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Palampur – Kangra (Himachal Pradesh, India)

Palampur is a hill station situated in the foot hills of Dhauladhar mountain ranges. Palampur is famous for tea gardens and its pleasant climate throughout the year. Because of its proximity to Dhauladhar mountain ranges a lot of water streams flowing from mountains to plains pass through Palampur. Palampur is surrounded by tea gardens, pine trees and water streams, and the combination of all these gives a beautiful and distinctive look to Palampur.

Palampur is at the end of valley merging into the hills so the scenery shows plains on one side and the snow covered hills on the other side. Behind Palampur stands high ranges of Dhauladhar Mountains whose top remain snow-covered for most of the year.

Location Map:

Palampur-Map

Road Map

What type of travelers should visit?

Family, Honeymoon, Solo, Adventure, Spirtual, Religious, Art Lover, Nature Lover, Health Wellness

Why one must visit Palampur?

  • Palampur and adjoining places offer wide range of interests and amenities to almost all categories of travelers.
  • If you love to see and play with the fresh water flowing from the mountains, Palampur is place for you. A lot of fresh water streams coming from the Dhauladhar Mountains passes through Palampur. The most popular among tourists is Neugal Khad.
  • Popular tourist destination Dharamsala is 35 KMs from Palampur.
  • Not far ago the unexplored and now one of the hot spot tourist destination Barot is 70 KMs from Palampur.
  • World’s highest Para Gliding site Bir Billing is 40 KMs from Palampur. If you love the adventure activities then you can try the gliding at world’s highest take off site.
  • Famous Hindu Temples are at small distance from Palampur. Shiv Temple in Baijnath 15 KMs, Chamunda Devi Temple 17 KMs, Brijeshwari Temple Kangra 40 KMs, Jawalamukhi Temple 70 KMs, Chintpurni Temple 90 KMs.
  • The Capital of Tibetan Government in Exile and the residence of spiritual guru Dalai Lama in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala is 50 KMs.
  • If you want to have Spiritual, Meditation and Yoga classes, then there are good numbers of options available in Palampur, Dharamsala and Bir Billing.
  • For art loving people, Andretta is the best place to visit. Andretta is a village and artists’ colony. It’s situated 11 KMs from Palampur.
  • For adventure travelers there are several treks going to Dhauladhar mountain ranges. These treks vary from small to longer ones. Some can be completed in a day and others may require weeks’ time.
  • There are some thrilling off-road sections near Palampur for adventure roadies.

Stay and eatery options:

Palampur has all sorts of accommodations available for all travelers.

  • If you want to experience the local culture and food, and want to stay with locals, there are several home stay and resort options available in all budgets. In these accommodation options you will get the opportunity to enjoy local cuisine cooked at home, experience the local culture and the hospitality provided by the property owners.
  • Palampur has all sorts of hotels available from budget to luxury.
  • There are some good restaurants in Palampur. Location of restaurants here is equally important as their food. Some of the restaurants here with open seating arrangements and water stream/lake nearby are more popular among tourists.

Local attractions:

  • Kandi Bridge Bundla
  • Saurabh Van Vihar
  • Neugal Café
  • Jakhani Mata Temple
  • Old Vindhyavasni Temple
  • Trek To Birni Mata Temple
  • Village of Andretta
  • Dhauladhar Nature Park

Weather:

Palampur remains pleasant from March to April (14-19 degree Centigrade) and gradually becomes moderately hot during May-June ( 24-25 degree Centigrade). Monsoon arrives by mid July and usually lasts upto September. Nearly 65% of the annual rainfall (250 cm) occurs during these three months. October marks the beginning of Autumn and weather remains sunny, cool and fresh till November (15-19 degree Centigrade). Winter sets in from December and lasts upto February (10-12 degree Centigrade)

For current weather conditions you can also refer to

http://www.accuweather.com/en/in/palampur/198333/weather-forecast/198333

How to reach Palampur:

Palampur is well connected by all means of travel. It’s situated in Pathankot – Mandi National Highway.

