Panamik has a natural hot water spring. There is a bath and kitchen which has the facilities so that you can take bath in the natural hot water spring water or eat food cooked with the water. There are medicinal benefits of both. Point to be noted: Skip this.Read More
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286 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - February,March,April,October
The land from where once an ancient trade route to China would be embarked on, Manali is an abode for modern creativity now as much as it for withdrawal and adventure in the majestic mountains. From offering hostels, hotels, co-working spaces to the cave where once Arjun, the Pandava king had supposedly meditated (Arjun Gufa), Manali is no less than a global village. The mighty Himalayas have inspired many foreign settlements here, giving rise to popular European and Israeli cafes, restaurants and hostels, providing one a consortium of around the world cultures. This town is a true haven for adventure junkies who can indulge in river rafting, paragliding, camping, rock climbing, rappelling, zorbing at Solang Valley and Aleo. Manali has an array of breathtaking treks and sights for its nature lovers, for instance the Patalsu Peak, the Deo Tibba basecamp, Jogini Falls and the Rahala Falls. For all the solo riders out there, cruise your way through the snowy alley of Rohtang Pass while those who wish to travel back in time, can indulge in the exquisite display of culture and heritage at the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. Restaurants and cafes such as the Khyber Pass, Johnson's Cafe, La Plage, Drifters' Inn, The Hangout attract foodies for their culinary justice to everything from Thai to European cuisines and even some live music. If all this is too over the top for you, then reconnect with simplicity at Naggar Village, which is home to waterfalls, a beautiful castle, an art gallery and locals which have many stories to share and a cultural heritage to take pride in. Read More
The land from where once an ancient trade route to China would be embarked on, Manali is an abode for modern creativity now as much as it for withdrawal and adventure in the majestic mountains. From offering hostels, hotels, co-working spaces to the cave where once Arjun, the Pandava king had supposedly meditated (Arjun Gufa), Manali is no less than a global village. The mighty Himalayas have inspired many foreign settlements here, giving rise to popular European and Israeli cafes, restaurants and hostels, providing one a consortium of around the world cultures. This town is a true haven for adventure junkies who can indulge in river rafting, paragliding, camping, rock climbing, rappelling, zorbing at Solang Valley and Aleo. Manali has an array of breathtaking treks and sights for its nature lovers, for instance the Patalsu Peak, the Deo Tibba basecamp, Jogini Falls and the Rahala Falls. For all the solo riders out there, cruise your way through the snowy alley of Rohtang Pass while those who wish to travel back in time, can indulge in the exquisite display of culture and heritage at the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. Restaurants and cafes such as the Khyber Pass, Johnson's Cafe, La Plage, Drifters' Inn, The Hangout attract foodies for their culinary justice to everything from Thai to European cuisines and even some live music. If all this is too over the top for you, then reconnect with simplicity at Naggar Village, which is home to waterfalls, a beautiful castle, an art gallery and locals which have many stories to share and a cultural heritage to take pride in.
Rishikesh and Manali are two powerful magnets for adventure junkies. Each of the place has its own perks but if you are a first timer like I was few years back, start making plans for Manali. It was the cold chilly morning of December when we decided that we wanted to do rafting. The cold weather was alone enough to crack even a hero let alone stepping in water. Anyways we started our drive from Manali to Kullu, usually you will find most of the rafting organizers here.Now the thing about rafting in Manali which makes it different from rafting in Rishikesh is that Beas has been made into a rafting spot by removing the stones and rocks unlike the natural rapids of Ganga. Obviously this makes Manali a bit costlier. But still rafting in Beas is much special for first timers because here usually you are not provided with Paddles to stir the boat so while you are on the water you get every chance to look at the beautiful surrounding around you. Although this does not mean you will not get splashed by the icy cold water. The surrounding you get to see while you are in the middle of river is pure fantasy like. Mountains as high as the sky on both sides, list greenery and at top snow so white that it can make someone blind. You will be rafting along the road and occasionally pass few beautiful bridges and spots which make it even more memorable. For travel pics follow on Instagram at:vineet_wanderlust
On day 4, we visited tibetian monastery. These monasteries are home for tibetian culture, its literature & crafts. This place is famous for its hand made crafts. They also runs a school of arts & carpet weaving centre to preserve ancient tibet art. These monasteries are surrounded by several small shops selling beautiful handi crafts & carpets.And no words to express the panorama. Serene & Peacefull.After spending few minutes in Nehru kund, we continued to mall road. Between the crowd, we started purchasing traditional artefact & eating local foods. 'Never miss eating fruits from manali'. Especially apples & oranges. Apple orchards can be seen in many places of manali. It was our last day in manali. Wonderfull days. Memories are still fresh. Travelled on March 2016.Tavel Tip - Stay for minumum 4N /5D. Plan your travel. Avoid tour packages. Book an all inclusive hotel with mountain views & balcony. Pack max woolens & be ready for the Adventures.
#SwipeRightToTravelA journey to the land in a alp.It was a 12 hours long journey from Delhi.We woke up to a ravishing sunrise right up from the mountains travelling through kullu-manali highway, relishing those mesmerizing views of mountains & valleys. Away from the polluted cities, i felt like breathing fresh. Even though those roads were dangerous, we enjoyed the journey. on the way we even had to experience landslide to the roads and was blocked for almost 1 hour. As our bus stopped, travellers started capturing the pictures of those greenish valley & mountains. It was freezing outside.so we managed to take some pictures from the bus.Next big surprises was from the hotel which we pre-booked. After a week of google for good hotels in manali, we found hotel Holiday Heights Manali with all positive reviews from Tripadvisor. Booked it & we got all what we want.'A room with balcony facing snow capped mountains and breathtaking views. we were pleased & very happy to stay there for 4 nights.They also rent Royal Enfield Bikes. Now that's a great news. who will want to miss the chance to ride bullets in those land of bliss, we were very excited but sadly we couldn't coz the temparature was not more than -2 degrees. That day we spent leisure at the hotel.
The Himalayan city of Manali is super popular amongst travellers. If you are here for a romantic retreat, then find a cozy spot toward Old Manali, if you are on a backpacking journey then chill at Vashisht Village and if you want to step-up your travel game, then start your journey to Spiti via Rohtang Pass.
ROHTANG PASS TO SARCHU ( Approx .456 Kms)We started early from Manali & were able to see the snowcapped mountains of Rohtang from our parking area. It was a sunny day & view was like watching a scenery. I have attached many pictures.We took several halts in our way for meals & photography. The experience was like driving with the clouds.We took many pictures climbing up to one hill with flags.
Day2: Manali to Sissu via Rotang la(13,051ft) and KeylongStay: golden drop campsite - overlooks a amazing water fallsStart very early around 4AM, else traffic will backup near checkposts, and make the climb a pain. After Rotang pass, you can stop over for food, entertainment like sledging, horse riding.. Roads around Rohtang are decent, so progress was good and we reached out camp site by lunch time.
We were in Kasauli on 13th August 2015 and Manali wasn't on the cards at all. But all of a sudden,we decided to leave for Manali from Kasauli. This was my 3rd Visit to Manali in three Consecutive Years. January 2014, June 2015 and then August 2016. Nothing was changed,it was as beautiful as ever. It took 8-9 hours to reach. The weather was cool and pleasant. Van Vihar,Manali
Started from Delhi to mandi for some adrenaline rush. Off roading at mandi was what I was looking for desperately and yes it turned out be real fun.Mandi.. mahindra and mahindra off roading. :D Explored the untouched areas of mandi . Covered local village trails,water obstacles, uphill, downhill.. My pictures are expressing more of what I experienced. ;) Same day we pushed for Manali. Reached Manali in four hours and rushed to mall road at 11:00 pm as it was Christmas Eve. Explored the market, enjoyed the local chinese cuisine.25th of Dec we were at Gulaba 20 kms from Manali on the way to Rohtang pass. It was barricaded after that because of snow fall. I was lucky enough to experience the chill and the fresh snow at Gulaba. It was spine chilling no doubt, but the fun was ultimate.People who want to enjoy their winters with more chill and snow balls can visit Manali this winter.
I got the endless reasons to travel the world, while this one was quite obvious to relieve the inner soul which is shattered in the search of love from the dumb population. When you feel disappointed by people, let nature heal you. How? Go close to it, I always say that the world is filled with immense love and want to hug you warmly when you are busy planning to end your life. So this whole trip had a simple motive to get rid of the as****s in our lives and eventually fall in love with oneself.You know what girl, I loved her and I am dying every day to talk to her......he cried. I had possibly no answer to his question. But I knew the solution that this mind had to think beyond love. I said let's go somewhere, where you will feel better. This broken heart needed to do anything to get this love trauma out of his head so he agreed.I, with these two idiots (Kartik and Shivam), planned this gear up. We reached Kashmiri gate at around 9:00 pm, completely scatterbrained to know where we were going.A little pondering led us to buy three tickets of Manali of an ordinary bus that was loaded with passengers. It was not going all perfect; we were blaming each other why the hell you didn't book the ticket before. Well, the good thing was we were talking a different genre rather than talking about a bitch that were pissing our minds all the way. I and Shivam sat together and unfortunately Kartik got the seat at back. So all the useless crap shot gunned over me.They kept on changing the seat so that I don't feel left behind. During the way, those few people of our life who were unable to keep us close become the victims. We almost assassinated our imaginary enemies with the word guns, when a girl sitting next to me was looking us in wonder. She was from Kullu I got to know when we started talking further. She had some boyfriend issues and our boy had girlfriend issues. See how the issues become the understanding between us.It didn't take a long to befriend with her. She was messed up so we were.
