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Old 3rd November 2009, 15:04   #121
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Rohtang pass was blocked on Tuesdays by GREF for road widening work. That’s what we needed. After such ordeal and set back, we were finally defeated.
But its only closed between 9:00 am till 6:00 PM

I still see some hope
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Old 3rd November 2009, 15:08   #122
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You made an early start from Manali eh?
I dunno if you went to Chandertaal en route! With such an early start you would reach Chandertaal crossing before noon, go to the lake, and then reach Kaza by nightfall.I guess only a later post will tell!
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Old 3rd November 2009, 15:22   #123
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But its only closed between 9:00 am till 6:00 PM

I still see some hope
Me too.

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
You made an early start from Manali eh?
I dunno if you went to Chandertaal en route! With such an early start you would reach Chandertaal crossing before noon, go to the lake, and then reach Kaza by nightfall.I guess only a later post will tell!
Yes... comming up.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 16:58   #124
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Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
But its only closed between 9:00 am till 6:00 PM

I still see some hope
Incidentally, when you are coming from Keylong/Gramphoo side, the road is open all the time.
And the taxis going to Ladakh leave Manali early in the morning and clear Rohtang before the 9 am deadline. So for long-distance Leh-bound travellers, the timing restriction is irrelevant.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 17:03   #125
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Default Day 12 part 2

One can only see continuous splendour of nature, formations beyond one’s wildest imaginations and never ending beauty.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-29-continuous-splendor.jpg


We didn’t know what to snap and what not to!
So we snapped some, when we remembered. Other times we simply looked. Awestruck!

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-30-more-beauty.jpg



Little while later we saw the first vehicle coming from the opposite side. It had been a good couple of hours since we left gramphoo.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-31-first-truck.jpg


Somehwere further down, we came across a snow wall.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-32-halt-snow-wall.jpg

That was the first sizable chunk of snow we have seen on this trip.
So we got down and started snow pelting at each other.
Under normal circumstances, I can never imagine myself engaging into such a silly activity while my car is parked bang in the middle of the road blocking all traffic. I dread the day when I would be doing this on the Rohtang road and Tanveer would be driving in.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-33-snow-pelting.jpg

The snow wall had these weired looking snow holes!

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-34-snow-hole.jpg



After a little while, I came back to my good senses and left partying.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-35-leaving-snow-wall-2.jpg



After semi frozen waterfall, this was our first view of a fully frozen waterfall.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-36-fully-frozen.jpg



Suddenly I saw a dust storm far ahead of the horizon. In a while the dust storm started spewing white MUVs. These were vehicles that had started from Kaza in the morning. I enquired from them and got to know that Kunzum was aliright. First time in this trip we heard that something blockable was not blocked.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-37-muvs-2.jpg


Meanwhile the utter grandiose of Lahaul continued.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-38-lahaul.jpg



We are awaken from our daydream only by seeing the board pointing towards Chandertal. We remembered that we should have enquired at Batal dhaba, but simply forgot.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-39-way-chandertal.jpg



It was only about 12:30 odd, so we decided to give it a try. The road looked quite scary, but doable.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-40-way-chander-tal.jpg

So we went in. We must have gone about a couple of kilometres, when we came up a stream. The stream was deeper and stronger than those I have crossed earlier, So I thought of getting down to have a closer look. The stream was alright but the road beyond was not.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-41-impossible-1.jpg


I was not sure if the road was wide enough to accommodate a safari, and even if it was, large stones lay all over the road to block the path.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-42-impossible-2.jpg


I thought of moving a little by pushing the stones out of the way, but the first one itself robbed me of all breath.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-43-rock.jpg



Meanwhile wife climbed here and there.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-44-more-mountaineering.jpg


I reversed in the stream and pointed back.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-45-reversed.jpg



We spent some 15 minutes there, just wondering about the scenery and longing for what we could not see.

