In search of snow – Delhi – Mandi – Jalori pass – Ani – Narkanda – Shimla – Delhi – (Jan ’10) – Part I

This trip was planned as we got a long weekend and the destination decided was ‘Jalori Pass’. Initially we wanted to visit Tirthan Valley but couldn’t get an accommodation and hence tried in Shringi Vatika and luckily got the accommodation. So we booked over the phone.

Unusually this time couple of my collegues wanted join us and it was decided we would be taking two cars and the total head count came to 9. As usual the day before there were lot of confusions like people backing off, joining in and again backing off and it went on till 10 PM. Finally we 5 of us decided to start.

We planned to start around 3AM but as usual got late and we were able to start only around 4.30. Early morning start means heavy fog/smog. It was a pleasant drive till Ambala. When we entered Ambala, the visibility nearly comes down to less than 5mtrs. It was difficult to drive on those conditions. But after sometime got used to it and crossed that section.

After some nonstop driving we felt hungry and stopped somewhere on the roadside Dhaba. From then onwards it was some continuous driving and we reached Aut tunnel around 4.30 PM. We took the route to Ghiyagi just before the tunnel and traveled towards Shringi Vatika. Enroute we spotted some beautiful houses located on the hill side, but due to bad light couldn’t take pictures.

We reached Ghiyagi at 5.45 where we planned to stay for the night. We were so tired and felt very cold as the temperature was below zero. Immediately we sat near the bonfire and made ourselves little bit warm and then had some delicious veg/egg pakora.

There was some discussion going on between the friends about going to Jalori by Car. Couple in Shringi Vatika advised not to travel by car as the roads are in very bad condition. Also she suggested to return by the same way and not to go via Narkanda as it was not safe. Friends who joined us for the trip got scared and tried convincing me to visit Jalori by Bus and also return via the same route. I didn’t say anything and finished our dinner and went for sleep.

The temperature was freezing cold and 3 layers of woolen doesn’t seems to be enough. Somehow managed and slept off. In the morning woke up around 6 AM and decided to checkout Jalori pass alone without telling anyone. So took the car and went to Jalori pass and the route seemed ok to me. It was not good but one has to be very careful while driving as the road was full of gravel and dangerous curves. Had to be content with first gear for some 15km as the road was very steep and curvy.

Reached Jalori in 45 mins and the views are spectacular. No one was around the place and enjoyed some quiet moments there. After five minutes one of the dhaba owner opened his shop and inquired about my travel. Then took some photographs and came down to the hotel.

It’s now time to shoot some pictures of the little beautiful waterfall just located at the back of the hotel. By the time I finished my photography, the couple inquired me where I have gone that much early. I told them that I went to Jalori and came back. He was surprised and appreciated me. Then I woke my friends up and told them we will be going to Jalori by car. Everyone got ready around 9 and we had some delicious onion/aloo parathas for breakfast. Mr. Manoharlal the owner of Shringi Vatika said he will join us for the trek and we all started at 10.15 AM and reached Jalori pass at 11.00 AM. Lazed around for sometime, took photographs and had a chit chat about the trek ahead.

We started our trek around 11.15 AM and thought it would be an easy outing. Also, we have been told its 4km one way. All 5 started the trek and within a km 2 of them including my wife stayed behind. So, the remaining 3 started walking towards the lake. The trekking route was beautiful and have some good views of the places around. We took 2.5 hrs to reach the lake and as expected the lake was frozen. We spent some 30mts around the lake taking pictures and walking a little bit above the temple to find fresh snow.

We completed the trek in 5.5 hrs in total and I am sure the trek was around 6-7km one way. Then descended to Jalori and had a small walk near the hotel. Atmosphere changed dramatically and it was freezing cold. Kept bonfire near the hotel and warmed for quite sometime and had delicious dinner once again and went for sleep. Next day was quite hectic as we had plans to visit Narkanda on our return journey to Delhi.

To be continued in Part II.

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In search of snow – Delhi – Mandi – Jalori pass – Ani – Narkanda – Shimla – Delhi – Part I

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