Going to Neverland
Date of Travel: 23rd to 26th December 2017
Route Taken: Delhi – Sundernagar – Rohanda – Chindi – Jalori – Gushaini – Sundernagar – Delhi
Total Distance covered: about 1150 kms

It was the month of August in the year 2013 when I did a solo Himachal trip covering Janjheli, Bahu, Jibhi, Jalori, Karsog and Chindi before heading back to Delhi via Shimla (Heavenly Himachal - Journey of the unfaithful). While I stayed in Chindi and Karsog, I came to know about Mahunag Devta Temple which I visited while heading back to Shimla. I also came to know about the Kamrunag Devta Temple atop a hill situated along with a small but beautiful lake. The temple had many folklore attributed to it which made it all so more interesting. I thought of covering it whenever the next opportunity presented itself, which happened after an expense of some 4 years and 4 months. Its’ not that I did not travel during these years. I had made about 45 major and small trips in that period. I mostly visited Uttarakhand. Himachal took a backseat all these years.

I had a strong urge to do a solo trip this time, however a pestering colleague - Santanu made me include him too for this sojourn. Further, I thought if I am not doing this solo then why not also include another ex-colleague for this trip. Manish, ex-colleague and my long time travel partner too became part of the pack. On the penultimate day, Santanu had to back out due to some urgent office work which made him burn mid-night oil during Christmas weekend.

Manish too owns a Thar and we decided to cover this road trip in his Thar. He picked me up from my home by 5.00 am. In another 20 minutes we were treading on National Highway 1 (erstwhile). Around 6.00 am we spotted some fire by the road side and stopped to warm ourselves and also enjoyed a cup of hot tea. After consuming piping hot tea we again hit the road. Morning was clear and there was no fog at all. Well that was a welcome relief. Fog would have slowed us down.

The beginning

first break

tea n fire - deadly combo

Our next stop was for breakfast at Jhilmil Dhaba, Karnal. By 8.00 am we were free from the ritual breakfast of parathas. Next stop was a tea break after Kiratpur Sahib at 10.45 am. It took us around two hours for our next break at Bilaspur for lunch. We checked into Hotel Sagar View and ordered a simple lunch of Daal-Roti, Aaloo-Gobhi and Curd. Food was absolutely lip-smacking. We closed off the lunch with a cup of tea and some fine views of the Gobind Sagar reservoir. After spending some 45-50 minutes at Hotel Sagar View we left for Sundernagar from where we would take the diversion for Rohanda.

Zhilmil dhaba, Karnal


another break near Kitratpur Sahib


Lunch break at Bilaspur

food was fulfilling

view from the hotel



Going to Neverland
Roahnda is about 35 kms from Sundernagar. The 35 kms were narrow and initially roads were little broken. After few kms, roads were relatively better. By 4.30 pm we reached Rohanda. It was cold at Rohanda. However, the skies were clear. There was hardly any snow on the top of mountains. Upon reaching Rohanda we looked for any staying options. We were told there was a hotel some 3 kms away. However, there was a Forest Rest House. We checked there, and after little conversation, we got one room there.

enroute Rohanda, after crossing Sundernagar


just before Rohanda


Rohanda FRH



Kamrunag temple besides the FRH at Rohanda

After checking in, we went to the market which was only few steps away from the FRH for some tea and snacks. We were the only tourist there rest all were locals. By the time we returned back we were told that some forest department officers have come and they will be staying for the night. The caretaker informed us that he will not be able to cook food for us as he will be busy serving the two officers. One of the younger officer also noticed us and we both greeted each other. Manish invited him for some drinks later.

Rohanda Bus stand and the market as seen from the FRH

Omkareshwar Temple at Rohanda

evening sky at Rohanda

Soon darkness engulfed Rohanda. We got some wood from an old man nearby and started a fire. Shortly the young forest officer joined us. Round of drinks started and acquaintance with each other too. The young officer belonged to a political family and his immediate uncle was minister in the congress government of HP that just had lost the election. He was mighty upset over this. Obviously everyone will be upset to lose power. With each peg down, he became more and more friendly. He ordered the caretaker to provide food to us also.

Manish and the young officer together gulped down the complete bottle of whiskey. With so much fluid down their guts, it was bound to bring out the emotions. Drinks followed with loud music and dancing. All the heart-broken songs that was ever sung in this universe were blaring at loudest. I failed to understand how in the world one can dance on heart-broken songs but I was witnessing it live. The whole Rohanda must have known by now that – “Dilli wale launde aaye hain”. Young officer soon found out that the emotional outflow was too much to bear and he retreated back to his room never to be seen before the morning.

our favourite time-pass

It was 11.00 pm when we doused the fire and went inside our room. But before that we decided to take a stroll in the dead of the night and in absolute darkness. It was fun barring the drunk Manish almost falling off in a ditch. It was his lucky day though. It got very cold, probably zero degrees and the room was super cold with no heater available. By midnight we both dozed off with thoughts of completing the Kamrunag trek next morning.


