kinnaur sangla chitkul in december first week

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#1 Nov 4th, 2010, 18:07
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#1
Hi, I am planning to visit narkanda, sarahan, kalpa, sangla and chitkul in first week of december. I will be coming after darshan from vaishno devi, katra to chandigarh on 30th morning. We are 6 in group

Itinerary:
27th night: Leave delhi for jammu.
28th Nov : Darshan
29th : get down to katra till morning and board a bus/taxi (need suggestion) for chandigarh in evening.
30th : Hire a taxi from chandigarh for the whole trip. Budget around RS. 2000 per day ( hoping to get off season discount )
Reach Narkanda, taking chail kufri route.

Rest is not decided.
5th night: Train from chandigarh or Ambala to Delhi.

I have to get back to chandigarh on 5th Dec evening for boarding train to delhi. Also want the last day i.e. 5th Dec to relax at shimla or any place near chandigarh.

Queries :
1. Hotels at kalpa, sangla. Also how to book pwd rest houses ? My father is in Central Govt. Though he is not with us but what all formalities do I have to fill up for booking and pwd rest house and how to book. ????
2. Taxi qualis or sumo in the budget mentioned. Contact nos. will be really helpful.
3. suggestions on itinerary.

Thanks in advance.
#2 Nov 4th, 2010, 18:34
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#2
Sangla and Chitkul might be closed in December. There has been recent snowfall reported in Sarahan.

Read Kshil's trip report. He has given details about booking procedure of PWD rest houses. Also there is information about a Cab operator.

There are a couple more trip reports in October. You will find them in Himachal forum.
#3 Nov 4th, 2010, 20:31
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current status of road to chitkul

Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post Sangla and Chitkul might be closed in December. There has been recent snowfall reported in Sarahan.

Read Kshil's trip report. He has given details about booking procedure of PWD rest houses. Also there is information about a Cab operator.

There are a couple more trip reports in October. You will find them in Himachal forum.
Thanks aarosh for the quick revert. I dont want to miss Chitkul at all. Can you tell me the current status of the road to sangla and chitkul ? I have read the Kshil Sir's report. I am a big fan of his report. This report only ignited me to plan a travel to kinnaur valley. However, in report, I could not find about what all documents are required to book as a govt employee's family and the exact procedure.
#4 Nov 4th, 2010, 22:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deepu.bansal View Post Thanks aarosh for the quick revert. I dont want to miss Chitkul at all. Can you tell me the current status of the road to sangla and chitkul ? I have read the Kshil Sir's report. I am a big fan of his report. This report only ignited me to plan a travel to kinnaur valley. However, in report, I could not find about what all documents are required to book as a govt employee's family and the exact procedure.
Nothing specific you need to do to book PWD accommodation as a Govt Employee, Call them and get the exact process, in all cases you have to send a letter or fax your application with details of the individuals travelling and purpose and tenure of stay. The accommodation should be in name of one of the travellers who is a Govt Employee and while occupying the room you may or may not be required to show the Identity Card as a proof of being a Govt employee. That's all about it.

Please don't try to get information of Sangla/Chitkul 3/4 weeks advance, better enquire (possibly by calling hotels ) just before you start as weather prediction in this region is quite difficult to do in advance. Also during end November, don't try to prebook hotels anywhere except PWD CH/GH.

Cheers!!
#5 Nov 4th, 2010, 22:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshil View Post Nothing specific you need to do to book PWD accommodation as a Govt Employee, Call them and get the exact process, in all cases you have to send a letter or fax your application with details of the individuals travelling and purpose and tenure of stay. The accommodation should be in name of one of the travellers who is a Govt Employee and while occupying the room you may or may not be required to show the Identity Card as a proof of being a Govt employee. That's all about it.

Please don't try to get information of Sangla/Chitkul 3/4 weeks advance, better enquire (possibly by calling hotels ) just before you start as weather prediction in this region is quite difficult to do in advance. Also during end November, don't try to prebook hotels anywhere except PWD CH/GH.

Cheers!!

