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Old 11th January 2022, 18:10   #1
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Default My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea

Prologue -
I didn't exactly plan for a Kashmir trip. We(me and better half) just wanted to take a vacation and go somewhere by road. It all somehow happened that we decided to visit wife's place in Abohar, Punjab(more of Rajasthan-Punjab border).
There were some signs of office getting reopened soon and she wanted to visit her place before that. I am never a fan of taking a train/flight and suggested wife, "let's drive all the way." She also agreed since using public transport in Covid era is something we both detest.

Only unchartered territory was the distance - 1600+ kms since I have never ventured towards North India by road. I was quite excited though and trusted our drive - FIAT Linea TJET.

Route decided was
Day 1 - Pune - Thane - Surat - Vadodara - Godhra - Samalaji - Udaipur. We reached around 9 pm. Good tarmac throughout except the last 5-10 kms of Udaipur bypass. Also, no toll for State highways in Gujarat for cars.

Stopped at a Shell after crossing Surat city. First refuel of the day
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Check the petrol price at Shell! Its before the VAT reduction. In MH, even after VAT reduction, petrol is 109.XX at bunks. Shell is further costly at Rs. 115/L
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Shell Samalaji. Refulled again before entering RJ so that top up at RJ should be needed only once
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Wife feeding the furry friend
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Day 2 - Udaipur - Nathdwara - Ajmer - Kishangarh - Kuchaman city - Sujangarh - Hanumangarh - Abohar. Reached home around 7:30 pm. Big section from Kishangarh - Pallu was not up to mark despite being tolled road. One more outlier point was they don't accept Fastag, so cash all the way in Rajasthan.
The difference in Rajasthan and Gujarat :(. Petrol being much cheaper is altogether different topic.

One of the tallest Lord Shiva statue at Nathdwara.
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Nathdwara symbol(Giant Sandal).
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Petrol prices at Rajasthan was at entirely different level. Thank God, no Shell in Rajasthan.
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So, we planned in a jiffy, left on 31st October and reached safely on 1st November for Diwali. Stars were with us and despite encountering couple of situations where we might have stuck for hours, we somehow escaped.
Total distance covered approx. 1635 kms.
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Itinerary planning -
8th November

After Diwali festivities, we started planning for our vacation. Earlier plan was to cover Gujarat while coming back to Pune. However, I thought that,
having come this far, most of the Himalayan base destination were within 500 kms from Abohar. Me and my wife both agreed and I started preparing the itinerary.
Two base for our trip were decided - Dalhousie and Srinagar. Got the leaves approved as per below itinerary. Destination and route was planned in a way that there should never be the need to drive after sunset.

Final itinerary -
Day 1(13th Nov) - Abohar - Khajjiar via Moga - Jalandhar - Pathankot - Dalhousie. Night Halt - Khajjiar
Day 2(14th Nov) - Khajjiar - Dalhousie. Night halt - Dalhousie(Decided at literal last moment)
Day 3(15th Nov) - Dalhousie - Srinagar via Dhar kalan - Shahapur Kandi - Madhopur - Jammu - Udhampur - Srinagar. Night halt - Srinagar.
Day 4(16th Nov) - Srinagar sightseeing. Night halt - Srinagar.
Day 5(17th Nov) - Sringar - Sonamarg - Baltal - Sonamarg - Srinagar. Night halt - Srinagar.
Day 6(18th Nov) - Srinagar - Bijbehera - Pahalgam. Night halt - Pahalgam.
Day 7(19th Nov) - Pahalgam - Aru - Pahalgam - Chandanwari - Pahalgam. Night halt - Pahalgam
Day 8(20th Nov) - Pahalgam - Jammu via Anantnag - Shopian - Peer Ki gali - Bafliaz(Mughal road) - DKG - Rajouri - Naushera. This was added last minute before starting of trip. Night halt - Jammu.
Day 9(21st Nov) - Jammu - Abohar via Pathankot - Amritsar - Zira - Firozpur - Fazilka.

All the hotels were booked in 3-4 days by 10th/11th November. Since it was my first time in Himalayas, we decided to take this slow with flexible plans. We were prepared to do a night halt at an ad-hoc place if not able to reach at the destined location. Also, ready to take a U turn and come back to Abohar.

