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Old 16th July 2021, 20:56   #1
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Default Found a hidden treasure in Solan

We did a road trip in June of this year to Solan, Himachal. Before this trip, I had a misconception that Himalayan foothills are not worth the hassle if the idea is to enjoy real-natural beauty. I couldn't have been more wrong. So now I know better, and the wiser me is penning down this short-travelogue.
I will let pictures do most of the talking from second post onwards. So if you are an impatient reader (like me), you might want to skip the short intro that follows. In case you are unable to stay till the end for any reason, then let me express gratitude in advance for reading till wherever you could

Intro
I and wife typically prefer peaceful places with less crowd. This makes sure we avoid traveling in May-June timeframe due to excessive summer vacation rush that is nearly impossible to avoid. This year however turned out to be different.

First week of June, it had been nearly 15 days that both of us had recovered from Covid. Overall cases in the North had started coming down as well. We thought it would be a good opportunity to venture out and break the monotony of being house-arrested since months.

Like it happens always, I was the chief (and only) planner. Excitedly kept on going through list of properties where we could just stay for a couple of days without having to go out at all. Admittedly there are a lot of such places in Himachal and Uttarakhand, so we did have many options.
Wife put in a condition that the destination has to be within 8 hours drivefrom our home. That limited down the choices significantly. Moreover, I was trying to avoid getting RT PCR done again (hate that process!). Went through epass rules of both the states and very soon, realized that Himachal it will be. Of all epasses rules I read through of different states, theirs was the most sensible. Not only were they accepting a recent -ve RT PCR report, they were also allowing entry based on a +ve RT PCR report as long as the report was atleast 20 days old. Pragmatic!

Once Himachal was finalized, I presented a list of nearly 5-6 properties to my wife (within 8 hours timeframe offcourse). To my good luck, she found one of them as acceptable. Homerun

I was excited to venture out on a road trip after a long time, but I had very little hopes from destination itself considering Solan is at foothills of the Himalayas. Boy I was proven so so wrong!

Rest of the story, I will try to cover through photos.

Last edited by warrioraks : 17th July 2021 at 14:37.
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Old 17th July 2021, 12:26   #2
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

The property that we decided was Sherpa Eco Resort. It is one of the most scenic properies in lower Himachal we have ever been to. Combine that with the lip-smacking food we were served, I would say they really set the bar high for future visits.

First shot after hitting the Himalayan Expressway.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_5906.jpg

The property was near Jatoli temple, 20 km away from Solan market. The road till the temple was fine but detoriated quickly thereafter. The last 4-5 km was mild offroading. Easily manageable unless you are in a sedan. Guess what, we have a Honda City!
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_5908.jpg

Bad roads continue.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_5910.mov.jpg

We reached around 3 in the afternoon and immediately ordered food.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_5916.jpg

Once we were full, it was time to explore the property. After an hour of roaming around, we realized that the restaurant had the best views through and through. Also considering that the restaurant was the only source of food at this remote property for the next few days, it was a no-brainer that majority of our outdoor time was spent around the kitchen there-after!
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1321.jpg

Some more pics of the lovely view.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1322.jpg
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_5922.jpg

Our cottage.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1325.jpg

View from the room.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1326.jpg

The only thing that we were trying to avoid on this trip
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1330.jpg

Last edited by warrioraks : 17th July 2021 at 14:35.
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Old 17th July 2021, 12:44   #3
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

The next day, we went on a short hike up the hill, our resort is visible at a distant (property with red roofs).
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1341.jpg

Came across this house, walls are built from stones it seems. It had rained crazy the previous night, not sure what is used to bind these stones. Whatever it is, would be very strong because the sort of thunderstorm we experienced the previous night, at one point I thought our cottage would collapse. Luckily that did not happen, neither impacted this solitary structure.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1346.jpg

This day was all about soaking in the nature and entire experience. Unsurprisingly, we captured very few pics. But I did sneak-out to checkup on the car before retiring for the night.
Wife finds it amusing that our albums have solo-photos of the car
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_5938.jpg

Last edited by warrioraks : 17th July 2021 at 14:35.
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Old 17th July 2021, 13:24   #4
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

The next day, we woke up to an overcast sky. Truly amazing how it made everything so much more beautiful.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1352.jpg

Clouds at a distance.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1357.mov.jpg

Clouds engulf the property.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1359.mov.jpg

Couple of more pics of the view.
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1360.jpg
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_5943.jpg

Quick click of the Honda city before we embark for home. Any guesses on the make of the white car in background?
Found a hidden treasure in Solan-img_1381.jpg

The return journey was eventful. The bad roads around the property had turned worse because of the rains. Car bottomed out twice which was a bummer.
Also at the Delhi border, Gurgaon traffic was redirected on the newly built Kundli Manesar Expressway. It had very few boards to guide and we ended up taking four hours to reach Gurgaon from Kundli. Typically it takes only two.

