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Old 17th September 2009, 18:36   #1
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Default A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley

A family holiday with my wife and my 18 months daughter was on the cards since May/June'09. But some how or the other it kept on getting postponed. Then in July'09 I got the opportunity to accompany Mom for the Kailash Trip in Tibet hence this holiday get even more delayed. Finally came the Shradh season and since both of us are in the hotel industry we both could manage about 10 days holiday from our respective places of work. (hotels are pretty dull in Shradh)

With the dates getting postponed the choice of venue also kept getting changed. Few things that remained constant in deciding the destination were the following.

a. It had to be in the hills where the temperature was much cooler than Jaipur.

b. It had to be some run of the mill place where we dont find much of tourists spoiling the natures beauty.

c. Run of the mill yet, a place where we could find good accomodation and basic necessetities for our 18 month old daughter.

d. This was more of a family bonding trip than an adveturous trip, hence the destination had to be such where we could go, get our feet up and just relax.

Initially in May/ June the destination was supposed to be Ladakh. For Ladakh we were not sure if we could take our 18 month old daughter with us, plus 10 days now wouldnt have been enough to do justice to Ladakh, also Ladakh in 10 days would definately get adventerous hence Ladakh trip was cancelled till next year.

Then we thought of going to the Tirthan valley, Tirathan Valley fitted the bill perfectly, but that also had to be cancelled since Raju's Cottage was fully booked all of September. I only wanted to stay at Raju's Cottage hence kept it for next time.

Finally we decided to go ahead of Shimla to Kinnaur and just stay put at Kalpa and chill.

As the days got closer we started getting news of North of India getting heavy rains. We were informed of landslides happening in the Kinnaur area. This fact was accentuated by the elders but still left the decision on to us. What made me decide against Kalpa was a news article in one the dailies just 2 days before starting that some 300 tourists stuck in landslides for over 24 hrs. No, my daughter did not deserve this treatment on a holiday, hence Kinnaur will also have to wait.

With just 2 days left for our holidays to start and the destination still in a limbo, my Dad suggested us the Kangra valley. I had been to Kangra valley when I was 10/11 years of age. My dad was posted in Alhilal and we happen to visit him a few times during his tenure there. After 25 years all I remembered about the place was beautifull green hills, tea gardens, lots of stream, fishing and fresh air. The idea stuck to me. After few hours of google searching the destination was also fixed, it was YOL camp.

YOL the abbreviation standing for "Young Officers Leave" Camp is mainly an army cantonment with very few civilians around. YOL was mainly used for POW's in the 2nd world war and mostly Italian prisoners were camped there. YOL is surrounded by Dhauladhars ranges on three sides making it difficult to escape, the prisoners were allowed to roam freely inside the camp.

Another advantage of YOl was that it was 20 minutes drive from Dharamshala on one side and 40 minutes drive from Palampur on the other side.

We decided to spent 4 days there and for the rest of the days we decided to spend in Jammu with my Mother-In-Law. That was suppose to be a surprise for her.

With just one day remaining, the accomodation was fixed. Finding the route was never a problem thanks to numerous travelogues on Dharamshala on TBHP. With the accomodation fixed, the route taken care of and the car serviced we were ready to leave the next day

The Route From Jaipur to YOL
Jaipur - Delhi - Amabala - Kharar - Ropar - Kiratpur - Nangal - Una - Amb - Mubarakpur - Chintpurni - Ranital - YOL
Total Distance= 730 kms
Total Toll Paid = Rs. 333/-
Time Taken = Jaipur- Delhi- 5 hrs
Time taken = Delhi - YOL - 15 hrs- too many breaks and photo stops

This route the roads were more or less good except at some places between Ropar and Kiratpur where the stretches are under construction and are very very bad. After Una the hill driving starts.

YOL - Pathankot - Jammu
Total Distance- 200 kms
Total Toll Paid = Rs. 70/-
Time taken = 6 hrs - Lots of photo stops and breaks

The roads again are pretty ok, some culvats and bridges under construction before Pathankot. After Pathankot the 100 odd Kms have been made double laned each side, but at the moment just 2 lanes are open, hence lots of diversions. But on those 2 lanes the surface is new hence the drive is very smooth.

