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:
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.
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.
Finishing the tea, we loaded our lugguage in the Beast and bade goodbye to HPPWD Rest House and Rohru. The time read 0630 hrs…
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.
Having our tummies full (oh yes! check the picture above how gentlemen know their tummy is full 😀 ), 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.
Enjoying the vistas, we crawled ahead. 😀 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.
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).
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.
Finished with the tea, we rode again, passing through a water stream…
And then we entered lush green forests of Deodar and so we took a photo-break again.
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.
After spending around half an hour, we started onward again. The time read 1130 hours.
Capturing the beautiful valley and picturesque houses, we drove ahead….
… 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. 🙂
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! 🙂
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.
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. 🙂
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! 😀 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!
And then we drove again, now me on the wheels, leaving Chakrata behind…
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
We had some delicious, mouth-watering chaats followed by kulfi to top up!
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! 🙂 🙂