An Odyssey to Pabbar Valley : Rendezvous with Snow, Peaks, River

Day 4 (28/03/2018):

We packed our bag and baggage, had our breakfast and started for Narkanda at about 10:00 hrs. Reached there at about 11:30 hrs. Our booking was at HPTDC tourist lodge The Hatu. We showed our reservation slips at reception. The lady manager there told us to wait for half an hour to make the room ready for us. Beautiful small lawn was waiting for us. We ordered for tea and enjoyed few selfies.

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After half an hour the real picture opened up. The previous boarder was yet to leave the room so hotel management told us to wait further. We decided to roam somewhere else. Talked with Ravi and started towards Rampur. After driving for about forty five minutes we stopped and had our lunch in a small roadside wooden structured hotel. They prepared Chicken curry for us so that my son can eat it. Left the place and reached hotel The Hatu and checked in our room. Took a little rest and spent the evening at lawn.

Day 5 (29/03/2018):

Today’s plan was to visit Hatu peak and Tanijubbar Lake

Ravi already told us that the roads are very narrow and there might be snows. We might not be able to reach the top. We started at our normal time 9:00 hrs. Ravi took 1 hour 45 minutes to reach at the top of Hatu peak. The road was really narrow, enough to accommodate 2 cars side by side and it was full of pine trees all around. 1.5 km before the top point we started seeing snows and it increased with altitude. We reached 3400m above sea level. But at top there was no sign of snow. First we sat on one of the benches there just outside of the premises of Hatu Mata Temple. Tried to look around to decide, where we can start exploring. We were really excited.

Started with Hatu Mata Mandir, which was a wooden structured temple, nicely designed. Hatu Mata is another form of Kali Mata we found. Temple premises are decorated nicely and I must mention that it was very clean.

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First view of snow (towards Hatu Peak)

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On the way to Hatu Peak

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On the way to Hatu Peak

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We reached

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Hatu Mata Temple

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Hatu Mata

Now moved to the other direction where a PWD rest house is situated. Searched for the care-taker but the whole property was under lock and key. Sat down on the grass there and started enjoying the view of snow peaked mountains and fresh air.

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Way towards PWD rest house

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Play time

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The full gang

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Thank you Ravi

Came down from the peak at about 14:00 hrs. Just at the foothill we found a car, selling different type foods like pasta, chowmin etc. the car was from Tethys Ski Resort, Narkanda. We ordered Pasta and Chowmin for our lunch.

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Thethy's Ski Resort

Returned to our hotel. After taking a bit of rest we started for Tanijubbar Lake by Thanedar road at about 16:00 hrs. Roads are good and it’s flanked by apple orchard. We saw that all the trees were full of apple flower. Tanijubbar Lake is a small lake and a Nag Devta temple is situated there. We spent about an hour there.

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Tanijubbar Lake

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Entrance to Nag Devta Temple. (Photography prohibited inside temple)

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While we were returning, suddenly the sky became overcast at the time of sunset.

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During onward journey we had seen few beautiful houses of Apple farmers. We stopped near one of the house to take photographs. They invited us inside the room, showed us apple tree, apricot tree and cherry tree in their own courtyard. All the trees were full of flowers.

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Apple farmer's house

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Apple flower

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Apple flower

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Cherry tree and Cherry flower

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Apricot flower

We reached Narkanda market place. Explored that place for some time and called it a day.
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Day 6 (30/03/2018):

Our plan today was to shift to Chirgaon and stay at the rest house of Andhra Power House. This rest house is situated at the bank of the river Pabbar.

As per plan we left Narkanda at about 7:30 hrs in morning. During checking out activity, card swapping machine betrayed and we had to pay by cash. On the previous day one of the tyres got punctured during our return journey from Hatu peak. We had visited Tanijubbar lake with stepony. Now Ravi wanted to repair the tyre at Narkanda itself. It took about 30 minutes. During this period we found that the food car of Tethy’s Ski Resort was about to begin its daily business. We talked to them and ordered packed food. Atlast we started our onward journey at about 9:30 hrs. We took the road towards Thanedar and just before Tanijubbar lake we took a turn towards Baggi. Road condition was very bad. Our average speed was about 20kmph. We stopped our car at a convenient location and finished the packed food.

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Road coming from Narkanda

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Road going towards Rampur and right side road going towards Hatu Peak

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On the way to Rohru

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At last we saw the river Pabbar flowing and sign board showed us the way to Rohru. We found a small roadside dhaba and had our lunch there. We called care-taker Ram Babu (mobile # +91 98055 09708) of Andhra Power House Rest House. He confirmed that rest house is full of ministers, so no room was available for us. Our dream of staying beside river Pabbar was gone. We decided to stay at Rohru for that night. We reached Rohru HPTDC Tourist Lodge. They said that some international Skiing competition was going on at Chanshal and they did not have any room unoccupied. Asked them to suggest a good place to stay in Rohru. They suggested Hotel United Regency on Stadium Road. We crossed river Pabbar and reached there after driving for about 20 minutes. Room rent was INR 800 + tax. Rooms were clean but not spacious. We decided to stay there. At dinner they made Chinese dishes for us.

Day 7 (31/03/2018):

Today was the most important day for us, as our plan was to visit Chanshal Ghati.