Route to Jammu to Jaipur
Jammu - Pathankot - Jalandher - Ludhiyana - Ambala - Panipat - Delhi - Jaipur
Total Distance - 875 kms
Total Toll Paid = Rs. 464
Time taken Jammu - Delhi = 14.5 hrs= long break in Ambala as had to meet some friends
Time taken Delhi - Jaipur = 5 hrs

When our return journey started rains had already played havoc in Punjab and Haryana, thus close to the major cities the road was very very bad, crater size pot holes and stagnant water was a big problem.

Our ride was an Aveo and it so happened that the day we started i.e 3rd Sept, it was our rides first Bday as well.

A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02421.jpg

Total Distance covered in 11 days = 2245 kms.
Total Fuel Consumed = 160 Ltrs (+/- 3 Ltrs)
Total Mileage delivered = 14 kmpl (including hill driving)

Since most of the places have been already covered in the previous travelogues, the rest would be just photo stories to complete the travelogue. If you guys have any questions you can ask me as I post the pics.

Last edited by deky : 17th September 2009 at 18:40.
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Old 17th September 2009, 19:02   #2
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Looks like everyone is heading North and I am loving it. Basically I am from a small Village in HP but is setttled here in Mumbai. I am just new to this forum and am loving each and every bit on these travelogues to North. Awaitng some pictures and just for your information my village is just an hours drive from Una.
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Old 17th September 2009, 19:33   #3
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Reaching Delhi from Jaipur is always a non-issue, The roads are pretty good through out the year, and since we do it atleast once a month the drive is pretty boring.

We reached Gurgaon Toll in the evening just before the office rush started. This is my favourite stop to gear my self for the Delhi traffic up ahead. Jaipur to Gurgaon doesnt tire me as much as Gurgaon to Delhi home does.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01940.jpg

With a days break in Delhi, we started early next morning at 6.30am. Since it was a Saturday I guess there wasnt too much of a rush and we made pretty good progress till the camera came out.

Probably some piligrims returning from AnandPur Sahib Shrine
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01950.jpg

On the way we were greeted with plenty of canals with a lovely aquamarine blue colour.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01951.jpg

We passed AnandPur Sahib Shrine and decided to pay our respects from outside, as by now we were running atleast 1 hrs behind schedule, thanks to a lot of Chai Pani stops.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01955.jpg

At Nangal we decided to have a look at the Bhakra Dam aswell. We decided to do it now since on our return journey we would be taking a different route. For Bhakra you have to take a right from Nangal. Its about 15kms from the main road. For visiting the Dam area, permissions have to be take from the PRO office. The PRO office closes at 1500hrs.

First view of River Sutlej after the Dam
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01963.jpg

On the way to the Dam the permit and the car is checked at atleast 3 places. But I think the HP police guys are one the most courteous in the country, so actually I really did not mind them checking. In between somewhere a man was standing asking for Rs. 100/- as Himachal Entry Tax. I refused to pay him confidently saying " Maine Kabhi Ye Tax Nahin Diya" " I have Never Given This Tax" and surprisingly he let me go.

The Bhakra Dam
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01971.jpg

After the dam we decided not to come back to Nangal but to continue on the same road as the road, as told to us would take us along the Gobind Sagar lake. Though this route is very picturesque but its very narrow and hilly, so if you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, you would waste a lot of time for 10-15kms or so.

The route took us on the other side of the dam
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01974.jpg

I was the driver all the time with my kid and wife occupying the back seats all the time (wish I had made my daughter accustomed to baby seats from the begining)
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01978.jpg

A panormaic view of Gobind Sagar Lake
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01979.jpg

Finally at around 1630hrs we decided to take a break for lunch at a dhaba overlooking the lake. The food was freshly cooked and was yummy.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01981.jpg

It was taking too long on the narrow road along Gobind Sagar Lake that we decided to join back the highway at Una.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01985.jpg

The sun was setting and we still had about 120kms of hill driving left.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01987.jpg

As we enjoyed the beautiful sunset my daughter started playing with the stones, which became her favorite pastime during the entire holiday.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01992.jpg

I had to take the photo of the most beautifull sunset i have ever seen before we started our final ascend for YOL
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01990.jpg

Finally we reached YOL at 2130 hrs after 15 hrs of driving. It was pretty chilly hence the sweaters came out pretty fast. We all were tired hence settled in our room and called it a day soon.

