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Old 29th June 2010, 19:16   #31
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Did the mountain peaks turn golden ? I have heard that they glitter as gold when sun rises and sun rays touches the snow on the mountains.
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Old 29th June 2010, 20:24   #32
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Did the mountain peaks turn golden ? I have heard that they glitter as gold when sun rises and sun rays touches the snow on the mountains.
In both the places (Kalpa and Chitkul), the sun rises from the other side of the peaks from where you are. So you don't get to see that golden hue too much in the morning. In Kalpa, we saw a little bit of that in the evenings, but in Chitkul, both the evenings were cloudy.
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Old 30th June 2010, 18:09   #33
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Default Day 4: Part 2 - Chitkul

A good lunch followed by a cup of hot tea energizes us for the second half of the day. The dining room is in the ground floor, pretty basic with a few plastic tables and chairs. This room also doubles up as the tv room. Through the front windows you can see the mountains, and some farming land before that. The stream cum gravel path adjacent to the hotel that you saw earlier ends a little ahead just as the farming land starts and there are walking trails from there, one taking you down to the river bed on the right and a straight one that takes you to an army checkpost about 3.5 km ahead.

As we wait for our tea, we see a group of army men coming back from that camp.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615155652_0304.jpg

When we reached the hotel, it was drizzling, but now the drizzle had stopped though it was still overcast.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615155826_0305.jpg

We set off for a walk down to the river bed.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615163230_0306.jpg

We see a few villagers working away at the stones, cutting them and giving them various shapes.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615163432_0307.jpg

There is quite a bit of cloud hanging in the sky. At times it was getting very dark. A look back at the village.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615163808_0309.jpg

At about this point, there is a path going down to the river bed. We keep going straight instead of taking that path.

Another look at the village from further ahead the trail. The sky is a bit clearer now.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615164444_0312.jpg

Yet another look from a little further ahead.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615164959_0314.jpg

Now we are going along the extreme right of the farm land, and to our right is the river a little below us.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615165840_0317.jpg

But we can not climb down to the river bed here, it's too steep and full of loose stones. However, a little ahead there is a trail going down.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615170941_0321.jpg

This one is much narrower than the main path that we did not take earlier, and much trickier with lose soil and stones for a brief stretch. My mother, at 68, was the surprise package here. I was worried that she may not be able to make it down to the river bed using this trail, but with just a bit of help from me, she eventually did it.

Managing another part of the descent all by herself.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615171241_0322.jpg


That is the trail we took. The initial part was a little steep by our standards, with not so firm soil offering feeble grip.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615172736_0323.jpg

Soon we are down at the river bed.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615172851_0324.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615173147_0326.jpg

We get close to the water.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615173308_0329.jpg

Fading evening light reflected off river Baspa, against a backdrop of mountains and snow peaks at a distance gives it a magical look.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615174052_0338.jpg

You can spend your whole day just sitting there. Nothing absolutely to disturb you, except for the sound of the water flowing.
We start walking back towards the village, this time along the main path. Near where the incline starts, there is a compound with two buildings inside.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615175504_0345.jpg

Come closer and you see this message on the entrance: "Come to learn".

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615175607_0346_crop.jpg

This is the Govt high school that caters to the kids in the village.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615175623_0347.jpg

As we proceed further, we see a herd of cows coming back home after grazing in some faraway field for the whole day.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615175825_0348.jpg

Soon they overtake us and disappear into the village.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615175940_0349.jpg

Closer to the hotel, we see something scary but perhaps not so surprising. Modern civilization catching up with Chitkul - plastic bottles and polythenes carelessly thrown around by visitors.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100615181503_0350.jpg

Two cellphone networks with widest coverage in these remote areas are bsnl and airtel. Both me and my wife have vodafone connections. We have a spare mtnl (bsnl counterpart in Delhi and Mumbai) connection precisely for such places. But on this day, even the mtnl phone was found wanting. Hotel staff told us that one has to go hunt for signal here. You go out to the courtyard. If you still don't get any signal, walk along the road, and after about 50/100 meters, you might see one tiny bar on your screen. So I went signal searching, but no success. I learnt later that the bsnl tower was for some reason not working that day. The hotel had no landline. So we were totally cut off for the night. Not that we were overly bothered, but its a strange feeling nevertheless, in this day and age.

Once it is dark, there is not much to do here, specially on a cloudy and chilly day. So after another hearty meal, we retire.
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Old 30th June 2010, 23:14   #34
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Default Day 5: Chitkul - early morning

Today is the only day of the trip that does not involve any driving at all. The car gets complete rest today. I plan to walk a lot; and I also get to use my camera that I bought just before the trip. I get up pretty early, and while everyone else is still asleep, I come out to have a look around.

What I see leaves me dumbstruck. It's better not to attempt any description. Just watch yourself.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616052524_0351.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616052625_0352.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616052716_0353.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616053111_0356.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616053413_0357.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616053431_0358.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616053451_0359.jpg

(to be contd.)
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Old 1st July 2010, 10:51   #35
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Lovely pictures, akp, and it seems you had a wonderfully relaxing trip. Missed this thread earlier... Looking forward to more.
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Old 1st July 2010, 17:43   #36
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Lovely pictures, akp, and it seems you had a wonderfully relaxing trip. Missed this thread earlier... Looking forward to more.
Thanks, SS-T.

