Thanedar – A virgin destination
Hello friends , I am back again with an edition of JITC and though I was supposed to take you to Ooty , the unbearable mercury level made me take a detour down the memory lane to cool climes of Thanedar.
Thanedar is still an unpolluted, unknown destination and visited as a part of the Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda package as it is just few kilometres away from Shimla and Kufri in Himachal. Shimla serves as an important centre point for visiting its beautiful satellite hamlets like Mashobra , Kufri, Thanedar etc.Unless and until you have a relaxed itinerary, with an urge to explore the unknown there are chances that you might miss them.
We chanced upon Thanedar by chance on a snowy day when we were caught in snow and had halted at Kufri, while on our way to Rampur. Yes that is the route to Thanedar-A Small well maintained road, off shooting from the Shimla Rampur Highway, leads to Thanedar.
An inviting archway beckoning on to the road and glimpses of the snow bound landscape peeping in from among the fir and deodar trees reminding of Narnia, was a major temptation to venture out there forgetting our destination completely.
Here I have attempted to bring before you views of and from Thanedar that I had, through my pictures but as I say always, Thanedar is much more than this and the best way to enjoy its beauty is by being there yourself.
Though Thanedar is an all season destination my advice is to visit it in winter to have a glimpse of the magical snow clad landscape as it is quite different from other snow bound destination of Manali, or Auli, Gulmarg.
It is 94 Km from Shimla,which is just a three hour drive from Shimla (You can drive up to Thanedar or hire a cab from Shimla to Thanedar) and if you want to drive up there directly from Delhi- the route to take is NH 1 then at Indri near Kurukshetra take the state highway 7 to reach Ladwa- Yamuna nagar- Sadaura-Nahaan –Rajgarh –Kotkhal- and finally Thanedar
Always be careful while driving on a snowy day as snow makes the road very slippery resulting in skidding.
Thanedar is more famous for the apple orchards and this is where the first apple seeds were planted in India by Samuel Stokes. You can always sample the local apple products – jams, pickle, wine etc.
The Tani Juber lake nearby is a quite a popular destination for a day picnic.
Accommodation is not a problem there. You can put up in Shimla or Kufri as a base or if you want the real mountain wilderness experience then you can try the comfortable Banjara camps in Thanedar itself. Either of the two has its advantages.
Thanedar is more of a peaceful leisure destination rather than the conventional activity filled tourist destinations. You can go trekking, leisurely forest walks or sit by the roadside, in a meadow enjoying a book and a picnic lunch.
Many a times I have been asked by my blogger friends and some readers that why in spite of JITC being one of my favorite, I do not experiment in it as I do in other categories. Well frankly speaking, nature is something very sacred to me. Every trip or holiday is a pilgrimage for me. Be it The Himalayas – where I feel so close to God , or the sensation of total freedom in the sand dunes of Rajasthan, the sea in Goa enticing me to explore the unknown, rain soaked Kerala- pure and fresh, the barren solitude of Spiti where you feel so humble- Everything that I have experienced makes me fall in love with my country called India over and over again ( in spite of its shortcomings) And when I am in awe over something or in love , I don’t mess with it.
But I am adding a new feature here today- And that is an anecdote of a travel related incident of mine, which you may find interesting and also helpful as a travel tip as they say experience is the best teacher. So let me narrate an incident that had happened on our way to Manali from Delhi.
We usually prefer to self drive or rather my husband prefers to self drive whenever we travel to the hills (err my driving is slightly shaky. People start shaking in fright if I drive the car) we had uneventfully crossed Chandigarh and had passed Bilaspur too, from where the uphill ride starts. A little farther from Bilaspur, we decided to stop at a café to have tea. It was then 3 ‘o clock in the afternoon and as we were debarking snap went my hubby’s specs. He was wearing the shades then, leaving his specs by the side of the seat and somebody sat on it breaking it neatly into two right at the middle, the part which sits on the bridge of the nose. And unfortunately I had forgotten to pack a pair of spare.
