Atal tunnel- Crossing Atal tunnel.

15th Jun 2021
Photo of Atal tunnel- Crossing Atal tunnel. by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY

I am a resident of Delhi. After surviving pandemic and months of home isolation decided to look for an adventure. I decided to take a trek to Hampta Pass as i immediately fell in love with the scenic trek. I made the necessary bookings and started to train for my very first high altitude trek. After a month of training the day finally came. I had booked an HPTDC Volvo bus to Manali. I took my bus from Himachal Bhavan the staff was very nice and helpful. It was raining and my trek loomed under dark clouds as it could be canceled because of the rain. I boarded the bus with this uncertainty and hoped for the best.

A sunny day before my travel

Photo of Delhi, India by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY
Day 1

I reached Manali on the morning of 15th of July. The weather got cleared and had my hopes high for the trek. I took an auto to my stay which was in Old Manali. The orchard house is one of the best stays i could find for the young crowd. As i had visited there earlier with one of my traveler friends it was easy for me to decide. I put my belongings in my room and had an amazing breakfast there. After chilling and meeting few people, went out to explore the area. There are lots of places to explore in Manali the trick is to keep yourself hydrated and fed throughout exploration. Hadimba devi temple was first on my list an old temple made completely out of wood. Explore Hadimba Himachal park besides the temple while you are in the same region. Going through those tall trees is sure peaceful. From there u can go to similar Manali Nature Park or shop or eat at Manali Mall Road. I returned to my stay since i had to get up early in the morning to reach at the basecamp which was in Prini, 1km away from Manali. At night i received a troubling news of all treks getting canceled in the region. I slept with uncertainty of the further trip.

Nature Park Manali

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY

Orchard house- The Hidden Tribe

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY
Day 2

Next morning had an early breakfast in the lawn area. Few people advised me what i could do from this point and decided to rent a Royal Enfield bike and ride it to Barala-Cha-La Pass across Atal Tunnel. Renting bikes in Manali is quite easy because of many garages in the area. It was even easy since all of those garages are in old Manali area. Enfield point is one of the good places to rent bikes, just make sure to properly assess the condition of bikes.

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY
Day 3

By the next morning it was raining heavily. After assessing the rain situation i left Manali by 9:00AM. it was my first time ever riding a bike by myself so i took it slowly. after riding for few minutes i reached Solang valley weather was pleasant and awesome mountain views uncovered from the clouds. As i kept riding views got more amazing and it made me feel powerful. having complete control over your situation and life can be more powerful one can imagine, it has a different kind of healing power. Crossing Atal tunnel was one of the most exciting moments since it was my first time going beyond that point and it made me wonder what i will discover for myself. Air inside Atal tunnel is chilly and moist so be sure to carry extra jacket and wear it before entering the tunnel since its not allowed to stop inside the tunnel. It is one long ride to the other side and can get pretty monotonous after 5 mins. Being attentive and well rested is important for this ride. On the other side of the tunnel i got to see the whole new world and nature untouched by humanity even after commercialization. Vast views and valleys with river running along is something to capture with your eyes. After a brief break it was time to go to Sissu the first tourist village after the tunnel. Sissu is one of the most serene places i have ever came across. One can either stay in Sissu and enjoy the scenery for a day or leave for Keylong and equally beautiful destination with local market and various other stuff to do. After exploring Sissu, i continued with my journey to Jispa where is was going to stay next. Entire stretch from Sissu to Jispa is so scenic you cannot forget that ride your whole lifetime. Mountains and valleys changes shapes with every mile you cover. Greenery is refreshing, loose brown rocks covering half the roads are exciting and the sound of running river is calming.

Jispa is small village ahead of Keylong, it is one big valley with most of the stays in or around river bed. There are plenty of stay you can choose from. I stayed in Krishna cottage one of the budget stays in Jispa with beautiful scenery behind it. Explore the Jispa monastery or you can spend time at the river side, it is quite peaceful there. Tasting local cuisine becomes necessary when you have come so far.

Krishna Cottage Jispa

Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY
Day 4

Next morning i met other travelers in the dining area who graciously offered to ride together since the roads ahead were tricky. We started 9:00am weather was good and riding in the valley became wonderful as vast scenic riverside showed us the way to one of the highest passes in Himachal Pradesh. After 30 minutes of peaceful riding i reached Barsi bridge the longest bridge in Himachal Pradesh. Here we one has to get their name and vehicle number registered due to security reasons. Roads ahead this point becomes tricky due elevation, water streams and falling rocks. There are two places to see between this point and Barala-Cha-La Pass(16040ft) 4890mt. Deepak Tal and Suraj Tal both these places are extremely beautiful and worth spending time some time. people often do not stop at Suraj Tal continue their riding to Barala-cha-la pass which is a big mistake since you might end up wasting your day if you are not traveling beyond this point. Suraj Tal is one of the most scenic places on this face of the earth and worth exploring. Roads that lead to these areas are so scenic one would keep stopping out if their will. Spending time at barala-cha-la pass is a bit harder since its at a height where one struggles to breath after 20-30 mins there you start to notice that you have a light headache and getting tired too easily. For the same reason start descending soon or move forward. Remember to leave the area clean and pickup any garbage you come across. I stayed in jispa for another night to experience starry night sky once more.

Photo of Suraj Tal, Himachal Pradesh by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY
Day 5

Next morning i started riding back to Manali at 8:00am. It was raining heavily on that day luckily i brought rain cover from Delhi. Being prepared and not getting surprised by weather is only way to finish your tour on a happy note. I reached Manali by 11:am. I decided to stay in Manali another night so that i can rest up and finish scouting locations the next day for next adventure.

Day 6

Next day i took HPTDC bus back to Delhi empowered and independent. I reached Delhi on the morning of the 7th day.

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by PRATEEK CHAUDHARY