151 Kms from Panamik
This beautiful town happens to be located in Jammu & Kashmir and is an abode for those who wish to pursue Buddhism. The place is surrounded by tall mountains, clear blue water, a white surrounding and many monasteries. The people here are warm and welcome tourists. Found midway between the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains, the beauty of Leh is beyond words, making it a hotspot with the tourists. Visiting the local markets here is a treat as one will get to browse through Tibetan jewelry, carpets, woolens and much more. Be sure to carry an extra bag to fit in all your purchases.
28th Septemeber 0600 hrs I was up. After a quick loo call, stepped out to the balcony with a cup of coffee. The air was crisp and cold, tempting me to spike my drink with something headier. Had it not been for the journey, I would have. Post checking emails and messages, posting the previous day pictures on social media sites, did a final bag check based on my cross examination of Arjun. Image result for leh to pangong lake road mapNo good loos on the way, so pack a roll of toilet paper, bacterial sanitizer, soap, anti-diarrheal medicines, motion sickness medicines, dry snacks including chocolate bars. I knew that 30 km of the road from Leh to Karu was great. Rest of the 120 km was "not bad" or at least not as bad as the Khardungla - Nubra road. I must confess that I hadn't done my homework as well as I usually do to be confident. My belly was sending out mixed signals, worrisome actually. By 0730 hrs we were both ready for the trip and breakfast. Had to stay light, so picked up whatever appeared to conform. Fruits and juice and a bit of cheese. After consuming it, I thought... just thought that it was possibly a big mistake. The waiting staff having discovered that we were off to Pangong, packed up a hamper from the breakfast buffet as we had hardly touched anything at all. The thoughtfulness more than the hospitality at this hotel really touched my heart. At 5 minutes to 8, I got a call, it was Arjun, he was outside. Now, that worry was ticked off from my list. "All good?" I asked. He nodded and said I should speak to "Haqqa" as Haq was addressed locally. Haq inquired if we slept well and well rested, and if there was anything that needed to be done while we were on the trip. I told him we should have dinner together and he was happy to accept. On our way, the first 30 minutes was a repeat of last evening, so I went into a light doze mode. We had to stop at Karu for submitting the permit. Arjun said that it was the last stop where one could find a decent loo. What I assumed was a 5 minute procedural stop, turned out to be a wait of 20 minutes. Arjun was nowhere to be seen. When he showed up, I asked why the wait and he said something about the road ahead being blocked for traffic until 0900 hrs. I called his bluff as I saw other vehicles proceeding and he too got in, though a bit reluctantly. Haq would hear of this, I don't like being lied to. The road condition was getting progressively worse, as was my mood. I could see road works being carried out, but that many patches of diversion and lots of mud and dust in the air. Normally, one would roll up the windows and turn on the air-con or heater as the case maybe, but in this vehicle, it was busted. Moreover, the sun rays had become strong enough to sting through the clothes. Some 10km and 20 minutes later we reached the village of Sakti. At this rate, I thought it would take longer than 5 hours to get to our destination. At Sakti, right enough, the road to Pangong was shut and the traffic was diverted to an alternate route. I say route because it was nothing but a dirt track going up hill. Windows had to be kept shut. If there was a meter to measure my angst, trust me, it would have been hovering around the danger mark. Fortunately, we were climbing and the temperature inside soon became bearable. 10 km and 30 minutes later, we were joined back to the Pangong Rd. This stretch looked well tarred and full of hope. I asked Arjun if the road from here on would resemble this surface? He responded saying mountain roads are quite unpredictable. Unlike the two days earlier, he wasn't in much of a talking mood. Maybe, bored of us, just as I was of the scenery outside. Nothing that was so exceptional for me to take pains to shoot. 22 km and 45 minutes later, we reached the military camp of Zingral. Arjun stopped the vehicle and ran to the loo. 15 minutes later he reappeared looking sick. Bad stomach he said. His disappearance at Karu could now be explained too. I gave him a tablet and asked if I should drive. He said, once we start the down hill track, he would let me drive. I discovered why soon enough. A km away, it was Khardungla all over again for the next 45 minutes covering the 12 km to Chang La (Altitude 17,500 ft 5,360 m), the supposed second highest motorable pass in India, if not the world. The climb is steep and the area an avalanche zone. That explains Mr. Arjun's "mountain roads are unpredictable" statement. Already behind time (it was 1130 hrs now), and still at half way mark (75km from Leh)I egged Arjun to drive on. There were patches of snow slush on the road, remnants the ice and snow that had slid down from a bit higher up. Arjun drove another 35 km to Durbuk, from there, I took over. There was some 45 Km of driving left, with me at the wheel 1 hr 15 min max. The road was narrow, bad in parts, but that's exactly what an SUV is born to tackle. The test of the pudding was Arjun falling asleep on the rear seat. My wife would have failed me in a driving test. She kept yelling at me to be careful, reminding us we have kids at home. I told her to focus on the scenery ahead and take some pictures. The landscape had changed and we were in what resembled a cross a cross between the Grand Canyon and Mars. We passed through a 100 mt stretch that had just been bulldozed after being shut by an avalanche a day or two earlier.At 1300 hrs, it was visible. Pangong Tso. My foot became heavier on the pedal and no amount of jumps and bumps could wake the baby called Arjun slumbering behind. Finally, we made it. Spectacular is all what I could say. One has to be an idiot to this journey, but then it's worth it. Now we had to psyche ourselves to endure the 5 hours back. A billion pictures, pee in an open to sky lav, maggi noodles and ginger lemon tea later, we hit the road. One could pitch a tent and explore the entirety of the lake. But that is for the serious adventurer. I could only set my clock backwards to take me back to Leh. Fortunately, the medicine and sleep had revived Arjun and he was back to his jovial self. The way back was just the same, except that I switched places with Arjun in the sick bay. The altitude at Chang la got me and I puked the morning fruit juice and tea that had been the cause of it. Besides that adventure, and stopping for 15 minutes on the road to act as good Samaritans to a car suffering a flat wheel, the journey was uneventful. We made it back in 4 1/2 hours. Yippee! And, Arjun was rewarded for the same. An early dinner with Haq recounting our adventure completed, we were tired and wanted to just sleep. Next morning was a flight to Srinagar, and the situation there, was reported to be too far from normal. But the hotel had called and informed us that a car would be waiting to pick us up. So it could not be as bad as being talked about - right?
The only words that seem to do justice to the timeless beauty of the Pangong Lake, are 'Paradise on Earth'.With hues that range from a brilliant turquoise to a deep blue, this shimmering patch of sky on land is the highest salt water lake in Asia.These tranquil waters are a must-see for anyone visiting Ladakh.
#Adventurous Leh-Ladakh trip#bike trip 3300km#royal Enfield#college friends#highest motorable road in the world#Three top highest passes in world-khardungla pass, changla pass, taglangna pass#sonmarg ,gulmarg#kargil#Rancho's cafe and school#pangong lake#monestery#new people#manali#paragliding.Life time memories 😊
02-Sep-15 Turtuk to Leh 241 Kms driven Stay at: Jorchung Guest House, Main Tukcha Road, Leh Tariff : 1800/- per room per night In Leh, there are quite a few places to visit and these can be covered in a day. We visited Zorawar Fort where all the history of Ladakh is displayed. Shey Palace was also very beautiful and it has a Buddha Temple too. We also visited 3 Idiots fame, Rancho’s school, Druk White Lotus School. You get to see many monasteries in this region. We visited the Hemis Monastery. The experience of the peace inside the monastery and to see how they offered their prayers to the God was pleasant. You must visit Shanti Stupa for a sunrise or a sunset. It gives a picturesque view of Leh and its surrounding mountains.
After non-stop journey of 24 hrs finally we reached our desination Leh at hotel Lingzi. Next day we started our journey towards Shanti Stupa, was built for peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 yrs of buddhism. It is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh as both japanese and ladakhi buddhishts helped built it. The premises of Stupa offers the spectacular views of the ladakh and himalayas.
I lost myself in Ladakh to find myself. A Walk for 5-6kms from my camp in pangong lake to some village was the best time of my life. I was alone, didn't care about anything. I was lying on the ground and looking up at the sky and all I could hear is the rhythm of breeze!!!!
LEH, is one of the sexiest place I have ever been to, people are honest, surrounded by beautiful mountains, wooden art can be seen in bulk. Leh, was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, now the Leh district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Leh district, with an area of 45,110 kilometers, is the second largest district in the country, after Kutch, Gujarat (in terms of area). The town is dominated by the ruined Leh Palace, the former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace-the chief residence of the Dalai Lama.
