Day 2 (13th Sep 2014)
We started our day’s ride around 08:00 AM from Shimla, our first stop for the day somewhere in route to Narkanda. The weather was nice and roads have considerably improved on this section since our last visit. We stopped a couple of times for photography breaks before having our breakfast at Himalaya Dhaba (restaurant) at Narkanda. There are limited eating options at Narkanda but Himalaya Dhaba is quite famous among travel groups for good variety of eating options at this place. We generally stop here whenever we are traveling on this route.
Day 2 Route Map
After a somewhat heavy breakfast we moved on; our first task was to get the petrol for onwards journey. The petrol station at Narkanda was running dry so we were guided to get another Petrol station somewhere after Kingel (aprox 20 kms ahead).We got petrol without any drama at the next station and moved on. After a few kms we took the turn leaving the main highway to enter the Ani-Jalori road.
The road is narrow but in fairly good condition; after a few kms you cross river Satluj and cross small town of Ani. We were moving with good speed for some time now, soon we came across a landslide area which was being cleared by the JCB machine. While we were waiting for landslide to clear, we also got to know that the jalori route is clear for traffic. This was a good sign, jalori pas is known for un-expected road closure due to landslides.
After a few minutes the road was cleared for traffic movement and moved on. As we approached the accent of Jalori; dark clouds and rain appeared. Rain gears were out and we packed our self to face the rain. The road was still fine till we were near village Khanag; there is a huge landslide zone here and it’s been like this since many years (I crossed the same section at night in 2009, that was scary)
Relived after we crossed the landslide stretch
Some workers and JCB machine were there to keep road open for traffic; we crossed the section one by one without much drama. The road conditions start to degrade from bad to worse. The last 5 kms to Jalori pass was tough, the incline just kills you. Add to this; rain was still going strong and road was merely made of loose stones. Somehow we managed to reach the top, the rain almost stopped as if it was waiting for us to reach the top.The weather turned foggy and temperature drop to freezing cold. It was time for some hot tea and lunch at one of the Dhaba’s at Jalori. There is a small temple here and if you have time you can trek to Sirolsar Lake which is just a 5 kms hike from Jalori pass. In 2009, I did go to this beautiful lake with my other two buddies.
We spent around an hour on Jalori and then started our journey towards Tithan valley. The decent down the Jalori is even scarier as the gradient on this side is steeper. The rain has made the track more slippery; very slowly we moved on. The road condition had worsened on this side, earlier the road was fine after you reach village Shoja but this time we got bad roads till village Jhibi (aprox 15 kms from Jalori pass).By the time we reached village Banjar, we got respite from rain. Banjar is a big village on this route and there is a big Bus station here, there are regular bus services to the nearby towns and to Mandi and Kullu as well.
After a km or so we take a right turn to head towards Tirthan Valley, village Gushani, which will be our night halt for the day. As you ride into the valley, you are mesmerized by its beauty. You move along river Tirthan and appreciate the views around. We moved straight to one of the many guest house and home stay options available in the area. I had enjoyed my stay last time hence the choice was obvious; was even better is that this time these guys have opened a new home stay wing beside the river with modern amenities. We were the only two people in the entire guest house, September being off season, we also got good discount on the normal rates.
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing at the guest house and with sound of gushing river Tirthan to accompany you all the time. We had simple but tasteful dinner around 9 pm and slept listening to some soft music from Mohit Chauhan albums.