PS - We forgot to take our Nikon with us while starting from Pune and all the clicks are either from Dash cam or mobile phone.

Last edited by Aditya : 13th January 2022 at 16:11. Reason: Grammatical errors
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Old 11th January 2022, 18:17   #2
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Default re: My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea

D-Day came quite quickly.

The night before
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13th Nov

We were all set and left for Khajjiar at around 5:30 in morning from Abohar. We also kept our office laptop, just in case. Total distance for today was around 435 kms.
Abohar - Malout section is a NH and it was smooth sailing. However, the second part, Malout - Sri Muktsar Sahib isn't and was quite patchy with liberal dose of potholes. Road condition improved from Sri Muktsar Sahib and it was a proper 4 lane road from Moga - Jalandhar - Pathankot - Haryal.

Beautiful sunrise en-route Kot Kapura
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Got the tank topped up after Pathankot from Reliance Jandwal and took a left from Haryal(NH154A). Road condition was quite good till few kms. However, it deteriorated(pretty bad) soon and lasted till Punjab - Himachal border (Dunera).
Some construction work is also going on and hopefully the said patch will be better soon. HP section was breeze to traverse with good winding roads. We soon reached Dalhousie.

Dalhousie - Khajjiar is only 20 kms. However, it generally takes in excess of 1 hour due to narrow roads(quite a lot) with bit of forward/backward needed when space is too less. Further, road condition is pretty average from Lakkarmandi to Khajjiar. Dalhousie - Lakkarmandi is pretty nice.
After carefully traversing the last 20 kms, we reached our destination - Hotel Devdar by HPTDC by around 3 pm.

About Hotel - Brilliant and beautiful property at a perfect location. Excellent staff and service.
Soon after a quick check-in, we left to soak in the evening view. Sun rise happens quite early here and temperature drops drastically after that.

Parking. Dedicated and safe at that.
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View from room. See the rush in off-season.
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Symbolic distance from Switzerland
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My better half just couldn't resist this. Surprisingly, all strays were very nicely treated from shop owners and tourists
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Actual certificate of mini Switzerland
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All the rush vanished in an hour. No one want to drive that narrow winding road in pitch dark.
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Hotel view from meadow
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The Blunder.
Our initial plan was to stay at Khajjiar for 2 nights. However, while coming onwards I realized that it will be a blunder to traverse such tricky road 3-4 times.
After coming back to the room, we immediately looked for hotel in Dalhousie and booked Hotel ManiMahesh(by HPTDC) for 14th Nov night.

This means our 1 day reservation money will be wasted in Khajjiar. However, peace of mind was more important here. It was quite late on 13th and we didn't bothered checking this situation with staff.

Took dinner as a take away by a nearby restaurant while coming back to room. It was very tasty. We had breakfast next day as well from the same place.

14th Nov

Got up early and started exploring the empty Khajjiar.

Dew frozen to ice.
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Started melting once sun was up
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Empty roads
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A beautiful Shiva statue
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This furry friend wasn't leaving our side and kept one of his paw on my wife's foot
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Thats me with empty meadow in background. Also, entire ice is melted
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Khajji Nag temple
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Jai Hanuman
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Doggo not giving a damn
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These two puppies were very playful. One of them slept in my wife's shadow just beside her
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After doing the sightseeing for today, we requested for checkout and staff came to know our predicament, they told us that if we would have told them earlier, they could have tried transferring booking to Dalhousie. Since we have already paid the amount at other place as well, not much can be done now.

We thanked them for their service and left at around 11:30 am and reached Dalhousie in an hour.

Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 10:43. Reason: Added pics
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Old 12th January 2022, 10:44   #3
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14 Nov contd..

About Hotel - Hotel ManiMahesh(by HPTDC) Brilliant and beautiful property at a perfect location. Excellent staff and service. Since they knew about our case(Khajjiar guys called them), they offered tea/dinner/breakfast complimentary . We were happy.

The property
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Dedicated and safe parking
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View from room
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The roads in Dalhousie are quite narrow and we thought to explore it on foot. We had lunch at Barista, Subhash Chowk and was disappointed. It was quite average to be honest.

