Delhi to Kinnaur & Tirthan Valley | Adventurism – 1

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We saw snow and we saw sun; we saw rain and we saw river; we saw slush and we saw gravel; we saw hell and we saw heaven. Well it was so much awaited and for almost an year that I have been struggling to find time for the trip to Spiti Valley. Then, finally after coming back from Goa (Delhi to Goa | Valentines Trip), I immediately decided that this time in April as the snow gets clear from the 350-km Hindustan-Tibet road, I would certainly hit it with my wheels. After rigorous planning, heavy travelogues reading and framing minutest details of My Spiti Itinerary.

Note:- Dedicating the complete series of this travelogue to my brother-in-law (Gaurav) on his Birthday (today) for his maiden trip to hills…

Finally on 22nd April, 2010 we left in hopes of seeing barren lands of mountains like never before. But, there is a twist on the butt of this struggle!! 😉 We had already imagined our stay in monasteries, contemplating oldest gompas, getting spiritual tips from the red crapped monks, seeing 500 odd year old sitting mummy, enjoying thupkas and momos with Leh berry leaves Tea, exploring the unexplored trails ahead Gette, Komik regions etc etc etc.

But, but, but to our surprise weather god’s had already scripted an altogether different itinerary for us forcing us to visit the land of devas (Devbhumi Kinnaur) along with the ever calm and serene Tirthan Valley (Delhi to Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh | Travel Guide). It was yet another unsuccessful attempt to visit one of the top-notch places on my TODO list by reaching so close but yet so far. It would take another year to try and attempt visiting the Spiti Valley once again.

But, nothing to take away from the gifted trip of the weather gods. What we discovered was sheer ADEVENTURE which I try to briefly summarize in the following lines —

"Night drive in rain through Kinnaur Valley, tackling a water crossing at 12 AM at night, then immediately having nature’s call in the middle of nowhere with open sky full of stars and shadows of daunting peaks across the Satluj River, getting stuck into 1 feet high slush every time at night and asking everyone to get out of the car when you cannot see a single soul anywhere around, finding no hotels for two consecutive nights and ultimately sleeping in the car with mercury so close to zero degrees Celsius (0 deg C), crossing one of the steepest passes of Himachal Pradesh named Jalori Pass (3125 Mtrs) at 7.45 PM in dark and then more steeply descending down to find shelter for to fight the chill for yet another night, clearing the freshly fallen stones quickly on road to ensure passage for car just to make sure there isn’t anything worse to come down from way up, crossing the Tirthan River while sitting in and sliding an iron basket on a wire across the other bank…."

Videos try to give a basic idea of what kind of adventure we would be feeling while attempting the same at night 😀 and believe me, these videos / images in the entire travelogue do no justice to what we felt for everything that happened around us, right from sight seeing to fear of falling down into the river 😀 while crossing that gushing water stream with rain along it…

The trip was no less than actualization of driver within me and hats off to my friend "Deepak" who was driving the other car throughout the journey. It was easily by far the toughest drive me and my car have ever undertaken. And yes of course, it was a great learning experience though. Enjoy the travelogue… 🙂

Night 1 – 22nd April, 2010 | Delhi to Kufri, Fagu

In the day I left for the office and got a call that one of my brother-in-law is unwell with symptoms of diarrhea, hence he won’t be joining us. So, the tally of people goes down to 8. But, to my pleasant surprise at 12 PM I got a call from my sweet wife stating that she will also be joining as her exam has been postponed and circular is available that very day on the Internet. Moreover, she also had a word with my friend’s wife and convinced her to join as well :). The tally of people now ascends to 10 with two cars, so a demand of adjustment raised at least in SANTRO.  We had planned the itinerary according to boys and unfortunately girls would also have to tackle the same now.

I left the office to pick 3 of my cousins from my aunty’s place in Gurgaon. They packed the bags, I had a quick meal there and off we went to my home to pick up my wife along with our luggage. Rest of the people had to join us at Outer Ring road near District Center, Janak Puri, New Delhi. As planned we met there around 5.45 PM. First set back was seeing a huge suitcase of my friend and his car had a woofer, with amplifier in it. Hats off to him, he never drives without it :), LOL. Initially it looked that poor dZire (my wheels) won’t be able to rest all the luggage in its boot but somehow after few combinations we managed to adjust the luggage and now everyone looked happy but dZire floor was almost kissing the ground from back. Among 10 of us, 7 were my relatives and 3 friends including my friend’s wife, so as now the turn was to distribute the passengers everyone else looked reluctant and shy in which car they shall go. But, two souls opted initially to join my friends. I knew it’s a matter of day or two as when everyone gets familiar with each other, all will enjoy. So, finally around 6.15 PM we left and our drive out of Delhi was far slow, especially mine as I had to take few very important calls from the office. But, soon after crossing Delhi’s border, sharing the beer and another shuffle of passengers, we were up to our usual speed 🙂

