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Monday, December 26, 2011

Enchanting Himachal - Introduction


Enchanting Himachal - Introduction
View of Kinner Kailash range from Kalpa
Himachal Pradesh always holds a special place for me and visiting any of the destinations there invigorates me from within. Like every year, I decided to spend a part of the summer holidays with my family in Himachal Pradesh. However, as it is a known destination, booking of hotels etc. was to be ensured well in time and accordingly I had started planning & booking well in advance and for my June, 2011 sojourn I had already completed my bookings by mid-April. This part of the Himalayan state is also referred to the Dev Bhoomi akin to Uttarakhand and is replete with many temples & monasteries.
This is a detailed map of Himachal Pradesh available in its official Tourism site -
may use the link to download -

Geographically Himachal is nestled in the North West region of the Himalayas and is bounded by the Tibetan Plateau towards its eastern face. The State of Himachal has for display, a topographic diversity & array of features, which contains dense forests & vegetation, Apple & fruit orchards and extend to desolate terrains referred to as ‘Cold desert’. I chose to explore the desolate aspect of the State and had planned to visit the Kinnaur & Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh.
Stark landscape of Spiti
Accordingly, I planned my itinerary starting from 11th of June, 2011 and culminating on 22nd of June, 2011. The itinerary that I followed is detailed as follows –
From
To
Distance(Kms.)
Delhi
Shimla
370
Shimla
Naldehra
28
Shimla
Narkanda via Kufri
62
Narkanda
Sangla via Rampur/Karcham
178
Sangla
Chitkul
26
Chitkul
Sangla
26
Sangla
Nako via Powari/Puh
115
Nako
Kaza via Changoh & Sumdoh & Giu
108
Kaza
Kye
11
Kye
Kibber
15
Kibber
Kaza
26
Kaza
Langza & back
52
Kaza
Kalpa
208
Kalpa
Sarhan
110
Sarhan
Chail
178
Chail
Delhi
343
I based my tour on this map - may download the same from -
The culture & people change as the topography of the place changes and it is unity in diversity in its truest sense. The people of the State, living in some very desolate and harsh environment, living out a real difficult life, especially during the severe winters. I have documented the topography to some extent and shall be narrating my journey on destination/day basis in my ensuing travel blogs. As some of the readers had requested for quality maps for the destination, I have enclosed two maps alongwith their respective links to help them get the maps for their future use.
Passing by Pinjore
We started our journey early in the morning, we were scheduled to start at 6.00 A.M sharp, but the driver hired for the drive arrived late, thinking that normally people fix a time and then start after an hour or so. Accordingly, we were delayed by about half an hour and started at 6.30 A.M. The road conditions were excellent upto Panipat and thereafter, due to large scale work being undertaken by the NHAI, for construction of elevated highway bridges over the small villages & townships en-route, the diversions caused many a traffic jams at short intervals, thereby causing quite an inconvenience for the commuters.
Passing by Kalka
After, having negotiated these cumbersome & bothersome diversions, we reached Karnal at around 10.45 A.M and stopped for B’fast at the Haveli. But the place was over-crowded and we had to wait for quite some time before we could gain entry there. The hot environs outside, coupled with the brash behavior of the guard posted outside the restaurant, almost made me turn around and head for some other Restaurant. Even the food served inside was at best ordinary and nothing outstanding about it, think with passage of time it will lose its popularity, if it continues to dish out such bland fare & brashness. Having had our B’fast, we continued on our way and after crossing Ambala came upon a stretch of road that was as smooth a silk. However, our joy was short lived as we hit upon another major jam at Pinjore, which is a bottleneck. But a bye-pass is under construction and should ease this problem in the near future. The next bottle-neck is Kalka and there is no solution in sight to this junction. Thereafter, we reached Himachal, entering the state through Parwanoo, where a entry fee of Rs.40/- is to be paid.
2_PICT0007 by S Roy Biswas
With my childhood friend Sh. Sunil Goel in Dharampur
As we gradually gained height, the stuffy heat started dissipating and we stopped by at Dharampur for our lunch. This destination was specifically chosen by me so that I could catch up with my childhood friend Sh. Sunil Goel, with whom I had studied from Nursery onwards, till the time I left Kasauli for Delhi. Having had our lunch and also met my friend, who was in office, despite the day being a second Saturday & a holiday, due to scheduled visit of some senior Government functionary to the Central Research Institute, where he is working. He specifically made it a point to leave early from Kasauli, so as to meet us at Dharampur after receiving my call. After getting past crowded Solan, the district headquarters that goes by the same name, we finally reached outskirts of Shimla in the evening.
100_1816 by S Roy Biswas
Shimla in view
P.S - The photographs used in the ensuing blog are mostly shot by my 13 years old son - Joyendra Roy Biswas
May watch the video of Jouney

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  4. Dear Mr. Biswas, I am S Bhaumik from Kolkata & planning to visit Kinnaur, Spiti , Lahul. We are staying 1N Sarahan, 1N Sangla, 1N Kalpa, 1N Tabo, 3N Kaza, 1 N Kibber, 1N Chandratal Camp, 1N Keylong and 1N Manali. We are Three travelling in one Inniva with my wife & my Mother ( of Age 67 Years). My Mother do not have any Heart or Asthma problem but has a bit knee pain. Can you please suggest that id there any problem in taking my mother here. What precautions shd we take ? My e mail ID is supriyo_bhaumik@rediffmail.com. Please advise on the precautions & preventive measures to take.

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