By Air: The closest airport to Palampur is Dharamshala airport (known as Gaggal). Dharamsala airport is 40 KMs from Palampur and there are direct flights from Delhi to Gaggal. Please be advised that in winters and rainy season Delhi – Gaggal flights are often canceled at the last minute due to weather and other issues. It will be better to have an alternative plan ready just in case this happens.

By Train:
There are 2 options if you prefer trains:
1-Train from Delhi to Pathankot/ Chakki Bank and then bus/taxi to Palampur (5-6 hrs)
2-Train from Delhi to Pathankot/ Chakki Bank and then narrow gauge train onwards to Palampur. Delhi – Pathankot (550 kms , 10 hrs) + Pathankot – Palampur (110 kms , 6-7 hrs)

By Bus: Delhi to Palampur is about 10-12 hours journey. Daily Volvo and other bus services by Himachal Roadways are available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Palampur. Day and night both services are available but people prefer to overnight.

From Dharamshala: There are buses between Dharamshala to Palampur on regular intervals. Usually it takes 1-2 hours from Dharamshala to Palampur on bus.

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Sach Pass – In search of Truth

Preface

“There are BAD roads in Ladakh,
there are extremely BAD roads in Spiti,
and then there is SACH Pass”

That’s what I said when I completed the ride across Sach Pass in Pangi Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Truth cannot be found easily, you have to go thru thisRoads of Sach Pass

Did you notice the missing word in above line “road” ? that’s because it would be an understatement to call it a road, better call it a wide mule track. If you could manage to cover only 80 kms in 10-12 hrs without many breaks, you can imagine what I’m referring to. And how often you have heard that the main T bolt (the bolt which puts handle bar in place) of Royal Enfield became so loose that it was easily opened with bare hands. Adventure travelers swear by the name of Sach pass and it’s quite common to compare bad roads with Sach pass. We encountered this and much more in this ride of a lifetime. In Hindi Sach means Truth, hence I see it was an appropriate title for this ride.

You gotta have right Attitude
attitude

Nature has mysterious plans and you can’t do much about it but be ready and be flexible. How many times it happens that you plan for something and end up doing something else. Same happened with us in sep 2014 , when our well laid plan to do the leh-Ladakh circuit was smashed by flash floods in Jammu and Kashmir just 10 days before our scheduled ride. The situation was so scary that all the Riders backed out of the idea of exploring some other place if we are not riding to Ladakh. All riders backed out except the two hard nuts (Me & Aditya), we were not ready to sit at home thinking what we could have done. Hence, an alternative plan had to be chalked out and that too within next 2 – 3 days. Maps were out, discussions, Google search, more discussions, weather forecasts and contingency plans were chalked out.

And have some faith – Trilokinath TempleTrilokinath Temple

After an extensive 3 day research we came up with a probable route. We would be crossing 3 of Himachal’s notorious passes known for bad roads, landslides and what not (Jalori pass, Rohtang pass, Sach pass) and also cover 3 most popular tourist destinations in Himachal (Shimla, Manali, Khajjiar). On paper it was a good plan, but somewhere at the back of our mind we knew, it will not be an easy ride in this season. There has been news of heavy rain in Himachal and there were chances that we may have to ride in rain as well. We bought some rain gear from the local markets and checked all the necessary items which we might need on the ride. So all was set; 2 guys,me (Rana and Adi) , with me on Jr.Black Bull (Royal Enfield Classic 350cc) and Adi on TB Baby (Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500cc). With all things checked out of our list we were ready to ride and face the Truth.

And answer some hard questions – “Why we ride?”Why we ride

Tungnath – Chandrashila (Uttrakhand , India)

Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world and is one of the five and the highest Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tunganath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. Located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft), and just below the peak of Chandrashila, Tungnath temple is the highest Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be 1000 years old and is the second in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars.

