Off-beat Himachal with God as Navigator

Yogesh Sarkar


We mortals come out with brilliant plans, thinking, we will be able to stick to them and that way, we will enjoy our life. However, more often than not, it is God who has a plan enstored for us and it is that plan, which truly reveals to us the beauty of this world.

Something similar happened with us when we started planning for a 4-day monsoon trip to Himachal Pradesh.

After contemplating a lot of off-beat locations, we finally zeroed in on Gopalpur Forest Rest House near Sarahan as our initial destination. After all, the last trip we had done to Gopalpur, had been wonderful (click here to read that travelogue.)

Daranghati along with Daran Pass and Sarahan was also in the plan. And I wanted to visit Sungri, taking the road from there to Daran Pass and then on to Gopalpur. Unfortunately, others were more keen on taking the normal route to Gopalpur.

None of us knew God had something else in mind. And in the end, we would end up with him as our navigator, taking us through the unseen and off-beat Himachal Pradesh, not many have seen.

This is a travelogue of a trip gone wrong, at least as per plan. Yet, it was one of the best trips for all of us.

Scroll down for the next part.
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Yogesh Sarkar

Day 1, Part-1: Delhi to Narkanda

There were a couple of last minute changes:

1. Mansi decided to join in.

2. Instead of leaving early in the morning on Thursday (20th July), we were going to start on Wednesday night.

So Mansi and I decided to meet at Café Coffee Day at Pallavi Shopping Complex, and wait for Mini, Rahul, and Prashant to arrive there.

Around 11:44 pm, rest of the gang showed up at CCD and immediately, we began our journey towards Himachal. The first task of the day was to have dinner. Because almost everyone was hungry.

We decided to stop at Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba for parathas at around 1 am, this was the first time I was visiting there, while everyone else in the group had already visited it.

I ordered a paneer paratha, followed by an aloo-pyaaz paratha and both disappointed me. Mixed veg paratha that Mansi had ordered, was still somewhat better. Rest were just bland! I am not sure why people stop here because at least as far as the food is concerned, it is bad!


After having our fill, it was time to begin our journey towards Himachal. Even though none of us had slept, all of us were in good spirit and awake.

This was supposed to be a monsoon trip, so far, there was no rain, apart from a fairly light drizzle.

Around Zirakpur, night sky started turning a bright orange, signaling the beginning of the day and a beautiful welcome for us into Himachal Pradesh.

The sheer beauty of the morning coupled with the lower hills prompted us to stop and take photographs.



After a somewhat longish photography break, it was time to resume our journey towards Gopalpur. We had a long way to go and the sun was already up!

Even though Himachal Pradesh looked beautiful and green, without rain, it sort of felt incomplete.

Around 7:30 am, we stopped again to freshen up and I had a not so great lime-soda. However, the views more than made up for it.


We managed to reach Shimla around 8:30 am and started looking for a place to eat at. We saw a cafeteria run by HPTDC, next to the medical college and went inside. Unfortunately, it wasn’t supposed to open for another half an hour or so. So we decided to move on and found a “Sher-E-Punjab, Shivalaya Haveli” serving Indian, Chinese and South-Indian dishes.


Even though the food was just about alright. The views of Shimla from the restaurant was superb!


After having our fill, minus the milk tea (milk hadn’t arrived due to protests), we carried on.

At the beginning of Theog, we encountered heavy police presence. And soon we discovered the reason behind it. A peaceful protest was taking place in Theog, over the Gudiya Rape Case, which had occurred in Himachal a few days ago.

We managed to cross the protesters quite easily and drove towards Narkanda. Only to encounter a massive jam on the outskirts of Narkanda.

We switched off the Safari and tried to enquire from others, what had occurred and the reason for the jam. It turned out, it was another protest being organized due to Gudiya rape case and chances of the road reopening soon were fairly slim. Even the lone cop crossing us, told us to switch off our vehicle!

There was protest ahead of us and protest behind us, our plan and hope of reaching Gopalpur by night looked impossible now.

Click here to read the next part ->
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