Day 2: 01 June 2014 : Nature welcomes Yayawar at Chanshal Pass
Today was the BIG day for us as we would be visiting Chanshal Pass and celebrating DoW’s Anniversary there by cutting a cake (Yes! Samar had carried a special cake for the occasion!). However, knowing that Chanshal would just be 50 odd kilometers and probably that we would be going to the other side of the valley to Dodra-Kwar (another 20 kms for Dodra and 40 odd for Kwar), it should not take long and hence the day was relaxed (or so we thought!). So we got up in a relaxed mood and prepared for the day’s drive. By 0830 hrs, we were out of our rooms clicking some morning shots and started our drive by 0845 hrs with Madan on the wheels. The weather was pleasant with clouds hovering and some rains were forecast-ed too.
We were driving along the Pabbar river and the views were providing good feast to eyes. The views were so tempting that we were forced to stop the Beast, just 40 minutes into our drive at the first opportunity we got for proximity with the Pabbar river and in we went for some photo-shots. 🙂
We started our drive again and pretty soon we were excited to see snow-clad peaks on the horizon.
We soon reached Chirgaon and was surprised to see a barber shop, the owner of which belonged to Samastipur – my hometown. This we knew because he had this written in big letters as a board. I thought of catching up with him on return. Just after Chirgaon, we saw this Gaddi who was with his herd of cattle and so we stopped to have a chitchat.
Further ahead, we reached Tikkari where there was this small bridge that we had to cross. We saw the water under the bridge that was clean and pristine and so we stopped again to click some pics. 🙂
We moved ahead towards Chanshal after spending a couple of minutes there. As we had planned to cut the DoW anniversary cake at the Chanshal Pass, it was decided that we’ll all be in DoW Tees at the top. However, Dheeraj hadn’t taken a bath due to cold and so hasn’t changed! 😀 And when we reminded him about the attire, he changed his clothes in the moving car! 😉 Moving ahead, we reached Larot by 1045 hrs. We had planned to have breakfast here as Anil had read someone’s blog that there is a nice little eatery serving food. However, to our disappointment, the place was not yet open and they had just fired up the stove. They said that even Maggi would take at least 40-45 minutes. We can’t waste that much time. We’ll have it at Chanshal if anything is available, or at Dodra-Kwar. And so we proceeded again…
Soon we were driving through dense forest and the road has almost vanished. But when the surroundings were so green and the views inviting, how couldn’t have we not stopped? And so we again took a break…
Have a look at the road conditions too!
The ascent was steep at places, especially at the turns and it was made more difficult with the road conditions coupled with the rains which seems to have happened just minutes ago. It was one such turn when the Beast started loosing it’s power and we could see black smoke coming out of the exhaust. Madan said that most probably the turbo has failed or become dysfunctional. And I was like, no way the Beast would fail me.. we have seen it’s prowess yesterday. Somehow, the beast kept inching forward at the incline and then we saw something which elated all of us – snow deposited on the side of the road! What?? It is 1st of June and snow? No way!! Indeed it was snow and as we progressed, the thickness of the snow deposits started increasing. And so quite visible was the snow on the nearby peaks in every direction! 🙂
We left behind the tree line and now it was just the rocks/snow/mud/grass and small shrubs for company. Just then, we sensed low air pressure in rear left tyre. We got down to inspect and it was completely flat! Hmmm.. perhaps the Beast is growing old and less capable of accompanying me on such expeditions. However, I’m always ready for such eventualities and was carrying two sets of tubeless tyre puncture repairing kit and electronic car air compressor (Metal Body Ultra Heavy Duty Mini Air Compressor from Mangal India). We located the puncture too, however, who would have the strength to apply this as it requires too much of strength. Anil & Madan to rescue – they together repaired the puncture even without taking out the tyres. And then we filled air.
The time it took to repair the puncture and fill the air to correct pressure, everyone utilized it to click pics of vistas which were beautiful
We hopped on the beast again and started, however, by that time, Samar and Anil had walked ahead and waved us to come. Seconds later, we were passing a wall of snow 6″-8″ in height – this much of snow on 01st of June!! And so while Samar captured the Beast passing by the snow wall, we captured it from inside.
Snow had become very conspicuous now and we could sense that we were approaching the Chanshal Pass. Fortunately, the road (or better say track) was clear of snow. While approaching the pass, we noticed a group of bikers and we waved at them.
