Trip to Himachal trip [Shimla - Kinnaur - Manali]

This trip was originally planned last year, but due to sudden cloudburst in Uttarkhand and Himachal, with heavy heart I had to cancel our plan. After a long wait of a year finally our plan to visit beautiful Himalayas finally got realised this March (March is end of winter).

I have put down my itinerary. I know it looks quite elaborate but my idea was to record everything I have seen, heard and felt. Here’s the first part.

17th March’14 - Mumbai – Pashim express – When I planned our trip, we were not sure of the dates and the delay landed us in sleeper class coach. I need not say how much we suffered as we boarded the heated train from Mumbai. The nights were better though and the prospect for cooler coming days gave us the strength.

18th March’14 - Shimla
Once we reached Chandigarh, we met Mr. Vinkal Handa whose car we had booked, and started our journey to Shimla. We had suffered enough in train and were desperately waiting for the cool Shimla breeze. But as our car crossed the borders of Haryana and entered Himachal, we noticed the change in climate and our minds started finding its peace. It was approx four hour journey and we took a break on the way to have hot Maggi and Tea. By the time we reached Shimla, it was dark and we hurried to find a suitable hotel for one night. Our driver, Vinkelji, suggested Hotel Sangeet where rooms were available but I thought it expensive for just one night stop. We were supposed to leave the next morning.

But after the endless train journey, searching for hotel sounded a big task. Hotel Sangeet too was full by then and we had to drag our feet to look for others. We met two helpers, Mr.Nari and his brother who took us to hotels per our requirement. Finally after checking 2 hotels we settled for hotel Sea rock. The room was more of a enclosed box but we were good as it had hot water and it was just a matter of one night. If you ask for review I would rate it 2*.

Next morning, we strolled through the Shimla market and bought a few winter items for dad. The market was reasonable and we got some good deals. I found the locals walking to their offices in trendy clothes. It was a pleasant morning and we were happy, finally satisfied to be there.

Source : IntenetShimla also known as Simla, is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. Most of the town lies between 2,100 m and 2,300 m. Shimla is well known as a hub for India's tourism sector. It is among the top 10 preferred entrepreneurial locations in India. Its name has been derived from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali.


The Green Valley

19th March’14 – Sarahan

We skipped sightseeing in Shimla and started our journey for Sarahan at noon. It was a long road along the beautiful landscaped mountains and we took stop at Narkanda for lunch. The hotel owner was Tibetan and chatted with us as we paid the bill. She had been to Mumbai few months ago in December for fortnight trip. They had also been to Ajanta & Ellora caves and enjoyed the trip. We left with smiles and with her good wishes for our journey.

Sarahan is small town and has the famous Bhimakali temple, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali, presiding deity of the rulers of the former Bushahr State. The temple is situated about 180 km from Shimla and is one of 51 Shakti Peethas. The town is known as the gateway of Kinnaur.

It has an average elevation of 7,589 feet.

The temple is made of wood and has intricate beautiful carvings.

 

We reached Sarahan at around 6:30 pm. I asked Vinkelji about hotels. He mentioned his friend's hotel Green valley. I still went to see the guest house in Bhimakali temple but decided in favour of Green valley which had better view than the Bhimakali guest house which was nothing more than a close room without windows. By the time we freshened up and reached the temple by 7:15 pm, (the Aarti starts by 6:45-7), the Aarti was finished and the temple was closed. The next morning we got ready and visited the deity. We were impressed by the temple’s peculiar architecture and by it’s intricate wooden carvings. The premise is spacious and we sat there for some time taking in the beauty of the temple and basking in the sun in the chilly morning.


Shrikhand View from Hotel


Village

20th & 21st March’14 Kalpa

Sangla Valley or the Baspa Valley starts at Sangla and ends at Chitkul. The Baspa River flows in the Sangla Valley which is rich in pine nut orchards, Royal red apples, cherry trees, and glacial streams with trout. The main villages in the valley villages include Chitkul, Rakcham, and Batseri. 

Sarahan was the last town in Shimla district and was also the last with proper roads. As we entered Sangla Valley, after a few kilometres, the roads got narrower and crude. Those who are afraid of height may find their BP rising as the car treks it’s way thousand feet above the steep slope. We took stop at the Mata temple which was built by military to please deity for frequent accidents on the road. There we met an appointed military personal from Maharashtra. He was pleased to find someone from his homeland and so were we.


Road


Power Plant

We followed the steep path, in awe of the skilful driver as our car passed along the edges, with River Sutlej flowing below. Our itinerary was for Sangla/Chitkul but due to weather havoc, the road was closed, so we headed to Kalpa. We took halt at Reckong Peo for lunch. Reckong Peo, also simply known as Peo by the local inhabitants, is headquarters of Kinnaur district. It is at a height of 7,513 ft.