Tomorrow we see what to do tomorrow only, after all this is suppose to be a relaxing, family bonding holiday so no rushing!!
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Old 17th September 2009, 20:26   #4
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Default YOL to McLeodganj

The next morning was nice and bright. The temperatures were in their mid twenties. Everything around looked so green and fresh and clean due to the rains that happened a few days back. Also there was fresh snow on the Dhauladhar ranges which were barren till a few days back (as told to us by the locals)

Splendid views of Dhauladhar Ranges from our accommodation greeted us in the morning.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01994.jpg

Aira my daughter was happy to have her own play garden to run around.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc01998.jpg

We decided that day to go to Dharamashala & Mcleodganj. 15 mnts drive took us to Dharamshala and in another 20 mnts we were in Mcleodganj.

The main street in Mcleodganj.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02005.jpg

A Buddhist temple in the street.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02011.jpg

Aira was thrilled rotating the prayer wheels, and I was just thrilled seeing her thrilled.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02014.jpg

As the afternoon approached it was getting cloudy.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02016.jpg

Hence the umbrella had to come out, but luckily it did not rain.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02017.jpg

After having a nice Tibetan lunch of Momo's and Noodles next stop was Dalai Lama Temple.

The main temple with beautifull Thanka paintings.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02041.jpg

It was past Aira's Nap time so she was feeling sleepy.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02023.jpg

But the lights definately got her attention.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02030.jpg

Any drowsiness left had disappeared seeing the prayer wheels.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02043.jpg

View of Mcleodganj.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02054.jpg

Next we planned to visit Bhagsunath falls, which are about 3kms away from the temple. As soon as the car started to roll Aira had slept. This gave us a chance to get a pic of both of us together.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02060.jpg

Since Aira was sleeping we decided not to go to the falls but just take a photo from a distance and get back to YOL
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02062.jpg

On our way back we saw probably the highest international venue for cricket at Dharamshala.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02092.jpg

Proof of Aira making the Aveo back seat as her comfortable bed.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02098.jpg

Since it was monsoon time the streams were on full flow.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02106.jpg

By this time Aira had completed her nap and was really thrilled to see more "paani" outside than inside her water bottle.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02116.jpg

By evening we were back in YOL and spent the rest of the time at the kiddies play garden on the swings. It was "Jhoola Jhoola" time till the mosquitoes pushed us back to the safety of our room.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02118.jpg
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02131.jpg


Another happy day over.
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Old 17th September 2009, 20:42   #5
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Stupendous enjoyment reflecting on the young one's face surpasses all other beauty captured by your lens.

Reminds me of a trip I made in newly introduce M800 in 1984 when my son was all of three years old. And guess what - one of the places we stayed was Palampur. The picture of her enjoying freedom to roam the garden is almost similar to what my son did at Banihal Tourist Rest House, just before Jwahar tunnel.

Glued in.
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Old 17th September 2009, 20:47   #6
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deky-ji , great job with the camera again, keep it up !

The young one must've enjoyed the trip a a lot.
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Old 17th September 2009, 20:49   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Stupendous enjoyment reflecting on the young one's face surpasses all other beauty captured by your lens.

Reminds me of a trip I made in newly introduce M800 in 1984 when my son was all of three years old. And guess what - one of the places we stayed was Palampur. The picture of her enjoying freedom to roam the garden is almost similar to what my son did at Banihal Tourist Rest House, just before Jwahar tunnel.

Glued in.
You absolutely right Sudev, Seeing your little one happy gets you more happiness than anything else would get in this world.

Since both my Wife and I work and spend a lot of time away from Aira it was decided to be with her 24/7 for those 10days and just relax and do things as per her liking rather than ours.

I am so happy we actually did this Holiday.
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Old 17th September 2009, 22:09   #8
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Another excellant travelogue! I am waiting to do more North India trips in coming years! At least 5 are in pipeline.

Ravi.
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Old 18th September 2009, 01:42   #9
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Lovely captures. Really enjoyed it! You should've opened up the aperture a bit for the waterfall. The milkiness is a bit overdone. f13-16 works normally for my 500D
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Old 18th September 2009, 11:19   #10
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Hi deky,
Very nice pictures!! The pictures of your daughter enjoying the ride and the place is awesome. Kids these days don't get such open areas to play and have fun and when they get a chance they just indulge in it. Reminds me of my 2 yrs old nephew who was so happily running all around the place when we went to a resort.
Pictures of the place have come out very good.
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Old 18th September 2009, 13:44   #11
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Default YOL to Baijnath and Back

Next day we had bright sunshine again. This seemed to be the order of the day. To have bright sunshine till the afternoon and clouds in the evening. The afternoons were warm and the evening were cool. perfect weather to be out and about.