Our plan was to have dinner at ZilMil Dhabha, Karnal, Harayana; 110 odd KM from Delhi. A minor hitch near Murthal, Harayana at NH-1 was when on idiot from the middle lane got off the road towards left without any sign of slowing-up or indicator. The Innova just ahead of us had to push sudden hard brakes and so did we, resulting in dZire swaying from the back due to heavy load and thanks to its poor braking system. As our run was at poor speed adding a lot of diversions at NH-1 now-a-days due to maintenance work in progress, we reached Karnal at 9.00 PM. There we ordered Dal Makhani, half butter chicken and 10 glasses of Tea, which by far the highlight of the place. This dhabha offers one of the best quality tea one can ever have and I never miss it. We had our own paranthas and sandwiches and of course ordered Dal Makhani didn’t disappoint a bit. We were all fresh till now and had satisfied our tummies to the fullest.

Zilmil Dhabha, Karnal NH-1, Harayana…

As per the itinerary we had to take rest at Circuit House Solan, Himachal Pradesh. We left from Karnal at 10.05 PM and wanted to reach Solan to rest as soon as possible because next planned day was long enough. In gup-shup I took the turn towards Ludhiana instead of going straight towards Zirakpur, so had to turn back from the immediate next u-turn. Now, again this continued further second time when instead of bypassing the fly-over to Chandigrah I boarded it and went on almost till Chandigarh entrance to take the u-turn back towards Kalka, Himachal Pradesh. Once we reached the Panchkula, Harayana the road was in bad condition although due to less traffic at night we did it with ease. After entering Kalka we were stopped at the check post for paper verification and checking by the Himachal Police. We had all the papers for both cars and yet there was an objection of not having the RC (Vehicle Registration Certificate) for my car. We told him that it’s just 6 months old car and in Delhi you can get the Registration Number of the vehicle without RC, which comes after few months. But, he kept refusing and it’s only after his senior came who understood this issue. Thank God that there is no need of pollution certificate for first six months and only after some 2-3 calculations on his figures, finally that senior policemen gave us the clean chit.

I don’t know few meters ahead at the barrier we were charged 60 Rs toll as an entry to Himachal. Anyways we were not bothered that time as we need to leave and it was already late to reach Solan. After 75 minutes or so from Kalka we reached Solan, mushroom city of India, only to find no soul out there to guide us the way to PWD Rest House. We knew that 20 odd KMs there is Apple Cart Inn Kiarighat, so we headed there as we didn’t wanted to search hotels inside the city. After reaching Apple Cart Inn, we had to call in to wake them up. The guy replied that they don’t have any rooms available and we can check further ahead at Shimla. Hence we did the same and headed for Shimla. After reaching Shimla, in spite of few souls were running after us to offer Hotel, somehow the worm of “REST HOUSE” had bitten me 😀 (deep inside me I felt since we have come across so far, we shall not get stuck in morning traffic at Shimla, so I crossed the entire city). We found the PWD Rest House at Shimla almost after crossing the entire city, parked our cars and went inside. After much difficulty we were able to awake one guy who said that there are no rooms available 🙁 🙁 … Bullshit!!!

Everyone was getting frustrated, especially the guys who were not used to such long journeys in the other car. Not only this search of accommodation was adding frustration but it was also killing time for reaching ahead. After some settlement I asked the guys that we will surely stop at the very next hotel we find en-route. I feel just before Kufri, there were two adjacent hotels on the highway itself. We got down and GOSH!!!, breeze was so cold and immediately need of jacket raised. It was like fate had written all this story of “NO REST” when everyone really wanted and here as well no one opened the gate and another half an hour got wasted 🙁 and it was around 4 AM 😯

We decided to move ahead in search of ugly HPTDC property named "Peach Blossom, Fagu" and I think, it was 4.30 AM we reached Galu near Kufri and saw the name of the property as "Apple Blossom" :confused:. But we had to stay there for sure or else I would have surely been killed 😛 by my fellow travelers… We went in and thank god some one showed up at Reception this time. We asked that we need accommodation for 10 people and would be staying for 6-7 Hours only. He quoted "Rs 6400 for two rooms having two double beds + Taxes + Rs 500 per extra person = Rs 8100 approximately". WHOOPING high for just 6-7 Hrs, no way we shall have gone for it.