It indeed was an extremely enjoyable trip, though can not say for sure how relaxing it was for my mother and specially my daughter (who tends to get a bit restless if confined in the car for too long), as we spent a substantial part of seven of the eight days in the car. Of course we stopped a lot during the drives, to enjoy the surroundings as well as to make it easier for them, in the process making the journeys even longer!

More of Chitkul coming up.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 10:26   #37
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@AKP the turn off is about a km or so before the Tannijubbar lake turn off which, if I remember correctly is towards the left side of the main road.

One of the best place to enjoy the golden hues on the snow mountain tops in this region is Pooh. The valley opens towards the east through a narrow gorge and the first lights fall on the front face of these very mountains which border Chitkul.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 10:38   #38
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@AKP the turn off is about a km or so before the Tannijubbar lake turn off which, if I remember correctly is towards the left side of the main road.
Tanijubbar turn off is on the left IF you are coming from Thanedar towards Narkanda. So does that mean that the rohru turn off is one km towards Thanedar from this?

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One of the best place to enjoy the golden hues on the snow mountain tops in this region is Pooh. The valley opens towards the east through a narrow gorge and the first lights fall on the front face of these very mountains which border Chitkul.
Thanks again, wanderenomad. You are a living GPS cum tourist encyclopedia for these regions. Will consult you much more thoroughly next time we visit these areas.
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Old 3rd July 2010, 21:06   #39
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Default Day 5: Part 2 - the village

By the time I come back, my wife has woken up. We promptly order tea. With my daughter still asleep and breakfast a good two hours away, the two of us decide to go out and explore the place a little more.

If your overhead tank runs out of water, grab some from the cloud adjacent to it! Thats how low the clouds are at times.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616052854_0355.jpg

We come to the point where metalled road ends, and start walking back (i.e. towards Sangla) along the road.

An eating joint.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616070503_0361.jpg

We stroll along lazily. To our left is river Baspa, flowing down below. To the right of the road is the village, which is now behind us. A little ahead, there is a stream flowing right across the road. And on the left in a gorgeous location is this hotel called The Alpine Resort. Do not be tempted by the location. We later checked the hotel rooms - though they were cheap, the side facing the river and the valley across is covered by the attached toilets, and the rooms were smelling.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616072551_c_0466.jpg

We spend a little time near this stream.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616072510_0368.jpg


Soon we see a herd of cows coming from the direction of the village. They too stop near the stream.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616073350_0369.jpg

They were being taken for grazing by their owners to some nearby slopes, where there would be plenty to eat for the cows. Along with the cows, they will also spend the day there. So they are going fully equipped. That backpack contains his lunch, umbrella, and probably some other things to keep him busy while the cows graze.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616073709_0372.jpg

He already has something like a ball of wool in his hand which he is furiously working at even as he is busy driving the cows ahead.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616073431_0370_crop.jpg

We keep walking along with the herd and the people accompanying them. It was fun to watch them. It reminded us of a school teacher having a hard time controlling a group of small school kids while taking them for an excursion. The teacher would try to keep them together in a single group. But invariably one or two naughty ones would stray away from the main group. The teacher would scold them, bring them back to the group. By the time they join back the group, another one would stray in another direction. Same was happening here. Every now and then, one would stray away from the group. She would then be scolded, even hit with a stick that those people were carrying, and brought back to the fold.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616073626_0371.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616073743_0373.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616073831_0374.jpg

Soon they reach a point where they go off the road, to the slopes on the right. Here they will remain the whole day and as evening descends, their owners will again put them back together in a group and drive them back to the village.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616075451_0376.jpg

At this point, we turn back. From near the stream we crossed earlier, there is a narrow concrete path that goes straight inside the village. We take this path.

There are small beautifully built houses in the village.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616082427_0382.jpg

A little further, there was this beautiful house. Two ladies were doing their household work. My wife starts a conversation with them.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616082721_0385.jpg

Entrance to the house.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616083010_0389.jpg


They stay at the first floor, and the ground floor level is used for storage purposes. They do need a lot of that, as they have to store supplies for the winter and that includes food, dry wood that would keep them warm, as well as food for the domestic animals.

The lady on the right tells us that the hotel we are staying in, i.e. Panchali Resort is actually their property.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616082731_0386.jpg

Later I confirm this from Domber, the Nepalese cook in the hotel and that removes one of my doubts. I had heard that non Himachalis can not buy property in Himachal. On the other hand, what I read about Panchali Resort and also seemed from the signboards etc near the hotel, it looked like a hotel run by some Bengali. In fact the person whom I had called for booking our rooms was a Bengali. Domber told me that the property indeed belongs to a local family here (the lady we talked to), but it has been given on some kind of lease to the present management which is I think predominantly Bengali, or at least they want to maintain that kind of image, in order to grab the Bengali tourists, who probably form a majority of the Indians that visit here.