Going to Neverland
The day was beautiful with absolutely clear skies. We got ready by 8.30 am and had breakfast at Thakur Dhaba near the bus stand. We also got few parathas packed since we would find nothing enroute the temple. The trek started right in front of the dhaba across the road. The dhaba owner explained us the directions so that we do not get lost. We had to cover a distance of 6 kms or so.

Kamrunag Temple, Rohanda

huge portrait of Lord Hanuman on a huge rock at Omkareshwar temple, Rohanda

Jai Shri Ram

provision store at Rohanda Bus stand

Thakur dhaba at Rohanda Bus stand

usual fare of paratha-sabzi

start of the trek in front of Thakur dhaba


Going to Neverland
We started the trek around 9.00 am. The trek was little steep to begin with and it kept getting steeper. The more we kept moving, the track deteriorated further. It was kind of dried up steep nallah. The track was not well defined with broken steps all the way upto the temple’s outer premises. Slowly but steadily we kept moving on. Mid-way there is a water tank. We rested for a while and drank some water. Also, we filled up our water bottles since no water would be available hereafter till the temple. After mid-way the track condition worsened. However, we kept moving ahead. The entire trek was upward climb. We reached the outer premises of the temple by 12.00 noon. It took us almost 3 hours to reach there. Now the lake and the temple was hardly 10 minute walk but it was made difficult by the hard and slippery snow deposit on the track.

initial track

some good portions

the usual pathway

another nice stretch

lovely steppes

a beautiful village


break with some views


water tank - the mid way point




Chulbul Pandey was here

waiting for Manish to catch up

a patch of snow welcomed us as we neared the top of the hill

we reached the temple's outer premises


Going to Neverland
Manish was lagging behind a bit and I reached the temple first. Some construction activities at the temple premises were under progress. One half of the Lake was frozen. Sky was clear offering a nice background. The temple of Kamrunag Devta was made of wooden logs and open from all the sides. We offered our prayers. Few other visitors too arrived. Another motley group of young boys and girls too arrived. They belonged to a village nearby to Rohanda. We rested for a while and ate the parathas we got packed from Thakur dhaba. After consuming the parathas we headed back to Rohanda.


snow deposits made it slippery to tread


first view of the holy Kamrunag lake

the sacred Kamrunag Devta temple

front view of the temple



close-up of the idol of the deity

semi-frozen Lake Kamrunag


old building around the temple

the cluster around the temple



Descent was difficult. The uneven and broken steps took toll on our knees. By the least stretch it became unbearably painful to move further. However, after a struggle of more than two hours, we reached Rohanda. We had some snacks at Thakur Dhaba and then went to FRH and decided to check-out. We wanted to spend the next night at HPTDC property, The Mamleshwar, Chindi which was about 45 kms away from Rohanda. We left Rohand by 4.45 pm and by 6.30 pm we reached Chindi. However, we could not get a room at the Mamleshwar Hotel as it was completely booked. Our search for a decent stay took us all the way to Karsog. We got two nice rooms at Mehta Hotel for 600 bucks per room. It was good value for money. We watched few South Indian dubbed movies before calling it a day.

once again at Thakur dhaba

at Karsog


Going to Neverland
With Kamrunag trek done, we had nothing else on our mind. We still had two days at our disposal, hence we decided to wander around. This wandering took us to Jalori Pass which was still open even in the last week of December, testimony to the fact that snowfall had been sparse this season. Road from Ani to Khanag and to the Jalori to was in fabulous condition and well laid. But the Jalori top was absolutely jam-packed with tourists. There was a big congestions of vehicles at the top. The other side of the Jalori, i.e. the Jibhi side had lots of snow on the road, which has eaten up a lots of road space which left very little space for parking. Every dhaba at the top was servicing at full capacity and many had finished up their rations. We were lucky to get some Kadhi-Chawal for our cravings. We immediately left for Jibhi after having our food.

ruckus at Jalori pass


Jalori Mata temple

lovely views from


people enjoying the snow around the pass

time for some pet-puja

my favourite



Going to Neverland
Terrible road conditions appeared as soon as we started descending for Jibhi. We found snow for the first kilometer or so on the road side, thereafter we had only the company of good-old-bad-roads till Jibhi. Once at Jibhi we thought to stay at Lato the Hut and then visit the Nag temple at Bahoo village. But we could not get any accommodation there, moreover, there was no electricity around. We decided to move ahead to find some accommodation enroute. While we reached Banjar, it struck me that I had never been to Tirthan Valley. So Gushaini was the preferred destination for night halt. Just a kilometer or two before Gushaini we saw a nice resort by the riverside and decided to check it out. It was Trishala Resort and we got two rooms booked for ourselves. While we transferred luggage, I saw a familiar figure. It was Johnson, my childhood school friend. It was such a sweet coincidence to meet him on the occasion of Christmas. He was here with his wife and few colleagues to celebrate Christmas. It got very cold after the sun-set. We again lit up some fire and enjoyed the bon-fire till the time dinner was served. After dinner we retired to our cold rooms. Next day was spent entirely on an uneventful return journey.

Trishala Resort - one drawback about the resort is that it is situated in the shadow area, hence hardly any warmth from sunlight is available


our rooms

the interiors



hardly any water in th eriver during the winters

evening tea-break

the last sun-set