
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Old 30th September 2008, 23:03   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
Jay, did you miss the pheasant breeding centre, just a short walk up a hill at Sarahan? Some truly exotic birds there.

And this travelogue seems to grow better with each passing day!
Many thanks for your compliments.
I did miss that and a lot of other things. I am in the process of compiling a small list of places I missed this time round. This I intend to complete if and when I get an opportunity to go there again next year... mostly on a bike or by hiring a vehicle from Shimla. I realised that there is so much I missed while driving myself. In addition to that a lot of my photos have somehow gotten corrupted in my hard drive. Though I still have a huge treasure of pictures left, the missing ones are a great loss to me, especialy the pics after Lossar.
This time I also avoided off roading for 2 reasons.
1. No stepney.
2. If I was to get stuck somewhere or something uneventful happened, my dad is 67. Though fit n hale n harty, his age still matters.
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Old 30th September 2008, 23:08   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Wow, I'm back on-line after 5 days & look at this treat that's waiting for me.

(Drools over the pictures & then sits back with a packet of Lays & anticipation writ all over the face)

Jaysmokesleaves, great narration & wonderful pictures mate, you've covered one hell of a distance, I would also rate this as the Travelogue of the Year. Sorry to see the damage on the Safari, I understood from your initial post that there was more damage on the return leg, hope it wasn't more serious.

Eagerly waiting for the next post..........
Thanks Suman, dont run out of chips. Many thanks for your personal rating considering that this is my 1st ever Tbhp travelogue. Glad ur enjoying the pics as much as i enjoyed shooting them.
The damage was much greater but I was lucky the second time around.
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Old 30th September 2008, 23:58   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
As you came dwon from narkanda towards your right side is the best apple growing belt in Himachal. The apples of Kothkhai are the best and the scenes as you approach Narkanda from either side are also the best on offer.
The road sign after narkanda where you turned on the curve towards left, had you followed straight you would have reached Ghanasidhar, one of my fav camping sites.
As we came down from Narkanda we did stop at one place(not sure which one) which was a loading point for apples. There were lots of apple boxes kept by the road side for loading into a truck. Dad, the apple freak that he is, as you shall see in the posts ahead, offered to buy a box that they refused to sell. They finally gave in to his constant nagging and offered to give him a dozen apples free of cost, since they wudnt sell it to him. Those apples were really really sweet and crisp. Never ever tasted such apples in Mumbai. We were told that those apples were exported and very few are locally consumed. This variety never makes it to our markets and we are forced to pay extra for the not so nice tasting Chile and australlian and other international apples. Very sad indeed.
Thanks, I have marked Ghanasidhar for my next trip.
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Old 1st October 2008, 10:00   #56
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Jaysmokesleaves
Fantastic travelogue. I hope the cosmetic modification wasn't a too serious issue.

Did u cover the Narkanda - Sainj section ?
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Old 1st October 2008, 10:21   #57
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Hi Jay,
very nice pics.
Pics of Sarahan reminded me my trek in this valley during June 1989.
Seems lot of changed in sarahan. 20 years back, only two or three grocery shops were there. There were no hotels to dine, forget to stay.
As you mentioned the helipad, it is situated in a small stadium where our base camp was. At that time, we had small camera with photoroals. Hence i had very few pics of out trek but your travelogue reminded me everything i saw at Sarahan.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 1st October 2008, 10:54   #58
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The entrance gate to Kinnaur valley. One of the many most beautiful places in India. Thers dad in the left corner getting his memory shots.
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Distance Signboards for roadusers.
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The road cut through a huge rock.
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Big enough for a truck to pass through.
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A makeshift scaffold, seen at many places. Testimony to the never ending road maintenance work.
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Notice the paver blocks used alongside the edge of the road. These are actually fixed by a few humans(women and men), sitting precariously on the edge meticulously fixing each paver block to make a support formation, to prevent the road from collapsing further into the valley. These people, locals and other labour from other states, risk their lives for paltry amounts on these road repairs. It is their efforts that make it possible for maintaining a working road link in the mountains thereby allowing people like me to enjoy our drive through this beautiful countryside.
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The twisty mountain cut roads snaking through the mountains.The road pavings having slid off at many places.
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The deep gorge below. And the twisty mountain roads.
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There is no shortage of electricity in HP. Every small village and hammock has power supply. And you can see power lines crisscrossing across these huge mountains everywhere. Dad asked me where is the power tunnel. So I reminded him that we were passing BY it and not through it. I hope they had posted some more details about that tunnel on the signboard.
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A bunch of shy monks trying to cover up at the sight of the camera. I shouted a loud thank you after this shot.
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Old 1st October 2008, 11:03   #59
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Amazing, jay. Everyday it keeps getting more intriguing. The himalayas are a wonder and the way you have covered them has added charm to the wonder.

Keep the pics and details coming

Naman
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Old 1st October 2008, 11:18   #60
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Beautiful Kinnaur continues.
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Kinner camp.
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Look down below and you can see small white tents. That whole area is Kinner camp. The tent style accomodation is similar to camping with all amenities. Its a beautiful place by the flowing river.
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The road to Chitkul. Again, on the same 'tirth yatra' list as Sarahan is. The road is beautiful and extremely scenic. Lots of photo opportunities, and places to camp and relax. Another heaven on earth.
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Another nature camp along the way. And the mountains around it.
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The only small car I saw that made it so far. Local santro.
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Beautiful snow capped mountains followed by lush green mountains.
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ITBP police truck headed with drum supplies to Chitkul.
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Chitkul darshan.
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The end of the road at Chitkul.
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Look how far below the houses are.
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Those drums were full. I think they were building up supplies for the oncoming winter.
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