Whenever I want to find solace or need to spend some quality time with my family, there is no other place that get into my mind apart from Tirthan Valley. May 2014 was such a month when I wanted to spend some good time in the lap of Himalayas with my loved ones and thankfully got the bookings of Raju’s Cottage in Tirthan Valley. Considering it a lucky charm, I did not think any further and decided to live yet another sojourn in Tirthan Valley with family.
Day 1 | Delhi – Una – Bhota – Jahu – Mandi – Tirthan Valley
My son was pestering me for a vacation in mountains and I asked my school friend Neeraj along with his wife if they will be joining the family over this trip to solitude in Himalayas or not. As usual, the answer was yes as he is also bitten by this bug of travel in Himalayas with me 😀 😀 … Soon another school friend Bhawana, with her husband Deepak, also joined in and it almost became a school reunion trip to Tirthan Valley 😆 … This time I decided to ignore the usual route to Mandi from Bilaspur – Swarghat rather we went from Una – Bhota – Jahu – Ner Chowk route. This route is free from potholes and maddening traffic of trucks. In total we were 6 with two small kids separated in two cars. We left usually from Delhi in the late night hours at 1 AM and decided to continue till Karnal for a cup of tea. The drive up to Karnal was smooth, we had tea + some paranthas and moved ahead. With some confusions near Nangal on the road to follow, finally we were back on right track and reached Una.
My son and the other kid was as usual suffered the motion sickness but then dozed off to sleep near Una. After a while, we were on the route towards Bhota which was quite smooth with black tarmac and had very less traffic to counter. The route offered some really good landscape and clear view of valley down towards the Govind Sagar. It is more like a dream drive but is about 55-60 KMs longer than the usual route, meaning almost 2-2.5 Hrs longer in actual duration. Plus sometimes gets boring too on plain roads 😀 😀 … After reaching Bhota, we decided to break for some food as all of us were quite hungry. However, Deepak did not have any food up there. I took the wheel from him and started driving his car as he wanted to sleep but as we reached Mandi, he fell sick with nausea and gastric issues badly. He started throwing out everything he took in and then was scared to death of loosing his life 😥 … Deepak just ran into one dhabha and locked the door from inside yelling that he will die if he continue on the drive any further. Seeing this bad a conditions and considering we were almost on road for last 13 Hrs already, I asked Neeraj to drive everyone to Tirthan Valley where Varun was waiting for our arrival at Raju’s Cottage before it gets dark for us.
Tirthan Valley was still about 2.5 Hrs away from Mandi. I waited long for Deepak to open the door as he relaxed his senses and finally opened it. After couple of hours, I convinced him to visit the near by doctor and get him vaccinated. He finally agreed though he threw out couple of times more but we were able to get to a medical shop for assistance who injected him with couple of gastric control injections. He dozed off after a while in the car and I drove to Raju’s Cottage just before it got dark, apologized to Varun as much of his food got wasted and they do not feel good about it but we did not do it as intended. Varun and his cousin were quite nice enough to serve some hot food to us as we reached and cup of tea. Not at every place you get such nice hospitable people in this world 🙂 🙂 …
Deepak was feeling good and it was a cool evening up there at Tirthan. My son ran up and immediately took me to river saying he wanted to throw the stones but somehow I convinced him that it has got dark and we will do it tomorrow in the morning. Finally, after spending time together in the evening around Bonfire and having dinner, we slept off on this long long day.
Day 2 | Tirthan Valley and around
This day was dedicated for relaxing up there at Tirthan Valley with family. The breakfast was as good as it can get and with filled out tummies we went up to the trek to nearby waterfall. We executed DoW Causes at the village which is the base of the trek and you can find the details at the link: DoW Cause | GYAAN 500 in action at Tirthan Valley, Himachal. The hike to waterfall was about 35-40 minutes but at places it was tricky and we had a guide Rajeev with us to accompany up there on the trek with a reference from Varun from Raju’s Cottage. Rajeev was a nice guy studying in Tirthan only and worked part time as a guide. My son refused to walk himself and it was the now a task to climb the entire hill up to waterfall taking him in the lap 😀 😀 … Finally, reached the waterfall and spent good couple of hours. Neeraj forced me and took right inside the waterfall. Man, believe me that my feet were completely numb and I could not feel them after a while in the water, the water was that damn freezing. My son played around the waterfall to the core and loved throwing stones inside the water streams. All in all, it was very nice time of 4-5 Hrs spent up there together on this outing and was a great fun. Deepak and Bhawana did not join us and relaxed back at Raju’s Cottage as their kid was much younger and did not want to risk the trek with him. After paying Rajeev for his services, we went back to cottage for lunch and after that rain started pouring along with hailstorms. As girls went inside the room for their gossips over makeup, we went upstairs in the rain to enjoy some chilled beers 😉 ;)… The whole feeling was as if time has stopped and by this time Deepak was also all relaxed from the sickness of last day.