Valley view from Subhash chowk
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Subhash Chandra Bose statue. They lived here in Dalhousie when diagnosed with some heart ailment
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Subhash Baoli
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Road through which we came.
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Mountain view from Baoli
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Came back to room to observe sunset.
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Getting a glimpse from lobby
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As per the bad experience from lunch, during dinner time, we took a stroll from our hotel and got a take away for dinner from Friends Sher E Punjab, Subhash Chowk and found it to be lot better. We also got the breakfast for next day at the room from Manimahesh property since we planned to leave early next day.

Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 11:43. Reason: Added pics
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Old 12th January 2022, 11:14   #4
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15th November -
Today was the most challenging day. Not in terms of kms, but in terms of terrain, traffic and road conditions. To use NH44, J&K traffic police provide daily updates on Twitter, you need to plan accordingly and pass Nagrota bypass after Jammu before 12 pm towards Srinagar.
Dalhousie - Nagrota was a bit less than 200 kms but it showed minimum 5 hrs for the same. Accordingly, we had only 1 hour of buffer. I also didn't wanted to leave very early due to risk of driving in winding roads in dark. Sun rise only happens close to 7 am. We thought of staying at Jammu for worst case scenario.

With above constraints, we left for Srinagar from Dalhousie at around 5:45 am. While putting our bags in car, I looked above and was amazed to see huge number of stars on the sky. I had never seen so much stars on sky since my childhood days when we used to live in smaller towns. Unfortunately, it was not getting captured on mobile cams. So, with image of a beautiful starry sky in our eyes and mind, we left for Srinagar.

Odo shot.
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The roads once we took the short cut from Dhar Kalan was surprisingly good and lasted throughout Madhopur(Punjab/JK border) where we joined NH44 despite some construction work going on after Shahpur Kandi.

Crossing to J&K
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TJET at the border
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We didn't stopped en-route for breakfast since we had to cross Nagrota before time limit and ate the delicious sandwiches provided by the Manimahesh staff on the go. This was a mistake since there are only couple of decent family restaurant on the way. If I am remembering correct, there are no petrol pumps between Udhampur - Qazigund section. We got the tank topped up at a HP bunk before Jammu. Similarly, for restaurants, we found 1 near Udhampur, but somehow wasn't able to stop and missed it.
Accordingly, we managed with dry fruits, biscuits, etc which we had with us and only ate after reaching hotel at around 4:30 pm.

We were able to cross Nagrota around 10 AM, if I am remembering it right. There are lots of construction going on after Udhampur till Banihal. It becomes monotonous after a while seeing barren lands, diversion, cliffs. It's all dusty with not much of shoulder to park or relax. Roads, however, throughout are above average and not bad. Things changed for better after Banihal tunnel. Landscapes, road quality change dramatically from Qazigund onwards.

Army presence is overwhelming from Qazigund onwards and seem like we are in other country or place. They generally and randomly stop the traffic to let the army convoy pass. It was a very different experience. We also passed the section of NH44 which is prepared for emergency airplane landing. Traffic was usual once we enter Srinagar and we reached our destination of the day via Boulevard Road(circular road along Dal Lake) - Chasme Shahi huts by JKTDC.

Chasmeshahi is a VIP area. Our hotel was just besides Raj Bhawan where Governor resides. There is thorough checking for tourist taxies and tourist since there are lots of tourist areas nearby such as Botanical garden, Chasmeshahi garden, Pari Mahal, etc.
We had a stay at Chasmeshahi and we were let directly

About hotel - A very safe location(one of the safest in Srinagar). The property though beautiful was showing its age. Staff was enthusiastic but service wasn't. No inhouse restaurant. There was a Zaiqa restaurant adjacent to the property run by JKTDC which is the go to place if you need anything. On our request, they brought the dinner to our place in a tiffin and not on a proper tray and cutlery. Also, restaurant only opens after 9 am and close by 5 pm something.

Entrance
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Reception
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Parking
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Our cottage for the night
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Night/early morning view
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November is also kind of off-season for visiting Himalayan as we experienced while staying in various govt properties. You need to order dinner in advance. Since this is a VIP place, there is no food outlet or any establishment near by. You need to have your car to venture out.

We had a light snacks of Bread/Butter along with tea at Zaiqa and it was sunset already. Srinagar was much more chilly than Himachal. Strolled around nearby Chasmeshahi garden and called it a day.

