Sunday 26 October 2014

Chapter---(3), Hindustan--Tibet Road fantasy, (July-August 2014)

Continuation of (Ashok Parimoo & Guruduth Kamath)

“Trans Himalayan 
Hindustan-Tibet Road” fantasy.

Chapter— (3)
Shimla --- Sanjouli ---- Dhalli ---- Kufri ---- Fagu ---- Theog --- Shilaroo ----Narkhand ---- Kingal ---- Sainj (from here you can take diversion to go to (Kulu, Manali) ---- Rampur (Bushar) ---- Sarahan ---- Jeori ---- Negul Sari ---- Bhavnagar

(Day-2)- 17th July 2014:--- By about 6 AM, in the morning we just got up from our car seats, where we were sleeping for the night and drove our car straight to Shimla’s Main-Bus-Stand. Here we used “Sulabh Souchlaya” (public Toilets) and freshened ourselves of the morning chores. Then at “Amrit Daba” which is a little away from the main bus stand, we had breakfast, of  bread, butter and omelette with  hot milk. It was filling and very tasty breakfast. By 7 AM we were on our way to further journey upto Bhavnagar, which is about 130 Km from Shimla.  All along it was drizzling, cold and foggy journey. But the road was good. 


Sanjauli is at an altitude of (7,866 ft) above MSL

Picture of Old Sanjauli

Picture of Present Day Sanjauli
Another view of Present day Sanjauli
It is just 5 Km away from Shimla town. Sanjauli is the main suburb of Shimla. It has many inhabited places nearby- Cemetery road, HB colony, Bhatta Kuffar, Sanjay Van, Dhingu dhar, Shanan, Navbhar, Chaulanti and areas other side of the Sanjauli-Dahli tunnel. Sanjauli is situated just below the Jakhu Hill. Sanjauli has the Famous Sanjauli-Dahli tunnel made by British government during that time when Shimla was capital of British India. Sanjauli has the very old Government College, Sanjauli, compels one to halt at its portals and ruminate on the value-oriented education being imparted by this premier institution of Shimla. The college enjoys the distinct position of not only being the first Degree college to have been set up in Shimla in 1969, but also the first college to have been conferred with the status of Centre Of Excellence in 2006. It came into existence in 1969 and is affiliated with Himachal Pradesh University. Few Meters away from Sanjauli College there is Indira Gandhi Medical College Shimla is the area's healthcare centre, hosting a medical college and four major hospitals. Near Sanjauli, Navbhar is the place where the St.Bede's College Shimla and Jesus And Marry Chelsea convent School is situated. Dhingu mata Temple is the one of the best place of Sanjauli, road to the temple for light vehicles is also available. Sanjauli has a very wide and long Market spread from Sanjauli Chowk to Tunnel. Apart from this Sanjauli has unique architecture of houses. Sanjauli Cemetery is the only cemetery in Shimla that is still in use. Presently it is used by the Indian Christians but originally it was started by British in 1921. Since 2008 Sanjauli has bye pass road to Dhalli diverting from main road to town near Degree College through Chaulanthi
Kufri is at an altitude of (9,000 ft), above MSL
This motorable road is a steep climb. It is one of the highest and most favourite tourist spot of Shimla. Kufri is a small hill of Shimla. It is located 13 km from the state capital Shimla on the National Highway No.22. The name “KUFRI” is derived from the word "Kufr" meaning a lake in the local language.
The region around Shimla including Kufri was once a part of the Kingdom of Nepal until the area was ceded to the British Raj as part of the “Sugauli Treaty”. This region remained obscure from the rest of the world until the British discovered' it in 1819.
The highest point in the surrounding region “Kufri” has a Himalayan Wild Life Zoo which hosts rare Antelopes, Felines and Birds including Himalayan Monal, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh. During winter a meandering path through the potato plantations turns into a popular Ski track.

Shilaroo Hocky Stadium

The Shilaroo Hockey Stadium is located at (8,036 ft) above MSL.

Shilaroo village is about 47 Km from Shimla. It is India's highest hockey facility. Top-level and local hockey players from all over the country travel to the stadium to get trained there. Because training in an oxygen-deficient environment increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Practicing at such heights helps the players to utilize greater amounts of oxygen, which will enhance their sporting capabilities.

Another reason for Indian players to travel to the stadium is the weather. India has a mainly tropical climate, but in Shilaroo the temperatures remain below freezing point from October to February. In these conditions, Indian top-level hockey players can get ready for tournaments in Europe. With Desso synthetic turf the pitch will be available all year round, even during the coldest  winters. 

Narkanda is situated at an altitude of (8,909 ft) above MSL

Entrance at Narkhand Town

Center of Narkhand Town
The road from Kufri right upto  Narkhand via Fagu, Sanjoli is a constant descend. Narkhanda is just about 50 Km from Kufri and is on the Hindustan Tibet road (NH - 22), Narkanda offers a spectacular view of snow ranges. This is an ideal retreat for the tourists who seek seclusion in mountains. It commands an unique view of the eternal snow line, the inviting apple orchards and dense forests. Narkanda is famous for Skiing & Winter sports. During these days the slopes come alive with skiers. The skiing at Narkanda was started in 1980 and since then HPTDC is conducting skiing courses every year. Narkanda is a gateway to apple country of Himachal Pradesh. .