Thank you for your valuable input.
Are there any sight seeing locations at sarahan, narkanda, kalpa and sangla/chitkul(if possible). We will have a lot of time during the day at these places. What all can we do to extract the most out of it ??? Excuse me if its a bit silly question
#6 Nov 4th, 2010, 22:59
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by deepu.bansal View Post Thank you for your valuable input.
Are there any sight seeing locations at sarahan, narkanda, kalpa and sangla/chitkul(if possible). We will have a lot of time during the day at these places. What all can we do to extract the most out of it ??? Excuse me if its a bit silly question
All of these places are having nice treks and some short drives too. Narkanda is having hatu peak, ski ground trek, sarahan is having the small walks also a drive to Sri koti temple, Kalpa, Chitkul all have nice treks and walks. Please read the various trip reports and search the forum. You would find amazing information on how you could explore these places. Chitkul most likely would be out of reach for you during your visit.

Cheers!!
#7 Nov 7th, 2010, 12:08
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Originally Posted by kshil View Post All of these places are having nice treks and some short drives too. Narkanda is having hatu peak, ski ground trek, sarahan is having the small walks also a drive to Sri koti temple, Kalpa, Chitkul all have nice treks and walks. Please read the various trip reports and search the forum. You would find amazing information on how you could explore these places. Chitkul most likely would be out of reach for you during your visit.

Cheers!!
Thank you sir. Short drives will be the places we will be looking forward to instead of treks. We will be coming after vaishnodevi pilgrimage, so it wouldnt be possible for us to walk against gravity . Anyways, I have gone through the related threads and gathered a lot of information regarding hotels and travel agents (probably will call vinkle). Now the problem is if we come by train from jammu, we ll get down at ambala. So is it better to hire a taxi for the whole trip from ambala only, or take a train/bus to come to chandigarh and then get on with our hired taxi ?? Will the taxi driver pick us up directly from ambala with no or little extra bucks ?
Regarding Chitkul, I was asking about it because I want to know how many days does it take to clear up the road. There is no official closure of roads during winters. It gets closed because of snowfall or landslides. So how much time does it take to become operational again provided no more snowfall?? Really want to visit Chitkul. Even day trips from Kalpa/Sangla would work. Any suggestions on our itinerary ?????
Thanks in advance !
#8 Nov 7th, 2010, 21:10
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I think getting car from Ambala makes sense for you, there is no point to take a cab till Chandigarh/Kalka and then catch another to go to your destination. Search in IM, you would get some agencies based on Ambala as well for car. In case you would like to take Vinkle then negotiate how much he would charge for coming from Shimla to Ambala as extra, shouldn't be something very high and should be included in your per day cost + some extra may be as you rightly pointed out, you are in an advantage of leaveraging the off season. Vinkle is a good driver and excellent human being but I am sure you could get some other alternatives as well from Ambala in case Vinkle is not available.

Itinerary is ok but stressed comparing to the time you have selected as anytime excessive snow fall can get you stuck.

30th Nov - Chandigarh - Narkanda via Chail, Kufri, (You need to start early as day length are considerably shorter in November/December, I am not sure when you reach Chandigarh/Ambala.

1st Dec - Narkanda - Sarahan
2nd Dec - Sarahan - Sangla
3rd Dec - Visit Chitkul if road is open and then move to Kalpa
4th Dec - Come to Narkanda
5th Dec - Proceed early for Chandigarh to catch evening train.

Now you could plan based on above tentative plan but above is quite hectic and you just have enough time to come back by 5th evening, so take decision appropriately on the spot based on situation.

If ITBP Camp in Chitkul is a seasonal one and not be there in December, I am sure there won't be any certainity of opening that road. All hotels would be closed, not sure if the locals stay there or come towards Sangla in winter. Once you visit the place in off season, be in open mind and accept how nature would present herself to you, trying/pushing too hard might be proved as fatal. If you call Vinkle or any other driver, discuss with them the feasibility of accessing that place in December, they have wide network of drivers in the region and would be able to get you the right information.

All the best for your trip.