260 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - April,May,June,July,August,September,October
Gar firdaus ruhe zamin ast, Hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast. “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” This is how the Sufi mystic Amir Khusrow has described the Kashmir Valley, and Srinagar is at the heart of the valley. Smack in the middle of the city is the mighty Dal Lake, its placid water reflecting the vivid kaleidoscope of innumerous houseboats, shikaras (taxi-boats), and the snow-capped Pir Panjal range: a sight that will make your heart skip a beat. The city is home to the state-of-the-art Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Bagh and Nishant Bagh being the most famous of them. The gardens exhibit the Mughal taste of nature and the philosophy of disciplining nature rather than imitating it: fountain pools and canals, meticulously manicured hedges, and motley flowerbeds. Also known as the Kashmiri Venice, Srinagar is a place not to be missed by those seeking a tranquil refuge in the lap of the Himalayas.Read More
Gar firdaus ruhe zamin ast, Hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast. “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” This is how the Sufi mystic Amir Khusrow has described the Kashmir Valley, and Srinagar is at the heart of the valley. Smack in the middle of the city is the mighty Dal Lake, its placid water reflecting the vivid kaleidoscope of innumerous houseboats, shikaras (taxi-boats), and the snow-capped Pir Panjal range: a sight that will make your heart skip a beat. The city is home to the state-of-the-art Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Bagh and Nishant Bagh being the most famous of them. The gardens exhibit the Mughal taste of nature and the philosophy of disciplining nature rather than imitating it: fountain pools and canals, meticulously manicured hedges, and motley flowerbeds. Also known as the Kashmiri Venice, Srinagar is a place not to be missed by those seeking a tranquil refuge in the lap of the Himalayas.
I guess this is the beauty of travelling, where you meet new people and they etch a place in your heart, no matter what language we may speak, no matter what culture we may follow, the language of kindness and love is one, the entire world is our home, and everyone's family, all we need to do is go, explore and connect.
Despite the shiver it will send down your spine, the sun beating down on the snow-white mountains of Gulmarg is a sight that is worth travelling for hundreds of miles. And during the day, you can always take some skiing lessons!
We finally reached Srinagar around 1 am and what made it better was a full moon night. Honestly speaking, it felt pretty scary at first. After hearing all those stories about Kashmir, landing there after midnight, when there is pin drop silence around you , you tend to feel a little chicken-hearted. With no prior reservations made, my dad went outside to get us a houseboat for the night. While we sat in the car next to Dal Lake, suddenly two kashmiri men dressed in pheraan came to us and called us outside the car. We were scared to death at first, but then seeing my father with them was quite a relief. We stepped into their small boats called shikara , sailed across the Dal Lake, with chilling water, risen up to the level of the boat. On finally reaching our houseboat, we just crashed. Next morning, on waking up we realised that our houseboat was a luxurious dream. With beautiful wood carved dining tables to sparkling chandeliers, it outran the lavish hotel ambience. Moreover, it was floating on the Dal with a scintillating view of the Pir Panjal Range. Nothing in the world could have matched that.
This was my most memorable trip. We were in Srinagar by night. We took a houseboat stay and it was awesome. We shared a house boat with other couple. This houseboat which named Khybar was so awesome. Food was delicious. Next day morning, we woke up with pleasant Dal lake before us. We didnot care to go into Srinagar city as we were at peace in Dal lake. We were seeing pretty shikaras all over Dal lake. There were water sports on Dal lake . We too tried our hands in one of them. Just stand on a plank with rope in hand and speedboat takes you around Dal lake. It was fun. Then at sunset, we did a Shikara ride and it was magical. We were om shikara with mountains and pine trees all around. It called it a day, had our dinner and hit the bed.
Srinagar is nothing short of paradise and the people who have visited this extraordinary valley will agree. The colours of the valley change every season. In the summers, the valley is a fresh green, in autumn you will see it painted in shades of mandarin and in winters, which start in December, you will see the valley wrapping itself in hues of grey, blue and white. Crisp-cold winds blow in the valley indicating that winters are finally here. The temperature drops down to minus degrees and all you will need is a cup of warm kahwa and firans to keep you cozy at times like these. From Kashmir, you can go further to explore places nearby, such as Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Gurez Valley. Srinagar is one of the best holiday destinations in India.How to reach Srinagar:The easiest way to reach Srinagar is through air. Srinagar is well connected by road and rail, the nearest railway station is in Jammu. Regular buses ply for Srinagar as well.
Srinagar, Jammu & KashmirIt’s’ Venice of the East’ calling this summer, and it is the retreat. Be it the Dal Lake and its shikaras or the Mughal Gardens and their state of spring – they will all leave you with many a story.
Houseboat is a wooden boat that designed in a beautiful manner to make it a perfect dwelling place for tourists over the waterways. Moored along the edges of Dal Lake and Nagin Lake, Houseboat in Srinagar is counted as one of the key tourist’s attractions of the Kashmir valley. Large numbers of tourists are attracted to Kashmir by the mesmerizing charm of houseboat, which provides ethereal experience of living on the water in a wooden paneled bedroom, with all modern amenities of a luxury hotel. Houseboats of Kashmir are not only modern, beautiful and elegant but also comfortable in all respects.
One could sense the tension on the street. Strict and frequent checks on the road; restricted traffic movement of men and machines, no shops open. Yes, the situation could go anyway as the day progressed. In the forty minutes from the hotel to the airport, numerous calls from friends. Irritating a wee bit, but touching too. Good to have such people in our lives. The scene at the airport, pretty much the same as the previous day, crowded, except much more people waiting outside to receive returning pilgrims. Security at this airport is much higher as is the presence of uniformed men and women, but all, very courteous and polite, not afraid to smile and wish back greetings as they went about doing their job dedicatedly.It was a long wait for our 3 pm flight back. Fortunately, there was shopping to keep the irritation of wife in check. Did we enjoy our mini adventure? But of course. Would we do it again? But of course, and encourage others too, to follow suit.
211 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - May,June,July,August,September,October
Fondly called the 'meadow of gold', Sonamarg is situated on the banks of a tributary of river Jhelum in Kashmir. A spellbinding valley 80 km from Srinagar, en-route to Ladakh, it is on every traveller's list for its colourful views, serenity and charm. Much has been said about the beauty of Kashmir and one may wonder what the hullabaloo is about. But a visit to Sonamarg is all you need to understand the ways of nature! From Sonamarg, you can trek towards Krishnasar Lake and Vishnasar Lake, amongst others. A perfect place to camp and also to enjoy leisurely afternoon picnics, it would be best if you have a local showing you around. Though there are no well-defined touristy spots within Sonamarg, there are umpteen spots around it. Depending on what you'd like to explore, do gather information and then plan your day here. Read More
Fondly called the 'meadow of gold', Sonamarg is situated on the banks of a tributary of river Jhelum in Kashmir. A spellbinding valley 80 km from Srinagar, en-route to Ladakh, it is on every traveller's list for its colourful views, serenity and charm. Much has been said about the beauty of Kashmir and one may wonder what the hullabaloo is about. But a visit to Sonamarg is all you need to understand the ways of nature! From Sonamarg, you can trek towards Krishnasar Lake and Vishnasar Lake, amongst others. A perfect place to camp and also to enjoy leisurely afternoon picnics, it would be best if you have a local showing you around. Though there are no well-defined touristy spots within Sonamarg, there are umpteen spots around it. Depending on what you'd like to explore, do gather information and then plan your day here.
This day , we took a horse ride to Thajiwas glacier in Sonamarg. Almost everything in Sonamarg will be closed for 6 months because of snow. As I said guide is important for us to enjoy, this time we were not at all lucky. We got a very cranky horse which I first sat on, got panicked and made my husband sit on it. Scenery was perfect but because of our horses and guide we were not enjoying anything. We asked guide why the horse was cranky and the answer we got was these two horses donot get along well. We were ascending a mountain. Route was very scary too! And at a point there was only one way for horses and other way horses were standing beside a huge valley. My horse almost slipped its leg into valley and my head was spinning with fear. We reached Glacier and it was murky ice too and didnot seem like a glacier. And yeah it was a bit irritating seeing guides following us. This happened because our guide was not good else you will truly enjoy. While return , we got down of horse after sometime and started walking and that was when we started enjoying the beauty of Sonamarg. We were so tired after all this and were sleeping the next moment.
SonemargNext morning, we were introduced to Sonam (a ‘Ladakhi’ as Mushtaq bhai called him) to drive us to Leh. We passed by lush green valleys, rippling streams, lines of conifer trees & finally reached the picturesque Sonemarg. Glacier laden mountains, green fields, fascinating ponies made for a perfect backdrop of a Yash Chopra song – only the chiffon saree was missing!