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16th November

Got up early next morning in anticipation of getting this message. I wasn't disappointed
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This warning is triggered when temperature falls to 3 or below 3 degree Celsius
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It stays on the display for a while.
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Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 13:01. Reason: Added pics
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Old 12th January 2022, 11:58   #5
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16th November -
We kept today for local sightseeing and got the tank topped up early morning from HP Dalgate.

Getting first view of Zero Bridge in a foggy morning from Abdullah bridge. The railing was bang in line of sight :(
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Entire bridge is covered in ice due to frozen dew
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Abdulla bridge view from Zero bridge
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The mess tourist creates
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The wooden structure
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Jhelum river
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Landscape garden along the bridge and river
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Early morning visit means no parking issues.
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We didn't took Shikara ride on Dal lake since it was foggy around Dal Lake during our entire stay of 3 days.

Dal lake
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How can we miss the furry friends! They were delight to interact while we fed them with Marie
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Found something funny in board? This was a topic of humor and the name has been changed recently. Boards, however, aren't yet updated
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ChasmeShahi Garden. Entrance fee - Rs. 24. This is situated on hill top and you need to climb via a curvy road.
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Had breakfast at Zaiqa. A basic bread butter and tea.
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Pari Mahal. This is also situated at Chasme shahi. Reach early to get a parking spot. Ticket is reasonable priced at Rs. 24 per head. Parking is also at Rs. 24
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This is a protected monument
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It was afternoon by the time we finished visiting the Pari Mahal. Checked out from Chasmeshahi huts and went to Botanical garden which was also near by.

PS - I have reached quite close to 30 pics per post limit. Will continue in next post.

Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 13:30. Reason: Added pics
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Old 12th January 2022, 13:13   #6
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16th November contd..

Botanical Garden. Again, nominal fee of Rs. 24 per person.
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All the gardens we visited were beautifully maintained. Botanical garden has huge parking space unlike Chasmeshahi and Pari Mahal.
It was quite close to 2 pm and we thought of moving towards our next hotel where we planned to stay for 2 nights.
We were excited since our stay was planned at Vivanta by Taj - Dal View, Srinagar. Vivanta was also situated quite close to Chasmeshahi and we were there in 10 mts.

The reception area. It comes after crossing two security check post
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Passage towards room/reception. This property is situated on hill top. No view due to fog
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Room entrance/view from room
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View from balcony. Look carefully and one can spot Boulevard road/Dal Lake. Alas, fog spoiled the experience
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No pics of Shankaracharya temple since mobile and cameras are banned at this place. Parking is limited and you need to provide your full details to(including no of passengers, vehicle number, license details, address, etc) army security before climbing up the ghat to temple premises. There are 100 stairs which lead to the beautiful temple and it would have given us a beautiful panoramic view of city if not for the fog. There was zero visibility of down from top.

Had a lunch at Nathu sweets after the darshan and went back to room it was close to 6 pm.

Floating post office
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A random water fountain at Taj. This is at 6 pm!
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Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 14:26. Reason: Added pics
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Default re: My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea

17th November
Today was planned for Sonamarg.

The morning view from breakfast area. Outer breakfast are is covered in thick fog
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This is how the Linea looked
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Ready to drive!
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Fog was quite heavy in Srinagar
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It got cleared once we moved away from Shrinagar towards Sonamarg
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We were back by 3 pm and went straight for lunch. In Srinagar, we had lunch twice at Nathu sweets situated at Boulevard road. Good place with lots of options and definitely recommended. Dinner was done in Vivanta itself.

Came back to property to observe sunset.
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We also thought of going to Doodhpathri or Gulmarg but then didn't proceeded due to lack of time. Also, Gulmarg experience, as read in earlier travelogues is painful if travelling by own car. As checked by local people, Doodhpathri would have given us similar view just like Sonamarg or Khajjiar. I also wanted to get the car checked by MOPAR, Srinagar which was at the other end of city and they don't take vehicles after 3 pm. Things close quite early here by around 5/6 pm further accentuated by early sunset and cold.

Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 20:38.
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18th November

After spending two nights at Vivanta, it was time to proceed for next stop. We had a delightful breakfast at the property and after checking out, moved straight to Mopar service.

