Himachal Trip Report March 2015

#1 Apr 4th, 2015, 23:21
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  • saikatbabai is offline
#1
Here is the report of our recent Himachal trip from Kolkata.

Time of journey: 19-Mar-2015 to 01-Apr-2015

Places covered: Shimla – Kullu – Manikaran – Manali – Palampur – Dharamshala – McLeoadganj – Khajjiar – Dalhousie

19-Mar: Start by Howrah – Delhi – Kalka Mail. Train started at 19:45, 5 minutes late than scheduled time.

20-Mar: In train. It started to become more and more late after crossing Mughalsarai. The train reached Delhi at 23:10. The mercury level of tension was becoming higher as we had to catch connecting Shivalik Deluxe Exp from Kalka (scheduled time 5:30).

21-Mar: The train reached Kalka at 8:00, 3.5 hrs late. But we were fortunate enough that the Shivalik was also rescheduled by 3hrs, i.e. at 8:30. Grate relief…!!!

Shivalik Deluxe take longer than car to reach Shimla. But I would recommend this narrow gauge ride at-least once. With the gradual increments towards higher Himalayan vegetations and topography the feeling – yes we are going to Shimla, is really enjoyable.



We reached Shimla around 1:15. Our driver Ajay Sharma with his Alto was humbly welcome us at the station and to us to Hotel Holiday Ho me. After getting freshened we took the lift and went up to the mall road. There we had lunch at first. Then slowly we moved towards Kalibari. Then we came back to the mall and visited the church on the mall itself. It was close to sunset time and temperature was falling drastically. So we came back to the hotel and go for a sleep. At around 8:30pm we wake up and felt dinner was not at all required after a heavy and very late lunch. Rather sound sleep is required after two nights of train journey.

22-Mar: As per plan we got ready by 9:30 and Ajay was waiting for us. Our first destination was Kufri. En-route we had breakfast with delicious aloo-parantha at a road side shop at a remote place. At Kufri we had a nice amount of clear snow. After spending some quality time there we visited Indira Park. There was some government handicraft shops. We then moved towards Naldehra. We had lunch en-route and then visited the golf club where many Bollywood and regional shootings took place. Then we came back to shimla mall and after some shop hopping came back to the hotel.



23-Mar: Today’s plan was to move up to Kullu. We started at 8:30 and had breakfast and lunch en-route. We reached Kullu at 4pm. Then Ajay said we have enough time today to visit Manikaran today. Let us go to Manikaran now. Then we will have more time tomorrow to visit Kullu swal factories and Raison en-route Manali. As per original plan Manikaran was in our next day plan (Kullu – Manikaran – Manali). But we agreed and started moving towards Manikaran. The road condition here is remarkably bad. There were several landslides which were partially cleared. Some time we felt we are not in a car rather in a rafting boat!!! We reached Manikaran and visited the Gurdwara and the hot spring and spent time there till sunset. We reached Kullu at 7:30pm and checked in to Hotel Sarvari.

24-Mar: We raised late today. After having complimentary bre akfast we checked out of the hotel and moved towards ladies heaven – Kullu swal factory outlets. After loads of shopping we started for Raison. The natural beauty of this place is indescribable. After taking a good amount of snaps we headed Manali. We checked in to Hotel Kunzum and quickly went out for lunch. After that visited Manu Rishi Temple and the famous Hadimba Temple. Then came back to the mall and roamed around till evening.





25-Mar: While planning, we know that reaching Rohtang Pass would be impossible at this time. So we kept only Solang Vally for today. So there was no hurry for start early to avoid traffic jam at Manali – Leh highway. We started at 9:30 after having complimentary breakfast. Soon the view started to become more and more marvellous. Amount of snow was increasing after each turn on the narrow, risky but gorgeously beautiful road. When we reached, we could not recognise Solang Vally. It was our third trip to Manali and second trip t o Solang (previous one was at October). Someone may get confused whether it is Gulmarg…!!! The view was breathtakingly awesome.We spent a good amount of quality time there and had snaps until the index finger get fatigued. We came back to Manali and after lunch spent some time in mall.



26-Mar: Our plan for today was to move to Palampur and en-route visit Baijnath Temple and Kangra Tea garden. So we started after breakfast at 9:30. We had our lunch at Jogindarnagar and headed towards Baijnath. We visited the nice temple in the valley and started for Tea garden. After visiting the garden and taking some snaps of one bud and two leafs we moved towards Hotel Tea Bud, Palampur. We reached there at 5pm.