Kalpa is a small town in the Sutlej river valley, above. Inhabited by Kinnauri people and famous for its apple orchards. Apples are a major cash-crop for the region. It has an average elevation of 9,711 feet. It is located at the base of the Kinnaur Kailash snow-capped ranges. The Shivling peaks rise up to 20,000 feet. Kalpa is among apple orchards, pine-nut forests and the stately deodhars. It is above the town of Reckong Peo, the district headquarters of Kinnaur, which has a hundred-year-old Buddhist monastery.

There was fresh snowfall at Kalpa the previous day and most of the hotels were closed due to insufficient staff and water. Vinkalji took us to Rolling Rang resort where we got ourselves a room with direct and perfect view to Kinner Kailash & Shrikhand. We were so close to snow, we gasped at the magnificent mountains as we had a nice hot cup of tea.

The Kinnaur Kailash (locally known as Kinner Kailash) has a height of 6500 meters and is considered as sacred by both Hindu and Buddhist Kinnauris. The pass accessible on the trek is the Charang La at an altitude of 5300m. It is considered as the toughest trek in Himachal Pradesh.

As per legend this shrine too finds its presence since the time of bhasmasur, the Deadly Asur/demon who got a boon/vardan from lord shiva that whoso ever's head will be touched by him, will be turned into bhasma or ashes. Seeing the powerful effects of this boon he tried to bhasma Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva kept on hiding from place to place and then finally came to this place. He resided here for some time meditating with Lord Vishnu. Then finally Lord Vishnu helped him by killing the demon.

Kinnauris believe in the shivling seen on the Shrikhand range as shown in the left pic (picked from net, my camera lens is not powerful enough to capture it). As per locals, the snow never settles on the shivling.


Sunrise View

View

On the second day we went out for some wandering. First on our list was Roghi village. The road to this village is very narrow and it added our admiration for the local drivers. We went by car but there were people who had set out on foot. Along the road was the suicide point with cliff with a terrific fall below. As we reached Roghi village, we found a truck filled with construction materials taking reverse on the steep, narrow, unsettled road. We stood by to look at the operation with eyes opened wide.

Suicide point

Cabbages at the village

I went into shooting spree through the almost-empty lanes with traditional houses & beautiful wooden temples.


Temple


View

Next on our plan was the Tibetan monastery in Chini village a few meters below our hotel. As we reached the temple, a few monks were leaving. We were surprised to see them photo-shooting with iMac. We went around the temple, spinning the prayer wheels offering prayers. It was nice peaceful place like a world in itself. The next morning we could hear a players from the monastery, it’s vibrational rhythmic chants engaging us immediately.


Monastary


Interesting setup

Even though days are warmer in Kalpa, nights get cooler. My parents found it an effort to adjust to the cold. One can also get a heater on rent, thought we came to know about it only on second night.

22nd & 23rd March’14 Rakcham

Next morning we started for Rakcham. Another Bengali group from our hotel was also following the same route. The manager of Running Rang, Mr. Thakur also accompanied us after Sangla. Thakurji is an interesting person and has lots of stories about the place which takes you to closer to the native and makes you more curious about the Kinnaur.

Rakcham is at an altitude of approx. 10,000 ft. Being at higher altitude and almost in the cold mountains, it is quite colder here than Kalpa. So our accidental change of plan in visiting Kalpa proved to be in our favor. It helped our body to get accustomed to cold and direct transfer to Raksham may have proved adversely on our health.

At Rakcham, we checked in at Rupin river, the only hotel there. As it was end of winter, the water pipes was not operational yet and the water was been provided from buckets. Thakurji (who runs this place too), showed us wooden cottage which he said would be less cooler than the cemented hotel. But when he showed us 301 room with a beautiful view to the mountains and the soothing flowing river, we comfortably voted the room over the cottage. But this time we asked for heater which is must here.


Beautiful view from hotel


River

After lunch we headed towards the river. It was 1:30 pm and the sun was shining brightly above us. As we trekked down to the bridge, we found the snow under our feet soft and our shoes sinking and getting wet. We hopped our way carefully to the bridge. Even though the river looks calm from the hotel, it is not so calm under the bridge where it is forceful enough to bore multiple holes in the big boulders through which you see water coming through. Next few hours we just sat in the hotel balcony under the sun and soaking in the magnificent surroundings.

Just sitting was never so interesting. In the mornings, we watched people walk easily over the snow (the snow gets hard in the cold morning and begins to melt in the sun) on which we were struggling a day earlier. People carried fodder, wood over their back. There were college students who trekked to the other side in morning and were out in afternoon skiing. We realised that this place has the least of entertainment and I wondered how much time one will have on hand after daily chores. Also I read this place is absolutely free of any form of crime.

