A Visit to Chanshal Pass in May 2018

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Kirtiman Rathore, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. Kirtiman Rathore

    Kirtiman Rathore New Member

    There was a man tending to a fishing net, in the dhaba where we had our lunch, and we inquired with him about the distance and condition of road to Chakrata. Road was good but the weather up there could be misty and cold, is what he told us. We paid heed to his advice and donned our wind-cheaters, even though it was warm at that time of the day.

    From Tiuni, the road started winding up the mountain, and we gained height rapidly. Glancing down we could see the river snaking along in the valley between the two range of mountains; it was so far below us. The road was very good, the traffic sparse, but we were a bit tense now, for the Sun was descending fast and we still had a long way to go. On this stretch of the road we saw a lot of small rocks strewn on the road, having found their way there from the slopes above, and quite often we came across the warning signs of “Falling rocks”.

    We proceeded with caution for some of these rocks were the size of football! Perhaps the Weather sensed our fear, and it started to play with us. The sky quickly darkened and the clouds started to rumble, the wind picked up. We accelerated, and prayed silently for the rain to hold back! Suddenly the wind died down completely and there was a heaviness in the air- we knew what was to come now. The first drop of rain hit my arm, and the game commenced!

    It was drizzling now, the kind one would normally enjoy, while stannding in the balcony of a flat or walking down the road, in a city. But these were mountains and we had no human settlement in sight. Then we saw the milestone of a village “Sawda” fly past, and caught the number 12 marked on it. We did the math, and decided mentally that we must reach it at all costs.

    Next thirty minutes were adrenaline filled! We were scared, the rain had picked up, the wind was now strong enough to shake us and the bike, every now and then we saw flashes of ligtening falling down; and there were no parapets on the road, to provide us a sense of safety, lest we skid off the road! But we rode fast and hard, all our concentration on the stretch of road that our bikes’ headlights could illuminate, and desperately counting each passing kilometer.

    After an eternity, which was actually only 20-25 minutes, we saw the lights of the village down a few turns, and we knew we were safe. As we entered the village, we stopped at the very first roadside tea shop, where the people were huddled together in the light of the stove, and joined them. By now it was raining heavily. After two cups of Tea, and roughly half an hour, the weather cleared, to our greatest relief! We still had around fifty kilometers to cover before we reached the day’s destination of Chakrata.

    Without wasting any time, we hit the road again and after a while found ourselves driving through beautiful Deodar forest. As we rode, through the gaps in the trees we could see the bright orange ball of fire slip behind the mountains. The rest of our ride was in pitch dark through the wooded road, and barring a rough patch of around ten kilometers near Deoban, the going was comfortable. However, we couldn’t make out much of the lanscape or the places that we passed in this darkness, and around nine ‘o’ clock, we rode into the eerily quiet, barely-lit cantonment town of Chakrata. As if the body and mind were waiting for it, both surrendered and after a hot meal and shower, it was only deep slumber!

    Nishant Thakkar likes this.
  2. Kirtiman Rathore

    Kirtiman Rathore New Member

    The last and final day of our trip was again a long drive, from the mountains of Chakrata, down the winding roads towards Kalsi, into the warmth of the plains, via Vikasnagar, Paonta Sahib, Yamuna Nagar – a good part of the drive in this part is through Kalesar NP, and finally into the heat of the plains as we merged with NH1, having driven through Uttarakhand and Himachal, into Haryana. Thereon, we were just Zombies, riding straight where our nose pointed, headed towards the sea of Humans that is Delhi! And as we rode, in our minds, already a spark lighting up conjuring a plan for our next trip into the Mountains!

    Ground Reality

    • Dependable mechanics are available in Theog and in Rohru. I had trouble with my bike’s spark-plugs, which the mechanic deftly took care of, replacing the spent one with a genuine spare-part. Reference: Pravesh Automobile 9882342476/7807155551 [Theog].
    • Sufficient number of Filling stations are available all the way to Rohru. However, beyond Rohru, on the way to Chanshal, only one is available few kilometers outside Rohru; same is the situation on the road to Chakrata, via Tiuni. So before heading in either direction, the safest bet is to tank up at Rohru.
    • Roads are mostly very good on this entire route, except the approach road to Chanshal (this too has been declared as an NH, so might have a bright future!).
    • Google Maps shows a road from Dodra-Kwar to Chakrata, via Seva and Dhaula, on to Netwar and Hanol. However, this is only a pedestrian track and not motorable, even on two wheels. So, please don’t consider it as an exit route from Chanshal/Dodra-Kwar.
    • The drive from Tiuni to Chakrata, in its initial phase, is wonderful but dangerous. This is because a) loose rocks/stones fall on to the road, b) there are no parapets! The road is perched high on the mountain’s shoulder and the river and its valley far below look beautiful. One would be often tempted to glance down while driving but this is very risky as you lose the line-of-motion. It is better to park on one side, take in the views, and then carry on, even if it means spending more time.
    I hope you enjoyed reading the log above and found information that could be of help. If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment and ask.
    Nishant Thakkar likes this.
  3. Ravi Ahujaa

    Ravi Ahujaa New Member

    Great pictures and awesome narration. Thanks for sharing.

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