Day19:-Leh to sonamargWas really very happy to hear the news that the roads of srinagar were open. I wanted to create a loop of the route by entering through Manali and exiting from srinagar and in no way I wanted to return by the same roads to Manali. The actual plan was to visit tso moriri and tso kar but I was already short of days because it took additional days to reach Leh . Skipping tso moriri and tso kar was a toughest decision but had to take it. Travelling through Srinagar was a risky thing as for the last 50 days Srinagar was under curfew and around 100 people were killed because of their conflict with army. I left with a thinking that I will meet some other bikers on the route so that I can travel with them till we cross Srinagar. Finally I was leaving Leh . But there are few places to see enroute. Initially planned to reach Kargil and next day cover Srinagar but changed my stopover from Kargil to drass the worlds second coldest inhabited place as it will be easy to cross Srinagar the next day. Few kilometres from Leh reached magnetic hill where the stationary vehicles moves uphill defying gravity. So I turned the engine off to try it. It really worked so I tried again just to confirm and it worked again. Small fear was there in my mind as I was still alone. Next I stopped by sangham which is the confluence of zanskar river and Indus River after which it flows through Pakistan before reaching the Arabian Sea. After sometime came across a group of riders who were traveling all the way from Kerala to Leh and back. Initially when I saw them they were having their breakfast I didn't stop there and moved ahead thinking we will meet ahead. On the way I crossed fotu la pass and reached a place called moonland, the place was good and scenic the surface of that place resembles a moon surface. On the way I met on of the biker from the Kerala group and had a word with him and asked where are they headed today for which he said by night they are planning to cross Srinagar,so at first I was planning to reach drass by evening and halt. Now decided to travel with them. I went ahead of them and reached Kargil and started looking for the Kargil war memorial. Upon asking found that it is located in drass and not Kargil. Had my lunch and reached drass in few hours. Spent some time in the war memorial looking at the sacrifice made by our soldiers during the Kargil war. I waited there for the Kerala guys to reach as I wanted to travel with them till we cross Srinagar. After a wait of around 45 minutes they reached. Finally we all left and planned to cross Srinagar at night, thinking that it would be safe to cross at that time. Though the situations were not good in Srinagar. By the time we left drass it was already near 7 pm and it was getting dark and we had to cross zojila pass. And by the time we reached there it was pitch dark with hardly any soul around. As we proceeded the road were rough and it started raining. We were driving on no roads and due to rain it was covered with slush and under darkness for several kilometres by 11pm we reached sonamarg. The army stopped us at the checkpoint and said they will allow us only by 5am. So we had our dinner for which we got only dal and rice , after requesting he made some omelettes. Then found some accommodation nearby the checkpoint and decided to ride early in the morning.
I had never seen snow, the very first glimpse of the snow laden heaven in Sonmarg brought twinkles to my eyes! Many tourist were gathered to ski in Tazivas glacier which made the highway jam. We were surrounded with snow. It was up, below and around us. There was a beauteous brown landscape when we climbed towards the most vicious and precipitous ‘ZojiiLa’ Pass’. I wonder, I crossed it and still alive. The narrow road (let’s call it road) had hardly any space to cross even one car. And just when I thought it could not get more adventurous than the 6km truck jam happened and we had to cross those trucks side by side, it took nearly 3 hours to cross that road.
If Gulmarg and Sonamarg makes you feel warm and fuzzy, Sonamarg is exactly the opposite. Don’t take me wrong, the beauty of Sonamarg is indeed breath-taking, but the grandiosity of the snow mountains make you feel like a Lilliput, someone without any power.The changing weather further adds to the mystery of ‘what’s next?’ The Sindh River cutting across the Sindh valley brings glamour to this hill station. Sonamarg is a contrasting beauty; green meadows on the banks of the Sindh River and the cold rustic mountains leading to Kargil.Instead of following the crowd to a snow field, I would advise you to rent a guide and ask him to take you some place which is less commercial. Yes, I particularly stress on hiring a guide because snow is dangerous (partly because there are melting glaciers). If you fall and cut yourself, you can bleed to death before any help arrives. There is also a trekking route that you can take that reaches the Pahalgam Valley. The trek is strenuous and the weather conditions determine whether you can trek that route.I would suggest an overnight stay at Sonamarg valley. Once the one day tourists leave, the place becomes quiet and it reveals true beauty to its night audience. The Sonamarg market is about 1 km. long. Most of the places serve fabulous food and like I always say, always order what the locals eat!
Sonamarg is named so because when the sun's rays fall on the mountain cliff it appears bright and golden, hence a road of gold, Sonamarg (And not Sonmarg). Beware that the tourists are not allowed to Sonamarg in their own vehicle. They are forced to use the local transport which is basically business for the local residents. We again came back to Srinagar for the final stay.
One of the prettiest hill stations in Ganderbal, Jammu and Kashmir, Sonamarg really is a meadow of gold considering its picturesque landscapes. Its lakes, glaciers, alpine flowers and imposing conifers will enthral you and coerce you to stay. The icing on the cake is the fact that it is the gateway to our beloved Ladakh.
281 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - N/A
This is as valley as well as a town in the Dustrict of Chamba. Situated on the banks of the Ravi River, Chamba is a beautiful place and a popular tourist destination of Himachal Pradesh. The town was founded in 920 AD by Raja Sahil Verma, after he moved his capital from Bharmour till here. The temple of the Chamba valley are also famous for theire beautiful wood carvings. The main influence is of Hindus here unlike most of the other hill valleys of Himachal. The Raghuvira Temple is the most famous temple here. The blooming flowers all around is a blissful sight. The Chowgan Field is the place for the traditional Minjal Festival of Chamba Region.Read More
This is as valley as well as a town in the Dustrict of Chamba. Situated on the banks of the Ravi River, Chamba is a beautiful place and a popular tourist destination of Himachal Pradesh. The town was founded in 920 AD by Raja Sahil Verma, after he moved his capital from Bharmour till here. The temple of the Chamba valley are also famous for theire beautiful wood carvings. The main influence is of Hindus here unlike most of the other hill valleys of Himachal. The Raghuvira Temple is the most famous temple here. The blooming flowers all around is a blissful sight. The Chowgan Field is the place for the traditional Minjal Festival of Chamba Region.
I got ready to leave to Chamba. This is the northwestern district of HP. Chamba is the only district in northern India to preserve a well-documented history from 500 AD. Its high mountain ranges have given it a sheltered position and helped in preserving its centuries-old relics and numerous inscriptions. The temples erected by Chamba Rulers, more than a thousand years ago continue to be under worship. Got into the Volvo bus, which is from Delhi to Chamba via Dalhousie. Had a comfortable journey. I reached Chamba & took a walk to Hotel Iravati (of HP tourism), the best place to stay there. Once, I made a list of places to see, I visited Lakshmi Narayan mandir, Bhuri Singh museum, Hari rai mandir, Rangal Mahal which are the old preserved monuments at Chamba. Thanks to lonely Planet, my lunch was at Desa Chicken Corner - a small eatery joint in the market, where they make Dahi chicken, Roti in front of your eyes and serve it hot. Delicious.
Famous for its trekking routes, 100-year-old bungalows and the Chamunda temple, Chamba is an ideal holiday option in January in India. It will be cold, yet comfortable to travel to various places around it. If travelling to Chamba, you can also pay a visit to Manimahesh Lake, Kala Top National Park or the Khajjiar Lake in Khajjiar, which is popularly called mini Switzerland.How To Reach: The nearest railway station is Pathankot, which is 120km away from Chamba. Chamba is well connected by roads, so you can take a taxi from the railway station to reach Chamba.
The trek from Dalhousie to Chamba takes you through the valleys of Kangra and Chamba. This route is a beautiful way to enter the Chamba Valley on foot, and is best enjoyed during winters. The camping sites on the way are on comfortable terrains, making them ideal for families.The starting point or the first basecamp of the trek is in Dalhousie. From there you trek for five hours to reach Kalatop, a picturesque mountain peak, and then camp again at Khajjiar the next night. You will spend more than a day exploring the Mangla Village, and then head back via the same route.
Early next morning we woke up and got ready for the long Journey awaiting us .We had to reach Gangotri which is 300 km from Haridwar, by night Since there aren’t any straight buses to Gangotri from Haridwar, we were to go to Uttarkashi first and then take another bus to Gangotri. So we took a bus to Uttarkashi via Rishikesh around 5.30 am. We reached Chamba around 9 am where the bus stopped for quick refreshment for the passengers and driver. From there we saw the snow covered tops of theHimalayan peaks from the distance for the first time in our journey. The tallest mountain ranges in the world, the natural barrier of our great nation was shining so bright in the sunlight. But disappointingly that was the last time we saw that magnificent view till we reached Gangotri. The driver of the bus rushed through the narrow road which snaked across the valley. Soon after crossing Chamba you will get a companion up to the destination, it is none other than the mighty 'Ganga'. But at that point its name is Bhagirathi, the river which came to the earth from the heavens because of the prayers of King Bhagirath! It becomes Ganga after joining with Alakanandha at Devprayag which is not quite far from Chamba. Bhagirathi looked like a lake in those areas because of the Tehri dam which is constructed across the river at New Tehri, I thought. But as we passed a few kilometers we could see the real face of Bhagirathi. She is very thin but flowing really fast, cutting the mountains into two parts. One of the things that astonished me was that there are countless numbers of small streams joining Bhagirathi from its source in Gaumukh but still I felt the water level of the river is the same as its beginning. May be it is because she flows very fast! There are huge rocks in the river that got there probably because of landslides.
I reached Chamba as I planned. I booked a room nearby bus stand to leave for Bairagarh the next morning. It's 130kms and HPTDC runs only 2 buses in the morning. I interacted with locals and roamed the streets. There wasn't much to do.
18. The stunning mountains of ChambaThe Chamba Valley in Himachal is a mysterious place dotted with a number of temples dedicated to Lord Narayan. Considered to be a paradise for those who love to connect with nature, Chamba provides one with an awesome view of all the mountains around the valley.
