Sunday, 22 January 2012

Towards The Great Himalayan National Park

24 December, 2011
Parashar Lake was on my mind this time all the way till Mandi. Since I reached Mandi a bit late on Saturday, my friend Bali aka Vivek (he is fondly called so as he puts on a bali in his ear) recommended to visit The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) instead of Parashar which I was not at all sure to visit in half day's time. But as he suggested to go on bike, it was a nice opportunity for me to explore some other places on the way if not GHNP. Bali had been to Parashar Lake last year and suggested that I should go there in April when the lake is more beautiful and is surrounded by snow. 

Going by his advice, we set out on our unplanned expedition to GHNP. Three things that were already there in my mind where I personally wanted to stop to enjoy and stare at the nature's bounty. The first was Pandoh Dam (just 19 km from Mandi) where I had earlier not been able to stop as each time I passed this place I was in a bus. The dam is built on River Beas and it gives you two different flavours at the same time, one very wild and breathtaking (if you are lucky enough to witness the water flowing out of the dam, especially during monsoons) and other very calm, quiet and serene (on other side of the dam). This time I missed the wild part. The photography is prohibited on the dam site, so captured the serene river a few kilometers later. 

Serene Beas before the Pandoh dam 

Bali in meditative mood on the bank of Beas

Hey Bali, one shot this way yaar
After spending a couple of minutes and a short photo session, we continued our journey and our next stop was the wooden bridge near Hanogi Mata Temple. Halting here was not only a pleasure to enjoy walking on this bridge but also to feed two hungry souls with yummy paranthas.

Me on the wooden bridge

Long live the wooden bridge !!!

After enjoying the divine paranthas and bowing down at Hanogi Mata, our next stop had to be the tunnel at Aut. But since our target of the day was GHNP, we thought to spend time here on our way back. Passing by the Larji dam site, we by mistake chose to ride through a very rough and bumpy road majorly used by the huge trucks working on the hydro projects. Since this was a very unplanned and sudden venture, our guides were the local people on the way. 

During all my wanderings in the hills, I have experienced that whenever you ask local people regarding a particular way, some people say "it is just nearby (bas paas hi hai)" to encourage you to reach your destination which is misleading at times especially when there are no milestones. I think this is majorly because walking many a miles is a part of their daily life and these distances (which seems long enough to us at times) seems insignificant and  measurement less to them. On our way to GHNP, we met some of such people and really helped us to move on (however the actual distances were much much ahead what we expected and heard from the people). It was not only the bumpy and rough road but also the muddy patches on the way which were real challenges for us. And there was more to it as the front tyre of our bike was completely bald and we survived many undesired mud baths on the way. Though we survived these muddy patches, but our shoes did enjoy the mud baths and later we had to give them a hard bath to remove the dry cement from our shoes.      

At Larji
Bali negotiating hard through one of the many mud patches on the way (created due to major movement of the trucks carrying cement for the hydro projects)

Snow capped mountain peak in The Great Himalayan National Park

As we were moving ahead, it started getting dark and our destination was still far away, but the views of some snow capped peaks did raise a bit of hope. Since we had some slips on the way due to the baldness of our bike tyre, I suggested Bali to stay overnight in a nearby village (Saran was the nearest village) and visit GHNP the next day, but Bali was not ready for this. Respecting his decision, I had to be contented with just the views of the peaks and the unforgettable experiences on the way with a promise to be here next time with proper planning to explore this hidden gem in these mesmerising hills.

Our journey back was a bit hard as it was dark (and not to forget the bald tyre) and the bike was more slippery moving down on some high slopes. So I had to get down at times and run while the bike came on a plain road. But luckily we had taken the other way this time which eased our journey and shortened the way. We safely reached back and had our dinner. At the end of the day, I had mixed feelings. A bit sad because reaching so near to GHNP and we could not make it and happy at the same time as it was a fully adventurous day with some beautiful discoveries and experiences on the way. We went to sleep with a promise to get up early the next day to visit Kamru Nag and to look forward to some more adventures which I was very excited about......


  1. देख लिया हमने भी, अच्छा अब आपको भी पता चल गया कि बाइक से घूमने में ज्यादा मजा आता है वैसे बता दूँ कि २ जुलाई से मैं फ़िर हिमाचल की 10-12 दिन की लम्बी बाइक यात्रा पर जाऊँगा जो को नैना देवी से लेकर चम्बा, मणिमहेश, पांगी, साचपास होते हुए उदयपुर व लाहौल स्पीति, कुंजुम दर्रा से किन्नौर होते हुए फ़िर से रोहडू, पौंटा साहिब, अम्बाला दिल्ली आयेगी।

  2. तो भाई, आप तो GHNP के आसपास भी नहीं पहुंचे। इससे अच्छा तो जलोडी जोत के रास्ते चले जाते। कम से कम बंजार तक तो पहुंचना ही था।