From there to Kunzum pass is about 20-25 minutes drive. The road is rocky but there wasn’t much snow on the road.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-46-ok-types-road.jpg


At Kunzum, it was the snowland. On the way we met this snow lady sculpted by Mother Nature.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-47-snow-lady.jpg



We came near a snow covered moderate incline just before Kunzum. This time I parked the car by the side.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-48-snow-car.jpg



We went up and down. Ran around, jumped, fell... Had our own little snow carnival. And we gasped for breath everytime we jumped. Great fun! Great View.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-49-snow-carnival.jpg


The Kunzum pass shrine is little up ahead from there.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-50-shrine-far.jpg



One needs to do a parikrama of the temple, either by car or by foot. There is also a "Drive-in" bell for those doing only car parikrama.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-51-shrine-parikrama.jpg

We did the car parikrama, shot some snaps, rang the bell and went off.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-52-shrine-inside.jpg
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-53-shrine-exit.jpg
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-54-leave-kunzum.jpg
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Old 3rd November 2009, 17:06   #126
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Incidentally, when you are coming from Keylong/Gramphoo side, the road is open all the time.
And the taxis going to Ladakh leave Manali early in the morning and clear Rohtang before the 9 am deadline. So for long-distance Leh-bound travellers, the timing restriction is irrelevant.

True. But I came to know this only next morning. anyways, I was too happy that I wasn't stopped.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 17:33   #127
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Sen, you were stopped by the same landslide which stopped us, and we also reversed at the same stream. However we had heavy snowfall for company.
Which date was it? I think around 12th October The PWD guy told us that the road got blocked around mid september after heavy snowfall.

If you had gone there a week later, you would have found tonnes of snow, like we did!

Last edited by tsk1979 : 3rd November 2009 at 17:34.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 17:43   #128
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Sen, you were stopped by the same landslide which stopped us, and we also reversed at the same stream. However we had heavy snowfall for company.
Which date was it? I think around 12th October The PWD guy told us that the road got blocked around mid september after heavy snowfall.

If you had gone there a week later, you would have found tonnes of snow, like we did!
Yepps!
I got beaten both ways. Neither I got to see the lake, nor did I get the snow. But on hindsight I am happy that there weren't snow on that road then. Forget the road afterwards, even the drive till the stream took the guts out of me!

We went there on 13th October. I think you have visited around 17th/ 18th.

Last edited by sen2009 : 3rd November 2009 at 17:49. Reason: addition
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Old 3rd November 2009, 17:53   #129
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very good review sen. it is worth doing these kind of trips once in lifetime.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 18:35   #130
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Default Day 12 Part 3

One enters the Spiti Valley after descending the Kunzum.
The scenary changes from matt grey of Lahaul to vibrant yellow in Spiti.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-01-yellow-scenary.jpg



After descending for about 15 minutes, the vista opens up and one can see the wide open spiti valley far ahead.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-02-vista-open.jpg



There are traces of green among the vibrant yellow.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-03-traces-green.jpg


The formations become more rugged, sharp edged.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-04-rugged-formations.jpg



The entry to Spiti district is a short drive from where the valley opens up.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-05-spiti-district.jpg



First town in Spiti is Losar. We reached Losar around 3 o’clock, did vehicle enrty formalities.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-06-losar-town.jpg



Kaza is about 60 Kilometers from Losar and the Road is supposed to be good. So we planned to drive this section faster and reach Kaza by 4:30 PM. In our plan, we had only one day to tour Kaza, so we planned to see the Kye Monastery today evening itself.

The Losar PWD rest house is a place to see. I am sure Jaysmokesleaves has enjoyed the scenary while staying there in his trip. No such scope for us and we push ahead.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-07-losar-pwd.jpg


After Losar one gets the full view of Spiti. The formations take an abrupt change from the rocky matt lahaul valley to a more sandy mountain slides of yellowish brown.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-08-sandy.jpg



One can frequently observe the mass extinction bands of the boundary period between Pre Cambrian and Jurassic ages.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-09-gelology-one.jpg



The scenery kept changing, but the grandioseness of Nature remained continuous.
Now we are driving in a huge plain, flanked by mountains in the far right and left.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-10-open-road.jpg


And suddenly we are right inside a canyon.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-11-canyon.jpg


The Spiti valley is dotted with geological evidences of the Pre Historic Ages.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-12-geology-two.jpg


The river sides have weired looking formations, caused by wind erosion.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-13-wind-one.jpg
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-14-wind-two.jpg


All this while, I could feel that the temparature was dropping like anything and the air was thinning out. I also started to feel a little dizzy among all the twisties. I must have driven too close to the edge atleast a couple of times only to reflexively correct my steering in a jerk.
While ladies were busy chatting and clicking snaps, my mom noticed this first. She asked me to pull over.
I stopped and got out. It was so venomously cold and the wind was so hard, my breathing completely stoppped for the 30 odd seconds I was standing outside.
I jumped back in and started panting like a dog. I could get back to normal breathing only after 15 odd minutes.
We scrapped the Kye monsatery plans and I started for Kaza at a much slower pace. Now everyone could feel it, something was squeezing all the energy out of us. Kaza is harsh!