288 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Himachal is the throne of a number of 'mini-Switzerlands' and Dalhousie is widely known to be one of them. Named after the British Governor-General of India (1848), Lord Dalhousie, this place remains a popular summer retreat mainly for the charming walks it offers around the pine-sheathed valleys with views of distant mountains. There are a few British-era architectural sights here worth visiting. For instance, St. John's Church, or the Rang Mahal, an 18th century monument of British and Mughal style architecture with paintings dating back to the very same era with a souvenir shop. One can delve into Dalhousie's Deodar-enveloped natural habitat in the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, home to many animal species such as the leopard, deer, bear, serow, barking goral and jackal and many streams flowing into the river Ravi. Nature and adventure enthusiasts should also try boating in the calm waters of Chamera lake or try the easy-level Dainkund trek. Tourists must visit the Tibetan Market to buy exquisite Himalayan handloom. Some popular restaurants for North Indian, Mughlai, Chinese and other multi-cuisine dishes are Moti Mahal, Kwality Restaurant and Hotel Mount View. Dalhousie is well connected by road and train, the nearest station being Pathankot, which is 80km away.Read More
Himachal is the throne of a number of 'mini-Switzerlands' and Dalhousie is widely known to be one of them. Named after the British Governor-General of India (1848), Lord Dalhousie, this place remains a popular summer retreat mainly for the charming walks it offers around the pine-sheathed valleys with views of distant mountains. There are a few British-era architectural sights here worth visiting. For instance, St. John's Church, or the Rang Mahal, an 18th century monument of British and Mughal style architecture with paintings dating back to the very same era with a souvenir shop. One can delve into Dalhousie's Deodar-enveloped natural habitat in the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, home to many animal species such as the leopard, deer, bear, serow, barking goral and jackal and many streams flowing into the river Ravi. Nature and adventure enthusiasts should also try boating in the calm waters of Chamera lake or try the easy-level Dainkund trek. Tourists must visit the Tibetan Market to buy exquisite Himalayan handloom. Some popular restaurants for North Indian, Mughlai, Chinese and other multi-cuisine dishes are Moti Mahal, Kwality Restaurant and Hotel Mount View. Dalhousie is well connected by road and train, the nearest station being Pathankot, which is 80km away.
Dalhousie will transport you to another world. Located at Kalatope, the spread of cedar and pine paint a different picture. The magic of the forest coupled with the wide expanse of the grasslands will make you feel isolated from the world on this weekend getaway from Delhi within 200 km. You can skip the more touristy places in the area and instead, you can choose to stay at the forest rest house situated in Kalatope. You will find a golf course, a temple and a lake surrounding the area. What more can you hope for when you are in a mood for an escape?
It was cold at night. Apparently, temperature dropped down to - 2 in the night. I heard some bird activities outside my room & stepped out to see some good species. Dalhousie Club, is an old Britisher's Club & is currently part of it is under the control of Indian Army. The Club is right above the bus stand. I got ready to have a breakfast at a small joint in the bus station. Again, took a walk to Gandhi Chowk. On the way, I had to stop for some bird clicks. Missed my 100-400 lens.
After a good night sleep I wake up at 6 & step out to check for a Chai. City is sleeping & it was pretty cold. I quietly came back to bed to write this. I refreshed, had my bread omelette in a small restaurant opp to the nest. I left the nest 8.30 am, took a rick to bus station. I caught a bus to travel 4 hours to reach Pathankot. As I reach there, I immediately jumped into the bus to Dalhousie. Aarushi - the girl sitting next to me in the bus, was from Dalhousie & currently getting her coaching at Jalandhar, to join a law college. She gave some insights on Dalhousie, weather, momo joints etc. As the bus stopped in between for lunch, I had Roti, Daal in the Daabha. I reached a cold Dalhousie at 4 PM and check in Dalhousie Club. Jagdeesh - the care taker there, was very helpful. I refreshed and immediately step out for a walk to Subhash Chowk and Gandhi Chowk - the only two places in Dalhousie to walk around. Gandhi Chowk mall road is lovely and lively with so many thronging for momos, bread Omelette, hot Maggie etc. Eateries were so crowded that I paid Rs.50, for a Veg momo and wait for 20 mts to get it. Its 5.30 & it suddenly got very cold and dark. After a 4 km walk around the town, I quietly get back to my room and quietly settle down by 8 PM. EOD.
Dalhousie, perched at the end of a dusty backbreaking road through Himachal Pradesh, is perfect to disconnect from the world.
Road connectivity within Kangra Valley is very efficient and buses are easily available from Dharamsala to Dalhousie and take less than four hours.(If you want to head straight to Khajjiar take a direct bus.)You can start your journey in Dalhousie from Subhash Chowk and proceed to either of these three small hikes. Enroute Lakkad Mandi, the road diverges towards Kala Top Wildlife Park, Khajjiar and Dainkund Peak. So, before heading to Khajjiar, you can take easy hikes to both Kala Top and Dainkund. These peaks provide a great panoramic view of the Kangra Valley.
Dalhousie is palpably more colonial in flavour as compared to the strongly Buddhist feel at Dharamshala and Mcleod.The journey back to Dharamshala the next day was uneventful. After a hearty breakfast at the hotel we did not even need to stop for lunch but one member of our party who was sick on the way from Delhi decided to skip the bus jorney and fly back. We said our goodbyes at the Dharamshala airport and then made our way back to the very same cottage we had occupied a night ago as the caretaker had very kindly agreed to rest there for an hour or two before we caught our bus back to Delhi.The return journey to Delhi was much smoother than the onward one, not least because the hairpin bends and ghat roads were over by 10p.m. and after that it was just any other normal bus journey. I wanted to record the dinner stop on this route. The bus pulled into an imposing driveway and in front of us stood a palatial building called Haveli built in sandstone. It was eerie and weird...exactly the sort of setting for a low-budget horror flick where a bus-full of passengers disembark in the middle of a lonely highway and one by one inevitably they die. As we walked up the 50 or so steps into the grand main hall and had our dinner the feeling of eeriness and unease never left us for a second. As I kept teasing my friend, it seemed as though many skeletons were literally buried in the closets of this house. We felt infinitely better when we were back on the road.The bus reached Delhi at around 4:30a.m. and dropped us off at ISBT Kashmiri Gate. This was the end of our trip and we headed homewards. The memories, however, will stay with each one of us.
Next morning we set off for Dalhousie in an upbeat mood. First stop was the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium which is the highest stadium in the country. Beautifully kept and fringed by mountains, it provided numerous photo-ops for tourists.On the mountains every hairpin bend, every curve, throws up a different dimension of the view. The scene keeps shifting so there's never a dull moment. The movie business churns out hundreds of songs each year but all the hill-stations in the Himalayan region of India are caught in a time-warp of 1990's Bollywood cheesy romantic numbers. Unfailingly, if the taxi/car you hire has a stereo, the driver will play these almost-forgotten songs. One such ditty stuck in our heads like chewing gum would not come off till we recorded a dub-smash duet rendition of it. A bit of crazy on the trip!
Amritsar to Dalhousie (Punjab to Himachal)We started at 7am in morning from Amritsar to Dalhousie through batala, Gurdaspur, Pathankot. We reached at about 1pm so we decided to move to Khajjiar. It was really a beautiful place for mountain lovers. We return back to Dalhousie in evening, it was started raining and guess what it was an ice rain. Beautiful rainbow comes up in sky. We took rooms for 1000 bucks. And it was a hell of scenery from the balcony of room. You can see mountains range.
16. The picturesque hills of DalhousieAnother beautiful destination in Himachal Pradesh is the hill station called Dalhousie. Named after the British General, Lord Dalhousie, this hill station once a summer retreat for the British, still retains its popularity. Situated at an altitude of 2,400 metres, Dalhousie spans across five hills and is one of the most picturesque hill stations reflecting plush green hills dotted with ancient Hindu temples and Scottish and Victorian architecture as seen in its quaint bungalows and modest churches.
290 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - May,June,July,August,September
Some say that Kaza is the most beautiful place in all of north India, yes that includes Ladakh! The capital of Spiti Valley, Kaza is every traveller's dream. Mostly unexplored owing to its inaccessibility, it has gradually found its place in the 'must visit places in India'. Overwhelming mountains, sparkling rivers, gurgling streams and a landscape unlike any other – Kaza needs to be seen to be believed. As you make your way from the city to this unknown land, you realise the disparity between urban living and simple life. And appreciate it. For miles and miles, you may not come across another human being but will certainly have sounds of nature to accompany you. Yes, Kaza is as poetic as travellers make it sound. The town is divided into parts and also serves as a pass to Ladakh. If you have visited Ladakh, the cultural similarities of both places will not surprise you. Though Kaza is not a typical holiday destination, it offers travellers much more. The base point for many treks, Kaza is where expert trekkers find solace. Do visit Tabo Monastery, which is considered to be one of the Buddhist centres in the Himalayas. The hotels here offer you basic but warm and well-maintained rooms with local meals that you just can't say no to! Reaching here isn't a problem either since buses from Manali run regularly, though the roads here are a little tricky! Perfect for adventure enthusiasts, Kaza is not everyone's cup of tea so if you are looking for a relaxed, no-hassle holiday, do think again!Read More
Some say that Kaza is the most beautiful place in all of north India, yes that includes Ladakh! The capital of Spiti Valley, Kaza is every traveller's dream. Mostly unexplored owing to its inaccessibility, it has gradually found its place in the 'must visit places in India'. Overwhelming mountains, sparkling rivers, gurgling streams and a landscape unlike any other – Kaza needs to be seen to be believed. As you make your way from the city to this unknown land, you realise the disparity between urban living and simple life. And appreciate it. For miles and miles, you may not come across another human being but will certainly have sounds of nature to accompany you. Yes, Kaza is as poetic as travellers make it sound. The town is divided into parts and also serves as a pass to Ladakh. If you have visited Ladakh, the cultural similarities of both places will not surprise you. Though Kaza is not a typical holiday destination, it offers travellers much more. The base point for many treks, Kaza is where expert trekkers find solace. Do visit Tabo Monastery, which is considered to be one of the Buddhist centres in the Himalayas. The hotels here offer you basic but warm and well-maintained rooms with local meals that you just can't say no to! Reaching here isn't a problem either since buses from Manali run regularly, though the roads here are a little tricky! Perfect for adventure enthusiasts, Kaza is not everyone's cup of tea so if you are looking for a relaxed, no-hassle holiday, do think again!
