Pabbar-Day-3

Day 3: 02 June 2014 : Return to chaos

Yesterday was a day where all our wishes have been fulfilled and nature had treated us with all that was in it’s kitty. Today was the departure day from Rohru, going back to the chaos and maddening rush of NCR. How much I hate being there.. but when you have to earn your bread and butter and save some pennies for traveling to these places, falling victim to the chaos is just the collateral damage, I guess!

I woke up early in the morning around 0530, hoping to capture the sunrise. However, Rohru is in valley and the Sun was rising behind the hills, so the best I could capture was this:

Morning at HP PWD Rest House

Morning at HP PWD Rest House

 

Gradually, everyone woke up and we saw the bulleteers getting ready to ride. As we had discussed with Dheeraj Solanki, we knew now that Kharapatha-Theog route to Shimla was pure hell and we ourselves have traversed the hell on the Tiuni-Shillai-Paonta Sahib route. We talked to Maniram (the Himachali caretaker with a Kashmiri accent) and he informed that the route between Tiuni-Chakrata was better and less frequented and so we decided to return via Chakrata.

Bulleteers getting ready for the ride

Bulleteers getting ready for the ride

 

It was going to be a long ride and hence we decided to have breakfast on the way and to start as quickly as possible from Rohru. We ordered tea which Maniram brought promptly.

Maniram - The HPPWD Rest House caretaker

Maniram – The HPPWD Rest House caretaker

 

Finishing the tea, we loaded our lugguage in the Beast and bade goodbye to HPPWD Rest House and Rohru. The time read 0630 hrs…

Last pic at HPPWD Rohru

Last pic at HPPWD Rohru

 

We refueled the Beast at Rohru itself and by 0730 hrs, and driving along the Pabbar river, we reached Tiuni where Pabbar meets Tons river. Looking at the shops open, we decided to have breakfast there. We ordered Paranthas with curd and while the Paranthas were being prepared, we explored a fruit & vegetable shop adjacent to the restaurant. They had some very good apricots, succulent and sweet. Plus they had another variety of apricots which looked more like small apples. The prices were very cheap – half of what you get at popular destinations and so we all purchased some apricots. And then, we went for the fill.

Paranthas in making

Paranthas in making

Ready to be feasted on

Ready to be feasted on

How to check whether your tummies are full! ;)

How to check whether your tummies are full! πŸ˜‰

 

Having our tummies full (oh yes! check the picture above how gentlemen know their tummy is full πŸ˜€ ), we crossed the bridge over Tons and leaving Himachal, we entered Uttarakhand. From here, for a vary long distance, Tons river is the demarcation between HP & UK. The road conditions were ok types, not very good and we were taking frequent photo-op breaks which kind of reduced our speed to 15kmph.

Tons river marking the boundary of HP & UK

Tons river marking the boundary of HP & UK

Break to banta hai

Break to banta hai

 

Enjoying the vistas, we crawled ahead. πŸ˜€ The road is not too good, but better than the other routes. It’s narrow and not much traffic is there (in fact we were able to see only two-three vehicles till Chakrata). But as compared to the Himachal route, this was more green.

Beautiful views

Beautiful views

Colourful Houses

Colourful Houses in the valley

The road condition

The road condition

Narrow roads

Narrow roads

Step farming

Step farming

Define heavy traffic

Define heavy traffic

I wish to have my house there... someday! :)

I wish to have my house there… someday! πŸ™‚

Lush green!

Lush green!

 

We were also keeping an eye for schools/aanganwaadis so that we can distribute the causes stuff. Driving for about two hours, we arrived at an area which seemed to be populated and so we decided to get down and find out if there were any. Indeed there was an aanganwaadi and so we all got down. Sawara was the name of the village (just adjascent to Penuwa in Google Maps) which comes under Chakrata Tehsil of Dehradun (not to be confused with Swara Kuddu in HP, just before Tiuni where a hydroelectric project is running).

Approaching Sawara village, chakrata

Approaching Sawara village, chakrata

 

The family running aanganwaadi were quite surprised to learn that we were not from any Government department or NGO. Although the kids have gone back to their homes, they quickly gathered them and then we distributed the causes stuff to the kids. The family insisted that we have our lunch with them which we had to politely deny stating the fact that we have to run to Delhi today itself and we’re running short of time, on which they quickly arranged tea for us.

Happy Kids

Happy Kids

Distributing causes stuff

Distributing causes stuff

And a group pic

And a group pic

 

Finished with the tea, we rode again, passing through a water stream…

chanshal146

Water crossing

Water crossing

Samar - aiming his shot

Samar – aiming his shot

 

And then we entered lush green forests of Deodar and so we took a photo-break again.

How green it is!

How green it is!

The road passes through forest

The road passes through forest

Samar - posing

Samar – posing

Madan - ek to meri bhi banti hai yaar!

Madan – ek to meri bhi banti hai yaar!

The Deodar trees are tall and dense

The Deodar trees are tall and dense

Sooo tall!

Sooo tall!

 

Within 10 minutes of starting from that point, we reached the Koti Kanasar Temple and meadows. This is a beautiful little open space within dense Kanasar forest which houses Deodar trees that are hundreds or years old. It also houses Asia’s oldest and biggest Deodar tree which is approx 6.35 meters in diameter! The place is not to be missed as it is just besides the road. We took this opportunity to take some rest and photo-op.

Kanasar meadows. Koti Kanasar temple in background

Kanasar meadows. Koti Kanasar temple in background

One for Yours Truly!

One for Yours Truly!

MadAnil - resting!

MadAnil – resting!

Find out the age

Can you find out it’s age? Unfortunately it has been cut down! πŸ™

Asia's oldest and tallest Deodar Tree

Asia’s oldest and tallest Deodar Tree at Kanasar, Chakrata

 

After spending around half an hour, we started onward again. The time read 1130 hours.

Distance chart

Distance chart

 

Capturing the beautiful valley and picturesque houses, we drove ahead….

Picture perfect!