Mopar guys found that silencer is cracked a bit and it will lead to some increase in sound from exhaust with no problems in driving. They suggested to replace the cabin air filter as it was choked. Got the vehicle a nice wash since it was a bit dirty due to yesterday's Sonamarg trip.

ARG FCA. First floor is for sales and ground for service.
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Linea all cleaned up. Space behind is the body shop/ paint booth.
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MOPAR Srinagar - Very friendly staff with eagerness to look into problem and solving it.

Left from Srinagar at around 1 pm, topped up at HP Kandizal and reached Pahalgam property at around 3 pm.

Entering Pahalgam
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Property name - Pahalgam Club and Convention Centre ran by JKTDC. It was a huge property with acres of space and nice staff. Lots of parking and open space. Beautiful location is a given by now. River Lidder was flowing behind our room and you can spend hours listening to it. This was our stay for next 2 nights.

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River lidder flowing besides the property. This was a private space just for the property guests
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Platform to soak in the experience
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Rooms
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Map of Amarnath yatra. Pahalgam/Chandanwari is the base location.
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The color changed in couple of hours
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After settling in, had late lunch, explored the local area and called it a day.

Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 17:24. Reason: Added pics
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19th November
3 things were there for today's itinerary - Visiting Aru valley, Chandanwari and Betaab valley.

Interesting experience was waiting for today when we left our room to start for Aru valley. Thick layer of ice was there on the car body and especially on windscreen. We have experienced the same at Srinagar as well so I started cleaning it. Pahalgam was colder than Srinagar which means more effort to clean. I generally keep water bottles in car to clean windscreen etc. if required. While we were at Srinagar, throwing normal temperature water from bottle on windscreen along with cleaning the window using microfiber cloth was solving the purpose of making windscreen clean enough to drive. However, this method failed in Pahalgam.

When I took the water bottle kept in car to throw water on screen, water in bottle actually got frozen in a fraction of second as soon as it was taken out from car. I was amazed to see the practical of "water freezes at 0 degree" . Had to run to room and bring lukewarm water from the tap so that water remains in liquid state for a while which will help in cleaning ice from screen.


For both the days in Pahalgam, we spent around 15 mts for this activity.
Though I was wearing woolen gloves, the wet microfiber transferred the cold to hand, which means, after cleaning the screen, fingers were getting frozen and it was very important to keep the hand in front of warm air from AC vent to feel the fingers again.

Morning view from balcony
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Just look at the ambient temp. Hands weren't freezing for no reason while cleaning windscreen
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Starting for Aru
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Roads were surprisingly good. We were so early, even the toll guy wasn't present to collect toll
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We hiked to the top. We were the only soul in the valley. No one comes before 9 am. We were at top by 8 AM
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We came down and still no one. One of the local guy asked if we are interested in Maggi. We were more than happy to say Yes. He opened shop and prepared maggi and tea for us. Best maggi of our life easily.
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After having breakfast at Aru, we came down and proceeded towards Chandanwari. Entire route till Chandanwari is very scenic with beautiful well maintained roads.

On reaching Chandanwari, we followed the trail towards Pissu top as long as it was possible to do so. It was blocked after going for a couple of kms. We returned from there.
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This desolate looking place will be brimming with tourists during season of Amarnath Yatra
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Chandanwari Parking
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Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 19:24. Reason: Added pics
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19th November contd..
Betab valley is on way while going back to Pahalgam from Chandanwari. This place is more of a park than valley. Its surrounded by boundary and an entry ticket is needed. Ticket is not cheap as in Srinagar. I dont recollect the exact amount.

Betab Valley parking. Big enough space but definitely not enough for on-season duration.
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It had snowed recently in the Pahalgam area. There were lots of ice still present. We were out of this place in half an hour.
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Came back to Pahalgam to had a lunch. Dana Pani was the defacto choice.
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We visited Dana Pani after reading good reviews but was disappointed. It was an average place. It seems not much of option for pure
veg people here. There was a place opposite to this with name - 'Pahalgam cafe and restaurant'. This was place was quite nice and we had tea/light snacks in evening from here. Also, got the sandwiches packed for next day. I was pretty sure that there will be nothing in Mughal road and further towards Jammu.