Tabo-Key-LangzaI couldn't feel my right hand after staying up almost all night to make time-lapses of stars and the sunrise. The local dogs barked all night making it worse. As the sun came, I took out all my gear for filming and got to know that overnight my drone and phone stopped working due to the freezing temperatures.It was just My camera and I in a totally different world. The last line is what i feel right now, but, at that time I was pissed. For me, it was the end of my travel video as half of my gear ditched me. I still decided to film just for the sake of it and because Spiti is truly an adventure of a lifetime.We drove to Langza and as you go near the village, you see a statue of Buddha standing tall at 14,500ft. There is a local temple in Langza from where the statue is about 60-70 meters. I couldn't control myself and ran to the statue forgetting the altitude, the chilly winds and all the things i was mad about. It was the greatest feeling ever.After Langza, it was time for Key, the most peaceful place in the himalayas. I had a little headache after my running session in Langza. But all the pain vanished as I saw the Key Monastery standing a 1000ft above the "welcome" sign just where the Key village begins. I got out of the car and ran inside the monastery. I was jumping on roofs to have the best view, after finding a spot, I just sat and looked at the valley. The one thing which was in my mind was a scene from Highway, when Alia Bhatt just sits at Key Monastery looking at the beautiful view. Whenever I saw scenes shot in Spiti valley in the movie, i just wanted to pack my bags and go to Spiti, but, being 15 its never that easy. Before leaving the monastery, i shot some clips and then it was the time where my short trip to Spit ended.Going back, i was listening to songs from Highway and Swades, creating situations in my mind in which something unexpected happens and I have to stay in Spiti for a day or two more...but well, it didn't happen. I reached Tabo and just sat on the rooftop of the homestay with some local kids and just saw the various colours of sky during the sunset, without my camera.
We went through Kaza and reached Kibber soon after. I was sitting on rooftop once again. If you get a chance to sit on car rooftop in Spiti, do that! It leaves one exuberant!
The place of our stay was located on the outskirts on highway to losar. Th hotel was " The Cliff Palace" a standard stay. We moved our luggage and got settled by 9:00 am. Requested the owner to open the terrcae for us and to cook the maggi what we were carrying.They fulfilled both our request. We again did the same setup as Chango and sat on terrace with drinks and maggi. Th dinner was kept in our room for late night snacking. We were lucky in every respect as the sky was clear with milkyway and stars more brighter with great setup behind it. With music playing in background and some old stories in hand we celebrated birthday of my brother in law with magi cake and drinks.Sat there till 2:30 pm and slept off on site of bed. We knew while going for sleep that morning will definitely bring more cheer to our adventure.Day 6: Kaza- Langza-Komic-Kibber-KazaDistance: 86 KmsTravel Time:10 hrs
We woke up early at 7:30 am and went for local sight seeing. We reached Seven Stupas. Offered our prayers and again walked for few meters for Sakya Tengyud Monastery. This newly built monastery has maintained all the sanctity and holiness of Buddhism and makes every effort to keep its vicinity clean and fresh. The moment you enter, you breathe-in spiritualism. we arrived at 7:45 am and the gates were closed. We sat on the long stairs just enjoyin the view when one of the monk passing by informed that te monastery will open in 5 more minutes . The gate opened at dot 8:00am and all the monks started arriving from there in campus stay. The hustling one were the younger monks followed by aged disciplined older monks.s They all sat on the seatings provided for offering prayers on left and right hand side in line. In the center was the statue of Buddha with many wall paintings, statue, and colourful flags. We sat on the rearest line and enjoyed the prayer and the interior of Monastery till 8:30 am. They served us hot tea which was to be consumed after the prayer. The red and yellow attire was amazing. And it was amazing to know that they have all the modern accessories to prevent cold but that too in red or yellow colour :-)We had our breakfast at 9:00 am and started by 9:30 am.. We reached Langza by 10:30 am.LANGZA: known as "the fossil village". Fossils of marine creatures and plants are found in plenty under the sedimentary rocks. These fossils are around millions of years old. Although possession and collection of fossils are illegal in India, the locals in the village sell these collectibles to the travellers visiting their village.. Langza is also famous for its huge Golden coloured Buddha statue which is believed to be around 1000 years old. Langza is also considered to be one of the highest villages in the world with a motorable road. Owing to its proximity to Tibet in China, the population of the village is predominantly Buddhist and belongs to the Sakyapa sect of Tibetian Buddhism. The village has a population of about 137 people living in 33 houses.
We woke up early morning and prepared ourselves by 7 am for 770 kms during the whole day and only to hear that the petrol pump won’t open before 9am.We only had petrol to serve ourselves for 8-10 kms and the next petrol pump was 25kms away. So we requested the petrol pump attendants and they got ready to open the petrol pump by 7.30 but again we have difficulty as the power is off. So we finally are able to leave by 9.30am as we start riding towards Shimla which was 421 kms far. We see the roads were good and motor-able and discuss amongst ourselves that if we are able to reach Shimla even by 14 hours then we can easily reach for my office the next day morning. As we ride on the roads started detoriating after a few kms. We ride non-stop but the unending roads and numerous villages continue. We even skip our breakfast but time flies away as we pass through the apple gardens and the dusty NH-505 and its afternoon. We ride on as we don’t see a single hotel open wherein we can stop and have some breakfast. After riding at a stretch we find that the road has ended and there is a “mummy” temple in front of us. So we ask the local people the route to Shimla and they inform us that we had taken a wrong turning and have come 8 kms off route. So we turn ourselves back and soon after we realize that our bike’s rear break isn’t working anymore. So we have no other way but to stop at the edge of a cliff, with no civilization in sight let alone a mechanic. We tried repairing the breaks there but didn’t work out so we choose to continue with the ride depending just on our front break as it was already 4pm by then. As we come back and take the road we were supposed to, we find it to be all broken. At one of the toll gates the army informs us that it was going to take at least 18 hours to reach Shimla further. We again choose to ignore them and continue. The journey was getting more and more difficult without the breaks and roads all broken. Sometimes we skit in the stone chips and pebbles all around, sometimes we lost control and ended up right at the edge of one of the cliffs. But soon after to our relief the rear break starts working and we ride on. We keep on riding but the roads don’t seem to have any end. After few more hours it starts getting dark and we have no idea where we are. The same unending hills and rivers continue and suddenly we realise that our bike was sounding weird and we turn back to see that the silencer pipe had fallen back somewhere. So my brother rides back in search of the silencer pipe and I stand there at the edge of a cliff as several vehicles pass by. After 15 minutes as I don’t see him coming I start getting tensed about his safety so I start walking back and soon I see him coming. So we resume our ride with the broken silencer pipe fit somehow and the darkness falling upon us. After few more hours of riding we reach a place called ‘Poh’ and it was dark. As we ride in the shown direction towards Shimla preceded by Rampur and Tabo we see that the road has ended. So we ask the local army cadets from one of the barracks and he says that due to a recent landslide the road has got blocked and the only way to cross this was riding through a hill. The hill was nothing less than 5000 ft above from where we were standing. So basically we had to cover odd 40 km instead of 9 km crossing that steep hill in dying darkness with our bodies totally given up. Nothing was working in our favor and we were devastated. We had literally lost all the senses and we knew that taking that ride of the steep hill would mean nothing but committing suicide. So after a blank gaze at each other we restarted riding over the hills. Just after two turnings at one of the steep turnings my brother almost lost control and we fell down. As we lifted the bike, we found that the silencer pipe that my brother had somehow managed to fix had fallen down once again. So there we were in the dying darkness standing at one of the corners of this mountain with no clue how to fix it, no idea what to do next, no physical or mental strength to get back up riding. After few faint attempts at fixing the silencer pipe we saw a small truck coming from down. So we had some light of hope but the truck took a sharp speedy curve and hit our bike’s luggage carrier bunk and stopped going ahead to check if that had broken something. As we waved for help the truck ignored us and moved onwards. So we were there alone once again with lights visible right at the top of the hill which were approximately I don’t know how far away. We could just faintly see round and round curves that had led to it. I, at a point felt as if we were not even alive anymore and all this was happening to our souls. This trip was no more an adventure for us. My brother was frustrated and was screaming on me and blaming me for the situation. Had we returned from Manali this would not have happened. We could have easily spent another beautiful pleasant night under the moonlit sky. But here we were struggling with our life against an 11000ft mountain. His hands looked burnt now by the continuous accelerating of his bike. But I managed to keep my cool. The person who was crying out of fear on the highway was now, way more matured. I knew that whatever was happening might be tough but was something we would cherish for the rest of our lives. So we somehow put the bike in a piece and resumed our riding through the dark broken mountain which had been through a landslide just a few days ago. We moved closer and closer to the top, the faint lights we could see were clearer now. So after riding for more than an hour we reached a small village at the top. After few honking a person came out so we asked him if there was a place nearby where we could sit back and relax. He pointed down and showed a place called ‘Tabo’ and instructed us to go there. We saw the village and it was a sight of relaxation after a long time. The village looked very beautiful by the local hydroelectricity project that was going on. It was like a garden full of white flowers. So we gathered all our courage and rode down to Tabo. It was 11 in the night when we reached Tabo and no part of our body was ready for any ride further. So I spoke to the HR person in my new office and postponed the joining to the 2nd half of the day and targeted to leave Tabo by 4 in the morning and reach Delhi by 2 in the afternoon.Day 5
First kind, then cashFor places which thrive on tourists, to ensure tourists buy their goods is essential. However, on our trip we did find some kind hearted souls, who put kindness first and cash later. We had decided on purchasing silver jewelry of about more Rs.2000 in Kaza's market, but realized if we paid all of it we may run out of cash. While we were still contemplating, buying the stuff and thinking about finding an ATM later, the shopkeeper advised otherwise. Concerned we may or may not find cash at the nearest ATM, he first asked us to go check if the ATM had cash withdraw it and then come pay him. He was not worried about the ATM not having cash and he losing out on a customers. Kindness first. To reward his kindness, the ATM did have cash and I am glad we could buy the silver jewelry.Himachal Diaries is a series of some short and some long blogs from my recent 10-day trip to Himachal with four of my friends. These blogs will cover places we saw, people we met, funny experiences and some instances which amuse us at a personal level. This is the fifth part of the Himachal Diaries series, Hope you enjoy, feedback is welcome!