Picture perfect!

chanshal162

Could that be my home one day?

Could that be my home one day?

The mountain and the Beast

The mountain and the Beast

chanshal165

 

… until we had to stop due to a blockage. BRO was laying fresh tarmac. It took about 10 minutes to clear the road and Samar grabbed the opportunity to talk to a tree. πŸ™‚

work in progress

work in progress

Who's taller?

Who’s taller?

road opens

road opens

 

In next hour, we reached Chakrata (did I mentioned that we were driving 15kmph?). We went into the market where Anil & Madan have been before and shopped for some camo pants and belts which were very cheap. Anil bhai talked to the shop owner about some heresay not to visit Tiger Falls during winters as some witchcraft is done there (!). The shopkeeper said that right now there was no problem and it was only off season that they advise people not to go there. In the meanwhile, I captured these cute kids in the shop! πŸ™‚

Entering the Chakrata market

Entering the Chakrata market

Cute kids

Cute kids

Cute kids

Cute kids

 

Chakrata has some nice Himalayan views to capture and we were able to see some snow-capped peaks for the last time. The time read 1330 hrs.

Snow-capped peaks..

Snow-capped peaks from Chakrata.. for the last time in the trip.

 

Starting from Chakrata, we planned to visit the Tiger Falls and drove couple of kilometers, however, on inquiring, locals at two places told us that the vehicle can go only to a certain point and then there is at least a 1 km trek downhill to access the fall. Now going downhill was not a problem, but being tired of the long drives that we were having since day before, no one was willing to trek uphill and so it was decided that we would comeback sometime when we’re hail and healthy and then we took a U-turn. πŸ™‚

Barely we have driven for half an hour, Madan again felt the need to take a load due to his bowel movements and so we stopped for him to do the job! This was third day of our drive and every day someone or the other had to “do the job” on way! πŸ˜€ So how do you kill your time in a forest while someone is doing his job? Simple – you click at random, and so we did!

Someone's doing the job!

Someone’s doing the job!

Let's meet Mr. Beeeeee

Let’s meet Mr. Beeeeee

chanshal175
chanshal176

 

And then we drove again, now me on the wheels, leaving Chakrata behind…

chanshal177

Chakrata cantonment ends

Chakrata cantonment ends

 

From Chakrata, there are two routes to reach Dehradun. One is the route you take via Kalsi(where Tons river meets Yamuna)-Dakpathar-Vikasnagar-Herbertpur-Dehradun or you can go via Mussoorie. The former route is short by 20 odd kilometers and then the later route passes through crowded Kepty Falls and Mussoorie and hence we decided to take the former. The road conditions had improved from Chakrata

Much better roads!

Much better roads!

Colourful fields

Colourful fields

 

Just ahead, where a road to Yamunotri bifurcates (the later route towards Mussoorie), we saw an imbroglio between a Delhi registered car and a mahindra commander driver. They had met with an accident and the commander driver was abusing the car driver like anything, threatening him and calling various people. We got down and tried to gauge the situation. The car driver appeared to be drunk and just then to our surprise, a police personnel came on a motorcycle, stopped, talked to someone over phone and off he went!

imbroglio!

imbroglio!

the place

the place

That's the way to Yamunotri

That’s the way to Yamunotri (and Mussoorie too)

 

We were taken aback by the policeman’s attitude and then decided not to interfere and so we hopped on again and rode towards Kalsi.

Tons and Yamuna at Kalsi

Tons and Yamuna at Kalsi

 

We remembered that we hadn’t ate anything as yet after Tiuni and so decided that we’ll have something at Dehradun. Having been deprived of any non-veg food (discounting the yuk mutton we had at Rohru), we decided that we’ll eat at KFC. We were also conscious of the time as Dheeraj had to get a metro to reach Dwarka, however tummies were demanding their fill and soon we zipped past Kalsi & Vikasnagar and took a left at Herbertpur, where an idiot driver came in our line of drive, which I barely managed to avoid. We reached the KFC at Rajpur road and ordered some burgers (of course chicken ones for us, Dheeraj being an eggetarian, decided to have veg burger). The time read 1700 hrs.

KFC Dehradun

KFC Dehradun. Apologies for shaky picture quality

 

We started our journey again and just as we entered Rajaji National Park, we saw this person throwing garbage on the road from inside his Toyota Corolla with a Delhi number. They’d come to hills, pollute it and then crib about the unattended garbage on their next visit. Unfortunately, people do get money easily, but civic sense is not something that can be procured. Agitated we were, we’ve decided to make this guy famous!

The famous (or not so famous) city guy littering in Himalayas

The famous (or not so famous) city guy littering in Himalayas on a 15 lakh vehicle

 

Soon we passed by Roorkee, and then stopped at Purquazi to have some chaat at the famous Gupta Chat Bhandar. Now there are many Guptas that have cropped up hinging on the popularity, but only a local would know the original and hence Samar for the rescue! The time read 2010 hrs.

Gupta Chaat Bhandar

Gupta Chaat Bhandar at Purquazi

papris for chaat

papris for chaat in making

Owner posing happily!

Owner posing happily!

 

We had some delicious, mouth-watering chaats followed by kulfi to top up!

Delicious, yummy chaat

Delicious, yummy chaat

Topping of kulfi ;)

Topping of kulfi πŸ˜‰

 

And then, it was a mad rush from Purquazi to reach Noida City Centre in time for Dheeraj to get the Metro. We passed by Muzaffarnagar, Khatauli, Meerut, Modinagar & Muradnagar quickly. When we reached Ghaziabad, we calculated that reaching Noida city centre in time would not be possible and the best would be to dash for Vaishali Metro station. Somehow, we managed to reach Vaishali Metro station by 2255 and we waited outside for confirmation from Dheeraj that he gets the Metro. Fortunately, Dheeraj was able to board the last metro to Dwarka, leaving Vaishali at 2305. We then drove to Madan’s house, dropped Madan, Anil and Samar and then reached my home at Noida past midnight.