Cheers!!
#9 Nov 8th, 2010, 22:12
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kshil View Post I think getting car from Ambala makes sense for you, there is no point to take a cab till Chandigarh/Kalka and then catch another to go to your destination. Search in IM, you would get some agencies based on Ambala as well for car. In case you would like to take Vinkle then negotiate how much he would charge for coming from Shimla to Ambala as extra, shouldn't be something very high and should be included in your per day cost + some extra may be as you rightly pointed out, you are in an advantage of leaveraging the off season. Vinkle is a good driver and excellent human being but I am sure you could get some other alternatives as well from Ambala in case Vinkle is not available.

Itinerary is ok but stressed comparing to the time you have selected as anytime excessive snow fall can get you stuck.

30th Nov - Chandigarh - Narkanda via Chail, Kufri, (You need to start early as day length are considerably shorter in November/December, I am not sure when you reach Chandigarh/Ambala.

1st Dec - Narkanda - Sarahan
2nd Dec - Sarahan - Sangla
3rd Dec - Visit Chitkul if road is open and then move to Kalpa
4th Dec - Come to Narkanda
5th Dec - Proceed early for Chandigarh to catch evening train.

Now you could plan based on above tentative plan but above is quite hectic and you just have enough time to come back by 5th evening, so take decision appropriately on the spot based on situation.

If ITBP Camp in Chitkul is a seasonal one and not be there in December, I am sure there won't be any certainity of opening that road. All hotels would be closed, not sure if the locals stay there or come towards Sangla in winter. Once you visit the place in off season, be in open mind and accept how nature would present herself to you, trying/pushing too hard might be proved as fatal. If you call Vinkle or any other driver, discuss with them the feasibility of accessing that place in December, they have wide network of drivers in the region and would be able to get you the right information.

All the best for your trip.

Cheers!!

Thank you.. I got a gud news that Chitkul is accessible as early as 10 days after the heavy snowfall. One of the IMers has posted his report. He has made a day trip to Chitkul and got accomodation at Sangla.

There is no scope for getting stuck as we have exam on 7th. But after looking at the pics of Arinhere, one of the IMers, I feel that exams are not a such big thing to keep at stake for such a wonderful scene. However, your itinerary looks perfect for me. But will finalize after discussing with my group. By the way, we will take evening/night train from jammu on 29th, so will reach around 4-5 am at ambala. Hope no driver will have any problem picking us up at that time ????

Narkanda to Kalka is 120 km which wont take more than 4-5 hours. And train from kalka to delhi (Kalka Mail) leaves at 12 night. So last day shouldnt be so hectic. Correct me if I am wrong somewhere.

One more thing. You said Vinkle would come from Shimla to Ambala to pick us up. Does that mean he quotes for the price from Shimla to Shimla ? But, as mentioned in your report, he picked you from Chandigarh. I have read in some thread, that Taxi Drivers are reluctant to cross the border because of Taxi Union issues. Is that correct?
#10 Nov 9th, 2010, 22:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deepu.bansal View Post Thank you.. I got a gud news that Chitkul is accessible as early as 10 days after the heavy snowfall. One of the IMers has posted his report. He has made a day trip to Chitkul and got accomodation at Sangla.
Once more, a statutory warning, don't judge these places by a single experience, yours one might be unique. Just a months back people got stuck there for almost a week even without any snow as such. You never know what nature has stored for you. So if you are in off-season, keep some backup plan, that's the only thing we could do

