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Old 25th October 2009, 12:27   #1
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Default The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009

Prologue

We have been to Ladakh the year before. We travelled the legendary Manali - Leh highway in a rented Scorpio. That ride froze the decision in favour of Safari.

We got our Safari in April this year.

Of course a Himalayan tour was on the drawing board, the car was bought for that. We had been to Ladakh already, and we don’t want to do pansy Shimla – Kulu – Manali trip.

Team – Bhp time.
Some days spent browsing Team Bhp throws up two things –
1. What we have seen in Ladakh would barely constitute 10% of what it has to offer.
2. There are numerous places and routes other than Ladakh which doesn’t fall into pansy category.

So the tribal circuit was decided. Among others, ADC and Jaysmokesleaves had done this circuit and have been all praises. From their travelogues the places looked interesting, challenging and heavenly scenic. These were the ingredients needed.
Next was to fix the timing for the tour. Four people would travel – Me, my wife, my sister and my mother.
I had already spent quite a lot of my leave quota during my Safari booking phase. (I had the time of my life then, lots here at Team-Bhp knows). Wife and Sister were also hard pressed as we did not plan any leaves from beginning of the year.
However, some deliberations later we decided 1st and 2nd week of October. It was towards the end of season for touring these parts, but that could be the only possible period when all could join in.
I prepped up the itinerary and kept a stern watch on the Ladakh-Kinnaur-Spiti road condition threads here and on Indiamike. Itinary was fine tuned taking inputs from posts of veteran members like HVK. Consultation and encouragement from T-Bhpians ADC and Jaysmokesleaves kept my spirits high.
The car was checked and nothing problematic was seen. I was still wary as it had thrown up niggles almost every time we took it out of Mumbai. (Turbo Hose cracked, pick up lost and service light flashing – on a trip to Murud; SRS indicator glowing due to some snapped wire – on a trip to Mahabaleswar).

Till two days earlier we had planned and prepared everything except for – shopping for groceries (we were going to cook so that we save on costly hotel food, my mom’s idea) and PACKING.

On D day minus 1, our driver backed out – personal problems!
So that keeps only three things pending till we leave – Packing, grocery stocking and redoing the whole plan as I’d drive all this myself. I took care of the last item by leaving it on GOD while ladies took up the other two.
Packing was kept for evening.

So grocery was tackled head on. They bought stuff up worth Rs. 10,000/-, stuff enough to feed the whole HPTDC for a fortnight. Two auto-rickshaws hauled that entire stuff home. My mom didn’t mention much about savings after then.
We got to packing only by late evening, around 10 o’clock. All three of us favour smart work ahead of hard work. Hence, we dumped everything in the middle of a room and started discussing strategy. We followed the rules of Group Discussions diligently and prepared various case scenarios, ranging from very basic “This is too much” till very advanced “What happens when the boot door breaks off at 120 kmph”.
We could not get started on any meaningful progress as our brains were tired by all that “If... Then... Else” analysis.
So, we slept...
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Old 25th October 2009, 13:27   #2
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I'm waiting for more. Bring it on.
Atleast a teaser for starters
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:18   #3
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Default Day 1 Friday 2nd October 2009

We woke up quite early in the morning among a chaos of semi packed bags, food, snacks, toiletries, uncharged cell phones, missing camera chargers and the like.
Our plan is to leave…

Well I don’t see much plan around. Ladies start frantically packing everything in every bag and soon we have a bag full of chargers and cables completely messed up with my leaky shaving gel. And, while I try to calmly untangle the wires and gently wipe them clean using some tissue, someone shoves some sweaters into it.

Time for a break, and re-plan.
So we pile back everything in the middle of the room and stand at four corners scratching our heads. Packing is too much of hard work!
So we decide to do one thing at a time. Ask mom’s corner to make some tea.
Some hot tea pours some sense into our heads, and we somehow stash all that stuff into the five large bags.
Next is loading all that stuff into the car. I would rather refrain from getting into the details of that, otherwise this will turn into a packalogue.
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Finally, after some lunch a final round of checking car variables, we are ready to leave by 3 o’clock. We fodofied the nariyal and started.
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06629.jpg


From our house at Mulund, we crossed the Thane checknaka and took Ghodbunder Road towards NH8.
It started raining cats and dogs from Virar and progress was considerably slowed down.
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06636.jpg



However, we managed to reach Valsad before sundown.
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After a smallish tea break and a few fashion shoots, we started towards Ahmadabad.