Dusks set in early in the mountains and that meant he could not continue wearing the shades after an hour or so. After quite a voluble “pass the blame game” we decided to go for damage control. In the mountains it’s a fact that facilities are not available at the snap of the finger. The nearest optician was supposed to be in Mandi which was 69 kms away. All the quarrel and tea and snacks (oh no we were not the ones to give up on tea for a pair of specs comes what may) cost us an hour… So? Well so desperate situations required desperate measures. uh no! he did not attempt a lasik eye operation there, but worse. There was a hardware shop in the vicinity and he got some m-seal from there and made a reasonable sized laddoo from it and stuck the two lenses with their “stumps” in it and put it on. So you can imagine the sight! The big lump of m-seal sat on his nose like a huge beetle and the lens sat on his eyes crookedly, but still it served its purpose. The sight was totally funny but I dared not laugh aloud and had a very hard time controlling my laughter which was threatening to burst out at the sight of that scowling man with a beetle sized m seal over his nose from which the lenses shot out. Damn! I could not even shoot a picture of him. And he drove with his “customized” eye-wear and me gagging my mouth somehow we finally purchased a pair of specs and thankfully normalcy was restored.
Moral of the story- If you wear specs then always keep a spare during your travel and yes M seal is really handy in ways even we don’t realize. Well that was that and now lets proceed on to the pictures.
Bring the mouse to the bottom portion of the slide-show for the details on the picture as well as the control keys for slide-show
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Kinnaur – Kosmic Konnexions
Kinnaur Cosmic Connections
Hi friends! Here I am, back again with you to unfold a visual narration and the destination is Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. My Jewel in the crown for this month.
Kinnaur a slightly remote region in Himachal Pradesh is a district comprising parts of the Dhauladhar, Greater Himalayas and Zanskar ranges and the valleys of river Sutlej, Baspa and Spiti.
The mountains – lofty and stark and the valleys boasting a beauty which is quite ethereal.
Though the district is a vast one with many beautiful towns , I will concentrate on the three major tourist attraction of Kinnaur – Kalpa, Chitkool and the Sangla Valley.
As I always say internet is a vast source of information and you will obtain many detailed note of its history, geography and Biosphere. So I will include only my personal tidbits which I think you might not find easily and those which are first hand verified.
First of all foreigners need to obtain permit to travel to kinnaur which can be acquired from Shimla.
The district headquarter of Kinnaur by the way is Rekong Peo, 235 Km from Shimla.
The altitude in most of the places is 2000m plus.
The nearest Airport is in Shimla so the only way to travel there (barring aside choppers) is by Road-Shimla-Rampur-Powari-Recong Peo. Sangla valley and Chitkool are situated near by. You can also travel in from Manali Kaza (Spiti).If you do that I salute You. The highway from Shimla runs along the river Sutlej
The best period to travel is in April- May and September. The winters are subzero and the late summers may impede your progress with rainfall and landslide
But the highway is maintained throughout the year by BRO and you may find construction when you go there
Kalpa and Rekong Peo- They are the two most important towns of Kinnaur and beautiful to boast too
A word of caution- if you plan to travel to the interiors fill up your tank as petrol pumps are few. Only in Powari and Rekong Peo.
The region has a rich cultural history and there you will find temples and monasteries with interesting architecture.
From Kalpa the peak Kinner Kailash can be seen not to be confused with Mt Kailash. But Kinner Kailash also has a religious significance as it is supposed Mythically to be the winter abode of Lord Shiva. The parikrama or trek to Kinner Kailash is famous. The local people say that you can see a Shivling on top of Kinner Kailash from Kalpa or Rekong Peo but may be it was a case of the elephant and six blind men I am not sure of what I saw.
Kalpa and Rekong Peo has no dearth of accommodation and HPTDC has a beautiful property situated in Kalpa. As mentioned earlier reservation into it is no problem due to the facility of internet booking
Sangla valey and Chitkool are a bit off way from Rekong peo and Kalpa but still assessable and the trip made in a day itself if you make your base in Kalpa or Rekong Peo.
Sangla Valley is a beautiful valley situated at an whopping altitude of 2621 m by the bankk of Baspa River. In fact beautiful is a understatement
Chitkool is a frontier village and the last and the highest village in the Baspa Valley.
The drive to Chitkool is a scenic one though slightly rocky.
Now for some general infos-
- You need sturdy and new tyres for Kinnaur.
- You may not get a vast choice in your menu so you might stock up some food of your choice.
- Clothing should be heavy woolens
- Net and phone connection might be a problem
And now if you please you may continue with the slideshow which is a mere representation of Kinnaur through my eyes. But as I always say- Kinnaur is much more than these.
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Its winter and to top it, its the festive season so I have picked one of my favorites as the Jewel in the crown , the crown being India, for this issue. I hope you like it. Its Manali in HP, India.