27-Mar: We woke up a little late today, got ready and started for Dharamshala and McLeoadganj. Ajay took us to the Chamunda Temple, Kangra valley, which is on the way. We visited the temple. View from this place was very good. We then headed Dharamshala. First we visited the cricket stadium. The lash green on the field with Pir Panjal range at background was at its own height of beauty.
We then move towards Hotel Bhagsu, McLeoadganj. After check in we went to the Tibetan market and had awesome Chinese lunch there.



28-Mar: As per plan this day was booked for sightseeing here. First we went to see the Bhagsu Falls. As expected, the falls really lack water at this time. Then we went to Dharamkot, the highest view point of McLeoadganj and got the view of fabulous view of Pir Panjal range. But the the road to this place is not real road and more like path. Also we had a very good view of Pir Panjal from Dharamshala stadium. So considering these we felt that coming here for us was not worth. Then we went to the Dal Lake and then the old church. We kept rest of the day for rest.

29-Mar: At mid night we woke up by horrible sound of lightening. There was heavy thunderstorm started. The rain slowed down in the morning but not completely stopped. We were lucky to get always clear sunny weather so far in this trip. We started for Khajjiar with a worry in mind – how the weather would be at Khajjiar, the Switzerland of HP. Rain keep chasing us. Sometime stopped for half an hour then starts again. En-route we visited to the Ambaji Temple and the huge idol of Lord Shiva. Upon reaching Khajjiar we checked in to Hotel Devdar. The rain stopped for a while and then came back with new enthusiasm. We could only able to make a few clicks through the big window of the room.

30-Mar: Finally the rain stopped today. But weather was cloudy and sun went to a vacation after providing a long service to us. So we went out of the room and came down to the small valley. As usual, some photographers started approaching us for instant photo or they will take a snap in my camera and we kept ignoring. Suddenly Ajay came with one of them and told us let him take our photo in my camera and we do not have to pay him as he is his very good friend. Throughout our trip Ajay proactively took my camera and took our family snaps. We agreed and that guy did a wonderful job with very good photographic sense and we tipped him.



At 11:30 we checked out from the worst hotel of our tour and started for Kalatop. There was plenty of snow on the road inside the forest towards the rest house. After spending some time there we headed Dain Kund. The car even could not go up to its end point due to snow. So we did not try to walk up to the top most view point as it looked almost unreachable. It was still cloudy there. In addition it was quite windy. As a result the place was very chilly.



We stayed there and took snaps until we withstand. Then we came to Dalhousie and do the local sightseeing which is actually nothing and can be easily done less than an hour.
We took late lunch there and at around 4pm started for Pathankot Cantonment as we had to catch Himgiri Exp for Howrah.

31-Mar: The train was late by one hour and came to Pathankot Cant at 1:20am. We boarded and set to sleep. The journey was peaceful. The train recovered the late and we reached Howrah at 11:50am.

Useful information:

Hotels: We chose all HPTDC hotels and pre-booked. We have been to some of these hotels before. These are – Hotel Holiday Home, Shimla (recommended), Tea Bud, Palampur (recommended), The Bhagsu, McLeoadganj(recommended), Hotel Devdar (strongly NOT recommended). We only choose Devdar for its location having past experience of dirty rooms.

Hotel Sarvari, Kullu was the best hotel of this trip. Hotel Kunzum at Manali was also good and recommended. I will keep it surely above Hotel Beas and also Hotel Rohtang Manalsu where we previously stayed.

Car: Mr. Ajay Sharma was previously known to me. I had a tour with his elder brother earlier who is a government employee now. My cousin had a tour with Ajay earlier. Ajay is based at Dalhousie and have an Alto. He is extremely helpful and not just a driver rather guide. He can also arrange bigger sedans and SUV which he previously done for one of my colleague. Phone no: 09882260370/ 09418512370 Email: 370ajaysharma@gmail.com

N.B. – I have been in HP twice before. First time was in February first week, Shimla – Manali. It was white Himachal. Then in October, Dalhousie – Khajjiar – Dharamshala – McLeoadganj – Palampur – Manali. That was beautiful greenery all around. This time in March I have re-discovered Himachal in a different avatar. I would say – someone should visit Himachal in different times of the year to get its different flavour. Please feel free to contact me for any help regarding this part of the state. I am looking forward to a trip to Kinnaur – Lahaul & Spiti in some September
#2 Nov 26th, 2015, 18:04
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  • WeareTourists is offline
#2
Good that you shared the trip report.
I would request you to post some more pics of less visited places like palampur, which I intend to visit in my next trip to western himachal, let's hope it materialises soon.
Dear photos are beautiful indeed
but need more pics ....
#3 Nov 27th, 2015, 11:19
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  • saikatbabai is offline
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeareTourists View Post Good that you shared the trip report.
I would request you to post some more pics of less visited places like palampur, which I intend to visit in my next trip to western himachal, let's hope it materialises soon.
Dear photos are beautiful indeed
but need more pics ....
Thank you Here is some more snaps of Palampur.

