Heavenly Himachal - Journey of the unfaithful


Going to Neverland
It had been more than three months since I had a run. In March during Holi festivities, I had dashed off to Munsiyari for five day with Phantom. For most three months sabbatical would sound luxury but for me it is more of a necessity. Though in the month of May, I had a window of opportunity with four days leaves in hand and a plan conspired with Kashish Tandon (Mindless Wanderer). But the plan could not materialize at the eleventh hour. Though I prefer to wander solo, for the first time in my entire existence on the land, I cancelled my leaves and reported back to work much to the surprise of my colleagues. It was an eternal sin on my part for which I will be condemned to purgatory.

Similar occurrence happened in June where another plan could not materialize. I was burning deep down in eternal inferno. Fate gives chances to the unfaithful. I had mine too, thrown in again with Kashish pitching in with the idea called “Saach Pass”. It spiraled off a spiritual awakening and energy centers in my legs started tingling. Middle of July was fixed for the rendezvous. Days went in a blaze and the departure date was imminent lest an unfortunate incident made Kashish to drop out. Visibly shaken but undeterred I lumbered back to home with a colleague. While he was driving me back to home, I called Vikas Shokeen, my go-to man for advice on places to visits in Himachal and routes thereof.

I had a five day window available and Vikas was quick to respond with probable places along with the routes and schedule. The list of places to be covered were remote and unfrequented yet heavenly places which included Janjehli, Jibhi, Jalori, Chindi falling in the Kullu and Mandi districts of Himachal. With the schedule ready, I called up my nephew offering him one more trip before he begins his hostel life but his mother didn’t want to part with him for the last few days he was in Delhi, my poor Sister! Once again I was back doing what I like most, a solo run! I reached home and packed my things. Family was not surprised when I apprised them about my plan for the morning, they are now used to it. Phantom was ready and raring to go. With the entire luggage consisting of a small backpack, neatly tucked inside Thar, I went for a good night sleep.

After a peaceful sleep, woke up for an early start to the journey. Early morning roads were devoid of any traffic hence the progress till Karnal bye-pass was smooth, even thereafter on NH1. Vast open and fertile plains on both sides of the wide NH 1 were pleasing. But a sudden realization dawned upon me which made my heart sank to bottom. The way real estate industry is going on, these fertile plains will sooner or later converted into a concrete monster. A passing vehicle caught my attention. It was a new Ford Ecosport, the first I saw on the road, which halted my cerebral wanderings. As soon as I was back to my senses, I overtook the Ecosport. The kids on the back seat looked in awe of Phantom which gave Phantom an ego boost. Rest of the journey till KFC around Karnal was the same regular drive through the uninspiring plains. At KFC, I got lured into consuming a chicken burger but didn’t relish it.

#1 early morning start

#2 tanked up at the first fuel bunk enroute

#3 first day light robbery - toll

#4 Ecosport mode

#5 another toll

I again started my journey with some calories inside my body. The sky turned murkier and the clouds ahead looked threatening. I kept wondering whether the heavens are going to fall or what, but the rains held back, only till I took the Chandigarh bye-pass from Ambala. Midway to Kharar, heavy rains lashed the landscape. The damaged zipper of the back panel of the soft top allowed the back panel to flutter as soon as the vehicle picked up speed which brought water and dirt on to the windshield from inside making a case for zero visibility. I stopped and thought about the solution and decided to tie up the back panel. The only problem was that I had nothing in the car to tie it up apart from the cloth to clean the vehicle. Since Phantom doesn’t enjoy a scrub, the cloth was passed on as a rope. Thankfully the idea worked fine and no moisture from behind fell back on the windshield from inside. But my problems with visibility were compounded once again with the heavens decided to break loose with a force which could have technically qualified as a cloudburst. Vehicles passing through the puddles of water on both sides of roads made driving with open windows a threat which could not be ignored. However, it didn’t last for long and visibility returned and I picked up speed.

#6 weather changed for worse

#7 raining heavily

#8 i had to stop to attend to the dirty windscreen from inside

#9 thankfully the weather cleared up

#10 river in spate

I met one of my colleagues just before Swarghat when he rang me up by recognizing Phantom. He was going to Sundernagar, his native place, with his family. After a brief meeting, I bid them adieu and took off. The weather was pleasant and foggy around Swarghat. But it turned little hot towards Bilaspur. I stopped at a restaurant at the other end of the town for an early lunch comprising of chicken biryani and curd, which was passable. Drive thereafter till Sundernagar was smooth and quick. I tanked up at Sundernagar and took a right turn leading towards Chail-Chowk. Views till Chail-Chowk were pretty normal for terrains traversed so far but once I crossed Chail-Chowk and went further towards Bagsyad, the scenery was engrossing with plenty of green and a flowing rivulet. Chail-Chowk was a bustling town with a petrol pump and ATM whereas Bagsyad, another bustling town had two ATMs.

#11 cementing mountains

#12 misty welcome at Swarghat

#13 surrounded

#14 lunch time

#15 chick-en-biryani

#16 another ceme(n)try

#17 reservoir at Sundernagar

#18 after Sundernagar vistas turned to green and beautiful

#19 beholding sight

#20 step up

#21 more greens

#22 a beautiful Shiv temple before Bagsyad

#23 road into the wild

#24 no where to go??

#25 tiled roofs

#26 timberland

#27 town of Bagsyad

The water flowing down the rivulet was cold but sweet and I bottled it for further use. With lots of evening light remaining I had reached Janjehli. I was advised by Vikas to look out of stay in the forest rest house, which was across the rivulet. Unfortunately the bridge over the rivulet was broken and I could not find a safer place to cross the rivulet by Thar. I thought I would settle for the PWD guest house which was beautifully located. But again to my misfortune, it was all occupied that day. Finally I found suitable accommodation at Sandhya Hotel situated in a village just before the limits of Janjehli. The hotel was on the road side with apple orchards and farms full of cabbage crop in front as well as at the back. Also, the rivulet flowed just after the orchards at the back. A small but beautiful settlement was right across the rivulet. Came back to the hotel after exploring out the same and after a cup of tea, went strolling around before it went dark and I took to bed. It was a good day.

#28 step down

#29 trapped island

#30 no escaping greens

#31 bane of development

#32 trapped by the greens

#33 greens encroaching upon the dwellings

#34 bound by boulders - this rivulet has no easy let

#35 thorough fare

#36 let the greens befall us

#37 grandpa walks by the young ones

#38 dogs have them easy

#39 up and over

#40 the settlement

#41 food for the mortals

#42 sinister designs

#43 crossover

#44 going down

#45 deliverance

#46 through the thick and thin

#47 coughed up

#48 night in town

#49 delight

#50 paradise

Day 1: July 13, 2013
Places: Delhi to Janjehli (H.P.)
Distance covered: 520 kms (approx)
Route Map:
Route Day 1.jpg
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Well-Known Member
Alok Bhai, Gr8 Start...beautiful pics.... Kindly share more detials about the route....njoy!!!!


Great Start...............
Great Words................
Great Captures................
Hope to Get A.....................
Great Detailed Coverage...........