It was kind of full moon. Majestic Himalayans
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20th November
It was time to move towards Jammu via Mughal road. Cleaning ice from car windscreen became a routine since last 4 days. It needed at least 15 minutes for the same. Left around 7 am from Pahalgam towards Ananthnag - Shopian to join Mughal road.

Morning view
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All set for return trip
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We crossed Anantnag and joined Mughal road after passing Shopian
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This ice cube travelled with us for at least 40-50 kms from Pahalgam before melting away
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See the elevation at Pir Ki Gali
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At Pir Ki gali
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This was the dreaded turn. All hell broke loose after this!
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After crossing Bafliaz took a left towards Dhira ki Gali(DKG) which further connects to Rajouri. Initial section till DKG is ok. However, all hell brake loose, once you cross DKG. Entire section(35-40 kms) from DKG till Rajouri via Thanamandi is under construction. Road is narrow with huge potholes, construction material lying around, slush, diversion, cut trees are kept along the road and many places will require you to back and give space to other car in ghat sections.

This road shouldn't be considered for travel at least couple of years. Security guys at DKG where we gave our details also asked us - "Sir, yahan kahan aa gaye?" (Where the hell have you come?). On asking should we consider a U turn, they replied - "Dheere Dheere jao"(Go slowly and carefully). On top of it, locals drive in these roads like crazy. One Creta guy was really getting into my nerves and I somehow calmed myself.

Roads improved once we joined Poonch highway from Rajouri. However driving conditions didn't. Roads till Jammu is full winding section with steady traffic flow.

Able to find anything unusual here?
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After joining the Poonch highway to Jammu from Rajouri, we stopped at this small place for something to eat and take a break. The loop roads were endless and DKG - Rajouri nightmare was still fresh in minds. Minutes before we stopped here, it happened that, as told to us by hotel owner, the JCB in picture while coming down suddenly the road, lost its right wheel and hit the parked Scorpio(not in pic) at other side of the road. It was a very dangerous situation and luckily no two wheeler or pedestrian was there to bear the brunt. Scorpio got the rear door damaged then and there. Both the vehicles were local and they were figuring out as to what to do.

We continued our journey after having maggi and managed to reach Jammu outskirt by sunset. In my entire trip of approximately 6k kms, I only got tired a bit on this 2nd last day of my trip. To top it further, just 2 kms before reaching our stay at Jammu, we were stuck in a traffic jam. After waiting for at least half an hour, I took a U turn and found some other road to reach hotel. Also, fuel tank was quite close to empty so got the tankful done in BP Old Heritage city, Jammu.

About property - Hotel Jammu residency ran by JKTDC. Absolutely bang in the the city center and hence it was tough to reach there. However, being in the market means lots of options to eat, shop, roam. Since it was a govt property, there was absolutely no dearth of parking space. Did some shopping and had the dinner at nearby McDonald's and called it a day.

Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 19:25. Reason: Added pics
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21st November -
It was pretty straightforward today.
Jammu - Abohar via Pathankot - Amritsar - Zira - Firozpur - Fazilka. Reached home safely around evening after visiting a relative at Firozpur.

Vehicle turned into mess just due to that 35 kms section between DKG and Rajouri. Did breakfast at a small dhaba after entering Punjab. Had aunthetic Paratha's
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66000 milestone achieved
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Got the vehicle washed next day in Abohar
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My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea-412fef9f844b4404a8494b83d19dbe2d.jpeg


Observations -
  • We met extremely nice people wherever we went.
  • Altos are the fastest cars in J&K.
  • People stop whereever they want, whenever they want. Mostly in bang center of the road.
  • Road infrastructure is quite nice in Srinagar and nearby places.
  • Felt bad seeing Indian Army/Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) being utilized in bandobast duties. They are being used as entry operators due to terrorists/enemies within.
  • Also, humbled to see them doing duties without batting an eyelid. Whether its guarding the border, guarding the highways of Srinagar/Dal Lake/other prominent institutions/people etc. Thanked a lot of army people for their service while strolling at Boulevard road.
  • Pictures just cant do justice to the beauty. More so using mobile cams. It need to be experienced first hand.



