Why Chanshal pass ?
After Doing Rohtang and Kunzun passes , Chanshal/Mana/Saach/Nathu la were next on the list.The only problem is i had taken 7 days leave this year in Feb for the winter spiti ride and as such i cant apply for more leaves. I still have saturday and sunday but none of the above can be done in 2 days.Chanshal was the closest of all and as such i thought i would give it a try this month.then saw MASTERJIs travelogue and the plan was made.
will start the ride early morning at 4 from zirakpur and try to reach Chanshal and come back to chiragaon for stay and then next day ride back home.But what you plan is not what gets executed everytime and thats what happened here too.
DAY 1 – 13 May 2017 : The Start
So as usual , I could only sleep at around 1AM and woke up to see it was already 6:30AM whereas the plan was to start at 4.First thought was “Leave it , you wont make it.”But I had to do this and jumped out of bed , did the morning rituals , Nahane ka fayda bhi ni tha aur time bhi , Bags were already packed and by 7 I was all set to go.The road till kumarhatti was mostly good and i was there at 8 AM and there i did the first mistake by taking the solan road instead of barog.Kumarhatti – Solan stretch is still under construction.Most of it is alrady done but still barog one would have been better option.Crossed Solan and then Kandaghat in no time.Reached soghi at around 9AM and took the Shimla Bypass road and reached theog at around 10:45.Stoped at Prem dhaba for Bfast/lunch.Had a simple thali consisting of Rajma/Aloo badi and rotis for 80Rs.Started from there at around 11:20AM towards kotkhai.Road till Kotkhai is awesome and was there at around 11:30 but here did the second mistake.Instead of taking the kotkhai town road i kept riding on the highway and just a km from there was the first road clearing going on.It took around 45 minutes and that too under open sun.Kharapattar is just 20 kms from kotkhai but i could only reach there at around 1:40PM due to Road widening and clearing at multiple stretches and not to forget the road was only sand and slush.Reached rohru at around 2:10 and took the diversion to narkanda due to unavailabilty of any sign boards there.but lucking asked someone about the directions just 300 metres from there and came to know that i was going towards narkanda instead of chanshal.Came back towards the wrong road and reached chiragaon at around 3PM.stopped for a tea break there and enquired about the road status towards chanshal.It was already past 3 and as per locals chanshal was still some 4 hours distance from there.
Now thw DUVIDA started .I could stay and Chiragaon itself and try chanshal next day.or try to reach larot and find accomodation there.I have seen masterji’s travelogue and knew there was a dhaba at larot.Thought they may have a room to accomodate me for the night.So started from Chiragaon.The Road to larot is mix of good , bad and worst.But the views are awesome.There are numerous places where the road is just besides river pabbar and one can stop there for a while.At one such place known as gumma pul i stoped and wasted some more time.Till tikri roads are a bit ok but once you cross the bridge towards larot the roads starts deteriorating.then a few kms of good road and then again bad.Reached larot at around 4:30 and enquired about stay options from a local.
me : Bhaiji aage hotel hai ?(Is there a hotel )
he : hanji upar jao thoda wahan hotel hai.(yes a few kms towards chanshal)
I was happy as now i had an option to stay.Went ahead but nothing was there except a dhaba which was underconstruction.Enquired about stay and the person there said Na bhaiji abhi toh bana rahe hai.So i now know that by hotel the person meant place to eat and not to stay.and now i was stranded there.it was already past 5 and chanshal as per them was still some 2 hours from there.The weather too was changing quickly and came to know it had rained there 2 days back too.i was a bit worried anf the only option i could think was coming back down and find accomodation at gumma or Chirgaon.But lucking some pickup drivers there told me about the Forest Rest house at larot.
Again a bit of relief.During both my spiti trips i have mostly stayed at RHs and that too without prior booking.Went to the RH asked the caretaker about room and got a NO straight away and i was like LAG GAYE BETEAB TOH . Again asked and again NO.There was a police constable there and after seeing the condition i was in , he intevervened and told me 600 lagenge.I agreed without saying a word and deal was done.What else could i have asked for that moment.A clean room with a clean bathroom.All i needed for the night.Met another local there who arranged for non veg for dinner and also told me that they have camps at Chanshal too.We talked for around an hour about the village and other things.Then saw a gypsy coming towards the RH.A sardarji and his wife from chandigarh.They saw the bike with mohali number and straight away came to me.
He : paaji baaki bande kithe ne?(Where are others)
Me : Sir , kalla hi haan(I am on a solo ride)
And then he told me about his adventures.He was 50+ and have done almost all the difficult passes/Roads in himachal as well as NE and UK.And today he was coming back from dodra-kawar.later invited me for drinks and we talked even more about our rides.Came to know he was a avid runner and have won Chandigarh marathon thrice in his category.His name is kamal dip singh.Dinner was served and after a nice conversation said good night to the adventerous couple.