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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Enchanting Himachal – Visiting Chowari Jot

Enchanting Himachal – Visiting Chowari Jot
 
Panoramic view of Chowari Jot
         We started from Chamba early in the morning sans B’fast, as we were to reach Dalhousie, which is 56 Kms. away after visiting Chowari Jot.  On the way we got the B’fast packed and headed upwards towards Chowari Jot.  ‘Jot’ in the local dialect refers to a high mountain pass and the name Chowari is based on the name of village on the way towards Kangra, as Chowari Jot is the pass that connects Chamba & Kangra Districts of Himachal Pradesh.  The other route to reach Kangra from Chamba is via Pathankot.  However, the Chowari Jot is only accessible during the summers as being perched at an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level, it is receives copious amounts of snow during the winter season and is closed for vehicular traffic.  From Chamba one reaches Gete village, wherefrom the road bifurcates towards Chowari Jot and Khajjiar.  Even the route for Dalhousie through Khajjiar (about 56 Kms.) gets blocked during the winter months and the vehicles from Chamba have to traverse all the way back upto Banikhet to reach Dalhousie.

As the road meanders towards Chowari jot from Chamba
            Chowari Jot is therefore, a strategic mountain pass of the region and after reaching Gete village, we took the road towards the Jot, which is further 11 Kms. from this point and the total distance from Chamba to Chowari Jot is 22 Kms.  The road from Gete village onwards gets fairly steep as the pass is perched atop the hillock.  However, the local villages perched atop hills & vales below offer interesting sights and gradually as one heads upwards, the vegetation too changes from Pines to Deodar trees and flowers like Daisies start appearing by roadsides.  The Government has constructed small huts atop numerous hillocks that mark the Chowari Jot top, in order to encourage tourism.  However, it does not appear to have taken off, as there are hardly any eating joints or any such other attractions catering to tourists atop Chowari Jot.  Moreover, local herders were found grazing the cattle inside the designated picnic spot, which were found loitering & littering dung all over.  It is not for the Government only to prepare the infrastructure, but local participation by residents is also a must to make an idea a success, which would finally have helped the locals economically, in case the tourists arrived at the destination.  However, in the present conditions, I do not think foreign & economically sound tourists would enjoy the destination.  Moreover, as the Dian Kund of Dalhousie is connected to Chowari Jot through a trekking route, this spot could have been converted into a adventure sport destination also.  Since we were carrying our B’fast, we did not mind this little debacle and had our B’fast at a clean spot.
Daisies galore at Chowari jot
Panoramic view of Pir Panjal ranges from Chowari jot
Close up of the mountain ranges from Chowari jot
            Chowari Jot offers spectacular views of the Himalayan vistas across a 180 degree angle and the entire Dhauladhar Ranges, Pir Panjal Ranges and the mighty Zanskar Range is also visible from the spot.  However, as it had not rained and there was considerable dust in the air, the view was not all that clear but from the strategic location it can be easily assumed that this spot would offer a spectacular view for the mountain/Himalayas lover on a clear day.  We shot photographs and also a video of the destination and my son, being a bit overwhelmed by the sights, decided to take a shot from a vantage point.  No sooner had he perched himself for the shoot, that he scampered down at break neck speed with a Ram in hot pursuit.  It was only that he had crossed me that the Ram stopped and walked away.  We spent some quality time amongst the Daisies at Chowari Jot and for a nature lover, the place would remain ensconced in one’s heart for long. 
View of theKangra side from Chowari jot
            During our return leg, the driver purchased some local sweetmeat (locally known as Barfi in Hindi) prepared from condensed milk produced locally by slowly heating milk with sugar over a long duration.  My wife too purchased a pack for consumption and thus, ended our visit to the famed Chowari Jot.
Video of the destination -



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