Tungnath is linked to the origin of the Panch Kedar temples built by the Pandavas. The legend states that sage Vyas Rishi advised the Pandavas that since they were culpable of slaying their own relatives (Kauravas, their cousins) during the Mahabharata war or Kurukshetra war, their act could be pardoned only by Lord Shiva. Consequently, the Pandavas went in search of Shiva who was avoiding them since he was convinced of the guilt of Pandavas. In order to keep away from them, Shiva took the form of a bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptakashi, where Pandavas chased him. But later Shiva’s body in the form of bull’s body parts rematerialized at five different locations that represent the “Panch Kedar” where Pandavas built temples of Lord Shiva at each location, to worship and venerate, seeking his pardon and blessings. Each one is identified with a part of his body; Tungnath is identified as the place where the bahu (hands) were seen: hump was seen at Kedarnath; head appeared at Rudranath; his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhyamaheshwar; and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar.

Chandrashila (meaning Moon Rock) is a summit of Tungnath and is located at an alltitude of aprox 4000 mtrs. The legend says that this is the place where Lord Rama meditated after defeating the demon-king Ravana. The views from Chandrashila top is Incredible. It offers 360 degrees panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas.

Deveria Taal: Deveria taal is a small treck of about 3 kms from Sari village (a small detour on Chopta – Ukhimath route). Located at an altitude of about 2387 meters, it has heavily wooded, lush green surroundings with snow covered mountains in the backdrop. The lake is known for its wide 360 degree panorama.Mountains like Chaukhamba , Bandarpunch , Kedar Range, Kalanag can be viewed from here.

Road Map

Trek Kms

5 kms – Tungnath + 1.5 kms Chandrashila Summit

Level

Easy

Ideal Season

May – Oct

Altitude

Highest point Chandrashila summit is Aprox 4000 mtrs

Numbers of Days (Delhi to Delhi)

Minimum 4 Days

How to get there

Delhi – Roorkee – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Rudraprayag – Ukhimath – Chopta (530 kms / 12 – 14 hrs by Car)

What we recommend

Start early/late night from Delhi and reach Ukhimath latest by 1600 hrs. On you way don’t miss the Devprayag Sangam point (Confluence of river Bhagirathi and Mandakini) at Devprayag. Devprayag is the place where river Ganga gets its name. Also see Rudraprayag Sangam (Confluence of river Mandakini and Alaknanda). Check in guest house and attend the Aarti at 1800 hrs at Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath. You will remember this Aarti for long time. After attending the Aarti explore the local market and return to guest house. Rise early next day to witness sunrise and start early (0600 hrs) towards Chopta and enjoy wonderful Bugyals of Dugalbitta. Have breakfast at Chopta and start trek for Tungnath. Your target should be to reach Tungnath/Chandrashila before 1200 hrs as after that chance of cloud cover is high and you may miss the panoramic views all around. A stay at Tungnath is highly recommended as this gives you very good chance of experiencing sunrise from Chandrashila peak. However there are no guest houses or hotels here but temporary arrangements and that too when temple is open (Mid April – Mid Oct). Explore the surroundings and sleep early as you will need to wake up by 0400 hrs. and start your trek to Chandrashila peak and reach before sunrise. Enjoy a mesmerizing sunrise and start your journey back to Tungnath and then to Chopta. After breakfast drive down to Sari village and then trek to Devaria Taal. You can either stay overnight at Deveria Taal (Tented accommodation is available in season) or trek back to Sari and reach Ukhimath for better stay options. Return to Delhi the next day , if possible take a dip in holy waters of Ganga at Devprayag sangam.

Things to Consider

1>Carry enough cash as after Rudraprayag ATM’s will be hard to find or may not be in working condition.

2>Pertrol Pump: The last one on this route is at Agastmuni (45 kms from Ukhimath). It’s better to top up at Rudraprayag or at Agastmuni.

3>Before starting the trek from Chopta check with local shop owners if water is available en-route or if any shops are open in the route. During off season (when temple is not open) you may not find any shops open / water on the way.

4>Be Responsible, Do not Litter, keep surroundings clean.