After breakfast we thought of just checking around. Thakurji told us that Chitkul (which is the last Indian village before the Tibet Border was on our original itinerary and not Rakcham) had fresh heavy snowfall and one of the cars that had gone there that morning had stuck in the snow and had to be pushed. The road towards Chitkul was breath-taking and we came across a few glaciers. However after a few kilometers, we turned back to our hotel. 

Chitkul (Chittkul) is the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border. The Indian road ends here. During winters, the place mostly remains covered with the snow and the inhabitants move to lower regions of Himachal. Potatoes grown at Chittkul are one of the best in the world and are very costly. It is also the last point in India one can travel to without a permit.


Glacier


Temple Wooden Carvings

After lunch at hotel, we strolled through the village, which unfortunately was mess with cow dung and melting snow. We made our way to the only temple in the village but found it locked. Later we came to know that it opens only once a month, on the day of Sankranti. The wooden walls displayed Hindu dieties and also hint of Tibetan influence with dragon carvings.

** Indented red text is taken from net, mostly Wiki & Himachal gov tourist site for specific details.

…Part 2 to be continued

Comments

  1. Great travelogue, reminds me my trip around the region 2 years ago. But we visited the region in autumn when we witnessed totally different hue & colour around. We also stayed at Room no. 301 at Rupin River View, Rakcham. But, as far as I remember, the name of thr owner was Mr. Naresh Jishthu.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks. Actually most of the Kinnaur hotels are owned by Kinnauris and leased out to others, even the runningrang resort was owned by someone else.

    Yea, It must be quite picturesque with all the mountains green with apples. One day will visit in Autumn.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This was a beautiful entry Megha! I enjoyed reading it. I liked the pictures, the description, and even the red text. You put a lot of thought into it for anyone planning to visit.

    Mia

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am from Shimla and I don't know if the two hotels existed, until now. Sometimes, seeing things from the outsiders point of view is so beneficent. Thank you :)

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are from Shimla!! You lucky man!!

      Delete
  5. Perfect Write-up. :)
    Thanks for writing this blopg post..I've come to know about so many new place. I've been to Shimla and undoubtedly there are various Shimla hotels offering best hospitality experience. Keep travelling!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is a terrific blog, I discovered your weblog browsing google for a related subject and arrived to this. I couldnt discover to much different information on this piece, so it
    hill stations tours packages

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks a wonderful place to explore and a nice unexpected holiday for you all.
    Shimla tour

    ReplyDelete
  8. Planning a Honeymoon in Manali is a romantic experience for Honeymooners as Manali Honeymoon Packages are fully filled up with joy and happiness. Shimla Kullu Manali Honeymoon Packages can be availed at all budget ,From luxury hotels to cheap/economy hotels .we have all solutions to Manali honeymoon and we provide the best.
    http://www.honeymoonpackagesmanali.org/
    www.packthebagtours.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Planning a Honeymoon in Manali is a romantic experience for Honeymooners as Manali Honeymoon Packages are fully filled up with joy and happiness. Shimla Kullu Manali Honeymoon Packages can be availed at all budget ,From luxury hotels to cheap/economy hotels .we have all solutions to Manali honeymoon and we provide the best.
    http://www.honeymoonpackagesmanali.org/
    www.packthebagtours.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice Post. Get 20% discounted Manali Volvo Package............So enjoy its beauty in special offer of Packages at affordable price.

    Note : Today Book Your Package Get 20% Discount Call Us : +91 - 8826410377

    ReplyDelete
  11. Really awesome information on your blogs about
    Kerala tour packages the part of India. I have read all knowledge regarding to Kerala tourism for tourist, large number of people booking honeymoon package in Kerala destination. I think you should also make plane trip in Kerala tour packages.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Really awesome information on your blogs about
    Kerala tour packages the part of India. I have read all knowledge regarding to Kerala tourism for tourist, large number of people booking honeymoon package in Kerala destination. I think you should also make plane trip in Kerala tour packages.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for Online information sharing on your blogs about Kashmir and Rajasthan. Rajasthan Tour Package . It’s truly know lags part of India beautifully destination. When I see your blogs I feel that am in Kashmir, really superb and cool place in india, rajasthan also historical destination in India, kashmir Tour Package,

    ReplyDelete
  14. I found this Blog Inspiring and most informative waiting for your next post. We deals in Himachal tour packages at cheapest cost starting from Rs. 2,999. for more details
    Shimla tour package

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for sharing such valuable information……Keep updated….Manali Tour Package