At one point of time, we practically lost our way and Google Maps tried to re-route through agriculture fields in pitch dark. For some reason, Google thought we were driving a tractor. We ultimately decided to ditch Gmaps and started using one of the oldest methods for navigation - asking locals. We made it home eventually after significant detours and spending way more time than we had thought.
I did another trip recently to Uttarakhand. The return experience turned out to be equally bad. It seems due to ongoing farmer protests and some new expressway construction happening around Delhi borders, last leg of any road trip in immediate future will continue to be extremely painful.

All in all, it was a lovely trip. We were floored by the natural beauty and serenity experienced for 2 days. This is exactly why we had planned this trip and fortunately, it all turned out very well.

If you have made it till here, thank you for reading

Last edited by warrioraks : 17th July 2021 at 14:36.
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Old 18th July 2021, 05:55   #5
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th July 2021, 11:02   #6
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

Quote:
Originally Posted by warrioraks View Post

Quick click of the Honda city before we embark for home. Any guesses on the make of the white car in background?
Attachment 2180340
Thanks for sharing your memories of a great trip. I had travelled there recently and you are right, the foothills are also amazing.

My guess would be on the Audi Q3, for the car in the background.
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Old 19th July 2021, 17:37   #7
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

Quick click of the Honda city before we embark for home. Any guesses on the make of the white car in background?

Looks like a T-Roc.

Another gem of a place in Himalaya's foothills is Rajgarh. But visit it only if you prefer being in a peaceful place. There used to be a Himachal Pradesh Tourism lodge/ backpackers hostel. Not sure if it is still there and in what condition it is. Rajgarh is beautiful during monsoons.
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Old 19th July 2021, 19:26   #8
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

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Originally Posted by nimishlalwani View Post
Thanks for sharing your memories of a great trip. I had travelled there recently and you are right, the foothills are also amazing.

My guess would be on the Audi Q3, for the car in the background.
Thanks Nimish.
Now that I have asked the question and you have responded, I for some reason do not remember whether it was Q3 or Q5. Wish I could go back in time and remove the question!


Quote:
Originally Posted by royalbeat View Post
Looks like a T-Roc.

Another gem of a place in Himalaya's foothills is Rajgarh. But visit it only if you prefer being in a peaceful place. There used to be a Himachal Pradesh Tourism lodge/ backpackers hostel. Not sure if it is still there and in what condition it is. Rajgarh is beautiful during monsoons.
Thanks for the recommendation. Rajgarh has been on my list for altogether different reasons. Monsoons are here so you have given me another destination to plan for.
I have been told that the roads to Rajgarh are not great, any thoughts if a Honda City can make it?

Last edited by warrioraks : 19th July 2021 at 19:31.
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Old 20th July 2021, 10:35   #9
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

What beautiful pics! That terrace looks absolutely inviting.
I can see myself perched there gazing out, sitting in solitude for hours and hours.

Solan is actually on my must visit list for quite a few years.
Remember The butcher of Amritser, Reginald Dyer? The one who gave orders to shoot down unarmed civilians at Jalianwala Bagh? Yes him.

Well, his pappy was Edward Abraham Dyer. Inspired by his Scottish heritage, Eddie founded a certain manufacturing business, whose product cannot be named on the forum due to rule 11.
Initially the factory was set up in a remote location on the mountain to take advantage of the pristine clean water. In 1842, the town of Kasauli was established and like any other human settlement they required water. Lots of it. This need was fulfilled by the water from the mountains and soon enough Eddie's enterprise was left high and dry.

Not the one to give up, Eddie moved the entire factory to the town of Solan where it continues to operate to this day. I am not aware if one can visit the factory, but if yes, it would be definitely worth visiting. The original equipment was shipped from far away Scotland, sailed down the Ganga, and transported to its final destination by oxen. Apparently this centuries old equipment is still in active use. This is like the Morgan factory which still use the original tools to shape the wooden structures used in their cars.

Anyway the produce if this vintage machinery is delicious with a hint of vanilla and orange and nutmeg. I have heard friends rate it absolutely number 1.
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Old 20th July 2021, 11:59   #10
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

My brother went to Rajgarh 2-3 years back. He had taken his 3rd gen Octavia at that time. He told me roads were in 'ok' condition - not too great, not too bad. However, as this was couple of years back, things might have changed. Moreover Rajgarh is off the main Chandigarh-Shimla highway so I don't think it would be high on priority list for regular maintenance.
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Old 20th July 2021, 16:29   #11
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
What beautiful pics! That terrace looks absolutely inviting.
Both the terrace and the restaurant had fantastic views. I spent a lot of time with my book at both the spots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
I have heard friends rate it absolutely number 1.
Nice writeup of the number 1 thing to try at Solan. Enjoyed the trivia, and your flirtatious note to the mods
Cheers!
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Old 25th July 2021, 09:20   #12
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Default Re: Found a hidden treasure in Solan

Thanks for this. Couple of queries:
What was the route like, any hiccups?
Any actual on ground checks of rtpcr or certificates?
Any contacts at the place to speak for booking? Typically one tends to get a better deal directly with the property.
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