The initial Plan was to drive all the way to Panipat and take the first halt there. But, given that this was our first such drive and the auxiliary driver bowed out, we decided to take a night halt near Ahmedabad.
The traffic during evening was dense and it took us good three hours to reach outskirts of Baroda. 90% hotels/ motels in this stretch are named hotel Decent. We picked one decent looking Hotel Decent and ordered dinner. I spotted a dish named “Sev Tomato” on the menu and presumed it would be a curry of Apples with Tomato. However, it was not that and actually was a curry of Fried Vermicelli made from besan in tomatoes, tasted rather well.
After food, eyes are sleepy. But the NE1 from Baroda to Ahmadabad is pure delight. We kept to a safe speed to 130-140 Kmph in this stretch and I silently made a mental note of ripping this section on the way back.
Ahmadabad suburbs had slept by the time we reached the Sardar Patel Ring Road. However, with little bit of looking around we found a okayish motel, rather optimistically named “The Palm Residency”. Two rooms costed Rs. 1200/-.
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Old 25th October 2009, 14:59   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sen2009 View Post
Ahmadabad suburbs had slept by the time we reached the Sardar Patel Ring Road. However, with little bit of looking around we found a okayish motel, rather optimistically named “The Palm Residency”. Two rooms costed Rs. 1200/-.
Where exactly is the Palm Residency? Is it on the S P Ring Road before the toll gate?
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Old 25th October 2009, 15:11   #5
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Dude, your first pic had me fall off the chair laughing. It looks as if you were moving house rather than undertake a trip.
Finally I can now share something with you that was rumbling in my stomach for a month. When I saw your driver for the first time I knew( gut feel) that your driver was going to back out.
Its wonderful that you did the trip driving alone and didnt backout yourself. Thats a lot of courage. Another thing that catches my eye is the discussions about 'case scenarios'. Ive never been a good planner when it came to tripping. Just a route guide, some luggage and hit the road... So much to learn from folks on this forum.
Anyways, looking forward to the whole travelogue.

Cheers,

J

PS: thats seriously looks like a lot of luggage!
Whats in that elephant bag??? LOL

Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 25th October 2009 at 15:15.
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Old 25th October 2009, 15:42   #6
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this is going to be interesting , I am hooked.

and with all those bags in rear, your RVM was useless

Last edited by rkbharat : 25th October 2009 at 15:43.
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Old 25th October 2009, 17:05   #7
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Nice way to start your travellogue!!! LOL

Will look forward to this travellogue. First Tanveer and now you shall tempt us with the Himalayan visits!!
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Old 25th October 2009, 17:28   #8
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Hey Sen, thats a nice start!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
Dude, your first pic had me fall off the chair laughing. It looks as if you were moving house rather than undertake a trip.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
this is going to be interesting , I am hooked.

and with all those bags in rear, your RVM was useless
Sir, I think with 4 people, this kind of luggage is natural. On our Ladakh trip, our car was packed to the brim with luggage and actually had to transfer some to HVK.

Rajiv, during the entire trip I didn't use the IRVM as it only showed luggage and rear passenger's sullen faces
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Old 25th October 2009, 17:32   #9
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A very interesting term - "packalogue"!

Sen, I am surprised your boss still approves your leave requests, even more surprised that you have some leaves left!!! LOL!!!

Nice photos of the stuffed Safari! It is times like these you are thankful that the spare wheels are not accessed thru the rear floor.

With that said, please continue with this travelogue. All eyes on this one.
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Old 25th October 2009, 17:38   #10
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Nice start and promises to be good. Will follow with interest.
By the way, please don't glorify smoking through those photographs. An earnest request from an ex-smoker.
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Old 25th October 2009, 19:02   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Where exactly is the Palm Residency? Is it on the S P Ring Road before the toll gate?
It was on the Sardar Patel Ring Road. After exiting the Expressway (NE1), we paid one toll. I remember this 'cause I asked the toll guy about hotels and he asked me to check further down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
PS: thats seriously looks like a lot of luggage!
Whats in that elephant bag??? LOL
The elephant bag contaions about 25% of outr groceries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
this is going to be interesting , I am hooked.

and with all those bags in rear, your RVM was useless
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bapu View Post
Nice way to start your travellogue!!! LOL

Will look forward to this travellogue. First Tanveer and now you shall tempt us with the Himalayan visits!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
Hey Sen, thats a nice start!




Sir, I think with 4 people, this kind of luggage is natural. On our Ladakh trip, our car was packed to the brim with luggage and actually had to transfer some to HVK.

Rajiv, during the entire trip I didn't use the IRVM as it only showed luggage and rear passenger's sullen faces
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
A very interesting term - "packalogue"!

Sen, I am surprised your boss still approves your leave requests, even more surprised that you have some leaves left!!! LOL!!!

Nice photos of the stuffed Safari! It is times like these you are thankful that the spare wheels are not accessed thru the rear floor.

With that said, please continue with this travelogue. All eyes on this one.
Thanks everyone for your interest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Nice start and promises to be good. Will follow with interest.
By the way, please don't glorify smoking through those photographs. An earnest request from an ex-smoker.
Sir, I will try to abide by as much as possible.