Checked out from Hotel United Regency at morning. Total bill was INR 1572.00. Started our journey towards Chanshal at about 8:30 hrs. Ravi was also the first time traveler on that route. We crossed river Pabbar and went straight towards Chirgaon. River Pabbar was just on the right. After driving for an hour we again crossed the river and started climbing towards Chanshal. Upto this point the road was good. But the road after crossing Pabbar was really bad. Our speed decreased. After crossing Larot the road became full of slush. We did not find any tourist vehicle there. Only few local vehicle (Force) crossed us. After driving for another 1.5hrs we saw snow there. We reached on the top of Chanshal ghati after a total driving time of 4 hours. Road there was very narrow. At a few place the road was just wide enough to accommodate only one vehicle. But scenic beauty was marvelous. Ravi dropped us and moved along another road for parking the car. We started exploring the place. Its 12000’ high from the sea level. Temperature was about 4°C. No cloud was on the sky. And cold breeze was blowing. We spent more than an hour there. We did not find any tourist there but it was full of local people enjoying the vista.

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Enjoying Chanshal

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While returning back we saw few tourist vehicle were climbing up. And due to heavy rush there was a sort of traffic jam. And we saw a few Army trucks also going there.

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Traffic Jam

International skiing completion was going on a different side. Just took a glimpse of that. While coming down we took a few photographs at different location.

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It was already 15:30 hrs when we reached Larot. We stopped our car. There is only one road side dhaba there opposite the PWD rest house. We climbed up to have our lunch. The lady of that dhaba offered Maggi for us. We ordered 6 plates Maggi to fill our stomach. We started for Kharapathar. We had booking there from 1st April and 2nd April. We called Mr. Sant Kumar (Manager of HPTDC tourist lodge, Kharapathar). He was on leave but ensured us that he would manage a room for us for that night.

We stopped on the bank of river Pabbar to view sun set.

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River Pabbar

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We reached Kharapathar at about 19:00 hrs. Checked in our room and called it a day.
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Day 8 (01/04/2018):

Today’s plan was to visit Jubbal palace and Hatkoti Temple.

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In front of Giriganga Resort, Kharapathar

At first we started with Jubbal Palace. Heard that Jubbal was the birth place of Bollywood Actress Preity Zinta. It took us about 30 minutes to reach Jubbal from Hotel Giriganga Resort, Kharapathar. Road was very nice. We parked our car and found that main gate of that Palace was under lock and key. We knocked for several times but no one answered. We started roaming outside the premises. That was a large palace with beautiful wooden work. We found a person who was doing some work in the balcony there. We called him and asked for the entry. He denied and told us that it was a private property and they were not allowing any visitor there. We took few photographs and started our journey towards Hatkoti Temple.

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Main gate of Jubbal Palace

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Jubbal Palace

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Apple Orchard of Palace

We then bought Datthoos (sort of scarf using by Himachal women on their head) from Jubbal market, as gifts to be carried home.

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After driving for about 20-25 minutes we reached Hatkoti. The Temple is situated just beside the PWD rest house of Hatkoti. It is a clean temple and found lots of devotees there. A beautiful well maintained park was situated outside the temple complex. We spent about half an hour and returned to Kharapthar.

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Towards Hatkoti

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The main gate of Hatkoti Temple

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PWD Rest House, Hatkoti

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We finished our lunch in a roadside dhaba. We talked with Manager Mr. Sant Kumar, who just resumed his work that day and managed to transfer our next day booking to Kiarighat from Kharapathar. His deputy told us to visit sun set point just a distance of 15 minutes from hotel. We started at about 17:00hrs for the sun set point. We needed to climb few km after the market place of Kharapathar. At top we found a small village. Road was not so bad but it was through a Pine forest. The vistas were good, but could not find why they called it sun set point. One side was completely open and other side was blocked by village. Sun set behind the hamlet. So we felt that this could be a good point for watching sunrise.

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Sunset point, Kharapathar

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Day 9 (02/03/2018):

Finished our breakfast a bit late in the morning and checked out from hotel at about 10:00 hrs. First target was to visit Chail Palace. Finished our lunch at Soni Dhaba at Mundaa Ghat on Kufri – Chail Road. They offered veg food only and took INR 150.00 per thali which had Roti, Rice, 4 types of Sabji and a plate of home-made sweet as desert. You can eat as much as you can. Quality of food was very nice, especially the quality and quantity of sweet item need be mentioned separately. We reached Chail Palace. Entry fees was INR 100.00 per person. We spent almost two hours in this palace and its adjacent lawn.

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Chail Palace

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After the palace visit was over, we moved towards the highest cricket ground of the world. This ground was with the Chail Raja-s previously, now it had been taken over by Indian Army. The ground is now just beside an army school. We saw school students playing cricket.

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Now moved towards Kiarighat. I had never heard this name before Mr. Sant Kumar said us. Chail to Kiarighat road was very nice. We had seen few national birds playing on road, but a sudden movement of one of local car at that time spoil my snaps.

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Now moved towards Kiarighat HPTDC Tourist Lodge, Apple Cart Inn, a 150 years old Dak bungalow turned into a tourist lodge. Rooms, even the bathroom, were very spacious. Manager Mr. Ravinder was once in Kolkata. He was really a gentleman. The first time we had beautiful Darjeeling Tea in a HPTDC Tourist Lodge. There was a nice garden right front of the rooms, where we had our evening tea. Mr. Ravinder helped us to book Himachal Bhawan, Chandigarh for the next day and also gave us a 10% discount. Himachal dish Chicken Anarkali was served in dinner at the request of Mr. Ravinder.

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Towards Kiarighat