Friday, April 15

leaving on a jet plane

Sunday, January 3

a himalayan journey

I had been planning this trip for a long time. Christmas on Friday, Saturday off, Sunday off and took leave for Monday. So full four days in hand.Dec 25 to Dec 28.My only companion was my old and faithful bajaj caliber 115 cc motorcycle, and we both are very fond of travelling.

Day 1 (Dec 25)

I left delhi at around 9.00 a.m. It was Christmas and it was very cold but when you got to go, you got to go. My plan was to visit Bhakra-Nangal (day 1), Amritsar(day 2) and Chandigarh(day 3) but dropped it in a favour of Shimla(day 2) and Nahan (day 3).

the route taken

all set to leave

There was a sikh festival on 25th Dec. Most of the roads were blocked because of a procession near fathegarh Sahib, so I had to travel through the villages of Punjab to reach Ropar.But the roads through the villages were surprisingly in a very good condition, even better than the National Highway.There were Langars (community kitchen) after every few hundered meters throughout the way serving everything from tea to a full meal. I was one of the many lucky ones to utilize their services for a cup of tea and few pakoras. It gave me enough warmth to drive for the next couple of hours.

green fields of Punjab


near Ropar....It was getting dark and I still had to drive more than 75 kms


famous Anantpur Sahib Gurudwara


After Ropar the road condition for about 30 kms wasn't good because of construction of a four-lane highway.
At this point an idea came into my mind to visit Shimla and some other place in Himachal Pradesh instead of Amritsar and Chandigarh ,which I originally planned. While I was driving towards Nangal this thought kept on growing bigger and bigger. And, by the time I reached Nangal I had made up my mind to drive the hilly roads for the next two days and make this a complete Himalayan trip.
This is one of the good things about driving alone. You can alter your plans whenever you like without being worried about the opinion of other…free as a bird.

ab nangal door nahin

finally in Nangal at around 8:30

total distance covered 412 kms

Day 2  (Dec 26)

Woke up a little late in the morning. Asked the caretaker to bring me bucket of hot water, as there wasn’t any arrangement for the hot water in the guest house. Took a bath and left immediately.

Plan was to visit Bhakra Dam, Gobind Sagar reservoir, Naina Devi and reach Shimla by evening.As I was going towards Bhakra Dam, saw a board giving directions for the Nangal dam, so thought of going there first. There are a few more dams near the Town of Nangal but Bhakra is undisputedly the most important one.

the township


a canal passing throgh Nangal

Nangal dam has a huge reservoir but nothing in comparison to Gobind Sagar reservoir of Bhakra dam. The colour of water was a mix of green and blue and it was a beautiful lake with very calm surroundings. Spent 15 minutes there and headed towards Bhakra Dam.

Reservior at Nangal dam


After driving for about 15 more minutes I reached the dam site. The road was running parallel to the river Satluj over which tthe dam has been built and I was thoroughly enjoying the ride. And then I saw the great Bhakra Dam, an engineering marvel. I stood there for a while, enjoyed this piece of beauty and took some photographs. It was a great experience to see Bhakra dam in real, and not in books and newspapers.
Because of security reasons they were not allowing visitors to go very close to the dam.

Pandit Nehru said about this " the new temple of resurgent India"

yours truly


plenty of visitors

Behind the dam is the Gobind Sagar Reservior, a 90 kms long reservoir, the second largest in terms of storage of water. It looks noting less than a sea. The mightiness of the dam can be judged by looking at the lake, and not only by the concrete structure.there are a few islands in the reservoir and the lake is use for boating and fishing, too.
From here, the naina devi temple is 20kms, and it a treat to keep riding on the shore of the lake for half an hour. The road passes through many hamlets and it seems that the population of monkeys is more than the population of humans in these hamlets.

Gobind Sagar lake


another view of the lake


road to naina devi


Naina devi temple at the top

This is the same temple where more than 150 people lost their lives in a stampede in 2008. There is a rope way and a stairway to the temple. I did not visit it as I was running short of time..


From Naina Devi the road bifurcates. One towards Chandigarh via Anantpur sahib and the other to Shimla. I took the second one. It was a deserted road.I did not see much vehicles on this road except few trucks.but it still was a well maintained road.

towards Shimla via Bilaspur


Aerial shot of Gobind Sagar reservior


bajaj caliber sure has got lot of caliber


Shimla 75, Bilaspur 20


Beautiful curve

about 15 kms before shimla, the road was blocked for a while because of some construction activity


In Shimla atlast, 8 p.m.

Shimla is called the queen of hills. And this queen has many lovers. Everyone from Delhi, Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana was there to pay his tribute to the Queen. There were traffic jams everywhere in the city and not a single room available in any hotel. I tried more than half a dozen of hotels from Vidhan sabha area to railway station, but all in vain. Someone suggested me to go to Chandigarh Highway on the outskirts of city and try my luck there. As I was going down I kept on inquiring from the hotels that came my way. In one of them, the owner said that he doesn’t have a vacant room but he can arrange for one. He made few calls and informed me that there is a room available in a guest house near mall road. It doesn’t have a TV and it will cost me 1000 Rs. I readily agreed as I wanted to be within the city and was getting accommodation near the mall road. The owner took his Indica and asked me to follow it. After driving for about 10-15 minutes we reached at the destination. Other than the TV everything was good about the room. By that time it was 9:30 pm. After dumping my luggage I went out to have dinner and then roamed for about an hour. At this time also, I saw few people looking for accommodation.I felt lucky as I was enjoying the walk and not looking for hotel room.

total distance covered 188 kms


Day 3 (Dec 27)

The Queen

Although it was very cold but I had a schedule to follow. I decided to leave for nahan at around noon ,so I got about three hours for sight seeing. I spent all the time on mall road. It gives a spectacular view of the city. I always enjoy walking up and down the hills and this time too. Had my breakfast at a restaurant in mall road, took many pictures and went back to the guest house to start the next leg of my jourey towards Nahan.

they are everywhere

Ice Skating club, but no ice


mall road of shimla


A rare chinar tree at mall road, although they didnt mention the reason of it being so rare


founder of Himachal and father of Nation.