That ends our fantastic trip to very less frequented Chanshal Pass and I hope you liked traveling virtually with me. If you have any query or feedback or if you have recently visited Chanshal Pass, feel free to leave a comment and I will try to reply as soon as possible.

Total Distance covered: Approx 475 kms

Total Round-trip distance: Approx 1073 kms

Driving Directions from Rohru to Noida via Chakrata: Start from Rohru and drive towards Hatkoti. At Hatkoti, take the left fork to go towards Tiuni, the right fork goes towards Kharapathar-Theog. Turn left to cross the bridge on Tons (there are two bridges, one before the market and another just after the market area at Tiuni – take anyone) and immediately turn right to go towards Chakrata. Keep on driving following the road with Tons river on your right to pass by Chilhar and Sawara-Penuwa to arrive at Kanasar. Keep on following the road to pass by Deoban and arrive at Chakrata. After you pass by the church, take the right fork and keep driving to arrive at Sahiya. Keep right after PNB (do not take the small road on your left) and just afterwards, take the left fork and drive ahead. At the point where the road bifurcates again, marked by clear signs to yamunotri (and goes to Mussoorie), take the right fork to pass by Kalsi and then take the bridge on Yamuna on your left to arrive at Dakpathar. Do not take any left or right turn on any smaller road and keep following the road to pass by Vikasnagar and arrive at Herbertpur. Turn left at Herbertpur crossing to pass by Rampur and Premnagar, arriving at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower). Take the first exit if you need to go to Rajpur Road, else, take the second exit. At next roundabout, take the third exit and drive straight to Prince Chowk. Turn right at Prince Chowk and drive ahead to be on the Saharanpur road (NH 72A). Keep on following the NH to pass through Rajaji National Park. Drive straight to arrive at Chhutmalpur and turn left on NH 73 to arrive at Roorkee. At Roorkee, turn right on NH 58 and drive ahead following the road to arrive at Purquazi. Driving straight, arrive at Muzaffarnagar bypass and turn left just after Uttarakhand Memorial at Rampur to take the bypass. Turn left at the end of bypass to remain at NH 58 (just after Jadoda Nara Railway station) and then keep on following the road, taking Khatauli bypass and Meerut bypass. Drive ahead to pass by Modinagar and Muradnagar to arrive at NH 57 Junction at Ghaziabad. Turn right on NH 57 towards Delhi. After crossing Hindon river bridge, turn left at Mohan Nagar (just after Mohan Mekin’s Brewery) and drive straight to arrive at Vaishali Metro station. From here, you can take the right fork of the road just after Dabur premises to reach Anand Vihar Bus Terminus and Railway station. Alternatively, driving straight can get you to NH 24 junction from where taking right would enable you to reach Mayur Vihar/I.P. Extension, Akshardham, and eventually at the Ring road near Millenium Park. Taking a left from the NH 24 Junction, you can reach Noida sector 62 crossing from where one can enter Noida.

Google Map directions for Rohru to Noida via Chakrata: https://goo.gl/maps/Ia1FJ

For driving directions between Delhi and Rohru via Paonta Sahib, please see the first post in this series.

 

Epilogue: Happy to report that the Beast isn’t yet showing signs of age. What was believed to be dysfunctional turbo charger boiled down to 2 missing nuts of the exhaust connecting it to the engine. 5 Rupees and it’s all hale and hearty! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Pabbar-Day-2

Day 2: 01 June 2014 : Nature welcomes Yayawar at Chanshal Pass

Today was the BIG day for us as we would be visiting Chanshal Pass and celebrating DoW’s Anniversary there by cutting a cake (Yes! Samar had carried a special cake for the occasion!). However, knowing that Chanshal would just be 50 odd kilometers and probably that we would be going to the other side of the valley to Dodra-Kwar (another 20 kms for Dodra and 40 odd for Kwar), it should not take long and hence the day was relaxed (or so we thought!). So we got up in a relaxed mood and prepared for the day’s drive. By 0830 hrs, we were out of our rooms clicking some morning shots and started our drive by 0845 hrs with Madan on the wheels. The weather was pleasant with clouds hovering and some rains were forecast-ed too.

 

Litter everywhere

Litter everywhere

HPPWD Rest house, Rohru

HPPWD Rest house, Rohru

Morning view at HPPWD Rest house

Morning view at HPPWD Rest house

Hovering clouds at HPPWD Rest House

Hovering clouds at HPPWD Rest House

 

We were driving along the Pabbar river and the views were providing good feast to eyes. The views were so tempting that we were forced to stop the Beast, just 40 minutes into our drive at the first opportunity we got for proximity with the Pabbar river and in we went for some photo-shots. πŸ™‚

 

Pabbar River

Pabbar River

Near Pabbar River

Near Pabbar River

Feeling the cold waters

Feeling the cold waters

chanshal36

From left to right – Anil, Madan and Dheeraj

View of the valley

View of the valley

 

We started our drive again and pretty soon we were excited to see snow-clad peaks on the horizon.

Snow capped peaks at the horizon

First view of Snow capped peaks at the horizon

A closer look at the snow-capped peaks

A closer look at the snow-capped peaks

 

We soon reached Chirgaon and was surprised to see a barber shop, the owner of which belonged to Samastipur – my hometown. This we knew because he had this written in big letters as a board. I thought of catching up with him on return. Just after Chirgaon, we saw this Gaddi who was with his herd of cattle and so we stopped to have a chitchat.

