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Old 26th August 2010, 23:14   #16
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Amazing pics and neat writeup. Thanks for posting the pics with bigger sizes. Would also like to know where you halted for your night stays. Waiting for more.
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Old 26th August 2010, 23:56   #17
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Default Raani Nallah blocks us, Not Once but Twice!

Day 6: 9th July 2010

Left the hotel in Manali, early in the morning at 4.50 am. I had a very bad night, practically no sleep, because of a bad stomach. (Or was it the anticipation of crossing Rohtang?)
Some snaps of the views on route to Rohtang.
Rohtang Didn't Let me Pass; Spiti & Chandratal It Was!-0001a.jpg
Rohtang Didn't Let me Pass; Spiti & Chandratal It Was!-0002a.jpg
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First inkling of trouble at the village of Marhi, where we were told of a traffic jam up ahead due to a landslide. (And here we were expecting a smooth ride!) We reached the beginning of the traffic jam and managed to wedge ourselves between two trucks. This was the beginning of the long wait. The altitude was having an effect on the three of us, more so on Dinesh and me. Arshad was slightly better off. None of us was in a position to take any snaps. The BRO/ GREF were at it the whole day trying to clear the landslide and open the road. They finally managed to clear the road at around 3.30 pm. Unfortunately they first started clearing the backlog of traffic from the Keylong side, heading towards Manali. Clearing of traffic from that side was going to take a very long time!
After a quick discussion amongst ourselves, we decided not to proceed further, but try to cross Rohtang the next day. We headed back to Manali, but instead of going all the way to Manali, we halted for the night at Hotel Sagu Valley in the village of Kothi.

Day 7: 10th July 2010
Left the hotel at around 8.00 am. We were pretty confident of crossing Rohtang today. All of us had a good night's sleep and I was feeling quite well too! But maybe fate had other things in store for us! As we were crossing Marhi, a quick glance upwards into the mountains and we saw what appeared to be a traffic jam.
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What we encountered after reaching the jam, was something that we were really not prepared for! A landslide and a very bad one at that.
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We decided to brave it out and cross Rohtang, come what may. Physically all three of us were better off than yesterday. We spent the whole day at the jam, saw the beauty around us and also nature's fury at its worst. (Now I know better. It can get worse, much worse!)
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Every time the BRO men tried to clear a path around the landslide, another landslide, larger than the earlier would occur. By evening, we were practically ready to spend the night in the car. By around 6.30 pm, most of the cars were turning back and heading back towards Manali. The situation looked pretty grim, but we decided to stay back in the car for the night and brave the elements! We would leave as soon as the road was cleared.
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At around 7.30 pm, we managed to catch hold of a Major in the BRO, who was in the thick of things. He gave us a complete report of the situation and explained to us the futility of waiting the night. The BRO/GREF people were going to stop work for the day and head back to their camp. According to him, the situation was not likely to improve the next day, and in all probability the pass would be shut down. A stretch of nearly 800 mts. of the mountain had become very unstable and passing of even small vehicles were causing vibrations and landslides.Today even allow people on foot were not allowed to cross over, let alone cars and other vehicles.

Our plans of crossing Rohtang and heading towards Leh seemed to be diminishing by the minute! With a very heavy heart we decide to head back to the hotel at Kothi. On reaching the hotel, we sat to decide on the future course of action and come up with an alternative plan. But try as much as we could, all we could think of was the failure to cross Rohtang! It seemed like we had lost, and the only option open to us was to head back to Bombay. Atleast that way, we would come back and get back to work. Maybe it was not our time and not in our fate to drive down to Ladakh this year.
On that very sad note we went off to sleep!

Last edited by BolBolero : 27th August 2010 at 00:13. Reason: Attachments not showing.
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Old 27th August 2010, 13:18   #18
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Beautiful snaps! See Size DOES matter!
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Old 27th August 2010, 13:29   #19
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Wow, so close yet so far. That stretch of 200mtrs or so where the landslide happened looks like a war zone with the poor truck caught in between. I can imagine the anguish & pain you guys must have faced at that point of time.

