4 Days Of Dalhousie, Bairagarh and Khajiar

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Vargis Khan, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Of all the passes that I have wanted or still want to travel to, Sach Pass is probably the one that had been dodging me for several years now. The first time I planned to go there was back in 2009 and after 7 years now, I still haven’t been able to materialize that plan. All these years, each year I had planned a journey to the pass but always for one reason or another, that plan never took shape and I had to keep postponing it for some other time in some other year.

    Sach Pass is among the most notorious passes in India. A pass that is considered tougher than several other passes at an even higher altitude in Ladakh. Unfortunately, PWD is responsible for the maintenance of road across Sach which means that it would probably never be in a good condition, unless BRO takes it over. It is not tarred, just an unpaved road all along. PWD is more of Public wrecking department than Public welfare department and any road that is under their supervision is never good. Due to the fact that this pass remains covered with snow most of the year and the terrible condition of the road leading to it, it is mostly the last one to open for traffic, way after Rohtang and Kunzum and closes weeks before. Even when it is open, there is a high chance that it may close anytime due to heavy rains and landslides. Road across Sach Pass usually opens towards the end of June and closes in the first week of October. This Pass is also the first one to receive snowfall which means that there is a high chance of finding snow here even in the month of September as well.

    It was the month of November and we had a couple of days of leaves in hand. With the weekend, it was a total of 4 days that we could go to somewhere for. I had been traveling from Delhi for last several years almost at every leave I get which meant that most of the nearby places that can be covered in 4 days were already covered. After a lot of research and discussion I ended up planning a trip towards Dalhousie and Khajiar. There was of course the reason that I had never been to either of these famous hill stations before but the main motive of going in this direction was to get anywhere closer to Sach Pass. It was late November which means that the pass was already closed but I still wanted to go and get as close to as I can. I was determined to scale Sach pass in 2016 so going in that direction once would also acquaint me with the terrain which I had heard was quite challenging.

    I called a few friends and found out that the Pass closed earlier in the month but the road until Bairagarh was still open. Usually when the pass is open, there is a check post at Satrundi where the visitors have to register themselves before proceeding towards Sach. In winter, after the pass closes, this check post moves back to Bairagarh and they won’t allow anyone to go beyond. When I called, I was told that the post has already been moved which meant that I can take my Thar as far as Bairagarh which was kind of good enough as the peak is barely about 25-30 kms from Bairagarh. Thought was that we would drive until Bairagarh and trek from there as far as we can.

    A total of 5 people, including myself, were going to be undertaking the trip in my few months old Thar. While I was inquiring about Bairagarh, a friend of mine suggested that we should stay in the forest rest house rather than the hotel as its location is superb and the rooms were good too. I Googled and found a few images of the rest house. It was indeed at a superb location and looked good. Big question now was how to make the booking but luckily for all of us, one of my friends Sunny Sharma who was also going to be joining the trip, had an uncle working for Himachal PWD. He made a few phone calls and within a couple of hours, our bookings were confirmed.

    Plan for the trip was that we will reach Dalhousie on Day 1, reach Bairagarh on Day 2, travel to Khajiar on Day 3 and return home on Day 4. I had never been on this side of Himachal before, never drove on these roads but one thing that I was sure of was that the drive was long; roads are going to be narrow and also bad around Bairagarh.

    We all work in nights so the idea was to start as early as possible right after our shift ends at 3.30 in the morning. I decided to work from home that night since I knew that the next day was a long drive and wanted to catch some sleep. I started from my place at around 2.30 in the morning and advised the others to finish up with work by the time I get to pick them up so we can be on our way on time. But as it always happens, there were a few last minute changes and after a wait for almost an hour, we were finally able to start our journey at 5 in the morning.
     
    tushar sharma likes this.
  2. mohsin

    mohsin New Member

    next
     
  3. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Working on it
     
  4. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Considering the great distance, over 500 kms, we were of the thought that it would take us almost until late afternoon to reach Pathankot and by evening to get to Dalhousie but the road was a pleasant surprise. The highway was super smooth and we easily maintained a speed of 100 kms / hour. We continued non-stop for few hours and it wasn’t until we had crossed Ambala that we took our first break.

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    Had a good laugh about this


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  5. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    The only hurdle on the way was the traffic in Ludhiana. I was surprised to see the huge amount of people on foot here. It was like an army of ants. People all around either on foot or on bicycles and I believe it was due to all the bicycle factories out here. Our speed dropped to a slow crawl the moment we entered Ludhiana and it remained until we were out of the city.

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    Vampi khan likes this.
  6. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    There weren’t many breaks after this and to my surprise, by 12 noon we were already in Pathankot. The only downside of the super smooth highway was the endless tolls. By the time we hit Pathankot, we had already paid over Rs. 500 as toll tax. We stopped for directions and took the turn towards Dalhousie. Somewhere along the highway, while we were still in Punjab, we took a quick butt break and out of habit, both Shoaib and I lit up a cigarette each as soon as we were out of the Jeep.

    Sir Shoaib showing some muscle. Agar koi muscles dhoondh le toh inaam mein chawanni.

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    Gunjit resting.

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    Vampi khan likes this.
  7. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Now I had no idea that public smoking was an offense in this region. While we were happily walking around throwing smoke in the air, a motorcycle pulled up and 2 guys walked up to us holding what looked like a chalan book. My jaw dropped wide open when they told us that smoking in public is not allowed around here and they would have to fine us with over Rs. 1000 each or take us to the court. After a 15 minute long negotiations and all of us trying to talk our way out of this, they finally accepted a bribe of Rs. 200 and let us go. Till date I wonder if this was something real or they were just 2 cons who managed to get a couple of hundreds out of our pockets. Anyone reading this, please do let me know if you have any knowledge about any such rule here.

    Soon we got our first sight of the hills and were ascending on our way towards Dalhousie. By now, we were all quite hungry as we haven’t had anything since morning and stopped for lunch at a Dhaba.


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    Vampi khan and mohsin like this.
  8. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    We were maintaining a good time and speed until now so the moment the hills started, the frequency of breaks increased.

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    Vampi khan and mohsin like this.
  9. sudiptakumarkar

    sudiptakumarkar New Member

    hi,

    I am planning for a trip to sach pass from dalhousie in 2/10/17 with my wife and kid of 9 years age..Is it ok for the trip in terms of bad roads and altitudes.. our plan is to stay at Bairagarh for 1 night and next day early morning visit sach pass and return to Dalhoise...Can u suggest some better itenary?? can u suggest some good place to stay in Bairagarh and can we see or feel some snow in sach pass...please reply at mail id ---sudiptakumarkar@gmail.com
     
  10. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    How are you traveling? Only concern is that it may snow at Sach at that time and it may get closed.
     

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