“A guest post from one of our field contributor, we decided to share the content as it is… 🙂 “
Chandigarh to Dharamsala via Kaza
October 8, 2011I’d been looking at the posters of Kaza terrain in one of the washrooms of Sector 34, Chandigarh for a long-long time and read more on only over the internet.
Then after 3 years came a moment when I decided to stop gazing at the posters and visit Kaza myself in practical. I searched on the internet about travel options, distance and choose my mode of transport and routes.
Fixed October 14, 2011 as final day to check out for Dharamsala (Aadi Himani Chamunda Devi) via Kaza from Chandigarh. Then I asked some of my friends if they would like to join me on this trip.
All declined with the excuse of beginning of cold weather in Kaza and which eventually set my mind also to postpone my Kaza excursion and instead head to my home.
Chandigarh to Kaza- Day First
contributed by various travelers on internet, I joined them and put my question about visiting Kaza in October….but there too I got no response from senior members.Well then it was the morning of October 14 and I was in the market of Sector 22 Chandigarh getting prints of some photographs for home and after getting the prints, something made me to reach my room as soon as possible.
Upon reaching my room at 04:05 PM, I searched the internet for the contact number of HRTC Dept in Chandigarh and called them to inquire which and when bus to Kaza will leave Chandigarh.
The representative of HRTC told me the bus will leave at 06:00PM sharp. As I was staying at a distance of about 1 hour of travel from ISBT Sector 43 of Chandigarh (Since all buses to HP, Jammu and Uttaranchal depart from Sector 43, except for Delhi, Ambala that depart from Sector 17 ISBT of Chandigarh) I hurried and packed up backpack with my laptop, one jacket and other stuff and was ready to leave room by 05:05PM.
At the bus stop the local bus showed up by 05:15 PM and I was not sure if I would make it to Sector 43 ISBT on time….and as I’d assumed, the local bus dropped me at Sector 43 ISBT at 06:10 PM.I felt the bus might have left already….and walked to the platform from where buses to Shimla leave and was surprised to see the bus to Kaza still there, but it was already almost full and I was looking for a window seat on left hand side.
Still happy to see the bus still available approached the ticket counter only to find out the last seat was already taken a few moments ago :\ … As I thought it was the only and only one bus to leave for Kaza in a day….went for advance booking for the other day….and there the representative informed me that there will be another bus up to Reckong Peo leaving at 07:30 PM.
Hearing that I decided to wait for 07:30 PM and board the bus up to Reckong-Peo. In the mean time I inquired more and found there were at least more buses that leave at the interval of 2 hours up to 04:30 AM from Chandigarh up to Reckong Peo!
At 07:30 PM I lined up to board the bus from Chandigarh to Kalpa near Reckong Peo. But the conductor gave me the ticket up to Rampur and the ticket cost was INR -270 and he told me from Rampur, we’ll have to change the bus to Reckong Peo, and from Reckong Peo I need to change another bus for Kaza.
Well there started my maiden trip to newer districts of HP beyond Simla.
Chandigarh to Kaza- Day Two in Reckon Peo
As I read in internet fellow travelers complained it was not easy to travel in regular buses for 14 hours up to Reckong Peo and further up to Kaza….some suggested a deluxe bus service up to Reckong Peo and a shared taxi from Reckong Peo to Kaza.
But I felt no unease on traveling more than 12 hours in a regular bus (probably because of my curiosity of new place and a night travel) wearing only a T-shirt and jeans (though I was carrying a jacket).
As the bus entered Parwanoo in Himachal from Kalka, we were stuck in the traffic for about 1 hour as some irresponsible truck driver had parked his truck in the middle of the left side lane, blocking the traffic flow coming down from Simla.
Further to my surprise after getting out of the traffic jam….the HRTC bus driver held mobile on his left hand and steered the bus with his right hand and to my surprise no one complained to conductor and neither the conductor stopped the driver from using mobile.
