Saach Pass – Sa(a)ch me Bahut Mushkil hai


Going to Neverland
Saach Pass, commonly referred to as Sach Pass, was a long cherished dream. A dream which began in the year 2012-13. A dream which was shared with Kashish Tandon a.k.a. Mindless Wanderer.

We prepared to achieve this dream of crossing the mighty pass and set out in August 2013 to traverse through Pangi Valley via Rohtang - Keylong and reach on top of Sach Pass.

However, we could not have chosen a more dreadful time to achieve this feat.

It was peak monsoon season with rains lashing over all of the Himachal. More so in Pangi Valley. Our efforts were frustrated with multiple landslides choking the route to Sach Pass as well as the Cliffhanger road.

We had no other option than to return the same way. Even while returning we were stranded and stuck for 10 hours at one place.

Time flew off. We always planned every year to complete this unfulfilled ambition, with or without Kashish. Every year we failed due to cancelled programs due to various reasons beyond our control. Few times we set out on road and changed course midway. It was frustrating times.

Year 2019 was no different.

Again I planned with my old travel partners to travel to our own Xanadu – Sach Pass and Cliffhanger. I had planned it with them in 2018 too.

We planned for mostly in the month of September. This time too it was September albeit the last two days of September. The date we chose to travel was September 27 to October 2 with an evening start on 27th September. Five and a quarter day was sufficient to complete the trip.

Our primary object of the trip was to cross Sach Pass from Chamba side and to cross the Cliffhanger as well. The future of Cliffhanger road is uncertain as it may be closed for public use in the year 2020 as an alternate road will most probably be ready by then. We were not sure whether we would return via Kishtwar or via Manali. We had left this decision to be taken in due course.

Praveer, Rahul and Rakesh were supposed to meet me at my office at Moti Nagar by 4.00 pm. However we were able to start by 5.30 pm only. We were thinking of a night halt at Ludhiana after a drive of about 300 kms. We were already set back by 90 minutes. And we could only make it to Rajpura. It was almost midnight when we checked into a roadside hotel. It was all empty except us. Though the rooms were comfortable, I had a difficult night with sleep hard to come by.

our steed for Sach Pass challenge

dinner at Mayur Dhaba



Going to Neverland
I wished for an early start but the latest we could move out of the hotel was by 8.15 am that too even without caring for the breakfast. We had breakfast somewhere after crossing Ludhiana on a roadside dhaba.

Breakfast after crossing Ludhiana, somewhere near Phillaur



Roads were good all the way till Pathankot. We maintained a steady speed of 80 km per hour. Plan for the day was to reach Bairagarh which was about 440 kms. Covering this much distance including 175 kms of hilly roads would have taken close to 11-12 hours including breaks. We decided to take stock of our options upon reaching Pathankot first and then at Banikhet. Road conditions deteriorated after we crossed Pathankot and started ascending upon the hills. The roads were bad till we were on Punjab side of the hills. As soon as we crossed over to Himachal, the roads went better. However we had lost lot of time and we could reach Banikhet by 4.00 pm only. Our destination for the day was still 110 kms far. We were unsure about the road conditions till Bairagarh. Gmaps showing 4 hours of journey left which would have meant close to 2 hours of journey in the dark. Collectively we all decided to break journey at Dalhousie.

halt for lunch before entering into Himachal

waiting for the food to be cooked

simple fare yet tasteful

farms behind the dhaba

waiting for its passengers


Going to Neverland
In another hour we were in Dalhousie and checked into a cozy hotel. After a cup of tea, we visited Gandhi Chowk on foot which was more than one kilometer from our hotel. We explored the market area and gorged on tasty offerings in the market before returning back in time for dinner. The night was cold and the warm bed was like heaven. We dozed off before we could blink.

Clover's Inn near Subhash Chowk.. we had a cozy stay here

Dalhousie by the evening



and shadow

this sight was captivating enough to click few times

Cafe at Gandhi Chowk

Gandhi Statue at the Chowk

explored the Tibetan market, didn't buy anything though

went by the Church, it was closed

let the feast begin..



tandoori Chai



the same Dalhousie pic as above during the night
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