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|25th October 2009, 22:31||#16|
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Ouch. That must've been mad. You could've stopped on the highway near Rewari for dinner, posted a thread on teambhp and within half an hour - NCR BHPians could've not only replied but some of us could've seen you off for a part of the way through delhi
Now waiting for more!
|25th October 2009, 22:57||#17|
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Location: New Delhi
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Good start, Sen! Looking forward to the time you hit the mountains. And yes, like JSL said, don't totally rely on the Google maps; go for Survey of India / Eicher maps.
|25th October 2009, 23:54||#18|
Woke up around 8:30 in the morning. Packed up and got prepared to leave the hotel.
Our guy from Sion (Mumbai) longingly asked me about Sion-Koliwada, Sardar Nagar No. 4, Cinemax at Sion circle, Dadar Station and things. He had not been home for last five years.
I promised him that we would stay at his hotel if we were ever again in Panipat.
After checking out, first thing is to have breakfast - butterfly in stomach due to skipping dinner the earlier night.
We all have heard lots about dhabas on GT Road. Soon we parked into a nice looking Vaishno Dhaba and ordered all kinds of parathas.
We spotted a little bird which looked and behaved much like the sparrow, but the colors were slightly different. There were quite a few of them, but they didn't hang out much closer to each other.
First time in the trip, we were asked about what side dish we may need to go with the Parathas, and we delightfully ordered Dal Makhni.
Man, makkhan did they pour! I am sure we ate nothing less than half kilo butter with the 8/9 parathas and 3 plate Dal.
With stomachs full, burps out, it’s time to roll.
Everyone’s excited as we travel through Haryana. Our first impression of this region hadn''t been good, but today is a new day!
The traffic, especially two wheelers were quite unruly on GT Road near Karnal and Kurukshetra. The chaos continued almost till Ambala.
Post Ambala, we spotted another weatherproof Statue of Lord Shiva. The paint on this one was simply dazzling!
The drive upto Zirakpur post Ambala was serene. We stpopped a few times to snap the ambience. It was our first time to these parts and we were just too happy!
We crossed the Dera Bassi flyover and reached Zirakpur. I read somewhere that there was a small road from Dera Bassi which bypasses the Zirakpur clutter, but gave it a miss.
One cannot help but curse the step motherly treatment meted out to Panchkhula bound traffic at Zirakpur. We had to move slowly dodging heavy construction work while the Chandigarh bound traffic can zoom past the swanky flyover.
We crossed Panchkhula and Kalka to reach Parwanoo dodging heavy traffic. We spotted a overtly confident buletteer almost falling into a roadside ditch due to front wheel skidding. We made some casual remarks about the intelligence levels of the inhabitants of this and surrounding places and moved on.
We crossed the Himachal border around 2:00 PM and got the first view of the mountains.
Initially we drove slowly as this was the first serious mountain driving for us. Little did we know what lies ahead for us! We also spotted some nearly domesticated wildlife!
HumanTraffic thinned out after around 25/30 kilometers. Monkeys kept at it everywhere.
We reached Solan around 3:30 PM and broke off towards Chail.
Plan was to go to Narkanda Via chail as that road was supposedly more scenic, traffic free and will take only one hour extra compared to the route through Shimla.
The road is indeed scenic, a very narrow mostly unpaved road through dense pine forests and some beautiful meadows.
Somewhere on that road, we crossed a small river bridge. We pulled over and stayed there for about half an hour.
The place was magically serene and silent.
We poured ourselves some tea (stocked in a flask earlier) and enjoyed. I spotted something out of ordinary though - a cactus like plant. Except for this one, the whole place looked so lush green!
We spotted some more wildlife - this one was tetehered, I later realized.
We thoroughly enjoyed the journey but could reach Chail only around 5:30 PM.
Our plan was to have lunch at some scenic place on the Chail route. But all we came across on this road were tiny villages with populations less than 50. None of those had lunch outlets.
So we took a longish break at chail and had some really nice tasting chana bhatura, samosa, boiled Egg and tea. The place was full of monkeys, we had great time watching the hoard of monkeys on a roof behind the restaurant. Especially delightful was to watch the tiny kid monkeys who tried to do exactly the same things their parents did, many times unsuccessfully.
Finally we were on the road again around 6:30 PM. It was dark now, and soon we encountered heavy fog. The road was very narrow, mostly broken down with not much habitation.
Now I was scared. It was my first day at the mountains and I had to drive through foggy visibility of less than 4/5 meters in this narrow mountain road. Well, I reminded of the great courage boosting quote - “Courage is not about not getting scared, it’s all about saddling up anyway!”.