Tea Garden






Baijnath Temple



#4 Nov 27th, 2015, 22:11
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#4
Thanks dear !!!
Palampur also seems beautiful...
#5 Nov 30th, 2015, 14:05
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  • potupaul is offline
#5
The report is just wow.Nice pictures too
#6 May 15th, 2018, 14:21
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#6
Hello Saikatbabai

I am thinking for Himachal Visit in this puja 2018 vacation. I need some suggestion from you for a proper itinerary. I will only Visit Dalhousie, Dharamshala and its surrounded place due to shortage of time.

Here is my itinerary

Day 1: start form Howrah for New Delhi by Rajdhani
Day 2: Reach New Delhi and catch a train in night for Pathankot Cantt.
Day 3: Reach PTKC and start for McLeoadganj, Sight Seen in the noon, Night Stay
Day 4: McLeoadganj, Remaining sight Seen, Jwalamukhi etc. Pl. suggest
Day 5: Start For Dalhousie, Sight Seen, Night Stay.
Day 6: Khajjir, Chamba (other places, pl. suggest) Day tour and back to Dalhousie, Night Stay
Day 7: Start for PTKC for availing train for New Delhi
Day 8: Arrive NDLS and start for Howrah in the Evening
Day 9: Reach Howrah

I need your suggestion regarding my itinerary. Pl. suggest some Places to cover in this tour.

Regarding car should I contact Mr. Ajay Sharma?
#7 May 28th, 2018, 12:26
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  • saikatbabai is offline
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by gorachattoraj View Post Hello Saikatbabai

I am thinking for Himachal Visit in this puja 2018 vacation. I need some suggestion from you for a proper itinerary. I will only Visit Dalhousie, Dharamshala and its surrounded place due to shortage of time.

Here is my itinerary

Day 1: start form Howrah for New Delhi by Rajdhani
Day 2: Reach New Delhi and catch a train in night for Pathankot Cantt.
Day 3: Reach PTKC and start for McLeoadganj, Sight Seen in the noon, Night Stay
Day 4: McLeoadganj, Remaining sight Seen, Jwalamukhi etc. Pl. suggest
Day 5: Start For Dalhousie, Sight Seen, Night Stay.
Day 6: Khajjir, Chamba (other places, pl. suggest) Day tour and back to Dalhousie, Night Stay
Day 7: Start for PTKC for availing train for New Delhi
Day 8: Arrive NDLS and start for Howrah in the Evening
Day 9: Reach Howrah

I need your suggestion regarding my itinerary. Pl. suggest some Places to cover in this tour.

Regarding car should I contact Mr. Ajay Sharma?
Hello Mr. Chattoraj,

I was travelling at Sikkim and returned yesterday.

October would be very good time for Dalhousie-McLeoadganj. Please try not to push it in November as greenery would be gone, specially Khajjiar valley. It is really Switzerland of India. I personally prefer it over Baisaran valley of Pahelgam. You may follow following itinerary.

Day 1: Start form Howrah for New Delhi by Rajdhani
Day 2: Reach New Delhi and catch Jammu Rajdhani/Jammu Mail/Uttar samparkkranti for Pathankot Cantt.
Day 3: Reach PTKC early morning and start for McLeoadganj - will take around 3 hours. After lunch Sight seeing - not take much time. Night Stay at McLeoadganj.
Day 4: McLeoadganj to Jawalaji, Kangra ji, Chumanda ji,& Kangra fort. Back McLeoadganj and night stay.
Day 5: Go to Dalhousie. At evening go to market, church and mall road. Night Stay.
Day 6: Dalhousie to Kalatop, Dainkund, Panchpula, Khajjiar & back Dalhousie. Night Stay.
Day 7: Morning check out and go to Bhadrakali tample, boating at Chamera dam and rock garden. After lunch start for PTKC for availing train for New Delhi
Day 8: Arrive NDLS and start for Howrah in the Evening
Day 9: Reach Howrah

Regarding car, yes you should contact Ajay. He is a wonderful driver, human being, local support and guide. I have sent some of my relatives and office colleagues with him. He took very good care of them. You can ask him whether hotel pre-booking is required at that time. If not, then he can show you hotels and you can choose. These actually happened with one of my colleague and was very much pocket friendly. Ajay recently bought a new Toyota Etios.