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepu.bansal View Post There is no scope for getting stuck as we have exam on 7th. But after looking at the pics of Arinhere, one of the IMers, I feel that exams are not a such big thing to keep at stake for such a wonderful scene. However, your itinerary looks perfect for me. But will finalize after discussing with my group. By the way, we will take evening/night train from jammu on 29th, so will reach around 4-5 am at ambala. Hope no driver will have any problem picking us up at that time ????
That's the spirit .
I don't think drivers would have issues in picking you up at early morning specially in off season when they are getting an assured business for 4/5 days. You can always put forward your proposal and check their reaction and the price they ask for doing this favour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepu.bansal View Post Narkanda to Kalka is 120 km which wont take more than 4-5 hours. And train from kalka to delhi (Kalka Mail) leaves at 12 night. So last day shouldnt be so hectic. Correct me if I am wrong somewhere.
Yes if train is at midnight no issue at all but don't think you would come from Narkanda to Kalka in flat 4 hours just because the distance is 120km. Distance, Speed, Time the simple mathematical formua doesn't work in this region always, I remember, it took me 9 hours from Chandigarh to Narkanda with good road but a stop of 45 mins for lunch another 45 mins in Chail and few photo stops. No way it was less than 7 hours. Just a traffic jam around kalka could change the calculation, I found a horrific jam while returning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepu.bansal View Post One more thing. You said Vinkle would come from Shimla to Ambala to pick us up. Does that mean he quotes for the price from Shimla to Shimla ? But, as mentioned in your report, he picked you from Chandigarh. I have read in some thread, that Taxi Drivers are reluctant to cross the border because of Taxi Union issues. Is that correct?
This can only answered by Vinkle, better be in touch with him. Many times they would come to pick you up from Ambala/Chandigarh (Specially when you are reaching early morning, not much hassles by police or taxi unions), the chances are higher specially when it's off season but again one wrong incident in Ambala/Chandigarh just before your arrival could change the scenario. Vinkle is man of words, so if he commits to come, he would surely come.

Cheers!!
#11 Nov 12th, 2010, 18:20
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by kshil View Post Once more, a statutory warning, don't judge these places by a single experience, yours one might be unique. Just a months back people got stuck there for almost a week even without any snow as such. You never know what nature has stored for you. So if you are in off-season, keep some backup plan, that's the only thing we could do



That's the spirit .
I don't think drivers would have issues in picking you up at early morning specially in off season when they are getting an assured business for 4/5 days. You can always put forward your proposal and check their reaction and the price they ask for doing this favour.



Yes if train is at midnight no issue at all but don't think you would come from Narkanda to Kalka in flat 4 hours just because the distance is 120km. Distance, Speed, Time the simple mathematical formua doesn't work in this region always, I remember, it took me 9 hours from Chandigarh to Narkanda with good road but a stop of 45 mins for lunch another 45 mins in Chail and few photo stops. No way it was less than 7 hours. Just a traffic jam around kalka could change the calculation, I found a horrific jam while returning.



This can only answered by Vinkle, better be in touch with him. Many times they would come to pick you up from Ambala/Chandigarh (Specially when you are reaching early morning, not much hassles by police or taxi unions), the chances are higher specially when it's off season but again one wrong incident in Ambala/Chandigarh just before your arrival could change the scenario. Vinkle is man of words, so if he commits to come, he would surely come.

Cheers!!



Thank you sir !!!
#12 Nov 16th, 2010, 01:52
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#12
Hello Kshil sir,

Our trip has been postponed by 10 days for some reason. Thus we would be leaving on 7th december evening for jammu and back to delhi from kalka on 15th night. We will reach ambala on 10th morning at around 3-4 am, and narkanda by noon.

From here my confusion starts. Sangla/Chitkul is looking almost impossible to reach and accomodation at kalpa would also be a problem. Now we have 3 female members in our group. Cant take any risk to make it adventurous. So, we are deciding to go to sarahan and narkanda only on that kinnaur route. But given manier days, we want to go Jalori pass and a near by place. Can stretch to manali but that would become quite hectic as manali to kalka will take an entire day. Manali came to my mind because of surely finding snow there. So which all places can I cover along with Sarahan and narkanda in 6 days I have (10th dec to 15th dec)? Like aut, mandi, nagini or any other good place after crossing jalori pass having high chances of snow.

Also I would like to take sungri taklech route to sarahan while going and via rampur while coming back. Any suggestions regarding this also ??


Thanks in advance !!

Regards

Deepak
#13 Nov 16th, 2010, 11:28
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Hello Deepak,

Don't take Sungri-Taklech in December, It's an off-route completely, In June, we didn't see a single car between Taklech and Mashnoo. The road is completely made of boulders, extremely narrow and with snow/hard ice it might be quite difficult to negotiate during December. The remoteness would add more challenge.

My take in this case would be to remove Sarahan completely from your itinerary.

Go to Narkanda via Chail and can think of staying in Chail itself if you wish, nice place. From Narkanda you move towards Sainj and then leave NH22 to proceed towards Luhri, Ani, Khanag, Jalori, Shoja, Jhibi, Banjar. From Banjar take right to Sairopa and Gusahini. I would suggest if possible stay a night at Sairopa, in Forest RH. Amazing place beside Tirthan River. Exploring GHNP is possible based on park opening in that time, I am not sure about that.