“HATU PEAK”--- is at  (7,524 ft )above MSL :--- 8 km from Narkanda, the road is surrounded by pine and spruce trees. 

Temple of Hatu Mata
Temple of Hatu Mata

On top of the hill, ancient Hatu Mata temple is located. The peak offers spectacular view of the entire Himalayan ranges, snow clad mountains and in depths are the dense forests, green fields and apple orchards. Hiking is recommended to reach the peak.

Sheltered in the shadow of a high mountain, The “Hatu” derives its name from the highest peak of the area – “Hatu”. Just off the Hindustan “Tibet” highway, The Hatu is located among quiet surroundings. It is an ideal location for leisure and sightseeing and also serves as an excellent stopover, while moving along the Hindustan Tibet highway. The Narkanda ski slopes are 1.5 km from the hotel. With serene views of the peaks, valleys and orchards on permanent display,

“KACHERI” :--- is at  (7,524 ft )above MSL This place is located 0.5 km from Oddi, and 7 km from Narkanda on NH - 22 and famous for ancient Mahamaya Temple.

“KOTGARH AND THANEDHAR”: ”--- is at  (4,172 ft ) above MSL  (17 km link road bifurcating from Narkanda takes you to the Himachal's Horticultural heartland, “Kotgarh” and “Thanedhar”, renown for apple orchards. The famous Stokes Farm is located at “Thanedhar”. Mr.Stokes came to India on a trip and while on a summer visit to Shimla, fell in love with its environments, which included the charming hill folk and settled down in “Kotgarh”. 

He married a local girl and decided to settle down at “Kotagar” itself. He started the apple farm which soon became renown with its Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Royal Delicious,apples.

“(JALLORI PASS)” ”--- is at (11,680 Ft) but Jallori village is at  (8,094 ft) above MSL :-- 90 km from “Narkanda”, passing through the Sutlej Valley and crossing over to “Luhri”, “Ani”, “Khanag” through one of the best scenery in the Kullu Valley takes you to “(Jallori Pass)”. A 30 minute level walk from the Pass takes you to “(Sarolsar Lake)” among deep forests. See nature at it's best. Sainj is siutated at an altitude of 5,000 ft above MSL. it is about about 70 Km from Shimla. At this town there is a cross section of roads which leads in diffrent directions to Kullu, Manali, Rampur and Shimla. 

Sainj Town
Sainj is siutated at an altitude of 5,000 ft above MSL. it is about about 70 Km from Shimla. At this town there is a cross section of roads which leads in different directions to Kullu, Manali, Rampur and Shimla. 
River Sutlej at Sainj
Aerial View of Terthan and sainj village

Devata temple Neule, Sainj

Old Palace of Theog Kingdom at sainj

Cross section of roads which leads to Kullu, Manali, Shimla, Rampur anf NH-22

close up of Devata temple

Rampur –(Bushahar)
Rampur is situated at an altitude of (4,429 ft) above MSL
Rampur Bridge

Arial view of Rampur connectivity 

Truss span of  Rampur Bridge 
From Rampur onwards River Sutlej flows all along the NH-22 road till Tabo village. Almost all the inhabitants  of Kinnaur district are settled all along on either side of river Sutlej.
Old Palace of Bushahar  dynasty

The principality of Bashahr  (also known as Bashahar, Bushahar, Bushahr) was once among the largest of the twenty-eight Shimla Hill States under the administration of the British Rule keen to invest on regional and transcontinental trade and exploit Himalayan resources. It bordered on the north with Spiti, on the east with Tibet, on the south with Garhwal, and on the west with Jubbal, Kotkhai, Kumharsain, Kotgarh, and Kulu. Caught in the machinations of the British imperial enterprise, it was subjected to political-cum-economic vicissitudes, acceding to the Indian Union in 1947. On the 8th March 1948, along with twenty other princely hill States of Punjab and Shimla, Bashahr signed an agreement which resulted in its inclusion in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh.

Rampur, a small township situated at 1,005 meters on the left bank of the Sutlej, served as Bashahr’s winter capital. Being well connected with major trading routes that joined Indian markets with Central Asia and Tibet, it buzzed with mercantile activity, especially in November during the Lavi fair, the largest trading event in the north Himalayas attracting traders from Kashmir, Ladakh, Yarkand, and the Indian mainland. Concerning the origins of the Rampuri fair, the Census of India (1961) reports:

"About three hundred years ago during the regime of Raja Kehar Singh of Bushahr, a trade treaty was signed between the Bushahr State and Tibet…Horses from Tibet and swords from Bushahr were exchanged in token of this friendship. It was written in the treaty that their friendly relations would continue till this time…Since then, it is presumed that trade relations increased and eventually [the] Lavi fair was held.”