30th June :- Fortunately my leg was much better next morning and I was excited to continue my journey. Bus departs from Kullu at 4A.M and reach Manali at 5:00 A.M. Bus was already full when it reached Manali and there were lot of passengers to board from Manali too. Conductor told me that all the sitting passengers are going till kaza so i have to continue without seat for 14 hours. I was little hesitant because of the cramp but decided to continue. I met two foreigners in the bus. They were also travelling Solo. I am an introvert person so I don't talk much with strangers. But in this trip I made sure talking to many people and also made some good friends. I started talking with the two foreigners and soon we were conversing like old friends. I talked to almost half of the bus in this ride, including some natives of Spiti. Two people boarded from Batal, they were coming from Chandratal and were going to Kaza. We talked and decided to take the accommodation together in Kaza to make it under budget. Finally we reached Kaza at 7P.M & after taking accommodation we walked through the village. It was totally different landscape compared to Manali.
It was supposed to be a day with the shortest ride. Our plan was to visit Dhankar, Key and Kibber monasteries and come back to Kaza for night stay.However, when we reached Dhankar, first we had breakfast then visited the monastery. I asked the dhaba owner about Dhankar lake trek, he showed us the flag on the top of the mountain and said it is easily doable, trek is not too hard and you can return in just 3 hrs, by the time it was already 11 am. We all decided to go up for the lake; we all were very excited especially Amit bhai “2 kms hi hai naa, ye to 30 mins mien ho jaayega”. So, we asked the dhaba owner if we can leave our bikes, riding gears and bags on his shop until we return from the lake. He was very kind, just smiled and said & "haanji bhaiya ji, koi baat nahi&".
277 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - May,June,July,August,September,October
Considered to be one of the highest motorable villages in the world, Kibber in Himachal Pradesh is splendid to say the least. Definitely a must visit for travellers who enjoy something new and different on all their holidays, Kibber offers you everything you expect as a traveller. Reminding one of Ladakh's barren landscape, Kibber is home to Spiti Valley's largest monastery, the Key Monastery. Also home to perhaps the only wildlife sanctuary in India's cold desert, Kibber offers you an experience of a lifetime. The Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary offers you rare sights of ibex, blue sheep, red fox, Tibetan woolly hare, Himalayan wolf, lynx and pika. Definitely a must visit when you are here. The village also houses the highest polling station, the highest school and the highest post office! The red-roofed houses here are a sight to behold and the culture a bliss to experience. The local people are warm and happily welcome you to their homes and way of life. Finding a place to stay here was quite difficult a few years back but now has become comparatively easier. Kibber offers travellers just the right mix of adventure, unpredictability and fun!Read More
Considered to be one of the highest motorable villages in the world, Kibber in Himachal Pradesh is splendid to say the least. Definitely a must visit for travellers who enjoy something new and different on all their holidays, Kibber offers you everything you expect as a traveller. Reminding one of Ladakh's barren landscape, Kibber is home to Spiti Valley's largest monastery, the Key Monastery. Also home to perhaps the only wildlife sanctuary in India's cold desert, Kibber offers you an experience of a lifetime. The Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary offers you rare sights of ibex, blue sheep, red fox, Tibetan woolly hare, Himalayan wolf, lynx and pika. Definitely a must visit when you are here. The village also houses the highest polling station, the highest school and the highest post office! The red-roofed houses here are a sight to behold and the culture a bliss to experience. The local people are warm and happily welcome you to their homes and way of life. Finding a place to stay here was quite difficult a few years back but now has become comparatively easier. Kibber offers travellers just the right mix of adventure, unpredictability and fun!
Next morning was devoted completely to spirituality and expedition of the place and we visited Ki Monastery, the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley; Kibber village at 4205 meters, which the internet claims to be the world’s highest motorable village, but it isn’t anymore. We also visited the Kibber Gompa, the place where Aman closed in on the lead by falling again, the scores then read Ammy 5, Aman 4; and then Komic, Asia’s highest village and now the highest motorable village in the world, standing at some 4400metres. After that we started rolling towards Tabo but a bike had a minor breakdown, fortunately, and we stopped. On our right was a bridge that leads one to Pin Valley. I think we were destined to visit it.
KIBBER: The route to Kibber was scenic and we reached in Twenty Minutes. The village was once famous for being the highest inhabitated and motor-able village till komic came in picture. The village had views ti die for. The houses here are closely located , painted in white and the roof of all the house are stacked with stacks of dried for preventing snow to enter through terrace. and also for burning in winter. The area is known for Snow Leapord andWe were there for one hour watching the place glory and left for Key Gompa. We wanted to capture key gompa from down the hill and asked our driver to pick two of us on our way down. We trekked down from narrow stretches and reached the road below. Took few pictures and were waiting and walking on road. It was turning dark and being unaware of the village nearby we waited and finally our cab arrived and we left for the Hotel. We observed light showers in evening and it was all cloudy. and we were tired. Shared our images from both the places. reached by 8:30 pm and after having our dinner slept by 1030 pm to start early next morning.Day 7: Kaza- Losar- Kunzum La-Chandratal LakeDistance: 90 KmsTravel Time: 9 hrsToday we left hotel after having breakfast early by 9:00 am . Reached losar village for tea by 10:30 am. The route was mind boggling. The mountains were taller. The valley was flat. The bank of river were creating beautiful structures due to erosion. The terrain was becoming drier and drier when heading upwards. Now the roads were more zig zag, narrow, rugged ruble path with No road above losar village. The sky was much clearer and their was hint of all colour ranging from red, blue green, white silver, shades of brown etc. This was indeed a paradise away from civilization in the laps of nature with its vividness so rare and magnifique.We reached Kunzum la at around 12:00 pm. i was getting speechless in describing the view day by day. Their was a passage made to reach the Kunzum mata Stupas. This was decored by numurous thread of Tibetian flags. Flowing heavily and fully with the chilled winds hustling through. On the north was snow clad mountains so near that we can feel the snow fall in that mountain on this peak too.This peak has its own glory. The air was so chilled that we were not able to unmask our noses. We visited the temple and went walking towards the mountain side. Sat their creating timelapses and photo memories.Started at 1:30 pm towards chandratal. Now we had Chenab river on left side of us. The roads are dangerous with waterfalls becoming nallah on places making the soil more collapsable. You have to be very attentive while driving on this route. Even one blink of eye will lead to fall in the gorge with only rocks and a narrow river chenab flowing below. The zig zagness, the uneven rubbled surface and the road width were dangerous to drive. We just had some faith in our driver as he was driving in such location for past 20 years. We reached Chandratal Base camp by 3:00 pm.We were hungry as we had no option of food on the way and went to the camp Kitchen. They were closed as it was 3:15 pm . We requested them to give us anything and cooked us maggi. We had maggi as our lunch and were ready by 3:30 pm for trekking to lake 3 kms away. Trekking takes 1 hr 50 minutes. Three of us were in no mood to trek as we already had trek for last three days. I requested driver to drive three of us to the nearest location one km apart from the lake. Three guyz started trekking with just water in their bags. We went in vehicle wit all the luggage. We have fixed our spot and timings and we were supposed to wait for other to as we were supposed to land up early. The cab slowly and steadily climbed up on again very narrow zig zag lane. We were running fine and then suddenly felt the jerk and saw our vehicle stranding down on hill side. Three of us hurriedly shifted our-self out. Put some stones on the tilted side of cab and asked our driver to come out. We were only able to fetch few bags in our hand . The cab was hanging on hill side with only rocks and river below.We realized just then that we escaped death. We asked our driver to calm himself and started flagging to far away vehicles for help. One cab arrived and took our driver to the base camp for getting some help as one vehicle was not sufficient for pull the vehicle out. Our driver asked us to complete our trek and meet him at the base camp below. We told him to be careful of himself while trying to pull the cab out and leave the vehicle and luggage there only if unable to. We were forced to trek as their were no signals for cellphone and we will not be able to contact other three who were trekking. We had only camera bag, tripod, lense bag and a purse with some water at our disposal. Everything else was hanging there with the cab.We reached