We decided to keep one car in it’s parking and track back the other one few 100 Mtrs where there were some private properties. Asked 3 of them and almost they had similar prices which HPTDC property had. Finally at 5.30 AM (almost whole night ,12 Hrs on the road + hills) it was "Ras Resorts" which offered us three rooms for Rs 4000 and we decided to put an end to our search. We called the other car to come back and go to bed. Meanwhile daylight had started to appear, so we had a chance to click few photographs and here they are…

It’s morning at Galu, Kufri…

Apple Blossom from far off…

Our stay, Ras Resorts…

Four paths to four hotels…

Views from our room at Ras Resorts…

The journey ahead-

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

22 Comments

  1. Will it be too hectic for family with 10 month old baby ?
    Are the roads completely hilly .. Round and round which could create further un easiness to mother and kid?, we are planning to start from Chandigarh around 11.00
    Pls.advice..Thanks

    • Umakanth, yes I feel it will be too hectic and yes all these roads are completely hilly. Please avoid I will say and rather have a relaxed trip to Shimla – Narkanda – Chail

  2. Hey dheeraj really liked your posts.would like to know if one can go to trithan via kasol how
    would be there at the time of new year and also about the route
    regards

  3. heloo dheeraj….is dis trip possible in jan end or feb starting on byke….means roads are open na??????????

    • Yes brother, in fact I just posted this on your other comment. Road will be open barring if it snows heavily on those days. You must take into account some really cold conditions though. If that is no issues, then you will seriously enjoy Kinnaur Valley trip 🙂

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

        • Bhai, there are two different locations here and you will be able to cover only one either Kinnaur Valley or Tirthan Valley. This is because to go from one Tirthan Valley to Kinnaur or vice a versa you need to use Jalori Pass route which will be closed due to snow fall at that time.

          If you opt for Kinnaur, then do – Kalpa, Sangla, Sarahan, Shimla
          If you opt for Tirthan Valley, then do – Kasol, Manikaran, Tirthan Valley, Shoja, Jalori Pass for seeing snow

          Kinnaur will be very very cold and Tirthan will be very cold only 🙂 … Apart from cold nothing I can think specific for this trip 🙂

          Regards
          Dheeraj Sharma

  4. S.T.SARKAR on

    I AM PLANNING A DELHI – SHIMLA – KALPA TOUR. CAN U PLEASE HELP ME BY GIVING ME THE FOLLOWING INFORMATIONS :
    1. DELHI – SHIMLA- CHAIL —- HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO COVER THE ROUTE IN DAY TIME IF I START FROM DELHI AROUND 10 AM ?
    2. CHAIL – KALPA —— HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ?
    3. THE ROAD CONDITION IN THIS ROUTE IS OK OR BAD ?
    4. WE WILL STAY IN KALPA FOR 2 NIGHTS. IS IT POSSIBLE TO GO TO CHITKUL AND SANGLA AND BACK TO KALPA IN A SINGLE DAY ?
    5. WHAT CAN BE THE TEMPERATURE IN KALPA IN MID OCTOBER ?
    YOUR GUIDENCE IN THE MATTER WILL BE HIGHLY APPRECIATED.

    • Hello Sarkar,

      1. Do Delhi – Shimla on the way towards Kinnaur and then while coming back may be come via Chail. It will be like backtracking towards Delhi if you do Shimla to Chail and then you would be going back to NH-22. Delhi – Shimla/Chail would take you around 7-8 Hrs easily.

      2. Shimla/Chail – Kalpa will be again around 7-8 Hrs depending upon the number of breaks you take in between.

      3. Road Condtions on an average are between Good and Average. So, OK to travel barring few very bad patches.

      4. Yes, it is possible to do Sangla – Chitkul in a day from Kalpa provided you start early in the day. On the other hand, you can stay at Sangla itslef after exploring Chitkul or Chitkul and start your return from there. If not then better do Kalpa as day trip rather Sangla – Chitkul which is much more scenic than Kalpa.

      5. In mid-October it would get cold up there especially at night and temparatures could range from 10 – 20 (during night and day) approximately though I am not sure about these figures.

      I I hope this helps. Let me know incase you need more info. or have any queries or doubts.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

    • Hi Amit,

      Highly likely Manali – Leh Highway will open by coming week at least for light vehicles and at unofficially, as the roads have been cleared from almost all the passes.

      I hope this helps. Please let me know incase you have any queries or doubts.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

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    • Thanks alot Shivya, do checkout the valley in coming Spring Season. Though this trip had both Kinnaur Valley and Tirthan Valley involved but I will advise you choose one of them and spend some great time there. If you really love daunting peaks and raw and sometimes rough Himalayas then Kinnaur is the right place. If you will love to see nature in its most raw form and want to feel too close to nature then Tirthan Valley + Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) will be too awesome to spend some quality time.

      Regards,
      Dheeraj Sharma
      P.S. -> since, you putting it on travel list straight away I am assuming I will be giving some tough competition to others 😀 😆 … Well, in any case do check out these places whenever you can.

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