Rampur was also located along pilgrimage routes to sacred sites in western Tibet shared by Hindus, Bön and Buddhists alike, i.e., Mount Kailash  and Lake Mansarovar. Missionary and pilgrimage activities, intensified by trading possibilities, created the conditions for Tibetan Buddhism to take a firm stronghold in these borderland regions. Twenty-two kilometres from the village of Namgya in upper Kinnaur, laid the Shipki pass which linked caravan routes to and from western Tibet. This treacherous transcontinental passage must have been in use from ancient times, for among the ruined castles reported by Francke at Shipki village, there were no living memories of the origins of mKar gog, the oldest of them built above the village in cyclopean style.Rampur also have Hydo electric projects like NJPC and Rmpur Project bye SJVNL A second castle, known as Seng ge mkhar, is said to have received its crooked ground plan “through a race round its base executed in opposite directions by a poisonous snake and a scorpion,” and was built, in all probability, during the Ladakhi occupation of mNga’ ris by orders of King Seng ge rnam rgyal (1570–1642) and called after him.It is 30 km from Sainj.

Sarahan is situated at an altitude of (4,940 ft) above MSL
Shri Bhima Kali Temple

A temple at Sarahan, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali , presiding deity of the rulers of former Bushahr State. The temple is situated about 180 km from Shimla and is one of 51 “Shakti Peethas” . The town Sarahan is known as the gate way of Kinnaur . Down below at a distance of 7 km from Sarahan is the River Satluj. Sarahan is identified with the then Sonitpur,  mentioned in Puranas.

Legend about Bhimakali
According to a legend, the manifestation of the goddess is reported to the Daksha –Yajna, incident when the ear of the Sati fell at this place and became a place of worship as a Pitha - Sthan. Presently in the form of a virgin the icon of this eternal goddess is consecrated at the top storey of the new building. Below that storey the goddess as Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya is enshrined as a divine consort of Lord Shiva.The temple complex has another three temples dedicated to Lord Raghunathji, Narsinghji and Patal Bhairva Ji (Lankra Veer) - the guardian deity.
Sarahan was the capital of rulers of former Bushahr  State. Bushahr  dynasty earlier used to control the state from Kamroo. The capital of state later was shifted to Sonitpur. Later Raja Ram Singh made Rampur as the capital. It is believed that the country of Kinnaur  was the Kailash  mentioned in Puranas, the abode of Lord Shiva. With its capital at Sonitpur this former princely state was extended up to entire area of Kinnaur  where for sometimes Lord Shiva disguised himself as Kirata. Today, the Sonitpur is known as Sarahan.  Banasura, the ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, eldest among the one hundred sons of great ablative demon King Bali and the great grandson of Viahnu votary Prahlad, during the Puranic age was the ruler of this princely state.

The Gods were generous when they have gave Sarahan its settings. Located halfway up a high mountain side, the road to Sarahan winds past flowering Pine trees that give way to stately Oaks. Dozens of small streams rush past. The fields and orchards that surround the small villages with their slate roofed houses, compose pictures of pastoral perfection. Above Sarahan, a many deodar trees rides the slopes and higher still, encircling the Bashal peak, are trees of smooth birch and variety of wild flowers and rare medicinal herbs. This sparsely populated tract is steeped in ancient legends and here is the famous Bhimakali temple regarded as one of the Fifty One sacred Shaktipeethhs. The temple's unusual architecture and wealth of carvings have made it a resplendent example of what is loosely called the Indo-Tibetan style. Deep down the alley flows the river Sutlej and across lies the snow-clad Shrikhand peak.

Saharan is the base for numerous treks and is the gateway to Kinnaur. It is a place of pilgrimage, a heaven for nature lovers and the temple complex attracts a variety of admirers. Here is a place that offers extraordinary travel experience.


By the time we reached Bhavnagar, it was about 4 PM. All long the drive it had been raining heavily and the visibility was getting poorer and there were bright chances of facing sudden landslides on our further journey. We didn’t want to take any risk of getting stranded further up. So we decided to stay for the night at Bhavnagar itself. Whichever hotels we enquired for availability of rooms, those were full. Since it was raining heavily, we could run around to search for more hotel rooms. Then someone told us that HEB (Himachal Electricity Board) provides rooms to tourists also.  The helpful stranger helped us to locate the HEB office where the rooms are to be booked. To stay here we had to take permission from an HEB officer, who made us fill an application Form and then they charge Rs650/ per night, for which a receipt is issued. It was a nice spacious room with hot water for bathing and dinner at an extra cost was also served. The room was cozy and beds were clean. After dinner,whole night through we had sound sleep . This HEB guest house is little away from the main road and it’s next to Bhavnagar High school. It is on a nice location facing Sutlej river. The overall mountainous view is strikingly beautiful.

Power Grid Guest  House where we were stayin @ Bhavnagar

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