I took about 2 and half hours to come down to Kufri where we merged back to the NH22. By this time, the fog lifted and the road was much wider. The steepness also reduced.
Enroute to Narkanda we enquired for accomodation at Matiana PWD rest house, but ladies did not like it one part. We reached Narkanda around 10 o’clock and booked ourselves a comfortable stay at hotel Mahamaya Palace.
It was a quite expensive, around Rs. 1800/- per room, but my wife liked it so much that we decided to pay for it.
Had a very nice sleep that night. It was cold, but not unbearable.
|26th October 2009, 00:00||#19|
Like I said - valuable lessons learnt!
|26th October 2009, 09:54||#20|
Distinguished - BHPian
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Location: New Delhi
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During off-season, the hotel guy knows you don't have too many choices at 10pm, and wants his pound of flesh for the room. At the first sign of the possibility that you might just walk away, he drops prices (provided there are competitors operating in the area!)
During peak season, if the hotel has one empty room at 6 pm, he knows he's not likely to fill it up for the night - so whatever you offer for one night at 10pm, he accepts.
|26th October 2009, 10:12||#21|
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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|26th October 2009, 11:42||#22|
We've seen more of these birds later also, flocks of them. But here it was just by the side of GT Road - heavy noice and pollution. There might have been some waterbody, we did not look carefully.
|26th October 2009, 12:19||#23|
Day 4 Part 1
We woke up lazily around 8 o'clock.
I just lay there on the bed for some more time, waiting for tea! The sunlight filtered through the light curtains and warmed my blanket, I just couldn't leave that warmth in a hurry.
Tea arrived, and I had to get up.
Post tea, we went out to explore a little.
The Hotel Mahamaya Palace doesn't look so much from outside. But inside it's really nice, all nice wood cravings, comfortable rooms, nice views!
Narkanda is a very little place, the whole place will be hardly 100 meters long.
The Bus stand is all that the town has got and is surprisingly busy for the size of the place. The hill guys must be some early riser!
Parking is at a premium here.
We spotted this bunglow, little up above from the main bazar area.
There is a small but very pretty temple at the bus stand.
We started around 9 o’clock after a decent breakfast. The food wasn't so much, but there was something quite weired. I ordered Alu parathas which were bland to say the best. MY wife ordered Dosa, which were rather good - crispy and spicy. The accompanying chutney was also pretty decent. One would wonder about the cook - can't make the alu paratha, which is the staple diet here but can make dosa, something from 3000 kilometers far!
Today our itinerary was to visit Hatu Peak, Tanijubbar Lake and then proceed to Sarahan via Thanedar and Rampur.
After asking around a little for directions we started for Hatu Peak. One needs to go down towards Rampur for about 1 KM and then take the road that goes straight up. Plenty of boards are there, so no fear of losing the way - they told!
We too arrived at the junction soon. I stopped and looked at the road that goes to the Hatu Peak.
Asked a local to double check. Yes! That is the road. Compared to this, my yesterday’s foggy drive from Chail to Kufri was kid’s stuff.
I took five minutes halt to remind myself of my courage quote and move ahead.
The road is well paved, but is very narrow - just enouygh for the safari to hold on. THe turns are easy at the begining, but towards the last 2/3 kilometers, pretty steep by my standards (So Far!).
It took me a good forty five minutes to reach the peak.
Everyone was holding their breath for the whole journey so not much photos on the way. Just one small video clip.
Once on the top, I opened my car’s bonnet and let it cool. Man! it had run in first gear for the whole time.
We soon got checked out by a local... what's all this brouhaha about Tata Safari 2.2 Dicor engine! They climb it all the time... with ease!
He left in a very snooty manner, without even giving me a thank you glance.
While I induldged myself into silent praises of my car, people looked around.
Green valleys all around, gentle mountain slopes dotted with Christmas trees, large birds circling in the distant sky and a huge snow clad mountain range in the far. What a view!
There is a PWD rest house at the peak. I read about it in ADC's blog, and initially planned to stay there instead of Narkanda. good for me that I did not attempt this the earlier night. Not only I would've fallen off the road in the night, there were no caretaker or attendant at the Rest House.
What a waste! I would've paid 3000 to stay here instead of the 1800 room anyday.
The seat out of the rest house itself could make the deal for it.
One can seat here, basking in the Sun and look at the Flowers around and the distant Snow capped peak.
We soak in the view and loiter around for a good two hours. We would have not left the place till evening if we didn't have so much left for the day OR if they were serving tea there!
|26th October 2009, 12:45||#25|
You are Spot on!