Gaddi with his cattle

Gaddi with his cattle

 

Further ahead, we reached Tikkari where there was this small bridge that we had to cross. We saw the water under the bridge that was clean and pristine and so we stopped again to click some pics. πŸ™‚

Pristine waters

Pristine waters

Wild flowers by the river

Wild flowers by the river

At the Tikkari bridge

At the Tikkari bridge

 

We moved ahead towards Chanshal after spending a couple of minutes there. As we had planned to cut the DoW anniversary cake at the Chanshal Pass, it was decided that we’ll all be in DoW Tees at the top. However, Dheeraj hadn’t taken a bath due to cold and so hasn’t changed! πŸ˜€ And when we reminded him about the attire, he changed his clothes in the moving car! πŸ˜‰ Moving ahead, we reached Larot by 1045 hrs. We had planned to have breakfast here as Anil had read someone’s blog that there is a nice little eatery serving food. However, to our disappointment, the place was not yet open and they had just fired up the stove. They said that even Maggi would take at least 40-45 minutes. We can’t waste that much time. We’ll have it at Chanshal if anything is available, or at Dodra-Kwar. And so we proceeded again…

Finding out if there is something to eat somewhere

Finding out if there is something to eat somewhere

 

Soon we were driving through dense forest and the road has almost vanished. But when the surroundings were so green and the views inviting, how couldn’t have we not stopped? And so we again took a break…

The road and the greens

The road and the greens

Photo break in the woods

Photo break in the woods

I just kicked the tree!

I just kicked the tree!

And the vistas...

And the vistas…

 

Have a look at the road conditions too!

Can this be classified as road?

Can this be classified as road?

 

The ascent was steep at places, especially at the turns and it was made more difficult with the road conditions coupled with the rains which seems to have happened just minutes ago. It was one such turn when the Beast started loosing it’s power and we could see black smoke coming out of the exhaust. Madan said that most probably the turbo has failed or become dysfunctional. And I was like, no way the Beast would fail me.. we have seen it’s prowess yesterday. Somehow, the beast kept inching forward at the incline and then we saw something which elated all of us – snow deposited on the side of the road! What?? It is 1st of June and snow? No way!! Indeed it was snow and as we progressed, the thickness of the snow deposits started increasing. And so quite visible was the snow on the nearby peaks in every direction! πŸ™‚

First encounter with Snow on the roadside

First encounter with Snow on the roadside

Snow everywhere

Snow everywhere

chanshal52

Snow thickness growing

Snow thickness growing

 

We left behind the tree line and now it was just the rocks/snow/mud/grass and small shrubs for company. Just then, we sensed low air pressure in rear left tyre. We got down to inspect and it was completely flat! Hmmm.. perhaps the Beast is growing old and less capable of accompanying me on such expeditions. However, I’m always ready for such eventualities and was carrying two sets of tubeless tyre puncture repairing kit and electronic car air compressor (Metal Body Ultra Heavy Duty Mini Air Compressor from Mangal India). We located the puncture too, however, who would have the strength to apply this as it requires too much of strength. Anil & Madan to rescue – they together repaired the puncture even without taking out the tyres. And then we filled air.

Detecting the puncture.. err. the views are more beautiful! :)

Detecting the puncture.. err. the views are more beautiful! πŸ™‚

Getting some fresh air

Getting some fresh air

 

The time it took to repair the puncture and fill the air to correct pressure, everyone utilized it to click pics of vistas which were beautiful

chanshal56
chanshal57
chanshal58

 

We hopped on the beast again and started, however, by that time, Samar and Anil had walked ahead and waved us to come. Seconds later, we were passing a wall of snow 6″-8″ in height – this much of snow on 01st of June!! And so while Samar captured the Beast passing by the snow wall, we captured it from inside.

A wallpaper? Ask Samar!

A wallpaper? Ask Samar!

Snow wall-ed!

Snow wall-ed!

Lets graze some

Lets graze some

 

Snow had become very conspicuous now and we could sense that we were approaching the Chanshal Pass. Fortunately, the road (or better say track) was clear of snow. While approaching the pass, we noticed a group of bikers and we waved at them.

Snowy way

Snowy way

Loads of it

Loads of it

Notice the group of bikers? That tiny specks in the centre

Notice the group of bikers? That tiny specks in the centre

 

Just after a bend, we arrived at Chanshal Pass. The time read 1233 hrs. It took us 3 hours and 48 minutes to cover the 50 odd kilometers that too without any breakfast(of course with the photo breaks)!

Chanshal Pass

Chanshal Pass

 

The Chanshal pass stands good at an altitude of 3750 meters and the Chanshal peak which adjoins the pass is 4520 meters. Not so high, but mind it – some of the peaks in the Chanshal ranges are about 5200 meters high.

Chanshal range

Chanshal range

 

Ecstatic and exuberant are the words that I can use to explain the mood! We had never thought that we would get loads of snow during this time of the year! This trip itself was least planned and appeared to be a rushed up, at times going into jeopardy due to withdrawal of people, but we made itΒ  here!! πŸ™‚

Time to bring the DoW anniversary cake and cut it.

DoW Anniversary cake at Chanshal Pass

DoW Anniversary cake at Chanshal Pass

 

But first we need to capture ourselves in front of the board – memories in making. And so we climbed the rocks, positioned ourselves at whatever space was available and asked a gentleman to shoot us (no no! not with a gun, rather our DSLRs).

Devils at Chanshal Pass

Devils at Chanshal Pass – From left to right: Dheeraj, Samar, Anil (all in black tees), Your’s Truly (white tee). Standing behind: Madan (white tee)

Devils at Chanshal Pass - another shot

Devils at Chanshal Pass – another shot

 

And while stepping down, we noticed how shitty people spoil places that are still virgin… πŸ™

Waste thrown by stupids at Chanshal Pass

Waste thrown by stupids at Chanshal Pass

 

Now the gentleman was with a family which had come all the way from Nashik and had a kid who’s birthday happened to be the same day, however, they didn’t had the cake to celebrate! Devils to the rescue! Devils are known to spread this infectious thing called Smile, and so we offered the girl to cut the cake first, followed by Daddy Devil (Dheeraj) and then we all distributed and had a piece of the cake. Oh! Did we just celebrated a birthday atop a mountain pass? πŸ˜‰

Spreading smile at Chanshal Pass

Spreading smile at Chanshal Pass – Happy Birthday to you!

And now for the DoW's Anniversary!

And now for the DoW’s Anniversary!