Small huts like this are used to store things for the winter.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616083114_0391.jpg

And then there are these - the log that you see is actually hollow and is directing water from a stream - there is a grinding machine (chakki) in the hut, the kind that many of us have seen our grandmothers use at home when we were small kids - it is connected to a rotor underneath that is being rotated by the flow of water. Wonderful example of trapping natural resources by simple means.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616085142_0399.jpg

There is a temple right in the middle of the village. This is the temple gate.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616083324_0392.jpg

There is nearly no phone connection, as I have mentioned earlier, forget about internet. But almost every house has a dish. You can imagine the power of a medium like television in our country.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616085049_0397.jpg


(to be contd.)
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Old 3rd July 2010, 22:09   #40
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akp you have beautifully covered chitkul .we were also there on 30 th my on our bikes .we wanted a room at panchali resort but that was booked full by a bengalin group we stayed at alpine guest house .the room there were not smelly then .but the rest of the rooms were taken by israeli tourist and you know what they do in there so the room might be smelling .hope you didnt get a high from entering the rooms
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Old 4th July 2010, 12:10   #41
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akp you have beautifully covered chitkul.
Thanks, rupinder.

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the room there were not smelly then .but the rest of the rooms were taken by israeli tourist and you know what they do in there so the room might be smelling .hope you didnt get a high from entering the rooms
It was actually a different kind of smell I was referring to. The two rooms that we were shown were both carpeted, but if you have carpet and do not maintain it properly, there is some stale smell that it emits. And you can also smell dust, which for people allergic to dust is impossible to adjust to.
Anyway, if you got good clean rooms at this location, there is nothing like it.
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Old 6th July 2010, 22:02   #42
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Default Day 5: Part 3

Back to the hotel, breakfast taken, we go out again. This time all four of us. Again we start walking along the main road. There is this trail that goes down from the main road. We proceed along this.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616105421_0400.jpg

There were people at work - looked like they were constructing a road, probably not for vehicular traffic, but for the villagers to go down to the riverbed.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616113236_0413.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616113502_0416.jpg

Few women busy preparing lunch for the whole group. They were cutting vegetables. Water comes from the stream above. They were kind enough to invite us to have lunch with them, which of course we politely refused.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616105441_0401.jpg

Further down, there is a rope cart that the villagers use to cross the river. The other side of the river looked very green, with lots of trees. As a result, that side is a good source of dry wood. The two women we had talked to in the morning are now out at work - they had gone to the other side of the river to collect woods and were now coming back.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616110504_0407.jpg

In the picture, you can see that the lady sitting in the cart is not operating it, her partner is pulling it from the shore. But one can operate it from the cart also without any external help as the next video will show you.



Crossing the river and exploring the other side is one thing that we didn't do this time. That's something for our next visit. However, I am not sure whether I will get an opportunity to use the rope cart next time, as we saw some construction going on - some bridge is probably coming up there.

We come back up to the main road. By now there was a strong wind blowing, and it was quite chilly.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616114638_0418.jpg

Went a little further ahead and sat near the stream again.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616115829_0426.jpg


But it was getting cloudy and threatening to rain.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616121942_0431.jpg


So back to the hotel again. Order lunch immediately, as they take a bit of time to prepare. By the time we take bath, lunch is ready. After lunch we go back to the room and sit near the window.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616145111_0435.jpg

By now more tourists have started arriving. Most people come here just for an hour or two, they walk down to till about the boulder that you can see in the middle of the next picture, or some people go down to the river bed, spend a little time and then return back.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616145218_0436.jpg

It was still chilly and windy outside - so it was kind of nice to be able to sit in the comfort of our room and still be able to enjoy these scenes.

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616145422_0438.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616152007_0441.jpg

Kalpa-Chitkul-Sarahan, June 2010-20100616153408_0442.jpg

However I started getting impatient soon. We just had a few hours of daylight left and next morning we are to leave - windy or not, I wanted to get out and explore the place some more. My daughter and mother were quite determined to continue to enjoy the warmth of the room. Wife was in a bit of dilemma. On one hand she wanted to go out, but the soft bed and the quilt in that weather were too good to resist too. Meanwhile I was getting restless. Eventually she decides to ditch me and off I go, with my camera, an umbrealla and a bottle of water for company.


(to be contd.)
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Old 7th July 2010, 02:12   #43
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and off I go, with my camera, an umbrealla and a bottle of water for company.
Come back soon, I feeling some great snaps coming
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Old 7th July 2010, 17:56   #44
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Come back soon, I feeling some great snaps coming
Don't take your expectations too high brother - you'll be in for disappointment!

Actually there aren't too many photos from that evening - blame persistent wind and drizzle for that - the wind prevented me from using the umbrella and then the drizzle meant camera stayed mostly in - but I enjoyed the walk in mild drizzle immensely. Having spent my childhood in Kolkata and last two decades in Delhi, I long for every bit of cloud and rain that I can experience.
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Old 7th July 2010, 18:26   #45
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Don't take your expectations too high brother - you'll be in for disappointment!


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Having spent my childhood in Kolkata and last two decades in Delhi, I long for every bit of cloud and rain that I can experience.
I can understand
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