Hope this helps
#8 May 30th, 2018, 13:15
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  • gorachattoraj is offline
#8
Hello, Mr. Saikat

Thanks for your Reply. I discuss the matter with my better half. She inquire will snow be available in the month of October. I said no. So she said we will go there when snow will be available there. For Snow I think Simala, Manali circuit will be better. What is your advice? What will be the preferable period to see the snow there ? As you are there in the month of March (according to your travelogue). Which will be better option for snow Sikkim or Simla?

Waiting for a Lucid, informative travelogue of Sikkim.

Thanks
#9 May 30th, 2018, 14:09
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  • HowieUK is offline
#9
Great report.

I'm doing a similar trip in September/October and I'm sure I will make use of some of your information.


Thanks
#10 May 30th, 2018, 23:34
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  • saikatbabai is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by gorachattoraj View Post Hello, Mr. Saikat

Thanks for your Reply. I discuss the matter with my better half. She inquire will snow be available in the month of October. I said no. So she said we will go there when snow will be available there. For Snow I think Simala, Manali circuit will be better. What is your advice? What will be the preferable period to see the snow there ? As you are there in the month of March (according to your travelogue). Which will be better option for snow Sikkim or Simla?

Waiting for a Lucid, informative travelogue of Sikkim.

Thanks

For snow I would prefer Shimla-Manali over Dalhousie however others may differ. I was there on February-2008, please see this for a clear idea. In my opinion this is the best time to see snow at Shimla and Manali. Otherwise you will get snow at Rohtang pass up to May, safely said. Also at Kunzum pass up to June. But keep in mind that Kunzum will be tough journey, see this. Actually I have been in Himachal many times and I love its beauty


Now coming to the point of comparison between Himachal and Sikkim for snow. I am always inclined towards Himachal.
#11 Jun 14th, 2018, 15:27
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#11
Thanks Mr. Saikat for your valuable opinion.

Sorry for the late in reply. As I was suffering from Tennis Elbow and unable to use computer due to severe pain in wrist and elbow. At present feeling better.

It will not possible for me to travel in the month of February as my son's exam will be start in the first week of March (probably). Though it is uncertain. We can go there after that. Preferable journey date is 1st April.

Now I want to know about the availability of snow at Solang, Gulaba, Kothi at that time. To get snow shall I have to take ropeway ? could you suggest me some hotel at Shimla, Manali and kullu.? In one of your travelogue you mentioned about hotel Pineview at shimla and Hotel Yak and Hotel Chndrabhga at Manali. How are they?

Regards
#12 Jun 14th, 2018, 21:17
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#12
Ohh... Sorry to hear about Tennis Elbow. Get well soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gorachattoraj View Post Now I want to know about the availability of snow at Solang, Gulaba, Kothi at that time. To get snow shall I have to take ropeway ?
As you know, the snow availability would depend on the amount of snowfall in the year of your travel. But in April you will get snow. It is actually difficult to say whether you get it at Gulaba or Rohtang. Similarly if you get snow at Solang, then that may be at lower level or you might have to take rope-way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gorachattoraj View Post could you suggest me some hotel at Shimla, Manali and kullu.? In one of your travelogue you mentioned about hotel Pineview at shimla and Hotel Yak and Hotel Chndrabhga at Manali. How are they?
At Shimla, Hotel Pineview is value for money. I have stayed at HPTDC Hotel Holidayhome also. That is very good but expensive. At Kullu HPTDC Hotel Srvari is very good. It is outside of town and the place is beautiful. Hotel Yak is at the starting of Manali mall. It is really good. Hotel Chandrabhaga is in between mall. It is good and value for money.
#13 Jun 15th, 2018, 17:30
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#13
Thanks again

Your suggestions helps me lot.

Do you have any idea regarding the booking of Shimla Kali Bari and types of room available there ?

Regards
#14 Jun 15th, 2018, 23:26
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  • saikatbabai is offline
#14

I have been there to see the Kali Mandir and would never consider that place for lodging as no vehicle allowed to there. However you may find information related to booking in the post no. 17 in this link.

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