 

Cakes finished, we spent sometime getting ourselves clicked with the board and the vistas around.

chanshal73

Yayawar at Chanshal Pass

Yayawar at Chanshal Pass

Who has come here? Asks the crow!

Who has come here? Asks the crow!

chanshal76

 

Dheeraj and Samar then decided to scale the Chanshal Peak, while we, the less mortals, decided to keep ourselves happy lying low. πŸ™‚

Scaling the Chanshal Peak

Scaling the Chanshal Peak

At Chanshal Peak

At Chanshal Peak

View of the valley from the peak

View of the valley from the peak

 

Lying low, we found a huge piece of land covered with thick snow and so we did some snow-bashing πŸ™‚

Friends forever - MadAnil! :)

Friends forever – MadAnil! πŸ™‚

Snow bashing

Snow bashing – Cold? eh! What’s that?

Found a great Friend!

Found a great Friend!

One for Yayawar

One for Yayawar

 

From our position, we clicked Dheeraj and Samar descending from the Chanshal Peak, while they clicked us.

chanshal84

Find us

Find us

 

While they had the courage to scale the peak, the stamina went like this when they returned πŸ˜‰

crashed! :D

crashed! πŸ˜€

 

After resting a while, we again clicked vistas around, while Samar tried some daredevil!

chanshal87
chanshal88

Daredevil - sitting on the edge!

Daredevil – sitting on the edge!

 

What I noticed, that the rocks had clear metallic deposits (it certainly wasn’t mica, for I have seen mica deposits at Koderma and they chip-off in layers).

Metal deposit in rocks?

Metal deposit in rocks?

 

The time read 1415 hrs. We discussed and decided that going to Dodra-Kwar would consume at least 5-6 hours for a return journey from Chanshal and then it would take further 3 hours from Chanshal to Rohru and hence we dropped the idea of going to Dodra-Kwar and started descending towards Rohru. The time read 1430..

The weather in the meanwhile started changing fast with black clouds hovering above in the sky. We could clearly see heavy downpour in the valley.

The Downpour

The Downpour

chanshal92

 

It had been barely 20 minutes that we started our returned when rains started and we slowed down. And then, the nature danced! We noticed the valley turning white gradually and when we opened our car windows, we see this:

Hail or Snow?

Hail or Snow?

 

Oh Yes! What was initially hailstorm turned into Snowfall and the valley turned white and the snow engulfed the Beast! We had stopped to enjoy the nature welcoming Yayawar at the valley. We’ve seen it all in a day – scorching heat, snow, rain, hailstorm and snowfall – what more could you ask for from nature? Specially considering that it was 01st of June, when it is a giant furnace at NCR, this was a welcome change to be at Chanshal and witness all the wonders of nature.

Whitewash in progress

Whitewash in progress

Covered with snow

Covered with snow

Whitewash

Whitewash

Snow on the Beast

Snow on the Beast

 

Once the rain and snow stopped, we proceeded further towards Larot, passing through the green surroundings and soaking in the nature…

chanshal98chanshal99
chanshal100

 

… and stopping wherever we felt for some photo-op πŸ˜€

Ok! That's shooting photograph!

Ok! That’s shooting photograph!

I'm towering above all!

I’m towering above all!

Beauty(ful) and the Beast

Beauty(ful) and the Beast

 

We had the causes stuff with us, however, being Sunday we were well aware that no school or aanganwaadi would be open and so we kept an eye for opportunity to distribute the stuff. I still remember the incident and burst into laughter when we stopped seeing three kids on the road. Madan asked their names, while Anil got down and opened the rear door of Scorpio to get the items and Madan asked the kids to get to the rear in an ordering tone. The kids thought they’d be bundled in the rear seat and god knows what.. they just ran away for their life screaming on top of their voice! One of the kid slipped his slippers and instead of coming back and picking it up, he chose to leave the another one too and just save his life! πŸ˜€Β  Just imagine – a person in army camo pants with a kadak moustache asks you to go to the rear of the vehicle appearing suddenly on a solitary road.. another one opens up the rear door hurriedly. What would you do if you you’re a 9 year old?? πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

We spent next half an hour thinking what had happened and laughing out loud! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Just as we reached Shiladesh village, we noticed kids playing in a field. Madan shouted at them to call, but they seemed to be a bit afraid. We all got down the beast and called them and then distributed the stuff to them. The kids were quite elated to receive the stuff and the smiles that we saw was priceless!

Kids at Shiladesh field

Kids at Shiladesh field

Distributing stuff

Distributing stuff

I don't yet go to school. Won't I get anything? :(

I don’t yet go to school. Won’t I get anything? πŸ™

Of course cutie pie! Here you go! :)

Of course cutie pie! Here you go! πŸ™‚

 

We then moved forward from Shiladesh towards Larot and kept on distributing stuff to all the kids that we found on the way. And the news spread! By the time we passed on couple of turns, a kid came running to us. We stopped and he started – “My name is Raghav. R-A-G-H-A-V!”

chanshal108

My name is Raghav, R-A-G-H-A-V!

My name is Raghav, R-A-G-H-A-V!

 

At Larot, we met another little girl who was helping her grandmother grazing cattle in the fields. She proudly said that she did after returning from School. And we were overwhelmed with emotions. We at the plains have such a simple life, which can be called quite luxuorious by the standards these kids struggle at the mountains with very few resources, and still they smile at very little things.

Helping grandma after school!

Helping grandma after school!

 

Distributing stuff all the way, we rode towards Chirgaon.

chanshal111
chanshal112
chanshal113

 

We were taking frequent photo-breaks and then the nature astonished us with another wonder! Yes, a Rainbow!! πŸ™‚ Seems that nature was hell bent on demonstrating all it’s charm to us today, and we were indeed charmed!