Since the road on which the driver was using one hand drive is accident prone with hundreds foot deep slide, I was concerned but could not gather the courage to ask the driver to stop using mobile on drive and he continued for more than 2km with one hand drive on night and then he put the mobile aside.
Well we stopped at Sonawaar for dinner and arrived Simla new ISBT at 01:25 AM. I was welcomed by all new ISBT of Simla in Tutikandi….and saw some fuming passengers there, who had no bus to reach the old bus stand of Simla about 7km from new ISBT. Since I was wearing only a T-shirt and jeans felt the cold of Simla and had second thoughts about the weather in Reckong Peo and Kaza ….but even then did not brought out my jacket.
At 03:30 AM the bus stopped somewhere in a shop for tea….and there I’d to pull out my jacked from bag….as I didn’t wanted to spoil my trip with cold that gets severe on me mostly. At the outside of the shop I saw an aged driver bathing with cold tap water….seeing that gave me some courage to face the cold.
I could not sleep all night not because it was cold but because I was more enjoying seeing the dark woods and mountains silhouette out from the window of my seat.
Then came the sunrise and we were still on ride….and as I was sitting on the left window side and down the road which was amazingly carved out of the solid mountain sides could see the river flowing.
You will be surprised (If you visit for the first time) to see how the personnel of Border Road Organization have cut out the road on mountain sides and only a professional can drive here….!
But the drivers of HRTC are more competent here and some were driving as if they were on an open wider Broadway. Though I’d been riding (bus ride) on such roads from childhood but these were the extreme sort of and giving me more of joy than fear.
As the bus was moving up and down some time slow, some time fast….I was just enjoying the beauty outside and had the desire only if I could get down the bus and feel the surroundings myself for a little longer.
But we were on constant move and reached Rampur of district Kinnaur around the morning of 06:30 AM. At 07:45 AM from Rampur, I boarded a private bus up to Reckong Peo with ticket cost of INR 110, the bus stopped at Jeori stop for breakfast from where on right hand side there is another road for Sarahan with a distance of around 17KM, another interesting point with temples of Bhima Kali and more.
Further from Jeori the views outside are just amazing and for some like me an open invitation to come again. The road gets more adventures (If you can manage own vehicle, it’ll we more of more adventures, but please do not throw garbage).
I saw new faces of Kinnaur region and noticed that here men also use eyeliners.
We crossed many villages, bridges but the river was constantly flowing on the left hand side. I was amazed to see how the electricity wires were put up from one point to another point with thousands feet of depth and across the wide mountains.
After climbing another 1000 feet we reached Reckong Peo around 12:00 PM. As there is only one bus leaving to Kaza early in the morning by 06:30 AM so I headed to Kalpa and after returning from Kalpa stayed in a guest house and next morning woke up early by 05:30 AM.
Chandigarh to Kaza- Day Third in Kaza
Since the bus leaving to Kaza is the only one so there is good crowd.
I reached Reckong Peo bus stand at 06:15 AM, but the bus arrived at 07:00AM half an hour late. After getting the ticket to Kaza for INR -260….I witnessed the sun rays slowly kissing the mountain series above Reckong Peo.
Well the bus started off at 07:30 AM. Prefer a seat on the right hand side window as 98% views are on the right side with calm and constantly flowing Spiti river and here too the road is well engineered by Border Road Organization though in most of points the work is still in progress rest the road is in good condition.
Not to mention here, also on this route the HRTC driver was careless or overconfident as he was using mobile while driving….and this time inside the bus I noticed a number 09459100100 where anyone with complaint on driving or traffic violation could send instant sms.
I sent a text about the driver but lucky for the driver I was using a private mobile operator the service of which is not available there and the sms landed on outbox instead of sent item box 🙁 and since the driver was using BSNL mobile he was enjoying his chat.
Well then we stopped for breakfast and I took the opportunity to shoot some photographs. After the stop we started again and the views around were or are awesome and inspiring with each turn the bus went up a few feet more and more and some time were at a height of 2621 meter and then 2518 meter and 3624 meter. By 04:30 PM we reached the bus stand of KAZA.………to be continued