Then proceed to Manali and Rohtang for snow.

You have to plan it according to your time. Journey wise following is quite possible.

Day1- Ambala - Narkanda
Day 2- Narkanda - Sairopa
Day3- Sairopa - Manali
Day 4- Manali - Rohtang - Manali
Day 5- Manali - Kalka

These are minimum required days for these circuits. But if you ask my personal choice, I would safely remove Manali part and would stay in Sairopa/Gusahini area for more days as it's much worth if you want to stay close to nature. Manali is completely commercialized as I saw it.

Cheers!!
#14 Nov 17th, 2010, 23:57
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kshil View Post Hello Deepak,

Don't take Sungri-Taklech in December, It's an off-route completely, In June, we didn't see a single car between Taklech and Mashnoo. The road is completely made of boulders, extremely narrow and with snow/hard ice it might be quite difficult to negotiate during December. The remoteness would add more challenge.

My take in this case would be to remove Sarahan completely from your itinerary.

Go to Narkanda via Chail and can think of staying in Chail itself if you wish, nice place. From Narkanda you move towards Sainj and then leave NH22 to proceed towards Luhri, Ani, Khanag, Jalori, Shoja, Jhibi, Banjar. From Banjar take right to Sairopa and Gusahini. I would suggest if possible stay a night at Sairopa, in Forest RH. Amazing place beside Tirthan River. Exploring GHNP is possible based on park opening in that time, I am not sure about that.

Then proceed to Manali and Rohtang for snow.

You have to plan it according to your time. Journey wise following is quite possible.

Day1- Ambala - Narkanda
Day 2- Narkanda - Sairopa
Day3- Sairopa - Manali
Day 4- Manali - Rohtang - Manali
Day 5- Manali - Kalka

These are minimum required days for these circuits. But if you ask my personal choice, I would safely remove Manali part and would stay in Sairopa/Gusahini area for more days as it's much worth if you want to stay close to nature. Manali is completely commercialized as I saw it.

Cheers!!
Thank you Kaushik sir.

Today I had a talk with Vinkle and he is saying any place on NH22 would be accessible. Only Chitkul might have problem but Sangla would be reachable. Also the male part of our group (including me) is very keen to go to higher and tougher places.
Also Gushaini, as suggested by you, is included in the list by adding one more day. Visiting to Gushaini on our way back from kalpa/sangla. Vinkle has agreed to pick us up from Ambala. But he would not be available. His friend or partner will host our route. I hope that he is a good driver, given the road conditions at that moment. Thanks for all the help. Just a couple of things to clarify. Is it ok to pay advance for the taxi ? Also how to pay in advance. Vinkle gave an account number into which we have to pay the advance. But what is the security and all ?? How to get confirmation in written from him. Also there is no agency involved here. I mean dealing directly with Vinkle is okay ?

Thanks in advance
#15 Nov 18th, 2010, 00:50
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#15
Hi Deepak, in lean season when there are ample options, just deny to give any advance. You tell him clearly that while you call him over phone among so many other options, that's the way you show that you trust him and he should reciprocate that. But in case you change your plan please do inform him as well. Otherwise simply say an emphatic no in any money transfer and tell you would only pay some advance on spot if you like the car and car is as per your requirement and his commitment.

Vinkle was honest to me but you know honesty is the greatest "relative" word in this world. May be we all are honest upto a point, but in absolute terms I would never vouch for anyone.

Also one more word of caution, I have gone with Vinkle and so a few other members who all are happy with his driving skill and honesty. But don't think the experience may be same if Vinkle appoints someone else, as one IM member here already wrote his dissatisfaction with a driver Vinkle referred. So please take your call accordingly, if you can manage Vinkle to drive in this trip, I can say you won't be dissatisfied.

Yes NH22 is an all weather road but in that region all weather means something different, in case of inclement weather and couple of land slides you can always get stuck. But Kinnaur is too good to ignore frankly . You can take your chances based on your risk apetite and the profile of your copassengers.
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