A lot of my photos are wasted because of this. I should have checked this before leaving... beginner's mistake.
|26th October 2009, 12:49||#26|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Thanked: 2 Times
Lovely pictures with a nice travalogue Sen. Yes Narkand is a very small town with lots of Apple Orchids around it. During my school days, we had a camp for 10 days and we stayed at Narkanda exploring all the places in and around it trekking. I still have a few pics of us standing aside a big heap of apples in one of orchids. I love reading all these travelougues of HP and refresh my memories of childhood. I am a Himachali who is holed up in Mumbai (Mulund) to be precise but cant help it. Awaiting for more pics and details....
|26th October 2009, 13:00||#27|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Jose, CA
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|26th October 2009, 13:26||#28|
Day 4 Part 2
There is a under construction Hatu Mata Temple.
Once completed, it’ll compete head on to the Bheemakali at Sarahan with its awe inspiring wood cravings and surrounding views.
After visiting the temple, we came down. The return journey was fairly easy, atleast compared to the climb.
Within 20 minutes, we were back at the junction from where the Hatu Road starts.
Back on the main road, my conffidence grows. I took a small break of 5 minutes while the ladies enquired the route to Tani Jubbar Lake.
The Tani Jubbar Lake according to the HPTDC brochures is “small but very pretty”.
We did not get much direction around here and was asked to march ahead and ask at the next fork. So, we followed the HPTDC map to locate the lake. Near where the maps indicates a turn, we found a fork and policeman stationed there. We asked the policeman for directions, who in turn consults a local person and directs us to the road also suggested by the map.
It was okayish unpaved road.
We went in for 8/9 kilometres but still couldn’t find any lake. Confused, we slow down and start looking for help.
After a short while, we spot a shephard and ask him.
He told us that this road was for going to Baghi, we need to go back all the way to the main road, then go towards Rampur and the lake will be on our right hand side some 4/5 kilometers down the junction.
We did so while openly criticizing HPTDC maps, HP police, HP Government and subsequently indian government. We were almost reaching the conclusion that all govt. agencies were bad and wastage of taxpayers money, we spotted something on the road.
It was like the size of a dog but had only two legs. Getting little closer we could tell that it was a bird, but it didn’t fly.
On hearing our engine, it started running away. We followed it as silently as we could. 2/3 minutes later we could tell it was a vulture, and it wasn’t alone.
There was a dead animal by the side of the road and atleast 8/9 vultures are gathered around. For the first time in my urban life I saw such large birds so close. The photos are a bit jerky as I completely forgot about camera while looking at them. Got it out at the last moment when they were flying off.
After the vulture episode we reached back on the main road. I wanted to give a thank you kiss to the policeman standing there, as I wouldn’t have seen the vultures if we didn’t take the wrong advice.
We went down for some 10-15 minutes and found a board showing to Tani Jubbar Lake.
It’s nothing but a small pond made by some resort people to promote themselves as lake view. Skip this… totally. It’s very small and looks like a village pond.
However, there is this small tea stall kind of thing. When we went, it was closed. But otherwise, one can consider this to be a nice tea spot. The silence and idylic nature of the place was nice.
Post the lake visit, we were to proceed towards Sarahan via Rampur and Jeori. Plan was to have lunch at Rampur, visit the Padam Palace and then go to Sarahan.
We started towards Thanedhar and travelled through many apple orchards. Green Apples, Orange Apples, small apples, large apples, apply apples.
Ladies became too tempted to steal but everywhere there were apples, there were people. So, they stole some wild flowers instead!
We came down via Thanedhar to the Sutlej Bank without stopping.
It was mostly a decent, travelling via zigzag road. Rampur's altitude is a pansy 800 odd meters above sea level.
We were feeling warm and rolled down the windows. The first glimpse of Sutlej made us forget all that!
This was our first proper glimpse of Sutlej, what a majestic river it was.
We spent some time at a nice spot on the bankand snapped the river to our heart's content!
We left for Rampur only when the hunger dictated. Had a sumptuous and rather salty lunch at the Bushair Regency HPTDC hotel. The views of Sutlej continues...
|26th October 2009, 13:29||#29|
GIMP it is...
I have GIMP, never explored it though! Let me try it. Will ask for help if don't figure it out.
BTW, do you have anything to bring back out of focus stuff?
|26th October 2009, 13:37||#30|
Join Date: Apr 2004
Thanked: 4,290 Times
this. Don't know how it is actually. Never tried it.
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