A story to unravel.
Whenever we think of planning a vacation out from our 9 to 5 schedule what destination do you get on mind except for Manali, Shimla, Mussoorie or Nainital? Overcrowded destinations like these makes planning a vacation so difficult that we spend more time on thinking for the destination than actual execution. Sometimes just thinking about the jams forces us to stay at our homes rather than inviting more headache. But don’t worry. There’s still a lot which is yet to be explored around us. One of these less travelled roads leads to Tirthan Valley of Himachal Pradesh.
Tirthan Valley is a serene hill station having a less crowded surrounding. It has a low number of houses and even lower number of shops. The destination to stay in Tirthan valley is Gushaini, having a number of homestays and even camping sites. This place is around 40 kms from the Delhi-manali highway. As soon as we got to know about this place we loaded our three bikes and got the handle in the direction straight towards Gushaini. For this trip we took our camping equipment, safety essentials and other necessities.
To run from the heat of May in Delhi we pulled off at 4:30 in the morning to set the target of crossing
Chandigarh before the sun started to thrash heat on us. We took a short break at Karnal and continued to reach Anandpur Saheb Gurudwara from where the Manali highway starts. Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara is one of the largest Gurudwaras of country providing a 24X7 langarsewa (free food service) where we had our lunch. Being the first bike trip of some in the group we took a number of halts due to sheer pain. Making our speed slow, we ended up riding in the dark for 30 kms which is not recommended at all and we had to stay somewhere overnight in between the way. So Aunt it was on the Delhi-manali highway from where the Gushaini was still 40 kms. We took a dormitory for all six of us costing ` 100/bed and that guy managed all our loaded bikes to be parked safely. Planning to wake up early next day and completing the journey ASAP we tried to regain the energy by closing our eyes to back cracking pain.
Against our thoughts of waking up early and completing our journey soon, we were all really tired and forced ourselves to leave bed at nineish. The weather was something memorable at that place with a cold breeze going through our hair and the sunshine in just the appropriate amount to not let the breeze be felt as cold. After one hour’s drive covering 10 kms from Aunt towards Gushaini my bike showed the sign of reserve petrol and I had to ask a number of localites to know about the petrol pump ahead, but what I got to know is that there was no petrol pump anywhere ahead from that point. There were just shops keeping a stock of petrol and selling them in black. So I told my mates to take a halt for lunch, meanwhile I travelled back to Aunt got my tank full and got two cans of five litres filled up. Then, without wasting time, we started journey we ahead and, crossing some great scenic points, we were getting close to the destination.
Before reaching the destination, the essence of it was mesmerising, it was the Tirthan Valley, an example of peace in the mountains Gushaini. And we finally reached the destination which was so calm and serene that it made us feel the worth of riding till that place. We found our place to set up our tents and parked our bikes just beside us. This location was just two metres from steadity flowing Tirthan
TIRTHAN VALLEY IS A SERENE HILL STATION HAVING A LESS CROWDED SURROUNDING. IT HAS A LOW NUMBER OF HOUSES AND EVEN LOWER NUMBER OF SHOPS. THE DESTINATION TO STAY IN TIRTHAN VALLEY IS GUSHAINI, HAVING A NUMBER OF HOMESTAYS AND EVEN CAMPING SITES.
River. Within 10 minutes of us setting up with our tents, a heavy rainfall welcomed us, we found ourselves sleeping inside our tents for three continuous hours. After the rain stopped we collected some woods to lit and went to find some good place to eat. We found a small restaurant for food. There was a very sarcastic didi who prepared andabhurji for the dinner. With a stomach full of well cooked food and enormous tries to light our bonfire, our night ended with the stars being captured on our cameras.
Gushaini is the base camp for a number of treks like Shrikhand Mahadev (5227m) through the Great Himalayan National Park. But our journey was for the less tiring, finding peace and challenging the roads experience. To fulfil the rigour of driving, there is a way from Banjar (10kms from Gushaini) from where one road goes to Delhi-manali highway and the other road takes one to Shimla, making it a longer route. In between this longer route comes the Jibhi- Shoja-jalori pass way which is considered worse than the roads of Kinnaur. Roads to Jalori pass were harsh enough to make two out of three bikes stop and the pillion had to drag those bikes for longest two kms. No doubt about the beauty of the mountains but the beasts themselves surrendered in front of them. These paths took most of our time to travel just 30 kms. We covered this in around four hours. But reaching the top was nothing less than an achievement and made us feel alive. The rajmachawal at Jalori pass was the best I’ve ever had in my whole life. This stretch forced us to get our camps out and strike the pins over there only. This was the night when all our woollens and jackets were utilised well.
Just like all other days, we planned on moving early to reach Delhi on time but as usual we got late in packing up the bikes. From Jalori Pass it was 180 kms to reach Shimla which was only hilly roads where bike going on even 60 seemed to be really fast and we were planning to reach Delhi by 7 in the evening as one of our bikes was rented and we had to reach before the time of drop. We travelled all the way to Shimla and thoughts about staying at Shimla, for one more night took over our minds but thinking about the weekday works to be completed, our engines kept revving. Driving on our paces we lost coordination and 7:30 we had a mutual halt at Chandigarh. From where I left the complex around 8:45 and in a rage to see home I parked my bike at home before the midnight with one halt in between. The others took another hour to reach. With some storage full of memories and crackling butts we reached our homes safely. Some accidents might have happened due to the bad roads and worse driving skills, but fortunately we all were safe. We
BUT REACHING THE TOP WAS NOTHING LESS THAN AN ACHIEVEMENT AND MADE US FEEL ALIVE. THE RAJMACHAWAL AT JALORI PASS WAS THE BEST I’VE EVER HAD IN MY WHOLE LIFE.