View of Dharamshala from our accommodation.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02142.jpg

Being monsoons, the flaura and fauna was in abundance around our accomodation.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02146.jpg

These for sure are sun flowers
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02147.jpg

Panzies or dog flowers I think.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02150.jpg

100% this is a rose.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02158.jpg

How much wood would a woodpecker peck if a woodpecker could peck?
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02160.jpg

Aira also getting her lessons on plants.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02165.jpg

Isnt she beautifull?
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02178.jpg

Clouds lifting on the Dhauladhars.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02173.jpg
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02179.jpg

Today we had decided to go to a Zoo at Gopalpur, around 15 mnts drive from YOL, but being a Monday it was shut. So we decided to continue forward to Palampur.

Rivers were flowing thanks to rains a few days back.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02187.jpg

Young pine nuts were adorning the pine trees
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02194.jpg

Kangra is also known for its tea. Some tea gardens as we approached Palampur.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02199.jpg

Beutifull meadows en route.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02202.jpg

As the sign board read, this was a man made jungle. the pines were some 10 years old. A great effort I must say.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02204.jpg

Hearing the river flowing beneath was like music to ears. We had to shut down the engines, roll down the windows and just listen to it. Was so quiet and serene and so refereshing.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02208.jpg

We crossed Palampur without stopping as it was just a small small hilly town without much to see. We decided to go straight to Baijnath.

On our way we stopped at Alhilal to admire the tea gardens.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02212.jpg

At the Baijnath Temple complex
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02216.jpg

More streams around.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02220.jpg


...to be contd in the next post.
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Old 18th September 2009, 13:53   #12
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Very nice compilation of photo's + narration, am enjoying it to the core.
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Old 18th September 2009, 14:05   #13
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Close to Baijnath another interesting place to visit is Bir and Billing. These places are famous for their aero sports like hang gliding and para sailing. We decided against going there as the sports only start after October.

It was time to return back but before that we had to find a place for lunch. We stopped at Taragarh Palace at Ahlilal, a heritage property for lunch.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02227.jpg

Its a beautifull palace surrounded by jungle.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02228.jpg
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02229.jpg

Aira and I having fun as we waited for lunch.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02237.jpg

Aira was happy licking the ketchup off the fries.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02238.jpg

Mom giving her lessons on good eating habits.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02243.jpg

Finally they reached an amicable solution.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02244.jpg

After lunch it was time for some fishing. We tried around to look for permits but I no one was interested, so we just went ahead for it.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02250.jpg

Fixing the bait and the weight to the line and the reel.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02257.jpg

Locals came to see the show and were happy to help.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02262.jpg

Finally started.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02268.jpg

In an hour I just managed to get the bait stuck in between stones a few times and nothing else. Neverthless it was good fun.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02277.jpg

On our way back we saw beautifull farmlands below the Dhauladhar ranges.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02286.jpg

The sun was setting and another day coming to an end.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02304.jpg

This guy moved a foot in an hour. But kudos to the persistancy.
A Family Holiday In The Kangra Valley-dsc02307.jpg
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Old 18th September 2009, 14:30   #14
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Deky...lovely pics. I am reading your travelouge and going back to my school days. I studied in a residential school which is around 40 Kms from Palampur (Sujanpur Tihra). Very good small town. Wish you had visited that place. This place is surround by Tihra Fort from one side and Beas river flowing on the other side. There is a big playground just between the hill and river and the town town surrounds the ground. During my hostel days we bunked our sundays and used to visit Palampur often (one of my class friends parents used to live there). If I am not wrong YOL is a mililary camp area. Right...I was a volleyball player in my school and if I am not wrong we had a vollyball training camp there for two weeks and we stayed at the Yol Camp. During that time had visited the Baijnath Temple also. You had taken my back to my school days....cheers...
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Old 18th September 2009, 14:40   #15
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Great pics Deky - I've always thought Kangra was a particularly beautiful valley - especially the area around Palampur. I've spent almost a week in that area just reading books, lazing around, drinking hot coffee on cold misty mornings ..sigh
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