A little before Kaza, I think near a village called "Hansa" we saw this open air statue of Gautam Buddha.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-15-buddha.jpg


We reached Kaza town around 5:30 PM. While entering Kaza, I saw this school bus! In the last 10 hours if someone had told me there would be school buses, I wouldn't have believed him.

The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-16-kaza.jpg




We got ourselved booked at HPTDC hotel there. It costed us Rs. 1500/- per room. Kind of steep, but manageable. We were so overwhelmingly happy to have finally reached Kaza, that we would have even paid 5000 a night had he asked.
By the time we could unload the luggage and settle down, the Sun has set and the cold has risen.
But the hotel was greatly insulated. Outside it must have been near zero temperature, but inside the premises we could walk around with just a shawl wrapped around. The dinner was included in the hotel bill, and was duely served by 9 o’clock.

We ate and we went to bed.
I had some breathing trouble that night, less due to AMS and more due to no bounds gleeful smoking. However, a diamox and a deriphyline later, I slept peacefully.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 19:04   #131
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First town in Spiti is Losar. We reached Losar around 3 o’clock, did vehicle enrty formalities.

Attachment 221052

Kaza is about 60 Kilometers from Losar and the Road is supposed to be good. So we planned to drive this section faster and reach Kaza by 4:30 PM. In our plan, we had only one day to tour Kaza, so we planned to see the Kye Monastery today evening itself.

Attachment 221053

The Losar PWD rest house is a place to see. I am sure Jaysmokesleaves has enjoyed the scenary while staying there in his trip. No such scope for us and we push ahead.
While Jaysmokesleaves stayed in the majestic guest house, I have the privilege of staying in green one whose window can be seen in the previous photos. All of 300 rs not including cost of aggarbatti's to fumigate the room. The guest house was occupied by some minister.
Losar is actually a wonderful place to spend an evening and roam in the fields and the river bank. A truly serene and friendly place.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 20:40   #132
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While Jaysmokesleaves stayed in the majestic guest house, I have the privilege of staying in green one whose window can be seen in the previous photos. All of 300 rs not including cost of aggarbatti's to fumigate the room. The guest house was occupied by some minister.
Losar is actually a wonderful place to spend an evening and roam in the fields and the river bank. A truly serene and friendly place.
Genesis>> That PWD guest house was good. But there wasnt any good food there, so the caretaker asked to try dinner at Lossar. And we ate some really superb but simple dinner at the place that you stayed at. I can still remember the steaming phulkas..
This is one trip that i hope to do again.
Sen your narration & pics just brings back all those splendid memories of this wonderland. Hey, did you go to Kibber..????

@Sen>> Since I too missed Chandertal the last time, maybe we can do it together sometime in 2010.!!!!!
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Old 4th November 2009, 07:50   #133
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@Sen>> Since I too missed Chandertal the last time, maybe we can do it together sometime in 2010.!!!!!

Dil ki baat.

Lets start working on a plan from feb - mar targetting something around june - july or whenever that road will be in its best condition.

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While Jaysmokesleaves stayed in the majestic guest house, I have the privilege of staying in green one whose window can be seen in the previous photos. All of 300 rs not including cost of aggarbatti's to fumigate the room. The guest house was occupied by some minister.
Losar is actually a wonderful place to spend an evening and roam in the fields and the river bank. A truly serene and friendly place.

Losar is truly a beautiful place. From what I saw during my 10 minutes of passage was a mixture of features from both Lahaul and Spiti valleys. And, although I did not see any, I am sure losar has a relatively higher density of wildlife as well.
Next time (if) I travel that side, Losar will be in my to do list.

Last edited by bblost : 4th November 2009 at 14:26. Reason: back 2 back posts
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Old 4th November 2009, 11:46   #134
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Sensaab, thanks for starting the thread once again,i am just going through the travelogue and reserve my comments for later, but in two words enjoying it!
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Old 4th November 2009, 13:24   #135
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Sen, fantastic to see the determination and to go to the destinations even if you had to reach the other way round - heck you even tried the Chandertal route! And definitely I bet you are not going to even think about taking your driver again on another trip - this travel journey has done a hell lot of good for your confidence.

Again congrats for absolute will force and five stars for that and very witty travel story
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