Last edited by Eddy : 25th October 2009 at 20:03. Reason: Please avoid posting multiple back to back posts. Use the edit option if posting within 20 min. Thanks
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Old 25th October 2009, 20:11   #12
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Post Day 2

Alarm was set for 5 o’clock, but we could get ourselves to the car only by 6 o’clock. We asked for tea and the hotel guys gave us directions for that.
A lazy camel cart andt the red backdrop of the rising sun set everyone in the mood.
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06677.jpg
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Soon we found some tea and were on NH8 heading towards Udaipur.
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The road is very scenic, for the most part it was arrow straight. The landscape was still very green.
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06701.jpg
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The Highway is very welll marked and hence navigation is a breeze.
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A little further, we spotted a large open - air statue of lord shiva. Must be some weatherproof paint!
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06717.jpg




We stopped for some breakfast at a hotel which from outside looked just like a fort.
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The alu parathas were pretty bland. But views were charming.
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The heavy rain we had encountered the earlier day had been a boon in disguise. My car is washed like nobodies business and is gleaming like new.
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Soon after breakfast, we cross the Gujrat - rajasthan Border. Look at the majestic gate!
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The scenary slowly turns brownish with decreasing vegetation.
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And with decreasing vegetation, decreases technological progress. We enter an area where the wheel was just invented and bike was to be invented next fall.
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As per plan, we crossed Udaipur and headed towards Chittaurgarh
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06792.jpg


The scenary puts us in great mood and we frolic at a small dhaba. The excuse ofcourse was - just chai!
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06800.jpg



After crossing Chittaur, it was time to look for lunch. We enquired some and got to know that there were some decent places to eat near Bhilwara.
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06818.jpg




The hotel Bhilwara Mid-Day was the only decent place we could find (mainly because of some aggressive advertising done by them). Enthused by the last night success of Sev Tomato the ladies went overboard, and ordered almost everything they had under same category. So the service was slow. Food wasn’t bad, especially one Panchratna Daal was fabulous.
After a good 1 and half hours break, we were back on the road. Next Stop Jaipur.
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06824.jpg



Reached jaipur without much problem and had some coffee on the Jaipur bypass road. While having the coffee, we realized that we have misplaced our spare camera battery somewhere in the 500 litres luggage dump. Frantic searching was conducted for sometime without result. So we decided to check out Chandigarh for a new battery the next morning. But then the next day was a Sunday and presumably the Sony stores or Malls would be closed. Confused, we left the coffee shop.


Soon afterwards we were on the Jaipur Delhi Expressway. The Vadodara Ahmedabad Expressway created a huge impression in our minds and we were expecting something similar here, especially after the excellent stretch of GVK highway from Ajmer to Jaipur. This expressway was a bitter disappointment. Extremely crowded, villages on the road, pedestrians, ill mannered DL board small cars and what not. However the colors of the setting sun, somewhere near Jaipur kept us in spirit.
The Himachal Tribal Circuit - 2009-resized_dsc06831.jpg



Tired through a long day we pushed across Bahror and reached near where we would turn for Rewari to bypass Delhi.

It was around 9:30 PM, the NH 71 was a broken two way road without any visible signage. We trudged along with blind faith on google maps.
Soon came a fork which was not plotted on Google Maps. We asked for directions from a couple of cops who were completely inebriated. They said something but we could not make anything out of it and tried our luck. Went straight into the Rewari town and completely lost our way. Although everything was alright as such, I was getting slightly concerned with three ladies on board in the hinterlands of rural Haryana. I was getting paranoid especially because everyone I asked for directions were pitifully drunk and I felt they were trying to peek into the back seat of the car. It took us good two hours to get out of Rewari and take the road to Jhajjhar.
We have not had dinner, but I did not dare to stop at the dhabas. I could not find any dhaba which was not accompanied by atlesst two "Theka Deshi/ Angrezi Sharab ka Dukan". Starved, we pushed on.

From then onwards, routing was simple, but the roads were pathetic. We crossed Rohtak and Gohana uneventfully and reached Panipath around 2:30 am. By now I was completely paranoid and was suspecting every innocent bystander. However, I had to keep the feeling aside and start waking up hotel guys. Got a place with some looking around.
Man! was I happy to note that one of the guys at the hotel was from Sion, Mumbai. Paid him 1500/- and we were settled down. Decided to take a good nap as the next day run from Panipath to Narkanda was not much compared to what we had done that day.
Meanwhile my wife discovered the lost battery in my trouser pocket. We had looked everywhere other than there!


With my body rested on the bed and eyes closed, I mentally reviewed our nightmarish run from Rewari to Panipath. I soon figured out that, inebriated or not, each individual I asked directions from gave me correct information. It was my paranoia and inability to understand the Hariyanvi dialect made this run so painful for me. Had I trusted on them, I would have been in Panipath 2 hours earlier and wouldn’t have had to skip dinner as well.

Valuable lessons learned.
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Old 25th October 2009, 20:42   #13
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We trudged along with blind faith on google maps.......... Valuable lessons learned.
Google maps has left many friends of mine google eyed. Which is why I still trust my Eicher road may that hasnt let me down yet, though a tad tedious.

But hey, locals almost always give you right directions but most often we fail to interpret the language.

Nice travelogue coming along.
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Old 25th October 2009, 21:14   #14
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I keep telling people, please do not take the Rewari-Rohtak-Panipat route, it is always better to go via Delhi.
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Old 25th October 2009, 22:16   #15
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Good going, waiting for more

Quote:
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Google maps has left many friends of mine google eyed.
I always keep both both Google and Yahoo map in my Mobile, a combination of both never fails.
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