    Note : Today Book Your Package Get 20% Discount Call Us : +91 - 8826410377

    ReplyDelete
  16. रियली आपका ब्लोग्स बहुत ही बेहतरीन और कामाल का हे मेने आपका पूरा ब्लोग पड़ा जिसमे कश्मीर के बारे में बहुत अची अची बाते लिखी हे . बहुत ही खुबसूरत जगह हे कश्मीर ज़दातर यात्री कश्मीर जना पसंद करते हे और कश्मीर की वादिय इतनी मनुराम होती हे की किसी का भी मन भा ले. ये एक प्राक्रतिक नेतुरल ब्यूटी हे जो हर जगह नही मिलती , कश्मीर एक ठंडा और साफ वतावरन से भरपूर हे. इसलिए यात्री
    कश्मीर टूर पैकेज बुक करवाते हे

    ReplyDelete
  17. रियली आपका ब्लोग्स बहुत ही बेहतरीन और कामाल का हे मेने आपका पूरा ब्लोग पड़ा जिसमे कश्मीर के बारे में बहुत अची अची बाते लिखी हे . बहुत ही खुबसूरत जगह हे कश्मीर ज़दातर यात्री कश्मीर जना पसंद करते हे और कश्मीर की वादिय इतनी मनुराम होती हे की किसी का भी मन भा ले. ये एक प्राक्रतिक नेतुरल ब्यूटी हे जो हर जगह नही मिलती , कश्मीर एक ठंडा और साफ वतावरन से भरपूर हे. इसलिए यात्री
    कश्मीर टूर पैकेज बुक करवाते हे

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for posting such an Informative and Inspiring post. Visit beautiful destinations of himachal at affordable price, for more details click on Tours to Himachal

    ReplyDelete
  19. Very inspiring..
    Planned many times but did't execute yet.
    It gives me a lot of inspiration to start exploring this beautiful world..
    Searching for best deals at Himachal Trip Package with Ritual Holidays.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for sharing Good Information...............
    Nainital is beautiful destinations in the world. Get best deal on: Nainital Tour Package


    Note : Today Book Your Package Get 25% OFF Call Us : +91 - 8826410377

    ReplyDelete
  21. Visit the Beautiful & Serene Manali By Volvo @ Rs 5,999/- Only.

    * 3N/4D Trip from Delhi to Delhi
    * Inclusions: Hotel Stay with Breakfast & Dinner
    * Round Trip By Volvo From Delhi to Delhi.
    * Sightseeing of Manali, Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, & Manikaran


    For More Information : Manali Volvo Package

    Note : Sightseeing => Hidimba Devi Temple, Solang Valley, Club House, Tibetan Monasteries, Manu Temple, Rohtang Pass/Snow Point , River Rafting (Beas River), Kasol Valley, Manikaran Etc.

    Note : Today Book Your Package Get 20% Discount Call Us : +91 - 8826410377

    ReplyDelete
  22. Often in India, you would find network of chaotic streets that lead to some breathtaking Indian monument. No matter how miserable the walk through these hideous narrow passageways make you feel, you usually end the day with pleasant memories. Ever thought why? Well, the skillfully done structures in India have their way of somehow making you lose yourself to them. Their brilliant architecture and art and the perfection of craftsmanship make one fall deeply in love with them. The fact that India is replete with several such exquisite monuments and we know it is difficult to be everywhere, so, we kind of prepared a list for you of 20 must see historical monuments in India. These monuments unveil country’s rich art and architecture and are actually capable of taking you back in time.Book India tour packages. we offers at affordable rates. You can check by clicking following links :


    same day agra tour
    same day agra tour by car
    one day agra tour
    same day taj mahal tour
    golden triangle tour 5 days
    Over Night Agra tour
    Taj mahal tour by car
    golden triangle tour 6 days

    ReplyDelete
  23. In Himachal you will sense the beauty of nature and enjoy the cozy moments. Honeymoon will be your perfect time love in your life in the land of snow. We have planned places like Shimla, Mandi, Dharamshala, Solang valley.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for sharing this great information, really in Himachal state have lost of beautiful places and Shimla is one of most beautiful place, it is also called the queen of hills. for more information you should visit in Shimla and take some experience.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Taxi in Gurgaon offers Car Rental Service in Gurgaon , Taxi Service in Gurgaon ,Taxi in Gurgaon ,Cab in Gurgaon , Car Hire Gurgaon service for local to outstation, airport cab hire services .

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love shimla. Actually i was searching information about Best Hotel Shimla.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi,
    Thank you so much for sharing your post experience of <a href="http://www.classictoursindia.com/same-day-agra-tour-by-

    car.php"Agra one day trip by car. The city which having (tajmahal) one of the seven wonders of the world. If you planning

    a trip to this city, please visit our website and see more Exciting tour packages.
    http://www.classictoursindia.com
    info@classictoursindia.com
    +91-7217278309

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting and commenting :)

Popular posts from this blog

Kankavli trip (Konkan Maharashtra)

SSY Retreat : Love your Life