Icing on the cake - nature's wonder - The Rainbow! :)

Icing on the cake – nature’s wonder – The Rainbow! πŸ™‚

 

We stopped at the place where the river was flowing just besides the road and there was open space. While we utilized this time for photo-op, Madan decided to do the “job” similar to what Anil did yesterday at the place with multiple waterfalls – attending nature’s call in the lap of nature! πŸ˜‰

chanshal115
chanshal116
chanshal117

Waiting for Madan to finish the "job"! ;)

Waiting for Madan to finish the “job”! πŸ˜‰

 

Saying goodbye to the ice-capped peaks, we reached Chirgaon.

chanshal119

 

The time read 1715 hrs and by the time all the mice in our stomachs had died down. It were now the cats that were demanding their fill and we had to oblige! In search of a decent eatery, we passed by the barber’s shop and stopped at a restaurant to have some samosas. They were not too tasty and hence we decided not to have any second helping.

chanshal120

 

Finished with the samosas, we rushed back to Rohru and reached HP PWD Rest house by 1850 hrs.

chanshal121

Arrived!

Arrived!

 

And when we got down the beast, we were pleasantly surprised to find the lawns cleaned up even when today was Sunday and nobody was supposed to be working! Yesterday’s scolding did worked! (Just compare this picture with the very first picture in this post to get the idea) πŸ™‚

Surprised!

Surprised! Clean Lawns!

 

We asked Maniram to prepare tea and then we would decide further course of action for the day. While having tea, I came across the local newspaper in the lobby and was quite frustrated to see a news item. Does this means that the apples that we eat are nothing more than packets of Urea!! Perhaps it’s time to rephrase the phrase – An apple a day…Β  πŸ™

See what goes into the Apples

See what goes into the Apples

 

After tea, we decided to have some rest and then we would explore the market to see if we can get some trout. However, what was supposed to be a half an hour rest took more than two hours. Madan and Anil got into the room and bolted it from inside and while we kept on knocking, they came out only after 2 hours. They had slept!! πŸ™

Now, from yesterday’s experience, we knew that the market would be closed now and so we asked Maniram to arrange for dinner.

Sometime later, we heard lots of vroom vroom sound in the HPPWD Rest House campus and then we saw a group of bikers. Now I got it! This was the same group of bikers that we saw while reaching Chanshal pass. What took them so long to reach here? I introduced myself to one of them and he introduced himself as Dheeraj Solanki from Agra and all the bullets were part of Taj Royal group of bulleteers. They had come via Thoeg-Kharapathar route and said that the route was hell and that they had two bikes giving in with both the suspensions! They had another one facing the problem while descending down the Chanshal and hence they took time. Fortunately, they were a large group and had a mechanic with them. I spent the evening chatting with Dheeraj (while we were knocking on the other room for Madan and Anil to come out).

After having a simple dinner, we chit-chatted for sometime and then went to sleep. It had been a very good day!

Next: Return to chaos

CONTD…

Total Distance covered: ApproxΒ  110 kms

Driving Directions from Rohru to Chanshal Pass: From HP PWD Rest House, come to the main road (turn sharp left) and continue till you approach the bridge. Turn right to take the bridge and just after crossing the bridge, turn extreme right. Follow the road along with Pabbar River to arrive at Chirgaon. At Chirgaon, take the right fork at the first tri-junction and just ahead, take the extreme right fork. Drive ahead along with the river for approx 6.5 kms and next when you approach a tri-junction at Tikkari, take the right fork to cross the river and drive towards Larot on Dodra-Kwar road. Keep following the road for next 26.5 kms to pass by Shiladesh and arrive at Chanshal Pass.

Google Map directions for Rohru to Chanshal Pass: http://goo.gl/maps/aKpyt

Current weather forecast for Rohru:

Pabbar-Day-1

Day 1: 31 May 2014 : Noida to Rohru (Pabbar Valley) and a breakdown!

Prelude:
Let me admit, Chanshal and Pabbar were names that I hadn’t came across until friends at DoW started discussing a 3 day trip in May start on the WhatsApp group. I was just a silent reader of the discussion and the talks were about going together in one or two cars. People were agreeing and then I was asked whether I can lend my Beast for the trip as Madan Bhai (another DoW friend) was planning for a North-East trip and his scorpio wasn’t free as it had to be serviced. Around 15th of May, I agreed that I would also go as it meant just one day’s leave clubbed with the weekend and so the plan was fixed for two cars and around 7-8 people. Then as usual, withdrawals happened and we were left with 5 people – myself, Dheeraj, Samar, Anil and Madan. Coincidentally, 01st June happens to be the DoW’s anniversary too and so the plan was made for a small cake cutting ceremony at the Chanshal.

The route planned was Noida-Dehradun-Paonta Sahib-Shillai-Rohru-Chanshal and back the same route. People who had been on the route had warned that the route around Shillai was something that would require silai (stitching) of butts later on! πŸ™‚ However, with beast on our side, which has never failed my trust on so many long sojourns, I was confident that we won’t face any issues at all. It was planned that Dheeraj will come to my or Ashish’s place the evening before and Samar would join Anil so that we all can club together in the morning without any delay. And so the preparations started…

Day 0: 30th May 2014
As planned, Dheeraj arrived at my home around 2100 hrs. He also brought DoW Tees with him as the plan was for all of us to be in the DoW attire when we cut the cake. We chit-chatted for long and went to sleep around 0000 hrs.

Day 1: 31st May 2014

We woke up around 0430 hrs as the plan was to start at 0500 hrs. Quickly, we freshened up with daily rituals and hopped on the beast. First stop, Pratap Vihar to pick up Anil, Samar and Madan. They said that we should take a left turn off NH 24 just after the Ganga Water project plan and they’d meet us there itself. As we turned and drove a bit further, Dheeraj received a call from Anil that they were standing at the turn itself and have seen us passing by and so we should take a U-turn and come back at the junction. Quickly we reached there, met everyone and everyone hopped on. I was on the driving seat and very soon we were past Ghaziabad, Khatauli, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Roorkee. First stop was at Roorkee for a quick tea at Sapna Suddh Bhojanalaya Dhaba. Next, we stopped at Biharigarh, approx 35 kms short of Dehradun to have some mouth-watering famous pakodas. Biharigarh is famous for road-side pakoda shops which specialize in various varieties of pakodas – aloo (potato), pyaz (onion), saag (leafy veggies), bread, and what not! The time read 0750…

 

Tea Stop

Tea Stop before Roorkee

Biharigarh Pakoda shop

Famous Pakodas in making at Biharigarh

Biharigarh Pakodas

Yummy! Aren’t they?