the site by 5:00pm but couldnt trace our other members. I wanted to stand on the highest peak to search for them but were not able too.. Then we deccided to sit near the chandratal lake. and wait for them.The sight and everythin was great but i was in great tension of finding the other three. I started zooming my camera and taking photographs of farthest location. In one of the pic i can find three prople climbing down through other side. I was relieved. And i was ready to capture and feel the landscape . The very own chandratal Lake. There were no major travellers at sight and it was serene torquise water upfront and deep blue water at the latter part amidst dark brown mountains.Chndra Tal / Chandra Taal / Moon lake is situated at a height of 4300 m and 7 kms away from the Kunzum Pass in Spiti and Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh India. Boasting of a circumference of about 2.5 kms, the deep blue-water of Chandra Tal Lake is the source of the Chandra river. According to legend, this lake is the location from where god Indra’s chariot picked up Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandava brothers. As a result, this lake is a revered one and draws a large number of devotees.We soaked our legs ad sat their relaxed. We thought we arrived in heaven after that death escape.Finally the other three arrived. We told them entire story . They took some phot and we left the place by 5:45 pm. We trekked up first and then down through great lanscape. Saw glacier melting into a lake and walked further Down. Our reference was one mountain which was towards the camp side. Prople were getting lost here and you have no one to ask for help. We trusted our guts and kept running down and saw the base camp from top.We hit the bottom of base camp and saw our driver & cab coming from the road away from Chandratal lake. He was shaking with fear. He considered this day as his rebirth and wanted to celebrate in his own way :-)We were given our camps and it was getting chillier minute by minute. We asked him not to untie the luggage and keep it as is. But only took our pursse and camera inside camp. It was so clod that no one was ready to explore the camp and its surrounding and were deep inside the blankets given in three layers.We were called for dinner. We were in no mood to step out but ad to as we hardly had something for lunch. The food tasted great. The Camp owner told us that this week was their last week for camp setup and they will move by the weekend and come here again in next summer. Scarcity of things will be only witnessed at such places.We went again into our tents. I had seen the sky and made my mind to click few pictures of milky way as i was aware that this was my last day for a while to witness a sky so clear and of course te milky way. With determination i came out of tent with camera. I had no intention of setting up tripod and used one of my shoe as base for camera setting and stability. I git the perfect clip and went inside the tent with satisfaction and slept peacefully. The temperature was -9 degree that night.Day8: Chandratal- Batal-Gramphu-Rohtang-ManaliDistance: 130kmsTravel Time: 12 hrsWe woke up expecting it to be much chillier but to our surprise it was bearable. We had no mind of having an bath. Just had our freshening up and breakfast and left by 8:30 am. Reached Batal at 10:00 am. On chacha Chachi ka dhaaba we had our parathas most amazinly prepared and left by 11:00 to chattru.We reached Chattru by 1:00pm Had some maggi and again left for Rohtang pass.The terrain from chandratal was again changing visually with many waterfalls amidst rocky grassland to cultivated mountain trees to thick forest till we reached rohtang. We also witnessed the heard of horses with perfect view. From batal to Rohtang Chenab River was flowing parallelly along on left side till Chattru from where it was flowing on right till rohtang pass. Gramphu was the last village in Lahual & SPiti Valley.Rotang Pass:Rohtang Pass means pile of corpses, due to people dying in bad weather trying to cross the pass (elevation 3,978 m (13,050 ft)) is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km (32 mi) from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India.On the lower side towards manali lies the temple of Beas. The place from where beas river originates.We halted for half and hour there and left for marhi. Had lunch and drive further down towards solang valley. We went on to visit the Rohtang Longest Tunnel project as our friend was working there and had an amazing experience on witnessing the construction of world longest tunnel of 8.9 km. We felt proud for our friend. Met the staff and started for Manali : our last destination. We reached manali by 6:00pm .With some freshening up we went to mall road for dinner.This was our last night of this adventurous journey and wanted to celebrate . We wanted in our life more of such journey with like minded travellers. Had amazing apple cider at local restaurant with amazing food and slept off after reaching back.Day 9: Manali- Kullu- Mandi-Chandigarh-DelhiDistance: 557Travel Time:12 hrsThis day was only about reaching Delhi airport on timeThis was an end to the amazing journey of Nine days. We experienced different life, place, culture & heritage. We felt in love with this place and will always be willing to explore this land further.COSTING OF TRIP:Package cost from travel agency: 13000/ headCost of flight to and fro Bangalore: 6000/ headCost of lunch +Hotel tip(generous)1+ One day extra stay+Drinks and snacks: 3667/headTherfore Total Cost: Rs 22667/headDO's & DONT's:Dont take excessive luggage than requiredTake cloths in layer (Two set of thermal+ full Sleeves T shirt+ Jacket)Take required medicinal kit (if possible try to equally distribute among team so that it consumes less space)Take abundance of sun screen lotionGoggles+Gloves+Head Gear+Muffler/Scarf+ Socks+Trekking shoesCamera + Lenses+ Tripod + Filter + Batteries/ Charger + SD cardsMobile phone + charger+ power bankTrekking bags+ water bottlesA lot of songs on your phone I ll end up this story by one line close to me:"Two roads diverged in a wood and I- I took the one less travelled by" by Robert frost.Keep exploring the new lands!!! Keep travelling!!!Cheers!!!Sudha
After a while when my friends came out, we went to another monastery of komic. It was different from every other monastery I have been to. Specks of last sun rays were giving this place an archaic look. There were colors splattered all around with some traditional hangings and rangoli-like decoration on a circular table. It wasn't a huge monastery so everything was kept close, giving us warmth. It felt like coming close to some undefined power because of the aura that was created here.
We interacted with some monks, had lunch, attended a prayer, sat on its terrace and tanned ourselves, finally convincing ourselves to continue our journey and head to Komic Village.
Do we find the warmest people at the coldest places possible? May be yes you find them in Himachal, definitely yes you find them in Spiti. This incident will be always close to my heart and will always manage to put a smile on my face. We were roaming around aimlessly climbing some uphill pathways in Kibber. While, I was climbing one such uphill pathway, my photographer friend was walking behind me and asked me to turn around and smile for her camera. As I do that, the next moment someone warmly puts her arm around my waist. I turn to see a lovely sweet looking middle aged village woman smiling at me. We both once again flashed a bigger smile as we hugged tighter and posed for the camera.
#ChichamRopeway #KibberVillage #Adventurehappy #FunMoments
Travel to one of the highest villages in the World - Kibber, Spiti Valley in Himachal PradeshAt the altitude of about 14000ft, Kibber village is a mesmerizing land inhabiting few locals within a gorgeous naturescape that paints a perfect imagery of rough-hewn brown and white texture. Here you can trek to one of highest and largest monasteries in the world, the Key monastery whose mighty structure is not easy to forget, but surely is something to make memories out of.
After my return from Kye, I headed to Kibber, once the highest village in the world, from where I sent out postcards home. Two days later, I journeyed to the majestic Dhankar village, surrounded by snow peaks. Yet my most valuable moment in Spiti was reaching the footsteps of Kye monastery, and looking up at the impossible mud and stone wonder looming above me.To experience Spiti is to see joy and beauty in stillness. It is not a place for people who want to “do things” on a holiday, but rather a space where given the chance, you might just find a bit of yourself. I for one surely did.TIPS:•Fill water bottles at the hotel or guest house, and carry extra plastic bags to clean up your own litter.•Keep sunscreen, torches, UV eyeglasses, and essential medicines handy.•Carry Diamox tablets to prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).•If you’re planning on staying in smaller places, carry candles and matches, as power supply is erratic throughout this remote valley.•Respect local customs and take permission before taking photos of people, wherever possible.•Water pipes may freeze up, so be prepared to go without taking a shower for a while.•Lodge in homestays to support the local economy wherever possible, and get a closer experience of Spitian life.
Nothing much, last point where you can stand and view the mountains and the road that lead to the highest battle field on earth- The Siachin Glacier. You can visit natural hot spring here and have few roadside restau. While returing you will find a small group of cliff to your right after passing Trisha village. Between those cliff has a beautiful Yarub TSO least exploited. I was there alone for 1 hour totally cut off from the out side world. Calm peace... You have to cross a dry river bed to get into this.