When I googled Manali, the results showed was-1910000. Huge isn’t it? So there, you wont find any lack of information in the net but that doesn’t mean that I will not feed in any detail. Of course I will , but these will be my very personal tips, tips that I had accumulated after visiting and observing Manali 6 times in 4 years.
I won’t go into a detailed description of its beauty and spoil the magic with my words, rather let the photos speak.
So lets get on to our journey to one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Reaching Manali is the easiest and the road to Manali boasts of amazing vistas. So how do we reach Manali. Ok easy way out is to take the flight to Bhuntur, Kullu from Delhi, but you will miss out on the beautiful scenic drive. The roads are in good condition, you can drive yourself as we did. … even at night, NO bendy mind blowing gravity defying curves . And you have so many picks to take from. Like?
You can take the conventional route via Chandigarh- Bilaspur- Sundernagar- Mandi –Aut- Kullu or you can experiment for some adventure through Shimla-Naldehra-Tattapaani. Extreme adventure- then go for the drive in from Leh, Ladakh or try the Buddhist circuit of Shimla Rampur –Kinnaur-Kaza(Spiti) –Lahaul-( Details about Lahaul Spiti in my coming posts). Unconventional one- then try through the Jalori Pass.If Religious then visit – Viashno Devi or Dharamshala and proceed on to Manali through Kangra-Mandi, So the options – there are many. You can go by train. The nearest station can be either Joginder Nagar or Pathankot but again from there you have to ascend up by a car or bus, So better to take a vehicle from Chandigarh or Delhi itself.
Best Season. You can go to Manali in any season you want. If you like snow then go in the winters. Want to try the river rafting and stuff then go during spring or Autumn. Apple Orchards? – Late monsoons. The roads will cooperate with you through out the year. Winters are cold but you can take your kids without any hesitation. That’s the reason I submitted a copy of the snap of the Baby seated comfortably in the Snow in Rohtang Pass, The altitude BTW there is quite high.
Hotel Reservations, bus reservations. Yes everything can be booked previously through the internet. Even a bus if you want, through the Himachal Pradesh tourism website. Their Hotels are run professionally – better than the other State Govt. run hotels and you get quite a range. I mean 2 budget hotels. 4 deluxe hotels and I premium hotel- All economical-efficient and Govt. run. (psst! They have bars too). Of course you have the private ones too, like Club Mahindra. Holiday Inn etc etc. I had read a news item that HP govt. was offering a discount of 10% in Hotel Reservation for Parents of girl child, but I am yet to check that.
You will be spoilt for choice.
- There is a strong possibility of finding snow in Rohtang Pass. Just 50 kms from Manali and a popular destination. You can go for snow tubing, skiing. Tobogganing. There are snow mobiles/bikes for a ride.
- You can go for Parasailing, Zorbing, in Solang valley –another popular Hotspot
- Hot Air Balloon, River Crossing, Rappelling or simply go for a hike.
- During the hotter months you can go for river rafting in Kullu.
- By the way, the Maggi though expensive is most delicious in Rohtang Pass
- In the evenings you can go shopping for handicrafts, pubbing, discotheque, or plain Bird Watching of the other Kind. An advice – they may offer you Chingu- a blanket made from Shahtoos- Don’t buy it , its fraud. Buy only if they give you a hefty discount
If you like temples or architecture, then you have Hadimba temple, Valmiki temple and the Gurudwara at Manikaran. The Langar food or prasad in Manikaran is simply tasty, but you have to follow some rules in Manikaran as it’s a Gurudwara- nothing scary, just cover your head and ask a sevak or directions, If you want then I can fill in the rest but that is if you want, You can visit Naggar Castle- Now a premium hotel for its architecture .
Then as mentioned there is Rohtang Pass, Solang Valley, Kullu Valley. You can easily avail the tours from your Tourism Hotels or hire a cab. They also rent out snow suits. If you don’t have the proper attire and there is snow, better to hire it. The last time I had taken was at 100 Rs per piece. Or if not snow suits take boots at least. BTW if any body has vertigo or motion sickness better stock up on domperidone and cinnarizine before proceeding onto Rohtang Pass
So that’s all I can remember at present. And Now you can proceed on to the visual treat. Just remember .one trip is not enough for Manali. Manali is much more than these photographs which are just random shots of Manali as I see it.
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