Just after a bend, we arrived at Chanshal Pass. The time read 1233 hrs. It took us 3 hours and 48 minutes to cover the 50 odd kilometers that too without any breakfast(of course with the photo breaks)!
The Chanshal pass stands good at an altitude of 3750 meters and the Chanshal peak which adjoins the pass is 4520 meters. Not so high, but mind it – some of the peaks in the Chanshal ranges are about 5200 meters high.
Ecstatic and exuberant are the words that I can use to explain the mood! We had never thought that we would get loads of snow during this time of the year! This trip itself was least planned and appeared to be a rushed up, at times going into jeopardy due to withdrawal of people, but we made it here!! 🙂
Time to bring the DoW anniversary cake and cut it.
But first we need to capture ourselves in front of the board – memories in making. And so we climbed the rocks, positioned ourselves at whatever space was available and asked a gentleman to shoot us (no no! not with a gun, rather our DSLRs).
And while stepping down, we noticed how shitty people spoil places that are still virgin… 🙁
Now the gentleman was with a family which had come all the way from Nashik and had a kid who’s birthday happened to be the same day, however, they didn’t had the cake to celebrate! Devils to the rescue! Devils are known to spread this infectious thing called Smile, and so we offered the girl to cut the cake first, followed by Daddy Devil (Dheeraj) and then we all distributed and had a piece of the cake. Oh! Did we just celebrated a birthday atop a mountain pass? 😉
Cakes finished, we spent sometime getting ourselves clicked with the board and the vistas around.
Dheeraj and Samar then decided to scale the Chanshal Peak, while we, the less mortals, decided to keep ourselves happy lying low. 🙂
Lying low, we found a huge piece of land covered with thick snow and so we did some snow-bashing 🙂
From our position, we clicked Dheeraj and Samar descending from the Chanshal Peak, while they clicked us.
While they had the courage to scale the peak, the stamina went like this when they returned 😉
After resting a while, we again clicked vistas around, while Samar tried some daredevil!
What I noticed, that the rocks had clear metallic deposits (it certainly wasn’t mica, for I have seen mica deposits at Koderma and they chip-off in layers).
The time read 1415 hrs. We discussed and decided that going to Dodra-Kwar would consume at least 5-6 hours for a return journey from Chanshal and then it would take further 3 hours from Chanshal to Rohru and hence we dropped the idea of going to Dodra-Kwar and started descending towards Rohru. The time read 1430..
The weather in the meanwhile started changing fast with black clouds hovering above in the sky. We could clearly see heavy downpour in the valley.
It had been barely 20 minutes that we started our returned when rains started and we slowed down. And then, the nature danced! We noticed the valley turning white gradually and when we opened our car windows, we see this:
Oh Yes! What was initially hailstorm turned into Snowfall and the valley turned white and the snow engulfed the Beast! We had stopped to enjoy the nature welcoming Yayawar at the valley. We’ve seen it all in a day – scorching heat, snow, rain, hailstorm and snowfall – what more could you ask for from nature? Specially considering that it was 01st of June, when it is a giant furnace at NCR, this was a welcome change to be at Chanshal and witness all the wonders of nature.
Once the rain and snow stopped, we proceeded further towards Larot, passing through the green surroundings and soaking in the nature…
… and stopping wherever we felt for some photo-op 😀
We had the causes stuff with us, however, being Sunday we were well aware that no school or aanganwaadi would be open and so we kept an eye for opportunity to distribute the stuff. I still remember the incident and burst into laughter when we stopped seeing three kids on the road. Madan asked their names, while Anil got down and opened the rear door of Scorpio to get the items and Madan asked the kids to get to the rear in an ordering tone. The kids thought they’d be bundled in the rear seat and god knows what.. they just ran away for their life screaming on top of their voice! One of the kid slipped his slippers and instead of coming back and picking it up, he chose to leave the another one too and just save his life! 😀 Just imagine – a person in army camo pants with a kadak moustache asks you to go to the rear of the vehicle appearing suddenly on a solitary road.. another one opens up the rear door hurriedly. What would you do if you you’re a 9 year old?? 😆 😆
We spent next half an hour thinking what had happened and laughing out loud! 😀 😀 😀 😀
Just as we reached Shiladesh village, we noticed kids playing in a field. Madan shouted at them to call, but they seemed to be a bit afraid. We all got down the beast and called them and then distributed the stuff to them. The kids were quite elated to receive the stuff and the smiles that we saw was priceless!
