Published: June 15th 2011June 15th 2011
Day 4 – 29.07.2010:
The day started with a hit on snooze button of the alarm clock at 0500 hrs. Warmness of the bed-room inside Log-hut and last day’s tiredness were the reasons why nobody was willing to come out from quilt. But the excitement to travel the less travelled road was much stronger than the comforts. Within an hour, we all were ready for a journey of 473 kms via some of world’s highest motorable mountain passes.
Our first destination was Rohtang Pass which was 52 kms from Manali on Manali-Leh highway at an altitude of 3978 mts. Prior to reaching Rohtang Pass we took our trainer and skiing kit from Manali. Rohtang is a famous tourist destination which remains open from April/May to October/November that too depends on weather conditions. For rest of the period it remains covered with snow. Government is planning to construct a tunnel from one end to another so that this route will remain open throughout the year. It took around 4 hrs to reach Rohtang Pass as we were trapped twice in traffic jams. At that time of the year, there was very little snow on Rohtang but still we were not dis-heartened
and fully charged-up. To save time, we hired ponies (for which LC did bargaining) to reach the other part of Rohtang where we did skiing. We spend around two hrs there. This was the turning point of our journey as one of our friends MA has to return back to Manali and now we were five along with one driver to travel rest of our journey.
We started from Rohtang at around 1400 hrs leaving behind the lush green meadows dominated by Hinduism and heading towards barren and high altitude valleys inhabited mainly by Buddhist people. Our next stop was a little restaurant just before Khoksar village some 19 kms from Rohtang. It took around 1 hr to reach there. We took noodles and tea in lunch. Khoksar is a first village in Lahaul. We started travelling towards Keylong (district headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti, 50kms) and Sarchu (137 kms) at around 1430 hrs, either of the two may be our night halt destination depending upon the time we reach Keylong. We passed through Sissue (a small village on banks of Sissu nala, 14 kms from Khoksar) and Tandi (another tiny village at the confluence of Chandra and Bhaga
rivers, 22 kms from Sissue) and finally reached Keylong much before the sunset and decided to move ahead for Sarchu. Unluckily, we got trapped in another traffic jam just before reaching Darcha. We took a halt at Darcha some 30 kms from Keylong for refreshing tea and releasing off the stomach load.
As the time passes-by, snow-laden mountain peaks melted down and the water flows heavily across the roads but we didn’t faced any problem as we were having a big 8 seater Mahindra made Xylo, but another group of tourists, who were following us from Manali, having a small car which was continuously releasing out a lot of dark smoke and very hardly crossed such roads. Finally we decided to remain with them so that we can help in case of any unfortunate event as there was no other vehicle on that route.
At around 2000 hrs we crossed through Yunan Tsu (a small lake), the view was picturesque, beautiful and enchanting. Our driver told us that that was the place where a boy had died mysteriously long back, and since then his spirit is roaming in the valley and asking for water. BRO had also built
a small shrine in his memory on the road side where passer-by’s put water bottles, but we didn’t dare to stop there. Later, we had a most thrilling experience as we reached Baralacha La at around 2018 hrs, it was at the altitude of 4650 mts around 44 kms from Darcha, dark and cold. The eeriness of the place was now and then increasing with the wind which was blowing heavily. Our spines were almost frozen as we came out from the car to take some photographs. Those ten minutes halt was unforgettable.
We were yet to cover 33 kms to reach Sarchu. We all were having severe headache by that time and some of us were facing breathing problem due to the change in climate and altitude, even our much experienced and talkative driver was silent. At around 2200 hrs we reached Sarchu and hired a tented accommodation. There were three tents of equal size and a small restaurant owned by the same person. Each tent was having 8 folding beds, a gas lantern and a table. It was a full moon night and the white moonlight on surrounded mountains was giving the illusion that they were covered
with snow. MF and MSN slipped into their beds without taking any food, ASO and RPS took some wine to accommodate with the climate. By then we had covered around 230 kms, yet to cover remaining 243 kms the next day.
There are more photos below