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My maiden drive to the Himalayas

By DheerajSharma Twitter Facebook Pinterest
Posted: 09/07/2012 in Featured Destination

One fine day, my best mate and I decided to hit the Himalayan highway in my car. It was my maiden drive to the hills, and who knew at that time that it would give birth to a traveller-cum-passionate driver of the hills some day. Who knew it would change my whole life.

Watching the sun go down

We set out early morning on NH-1 with caution and care, but soon we gained the required momentum with settled nerves. After 15-20 minutes of googling in the morning, all we knew was that NH-1 goes north and before Chandigarh, we need to take NH-22 to Shimla, pass the diversion at Kanadaghat, and get to Chail.

Our plan was to break for breakfast at Karnal, then drive up to Kandaghat or even Chail, depending on how long daylight remained. Driving in daylight was the promise I made to my parents to get them to agree to kick off this exciting new dimension of traveling in my life.  The month being November, the weather was quite pleasant.

As came Zirakpur, the diversion from NH1 to NH22, a funny thing happened: the road sign to Kalka had fallen off and instead of denoting right, it was denoting left and we smartly took it! After no signs of Kalka but only Patiala for the next 20 minutes, we finally confirmed with a local that we were on the wrong path.

A congested drive from Zirakpur to Kalka with lots of traffic jams and a routine check by the police at the Himachal border later, I touched the Himalayan range for the first time, driving myself. It felt so great, and with so many curves & such a pleasant breeze, we enjoyed driving past Timbertrail at Parwanoo, loaded some juices at Jabli Juice bars and were ready for Himalayan views. The daylight was running out and only making it to Kandaghat was on our mind.

Riding on the curved roads

Very soon, we passed Solan, a well-populated town in Himachal Pradesh, with a 150 year old Solan Brewery formerly known as Dyer Meakin Brewery.

In about 45 minutes of leisurely drive, we reached Kandaghat and as per the plan we halted for lunch at a road side Dhabha at Kandaghat. Chail was still 30 KMs away and we still had about 2-2.5 Hrs of daylight left in the day. Tired, we decided to explore a bit of Kandaghat before heading further.

Himalayas – Spanning Towards the Horizon

Kandaghat Highlights

  • At an altitude of about 4670 feet, Kandaghat is famous mainly for its diversion from NH-22 to one of the most famous tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh, Chail. Chail is about 30 KMs and Shimla is about 32 KMs from Kandaghat.
  • The drive towards Chail from Kandaghat between the forests is not to be missed and I was completely overjoyed by it. I am sure the monsoons will make it much more romantic.
  • Karol ranges, said to be the highest point in the region, have a historical Krishna temple at the origin of the cave dug by Pandavas and are worth a visit.
  • An ancient Shiva temple at Kandaghat is about 400 years old.
  • There is a diversion that leads you to a vantage point near Air Force apartments offering some priceless views, you just reach there and feel lost in the nature. It is just the place to sip a cup of tea amid the mighty Himalayas.

Lost in the Himalayan Views

We enjoyed our unknown exploration of the region for a while and then decided to continue our journey towards Chail. Untill that day, it was only in the movies that I had seen people driving between thick forests, little traffic, and surrounded by enchanting views. It was reality now and the trip was already successful for me because of that beautiful drive between Kandghat and Chail. We reached Chail before the sun went down and had tiny exploration of Chail before sleeping after a long day of driving :)

A little town, a little love

It’s been about two years since I first went to Kandaghat, and I still find it the perfect place to avoid the hustle bustle of Shimla city, clubbed together with a day trip to the valley of Shoghi. Where else can you find a relaxing, soothing and peaceful weekend away from Delhi?

Club Mahindra has a  beautiful resort , Whispering Pines in Mashobra , overlooking the mighty Himalayas and is very close to Chail ,Shimla and Kandaghat

 

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