There are four statues in maidan area, one on every side of it.Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, YS Parmar and Lala Lajpat Rai.

a picture of shimla taken from mall road


another view of shimla

by that time it was 12:30 and I was on my way to Nahan.
I was riding towards Solan.12 kms from Solan, there is a place called Ghanahatti from where there is a road to Nahan through Morni hills.

on the road once again

beautiful road
The famous Kalka-Shimla Railway line

Railway line passing through one of many tunnels.(there are 102 tunnels in total)

This is Ghannahati, from where i took a left turn for Nahan.


"dhai biza zamin" near Ghannahati...anyone interested?

The road was almost empty. The condition wasn’t very good either. I encountered very very few vehicles on this road. The traffic is so less there and in a way it made the ride enjoyable. The air was very clean.The empty, deserted roads and no signs of human civilisation was exactly what I came here for, from delhi.

the road to Nahan


me and my bike getting photographed


morni hills

These are the morni hills. They form a natural boundary between Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.These hills are the only hill station in Haryana.Although the elevation of these hills is much less than that of Shimla, the scenic beauty is superb. This place is still untouched by the tourism industry. I find this place better than the hills of Shima


I consider this as the best shot of the entire trip

still a long way to go.

I took me more than 6 hrs to reach Nahan, becuase I wanted to enjoy the journey and not the destination. Reached Nahan at around 7:30. A sleepy town with few guest houses and a mall road( which you can in find in every hill station). took shelter in one De'Remembrance Guest House.

total distance travelled 145 kms


Day 4 ( Dec 28)

Today I planned to visit Renuka lake which is about 40 kms from Nahan. From Renuka Lake to Poanta Sahib, then Yamunanagar and then to Delhi.Woke up early but couldn't leave for Renuka before 10'clock. Wanted to see the city of Nahan before heading for Renuka lake, but there wasn't much to see in Nahan except mall road and one Rani Tal.So, very soon I was on my way to Renuka. 
The guest house where I stayed

A temple outside the guest house (the petal like structure attracted me)

The Rani Taal


Few kms after crossing the town of Nahan

The road was empty just like the previous day.

it was a very smooth ride on the deserted hilly roads.the scenery was breathtaking and I was stopping every now and then to take photographs.Surprisingly I found a dhaba on the way and had my breakfast as I was doubtful of existence of any other dhaba before Renukaji.

Himalayan kids

a hungry himalayan cat 

beautiful road in a beautiful jungle
stairway to heaven


Fellow travelers on the way

time to drink some water



Aage ped bhi girte hain

As I was getting closer to Renuka lake, the landscape started to change. Instead of a dense forest, there was a river now. The road went all the way down to the river. There is small town at the river bank and a bridge, which I crossed to reach Renukaji.

Bridge on the river kwai

A cricket match in progress just before the renukaji( atlast, some signs of human civilisation)


Now I was desperate to see the Renuka lake.


The beautiful  Renuka lake, surrounded by thick forests.

Fishes in the lake

the lake is situated in a very beautiful surroundings.Only one or two hotels and very few tourists .Also,there is a filling station of BP.
Other attractions include a temple of renukaji and a dam.There are two roads for poanta sahib. and the one through the dam was in a  very bad condition. I was told about this at renukaji, by a pilgrim. But the desire to see the dam made me take the risk of driving on a kuchha road.

car wash 

 the road towards the dam

 The dam site

As I crossed the dam I realized that I had to ride up to the mountain since Poanta Sahib was on the other side of it.Road was in a very bad shape and some patches were under construction.This 10 - 15 kms uphill ride was very tough for me and for my bike.But the scenic beauty compensated for it.

 The river over which the dam has been built (it's name is river Giri,  I suppose)

I drove all the way from bottom 

road was under construction at some places.

but everything other than road was exceptionally beautiful


reached at the top. this was the highest point of the mountain form where the downhill journey started. Road was good at this side. There was a dhaba where I had a cup of tea.

Nice place to relax..the dhaba owners


 road to Paonta sahib

Again, at few places, it was under construction

 A priest performing puja



reached the plains (near poanta Sahib)

 4 kms before poanta sahib

Towards delhi (via yamuna nagar)

 It was 6 p.m.and getting dark and I was 250 kms away from home.It was very cold and I was wearing two pair of gloves to keep my self warm.The road passes through kalesar wildlife santury and was in a good condition, but  it was worse near Yamunanagar.I had a tough time crossing Yamunanagar. It took me more than an hour to cover a distance of 15-20 kms.30 kms from Yamunanagar is ladwa and after that it was a smooth sailing on National Highway 1.Took couple of short breaks and a big tea and parantha break near Sonipat, and kept on driving.Finally reached home safely at around 1 a.m. in the night, covering a distance of 1115 kms in 4 days. I thanked my bike, and I was too tired to do anything else so just crashed in my bed and slept like a log.

distance covered 369 kms
total distance covered in 4 days 1115 kms.