Weekend drive to Gopalpur FRH, Himachal Pradesh

Yogesh Sarkar

It had been almost three months since I had planned a trip to Gopalpur FRH, however it could never materialize in the manner I wanted it to and I eventually decided to visit it this weekend with Narayan, Rahul and Mini.

Delhi to Gopalpur Forest Rest House

We had planned to rent a self-drive car to travel to Gopalpur FRH and after a lot of contemplation we decided to pick up a Ford Eco Sport from Myles. However due to some credit card issues, it looked like the trip was going to get cancelled and not only we would end up spending the weekend in Delhi, we would also lose out on booking amount. Finally at around 1:30am everything got sorted out and we had the car as well as plan ready to start from Delhi. This also meant that none of us could get any sleep before leaving for the trip!

After a few more delays, we finally got on our way around 5:30am with dark clouds hovering overhead.

Once out on the NH-1, we were beginning to make good progress and having a great time chatting all along and listening to some good music. Soon the heavens opened up as well and it began to rain as well, not enough to slow our progress, but enough to remind us that we were traveling in monsoon season.


While entering Punjab, we missed the tax barrier for light vehicles and then head to come back after several kilometers in order to find it and pay the tax, before continuing on our way. Which in hindsight was a good decision, because our road tax got checked just after Zirakpur crossing.

At around 9am, we stopped at McDonalds for some much needed and somewhat delayed breakfast.


After filling up our empty tanks and a change of driver, it was time to head towards the hills, which looked absolutely divine covered in greenery and clouds.We eventually decided to stop near railway track of toy train for a bit of photography.



After Shoghi suddenly visibility began to drop and road was engulfed with mist, which thickened by the time we reached Theog. So much so that we had to drive quite slow with the visibility at times being less than 50mtrs! Thankfully each time visibility improved, we were greeted by beautiful views all around and despite running late, we took a few photography breaks en route.



By the time we reached Rampur, it was already 5:30pm. Since the caretaker of Gopalpur FRH was away on holiday, we weren’t sure we would get any food there. So we decided to have our lunch at HPTDC Hotel Satluj View and got a few parathas packed for night. Food wasn’t good, but this was the only restaurant we could find in Rampur without any parking blues, so we didn’t really have much of a choice.

After Rampur we took the diversion towards Gopalpur, just as darkness began to engulf the road. Since road was narrow and Rahul was driving on these sort of roads for the first time, we were taking a bit slow, keeping an eye out for oncoming traffic, which often resulted in us having to reverse to a point where there was enough space for both the vehicles to pass.

We weren’t really sure where exactly Gopalpur FRH was and neither did quite a few people we encountered on the road. Till the point that we felt we had missed it and gone ahead. So we took a U turn and came back to a village. The people around were truckers and they didn’t knew where Gopalpur FRH was!

Thankfully a pickup came from behind and when Narayan asked him for directions, he told us to follow us and took us back a couple of kilometers. There was small trail just wide enough for a car, climbing down rapidly. Impossible to see if you didn’t knew what you were looking for and with no signboards. This was the trail which was leading up to the Gopalpur FRH.

We thanked the pickup driver for showing us the way and promptly took the trail till we reached a large locked gate with no sign. We honked and waited for a while. When no one turned up, I tried to call caretaker, but he wouldn’t pick up the call. Eventually I had to call Top Singh Bodh sir for assistance, as he was the one who had helped booked the cottage and even told me about it in the first place.

After a few more calls and half an hour long wait at the gate with no one in sight, finally a guy appeared who promptly opened the gate and took us to the FRH. The wait and effort seemed so much worth it, the moment we entered the FRH and checked out our rooms.



Now that we were finally inside a beautiful guest house, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, all of us were in good mood. Temporary caretaker arranged everything for us and left the guest house around an hour later, leaving the 4 of us to chat and talk till late in night and it was only around 1am, that managed to hit the bed and tried to get some sleep.

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