Epilogue -
After staying further for couple of weeks, we left for Pune on December 4 and took NH 62, NH27 this time since the the state highway though tolled wasn't good in Rajasthan section during our onwards journey.
Day1 - Abohar - Ganganagar - Bikaner - Jodhpur - Sirohi - Pindwara(NH62 ended) - Abu Road - Palanpur. Reached around 7pm. Brilliant surface throughout.

Odo while leaving
My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea-9585944e49c9426d90186a334e63f3fa.jpeg

Quick bio break at an Essar outlet on NH62. It was very well maintained
My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea-b311613e8fda41fcab2f955142e2e51d.jpeg

Had lunch at this place while crossing Rajasthan
My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea-3e5de9a4b40b41e6978354be231aba24.jpeg


Day2 - Palanpur - Mehsana - Gandhinagar - Ahmedabad (joined NH48)- Surat - Thane - Pune. Reached home around 9 pm after having quick dinner outside.
Total distance around 1645 kms and this ended our overall trip around 5800 kms.

I did my training at InfoCity, Gandhinagar before joining organization in Pune. It was nostalgic to come at same place exactly 13 years later. Matarani dhaba in background was the go to place for dinner.
My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea-43cf12fae3f54a46b17a1d430155781e.jpeg

Gujarati pohe. Breakfast at Infocity, Gandhinagar
My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea-65a1bb1af86a416cab1eaa3f6f759552.jpeg

Odo after reaching home.
My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea-1280e1125a2e479582e659ff0533e4b8.jpeg

About the car-
  • Never did I felt that Linea was not the right car for this trip. It handled all the terrains beautifully with hardly scraping once/twice in the entire 6K kms.
  • I filled petrol from Reliance Abohar and got the N2 topped up before starting Kashmir/Himachal trip. Apart from a preemptive check at Mopar Srinagar, no other checks were needed/done. There is no Mopar service nearby Abohar.
  • There was not much of N2 pressure drop even after running thousands of kms. It was only 2-3 psi drop whenever I got it checked. No puncture in the entire trip.
  • Smooth highway means range of 650+kms from its 42L of tank.
  • No new/existing squeaks or rattles even after running on so many treacherous routes and inadvertently missing some potholes/speed breakers here and there .

I have quite a lot of dash cam videos as well. But I am tired drafting this . May be I will upload it later. Gosh, I thought writing ownership review was tough, this one definitely takes the cake. There are so many beautifully detailed travelogues of J&K, Himachal on the forum. I hope I was able to do at least 50% justice by presenting my first hand experience of this heavenly place. That's it guys!

Last edited by abhi_tjet : 12th January 2022 at 21:08. Reason: Added pics
abhi_tjet is online now   (47) Thanks
Old 13th January 2022, 05:21   #12
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Default re: My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th January 2022, 09:52   #13
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Default Re: My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea

Beautiful car and a beautifully recounted trip!

The Linea will always remain to be one of the most favourite cars, it is remarkable how gracefully it has aged. I know many Linea owners who find it extremely hard to part ways with their cars because it simply isn't easy to find a replacement for it even with all the advances in the newer models. Kudos to you for keeping it so well maintained.

Looking forward to more such threads!
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Old 13th January 2022, 13:40   #14
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Default Re: My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea

After your ownership thread and marathon drive updates there, I was hoping for a travelogue of the same.

This is a fantastic thread. Kashmir has been on my wishlist for a drive in my TJet and happy to see you had a great trip. The pictures are really stunning! Great to see the TJet handling all the terrains well and you've maintained her very well even throughout your trip!

Loved reading this. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th January 2022, 21:01   #15
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Default Re: My maiden road-trip to Himachal and Kashmir | Fiat Linea

That was one hell of a road trip, glad that you finally made penning down this a reality. Since you travelled mid November you got to witness the snowy outlook clubbed with golden tinge on the grasslands. Kashmir has so many faces of the same places across seasons. I am glad that you could cover Pari Mahal, Chasme Shahi and Botanical Garden, we had plans but owing to vacation lethargy we could not make time for them. Your tjet is a great machine and you will inspire others with sedan to also traverse your footsteps. Kudos and happy travelling, wish to see more of such ventures in the future.

Before driving to Kashmir several BHPians told me to avoid Mughal road for safety issues. I think your problem was road congestion, but probably worth because of the Peer Ki Gali pass views. Would you think it's worth taking up in near future?
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