We then moved forward from Shiladesh towards Larot and kept on distributing stuff to all the kids that we found on the way. And the news spread! By the time we passed on couple of turns, a kid came running to us. We stopped and he started – “My name is Raghav. R-A-G-H-A-V!”
At Larot, we met another little girl who was helping her grandmother grazing cattle in the fields. She proudly said that she did after returning from School. And we were overwhelmed with emotions. We at the plains have such a simple life, which can be called quite luxuorious by the standards these kids struggle at the mountains with very few resources, and still they smile at very little things.
Distributing stuff all the way, we rode towards Chirgaon.
We were taking frequent photo-breaks and then the nature astonished us with another wonder! Yes, a Rainbow!! 🙂 Seems that nature was hell bent on demonstrating all it’s charm to us today, and we were indeed charmed!
We stopped at the place where the river was flowing just besides the road and there was open space. While we utilized this time for photo-op, Madan decided to do the “job” similar to what Anil did yesterday at the place with multiple waterfalls – attending nature’s call in the lap of nature! 😉
Saying goodbye to the ice-capped peaks, we reached Chirgaon.
The time read 1715 hrs and by the time all the mice in our stomachs had died down. It were now the cats that were demanding their fill and we had to oblige! In search of a decent eatery, we passed by the barber’s shop and stopped at a restaurant to have some samosas. They were not too tasty and hence we decided not to have any second helping.
Finished with the samosas, we rushed back to Rohru and reached HP PWD Rest house by 1850 hrs.
And when we got down the beast, we were pleasantly surprised to find the lawns cleaned up even when today was Sunday and nobody was supposed to be working! Yesterday’s scolding did worked! (Just compare this picture with the very first picture in this post to get the idea) 🙂
We asked Maniram to prepare tea and then we would decide further course of action for the day. While having tea, I came across the local newspaper in the lobby and was quite frustrated to see a news item. Does this means that the apples that we eat are nothing more than packets of Urea!! Perhaps it’s time to rephrase the phrase – An apple a day… 🙁
After tea, we decided to have some rest and then we would explore the market to see if we can get some trout. However, what was supposed to be a half an hour rest took more than two hours. Madan and Anil got into the room and bolted it from inside and while we kept on knocking, they came out only after 2 hours. They had slept!! 🙁
Now, from yesterday’s experience, we knew that the market would be closed now and so we asked Maniram to arrange for dinner.
Sometime later, we heard lots of vroom vroom sound in the HPPWD Rest House campus and then we saw a group of bikers. Now I got it! This was the same group of bikers that we saw while reaching Chanshal pass. What took them so long to reach here? I introduced myself to one of them and he introduced himself as Dheeraj Solanki from Agra and all the bullets were part of Taj Royal group of bulleteers. They had come via Thoeg-Kharapathar route and said that the route was hell and that they had two bikes giving in with both the suspensions! They had another one facing the problem while descending down the Chanshal and hence they took time. Fortunately, they were a large group and had a mechanic with them. I spent the evening chatting with Dheeraj (while we were knocking on the other room for Madan and Anil to come out).
After having a simple dinner, we chit-chatted for sometime and then went to sleep. It had been a very good day!
Next: Return to chaos
Total Distance covered: Approx 110 kms
Driving Directions from Rohru to Chanshal Pass: From HP PWD Rest House, come to the main road (turn sharp left) and continue till you approach the bridge. Turn right to take the bridge and just after crossing the bridge, turn extreme right. Follow the road along with Pabbar River to arrive at Chirgaon. At Chirgaon, take the right fork at the first tri-junction and just ahead, take the extreme right fork. Drive ahead along with the river for approx 6.5 kms and next when you approach a tri-junction at Tikkari, take the right fork to cross the river and drive towards Larot on Dodra-Kwar road. Keep following the road for next 26.5 kms to pass by Shiladesh and arrive at Chanshal Pass.
Google Map directions for Rohru to Chanshal Pass: http://goo.gl/maps/aKpyt
Current weather forecast for Rohru: