Day 1: Chandigarh - Shimla - Narkanda - Hatu Valley

Tripoto
15th Jun 2018

Hatu Valley

Photo of Day 1: Chandigarh - Shimla - Narkanda - Hatu Valley by Sri Harsha Arangi

Day 0: Reaching Delhi

The bus reached Chandigarh early in the morning. The cab driver was supposed to pick up from there, and would be there with us for the next 10 days till Manali. Initially, he went to another bus stop. He was speaking too fast, and we couldn't understand him properly. After few phone calls, he could come to where we were. At last, we were at out gate, and he came to the in gate somehow.

I was surprised to see the city laid out as a perfect grid with square blocks, and then realized it is one of the characteristics of a planned city. Very excited to have started the journey in which we would see greens, whites, browns and whatever colors that mountains could offer. Soon after we were on the Ghat roads of the Shivalik range, the lower Himalayas. The weather was very misty.

We stopped on our way for a quick tea stop. What else can we ask for in cold weather! There were a couple of dogs outside, and there were not like the ones that we normally encounter as they were huge. As we continued our journey, the mountains became higher and higher. Slowly sun started coming out of the thick fog, and it appeared like moon.

Mountain dogs

Photo of Chandigarh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

Sun barely visible due to heavy fog

Photo of Chandigarh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

On the way to Shimla

Photo of Chandigarh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

On the way to Shimla

Photo of Chandigarh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

We were almost 30 minutes away from Shimla, and driver said we would be stopping for breakfast. He said Shimla will be crowded, and we will pass through it as fast as possible and not going to stop there. Enjoyed a cheese paratha at the hotel with a valley view. Started there after the meal, and spent almost an hour in the Shimla's traffic. The tall pines were beautiful. Just after crossing Shimla, the driver stopped at a tourist spot saying there is a view point and some adventure sports and the communication was difficult with him as mentioned earlier. We were not interested in it didn't want to go to typical crowded tourist places and that's precisely the reason to choose Spiti Valley. Soon after realizing what it that place was, we urged the driver to continue our journey to Narkanda.

View from the hotel where we stopped for breakfast

Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

Shimla's traffic

Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

Had lunch at a dhaba on the way. Our destination for the day was a few kilometers beyond Narkanda at a home-stay in Hatu Valley. Great choice by the people at Incredible Spiti as this was away from Narkanda which is typically crowded. Had an acclimatization walk, and rested for a while. When we asked the driver to take us to Hatu peak at 3pm, he said he wanted to rest, and start at 4pm. Siva and I went for a walk again in the beautiful surroundings.

Beautiful Homestay on the hillside

Photo of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

View from the homestay

Photo of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

View from the homestay

Photo of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

View from the homestay

Photo of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

Cat lover

Photo of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

Just outside the homestay

Photo of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

Snake plant

Photo of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

Beautiful rose at the home-stay

Photo of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sri Harsha Arangi

At 4pm, we started toward Hatu peak. The road was very narrow, and though it was normal for the drivers there, we were very scared, only to realize that they will be worse in the coming days. Hatu peak is known for the views it offer to the higher Himalayas. Sadly the weather was misty from the morning, and we couldn't see beyond few meters. There is also a temple on the top. Started the descent after roaming for a while.

On the way to Hatu peak

Photo of Hatu Peak, Himachal Pradesh by Sri Harsha Arangi

Hatu temple

Photo of Hatu Peak, Himachal Pradesh by Sri Harsha Arangi

Hatu temple

Photo of Hatu Peak, Himachal Pradesh by Sri Harsha Arangi

Hatu temple

Photo of Hatu Peak, Himachal Pradesh by Sri Harsha Arangi

Beautiful view from Hatu peak

Photo of Hatu Peak, Himachal Pradesh by Sri Harsha Arangi

Altitude of Hatu peak - 3400m

Photo of Hatu Peak, Himachal Pradesh by Sri Harsha Arangi

Just after coming down, we stopped at a roadside eatery to have maggie. He asked we wanted to have egg. Couple of us said yes, no big deal. We realized what happened only when paying the bill. The maggie with egg was twice as costly at 100 bucks! They have to cover the transportation costs for the items that are not available locally and hence expensive. Lesson learnt! Went back to the home-stay, and peacefully sat in the balcony just outside the room. The mist seemed to be slightly going away. If there was anything that I was praying for in that trip, it would be clear skies, especially at night. Its very hard to find dark sites in South India, and you have to travel at least 100 km from the cities for decent skies but nowhere as good as those in the Himalayas. Had a wonderful dinner in the home-stay. Their food habits are simple yet tasty. They served us roti, sabji, dal and rice. This is typical food at that place, and was routine for the next few days.

As we were going to bed, Siva and I were scheduling alarms for waking up at midnight. As you might have already guessed, we wanted to do astrophotography, to take pictures of the night sky. We woke up at 3am only to realize it was still completely cloudy, and headed back to sleep disappointingly.

Day 2: Narkanda - Sangla Valley - Chitkul

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