Hope that tunnel they are making finishes soon so that Rohtang would not be a hurdle for Leh!!!
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Old 27th August 2010, 13:36   #20
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I can understand the disappointment. faced a similar situation many a times in those areas. Rohtang was never so unpredictable in the not so distant past but of late many a such places are becoming more and more landslide prone. Keep going. Nice pictures. Whatever was that trucker doing in the middle of that stretch? Did he try to cross or got caught in the middle of a running slope?
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Old 27th August 2010, 14:36   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Beautiful snaps! See Size DOES matter!
I know size does matter, but takes an awful lot of time uploading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
Wow, so close yet so far. That stretch of 200mtrs or so where the landslide happened looks like a war zone with the poor truck caught in between. I can imagine the anguish & pain you guys must have faced at that point of time.
Hope that tunnel they are making finishes soon so that Rohtang would not be a hurdle for Leh!!!
The unstable stretch was more like around 500 mts.+
The tunnel will be a boon for the locals staying beyond Rohtang, who are invariably stuck every time there is a landslide! Personally I am not too bothered about the tourists. The amount of traffic, mainly tourists, on that road has increased phenomenally over the past few years. The BRO is finding it difficult to maintain the roads in a proper condition. All they get is one day of the week to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. That works out to roughly around 16 days in the whole year, if you consider that the pass is open for four months in a year! How much do you expect the BRO/ GREF to do in that short period of time?
My personal opinion: People like us, who are on the lookout for exotic and difficult driving destinations, should continue visiting these places, with the understanding, that there is always a possibility to get stuck, due to unforseen circumstances. It is part and parcel of the journey we undertake. In case someone is not ready to face disappointments, my suggestion would be - Travel by air, reach your destination, hire a local vehicle, do the local sightseeing, return back by air. Everyone is happy that way! for the rant!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
I can understand the disappointment. faced a similar situation many a times in those areas. Rohtang was never so unpredictable in the not so distant past but of late many a such places are becoming more and more landslide prone. Keep going. Nice pictures. Whatever was that trucker doing in the middle of that stretch? Did he try to cross or got caught in the middle of a running slope?
Very disappointed, but thats how it is in the mountains. Having been there yourself, you would agree that the heavy tourist influx is taking a toll on the roads. Add to that the unpredictable weather. Somewhere I feel, we human beings are partly to blame!
The poor trucker was hit by the landslide at around 10.30 pm on the 9th. of July. He was lucky to have escaped and survived. The truck was finally pulled out on the 10th. of July at around 4.30 pm. with a lot of difficulty.
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Old 27th August 2010, 16:20   #22
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Default Decided on Spiti!

Day 8: 11th. July 2010

Even after getting up very early, the three of us spent a considerable amount of time, discussing our future course of action. Should we head back to Bombay, or wait another day and try to cross Rohtang and head to Leh, or drive down to Spiti valley? The road to Rohtang was still blocked and traffic had actually begun piling up in front of the hotel. After a lot of arguments and counter arguments (No we did not exchange blows!) it was decided to head to Spiti. Bombay would have to wait! A chat with HVK was the final push we needed. Thank you sir.

On the way to Spiti
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Traffic on the way to Manali from Kothi.
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River Beas on the way to Kullu.
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Bridge over River Beas at Kullu
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Gurdwara in Kullu.
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Tunnel at Aut
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The calm River Beas after the tunnel.
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River Tirthan
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River Tirthan at Jibbhi Village.
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A beautiful house at Jibbhi Village.
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Rohtang Didn't Let me Pass; Spiti & Chandratal It Was!-0057o.jpg
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Old 27th August 2010, 16:30   #23
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Yes the infrastructure has not kept pace with the tourist inflow and is causing a lot of hardships. Plus on Rohtang the road widening has worsened the situation and thereby making the slopes even less stable. But the circuit you did is rated even more than the Leh route which you had to miss out on. And this statement is not made on tourist assumption but rather ask anyone who has done both, he would rate the HP tribal circuit to be much more demanding and tiring. Good going.
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Old 27th August 2010, 16:41   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Yes the infrastructure has not kept pace with the tourist inflow and is causing a lot of hardships. Plus on Rohtang the road widening has worsened the situation and thereby making the slopes even less stable. But the circuit you did is rated even more than the Leh route which you had to miss out on. And this statement is not made on tourist assumption but rather ask anyone who has done both, he would rate the HP tribal circuit to be much more demanding and tiring. Good going.
Yes the roads in Kinnaur and Spiti were much more demanding, but nothing a patient driver could not overcome. Maybe it is the lack of tourist traffic. The transport vehicles and buses that I encountered on the roads were very courteous and would generally let you pass or move to the side on narrow roads.
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Old 27th August 2010, 19:05   #25
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Day 8: 11th. July 2010

The road leading to Jalori Pass is awesome to say the least. The views are truly breathtaking. The road itself is very narrow and a very steep climb. Did not realise it for a very long time, till I stole a glance at the temp. gauge, which had shot up way beyond the half mark.(Has never happened in the last six years of driving!) The condition of the road is not too bad, tarred in some places, but largely gravel all the way upto Sainj on NH22. All that did not matter as the views and the drive more than made up for all the discomfort.
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The first view of the River Satluj.
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After we reached NH22 at Sainj, it was back again to well tarred two lane highways all the way upto Rampur. Post Rampur the roads again were considerably bad, due to the Hydro Electric Project being executed by Jaypee Associates. We reached Tapri town at around 8.20 pm and spent the night at the Govt. Rest House.
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Old 27th August 2010, 19:47   #26
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Hey, you have me hooked on to your travelogue. Keep those pics coming. How did the rear seat passenger fare considering the bolero's stiff suspension and limited leg-room?
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Old 27th August 2010, 20:03   #27
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Really cool pics.
Liked the pics of the river. Waiting for the next update.
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Old 27th August 2010, 20:32   #28
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No pictures of the Jalori Jot? That seems to be some very serious piece of equipment that you are using.
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Old 27th August 2010, 21:43   #29
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Please say a Hi to Dinesh. He was my junior in Rishi Valley School. I too was in Leh in early June with another school mate Cariappa. We too could not cross Rothang! We infact drove back to Delhi and flew into LEH to complete our journey.

Cheers

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Old 27th August 2010, 21:51   #30
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The road via Jalori Jot skirts the Tirthan Valley which looks beautiful.
Any petrol pumps between Aut and Sainj on this road?
For the mayhem that weather has unleashed in Manali/Rohtang, the Jalori Jot-Ani region looks bright and sunny!
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