The rain stopped by evening and Varun lit up some fire at night as more guest had joined us in the cottage. We shared some travel stories together with other families, how we found this cottage and when we first visited Tirthan valley. I have said / wrote enough already about Raju’s Cottage in the article: Raju’s Cottage, Goshaini, Tirthan Valley – A Pioneer in Hospitality. It was not something usual to me as I am more into adventure trips but I was loving this sojourn in Tirthan Valley with family to the core 😀 😀 … Seeing the wife and kiddo around, playing, relaxing from day to day lives, always is such a pleasure. For my son too I believe travel makes him learn a lot which we cannot do at home with him. After sharing the tales while finishing a bottle of rum, we went in the dining room where Fish was served that night. I am not a non-veg but Neeraj / Deepak just loved it to the core and I settled for veg food 🙂 🙂 … It was quite a relaxing day and finally we went for sleep.
Day 3 | Tirthan Valley – Mandi – Bilaspur – Kiratpur – Delhi
Next morning, I woke up early and it was raining with no luck of any pictures. So, I slept again and by 8 AM when I woke up again, it was clearing a bit. However, since it had rained/drizzled all night, so our chances of going from Jalori Pass route were all gone as Varun suggested there will be slush where Jazz might struggle. So, we decided to skip that route and follow the normal route to Delhi via Mandi – Bilaspur – Swarghat because Una – Bhota route was a bit boring and time taken was almost equal 😉 … Rain / Drizzle did not stop up to 12 PM when we finally decided to make a move before it gets too late. We settled the bills with Varun and thanked him for all the care he took for us and bear us for last couple of days. It is always a special feeling to stay here at Raju’s Cottage in Tirthan Valley as the kind of hospitality you get over here is just unmatched. Thanks again to him and Raju ji for such a nice homely place out in the lap of Himalayas.
Well, there was a steep slope at the parking of Raju’s cottage across the river and we decided to push the car up in the back gear, not sure why 😆 😆 … It came to the top, however, there was smoke all over from the bonet and foul smell of clutch burnt may be 🙁 🙁 … We decided to give car some rest, let the smoke settle and engine cool down for 30 minutes in the rain. Then we resumed the drive back and this time gave the motion sickness medicine upfront to each one of us especially Deepak and Bhawana 😉 … It continued raining as we kept driving towards Swarghat. There were bad roads right from Sunder Nagar to Swarghat / Kiratpur but thankfully the traffic was much less in comparison. At one point, Neeraj, busy in talks just rolled the car over a big rock that was lying on the road and could not put the brakes in time. The whole noise from underbelly was quite scary and I immediately got out to check the damage. Thank god the rock got stuck in the bar upfront and did not damage the chamber else we would have gone in the the middle of no where. Any ways, forgetting it, we moved ahead and reached near Chandigarh bypass by 9.30 PM where we decided to take dinner in a restaurant inside the mall along the highway. By 10.30, we resumed the drive back to Delhi and this time I was driving and by the time we passed Panipat I dozed off while driving 😯 😯 😯 … A big skidding brake and all thanks to almighty that everyone was sound and safe, not really sure how but I slept… That was the day when I just quit to drive at night post 12-12.30 AM. We tried to sleep around the corner of the road but then Neeraj said he had enough of sleep and can drive us back home, safely. Deepak was all good and did not need any sleep. Eventually, we reached by 1.30 AM at home, all thanks to traffic less roads in Delhi at mid-night.
This concluded my yet another sojourn at Tirthan Valley with family and as usual it was equally wonderful experience as it always is. Still, itching to get back up there with family and relive some quiet moments away from the hustle bustle of day to day life with family and friends. So, next time if you planning some trip to Himachal and haven’t been to Tirthan Valley then do check out Raju’s Cottage at Tirthan Valley and stay for some days up there for an amazing experience of a lifetime.
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