 

After feasting on the pakodas, we again resumed our journey, crossing the Rajaji National Park, reaching Dehradun and then turning towards Paonta Sahib. We crossed Herbertpur and then reached the Assan Barrage. Assan barrage is situated at the confluence of Assan and Yamuna river. It is a man-made wetland, approx 4 sq. kms, and has found favourites with the trans-himalayan migratory birds which stop here for some time during their migration. Recently, it has been designated as a bird sanctuary under the aegis of Rajaji National Park. Some water sport facilities like water skiing and boating has been introduced. We got ourselves clicked and then proceeded towards the second destination of the day – Paonta Sahib Gurudwara.

At Assan reservoir

At Assan barrage: (L-R) Samar, Madan, Dheeraj & Yours Truly

pic at assan

 

Navigating through the crowded market area, we arrived at Paonta Sahib Gurudwara and were lucky to find parking space. Samar suggested, that we first should go to the Yamuna banks to wash our hands and feet, though Gurudwaras generally have the facility, but it is supposed to be auspicious. So we took a bylane just after the shops on the left side of the Gurudwara and arrived at the Yamuna banks.

Paonta Sahib parking

Parking at Gurudwara Paonta Sahib

notice

 

Now this Yamuna was an eye-opener! I had never imagined such a clean and cold Yamuna. Believe me, generally when people in and around Delhi think of Yamuna, we first think of Kalindi, which means the river with black water, and actually in Delhi what you see Yamuna is absolute black water with a stong stench. I even joke with people that if anyone can pass the pontoon bridge on foot, or drink a glass of Yamuna water, he’s sure gonna die. Yamuna actually is more or less reduced to a big drain at Delhi and so it was a pleasant shock to see such clean water in the river. This also created a temptation to have a bath in the chilled water and so me and Madan jumped into it while others just enjoyed the chill by dipping their legs sitting on the paved banks.

cold water

Feeling the chilled water

bathing in Yamuna

Making a splash!

Feeling Yamuna

Getting a feel through feet! πŸ˜‰

 

We went to the Gurudwara Paonta Sahib to have a darshan. It is said that the tenth Sikh Guru – Guru Govind Singh Ji stayed at this place and wrote the Dasham Granth (Jaapu Sahib is the first chapter from Dasham Granth) and then proceeded to Anandpur Sahib to establish the Khalsa Panth. The associated museum has many artifacts including pens and weapons associated with Guru Govind Singh Ji.

Paonta Sahib

Inside Gurudwara Paonta Sahib

Paonta Sahib

 

Having a darshan at the Paonta Sahib Gurudwara, we moved to Kripalsheela gurudwara, situated nearby to have langar prasad on Samar’s advise. It was almost 1100 hrs and the sun was shining with it’s all might, hell bent to burn everything.

hot floor

Hot floor-tiles burning the feet πŸ˜€

The Kripalsheela Gurudwara

The Kripalsheela Gurudwara

Langar at Kripalsheela Gurudwara

Langar at Kripalsheela Gurudwara

 

Tummy full, we hopped on the beast and proceeded towards Shillai which is around 70 kms. There were these unique trolleys installed overhead that would transport rocks, just buy the load of them – ingenious thought. Half way through, past all the habitations, I suddenly felt that the beast is not picking up acceleration even when the pedal was full pressed, which was something unusual. Couple of seconds later, I heard some clicking sound from the dashboard and then I noticed that the heat indicator needle was at maximum and the lights were blinking continuously. We stopped the car and got down to inspect opening the bonnet…

Heated Up!

Heated Up!

 

The engine compartment was excessively heated up and we could see that the coolant container was completely dry. There was a dry burning smell emanating and we understood that there has been a leakage from the radiator. Now, we were in a complete desolate zone with no habitation around at all. The mountains were dead and there were no trees to provide any shade and it was scorching peak summer Sun hell bent on burning everything. We were at the corner of a bend and there was this nondescript temple at the other side. Anil and Samar went to the temple to see if any help is available, however no soul was to be seen. There were a couple of containers with some liquid filled in and there was a bucket too. Anil and Samar first smelled the liquid to see if it was water or some fuel. Fortunately, it was water. They got some water and we filled the radiator, which gulped it like anything. And then we saw that some water was dripping down and Madan noticed that it was from the hose of the radiator, which would need to be replaced. Now, we understood that there won’t be any help available before Shillai and the last help available was at Paonta Sahib, which was again 35 kms. We parked the beast in an open space at the turn just besides the temple, waitingΒ  it to cool so that we can reach the nearest help available at Shillai. We all were worried and if I express it in Samar’s words – “Hum sab ki to fatt li thi”. The time read 1240 hrs…

The Temple

The small temple – saviour of the day

 

Somewhere in my mind, I was thinking that this wasn’t possible as the beast has never failed me on any trip and I had full faith on it. However, looking at the scenario, I too was giving in thinking it of the first time this aging beast would be failing me on a trip.

And then, a miracle happened! Fifteen to twenty minutes later, we topped up the radiator and the coolant container again and Madan exclaimed that it was no longer leaking at all!! πŸ™‚ The temperature gauge was back to normal too and having kept the ignition on for around 10 more minutes, it appeared to have become stable – talk about the healing powers of the Beast! Thanking our stars and thinking to get the hose pipe replaced at the first opportunity, we hopped on the beast and drove again, Madan now at the driving seat (and he is quite good at it driving on hills!).

cooling off

Cooling it off! Both the man and the machine! πŸ™‚

valley view

No habitation anywhere, neither any shade

 

We tried sourcing hose pipe at Shillai, but they won’t have the one for Scorpio. We drove on and the further drive was uneventful, except for the bad and worse roads (if we may call them).

Poor roads

Poor roads

Bad roads

Bad roads

roads???

Roads???

valley view

Barren mountains with river to company

 

Just before Tiuni, we arrived at a place which had multiple small waterfalls just besides the roadside. We took a break here to shoot photographs and this was the first time, I pulled out my DSLR. Quite amazing and beautiful the place was and we spent quite a lot of time there. And when we were about to start, Anil decided that he had to listen to his bowel movements and so we spent some more time. πŸ™‚ The time read 1750 hrs…

multiple waterfalls

So many streams.. and who lives up there?

look at the fall

A closer look…

waterfall

… and a broader look

washing face

Let’s bath! OK! Let’s just wash our face (and head) πŸ™‚

posing at the waterfall

And we’ll pose! πŸ˜€

waiting at waterfall

Waiting for someone to return from the “job” πŸ˜‰

 

We passed by Tiuni, where the Pabbar river meets Tons marking the start of Pabbar valley. Driving further ahead, we passed by Hatkoti, and shortly ahead, we arrived at Rohru. Now, being the Yayawars we are, we didn’t had any reservations for any accommodations and so when we noticed the HP PWD Rest House just on the road, we decided to break for the night there itself, and so we drove it inside. The time read 1940 hrs…

Tiuni

Tiuni

Rohru HP PWD Rest House

Finally there – Rohru HP PWD Rest House

 

Funny incident, as PWD Rest Houses may not have rooms available and so Anil and Madan, asked me, Samar and Dheeraj to remain in the car and went to talk to the caretaker. They introduced themselves as the Gunner and Driver of the Judge Saab from Noida(supposedly me!) and their friends of a holiday! And this worked!! We were quickly given two rooms, though later we came to know that the entire guest house was empty! There was a lot of plastic/thermocol waste thrown in the lawn and when I pulled up the caretaker – Mani Ram, who claimed to be a local Himachali, but had an acute accent and built much similar to Kashmiris, he said that this was due to a function held last night and today being Saturday, nobody was available to clean the campuses. I gave him a good lecture on spoiling the environment and above all, keeping the Rest House dirty.

Having some tea, we thought of going to the market to have some trout for dinner. We walked back and forth in the market, but nothing much to avail. We then realized that being the mountains, these places close early. There was this one restaurant serving plain meals for which we were not interested and so we walked to the other side towards the Shikdi bridge. We found a small restro-bar, which was half open and so we forced ourselves in to have something. Anil, Madan and myself ordered mutton, while Dheeraj settled for some egg-bhurji and Samar for regular vegetable and dal. The taste for everything was yuk (the mutton was sheep perhaps, but wonder how they managed to spoil the egg-bhurji too)!

We came back to our hotel, had some mangoes that we carried and then went to sleep!

Next: Nature welcomes Yayawar at Chanshal Pass

CONTD…

Total Distance covered: Approx 488 kms (though google maps show 469 kms)

Driving Directions from Noida to Rohru: From Noida, reach the tri-junction at Sector 62 – NH 24 T-point and turn right on NH 24. Continue on NH 24 to cross Hindon river and pass by Crossings Republik and ABES college. Take the flyover and after crossing it, keep looking for the board to Meerut just after the Industrial area. Turn left just before Columbia Asia Hospital on the road and follow the road (Shaheed Nayak Krishna Kumar Marg – Rani Jhansi Marg) to turn right at the Meerut Road (NH 58) just after IMT Centre for Distance Learning (IMT CDL). Continue on NH 58 to pass by Muradnagar and Modinagar (ensure that you pass by these areas early in the morning, for the road passes through market area which becomes crowded with chaotic traffic as the day begins). After Modinagar, take the Meerut bypass (do not take the flyover, rather take the leftmost road to be on bypass) and pass by Daurala, Khatauli (marked by Cafe Cheetal Grand – once famous for it’s delicious offerings) and then take the Muzaffarnagar bypass (turn right to be on the bypass). Just as the bypass ends, take the right fork to pass by Purkazi/Purquazi and then arriving at Roorkee. At Roorkee, just after the Military Hospital, turn left on NH 73 to go torwards Dehradun. Driving on the road, take the right fork at Bhagwanpur to leave NH 73 and take the Roorkee-Chhutmalpur road to arrive at Chhutmalpur and then turn right to be on NH 72A which passes through Rajaji National Park to reach Dehradun. At Dehradun, keep following NH 72A, the most prominent road and take left fork at Prince Chowk to be on NH 72. Keep left on the road and at the Ghantaghar roundabout (Clock Tower), take first major exit turning left to remain on NH 72 (if confused, ask for the directions to Prem Nagar). Continue on NH 72 (also called Chakrata road) to pass by Doon School and then Prem Nagar. Keep following the NH 72 to cross Assan river and pass by Herbertpur. Keep straight at Herbertpur and arrive at Assan Barrage. Further, cross Yamuna to arrive at Govindghat and then turn left to pass by market and arrive at Gurudwara Paonta Sahib, otherwise, keep straight and arrive at the roundabout. Take the second exit to left from the roundabout and at the next roundabout, take the third exit to pass by Dharamkot, Naraingarh and Rajban, after which the Giri river gives you company and the hills start. Cross the Giri river at Sataun and keep following NH 72 to pass by Kamrau and Shillai. Shortly after Shillai, the Tons river starts giving you company continuing up to Tiuni, where the Pabbar river meets Tons. Continue straight on NH 72, along with the Pabbar river to pass by Jhitand, Arakot, Kuddu, Sawra and arrive at Hatkoti. Take the right fork at Hatkoti (the left goes to Kharapathar-Kotkhai-Theog-Kufri-Shimla) and arrive at Rohru. HPPWD Rest House is location just on the highway itself.

Google Map directions for Noida to Rohru: http://goo.gl/maps/GzP2p

%d bloggers like this: