2400Km of Solo Spiti Sauntering – Compendium – Links to rest of the Spiti travelog
Day 2 – Mon, Sep 4 2017
Day 2 route map
From today on-wards, it was going to be new territory. The route I had traversed on the previous day was something I had been on previously. Today was about traversing Gharwal.
Was up by 0500 and on the road by 0600. First task was to get some fuel which I got as soon I left Rudraprayag behind.
The second was to decide on the route for the day. The goal was to get as close to the Himanchal border as possible. That would mean getting to Tiuni or Purola or Barkot. I also wanted to avoid the recommended route (via New Tehri) which while would have better roads, but would also mean longer distance, more traffic and probably less scenic.
After filling up the tank, I sat down on a ledge overlooking Alaknanda and opened up Google maps to explore the route options. A few minutes of indecisiveness and I settled on the lesser known routes. This would mean cutting across the river and taking the back-roads of the Tehri reservoir.
At the end of the day my camera and eyes would thank me for taking the route while my bum would curse the choice.
View of Alaknanda from ledge where I sat planning the day’s route.
River Alaknanda takes a perfect U-turn as it descends down towards Srinagar. Further down at Devprayag it’ll join Bhagirathi to become Ganga. A 8 picture panorama shot vertically taken a few km down the confluence of Alaknanga and Mandakini.
Town of Srinagar, Gharwal spread across a wide valley.
The road to Srinagar was wide and excellent. After Srinagar, the plan was to turn away from the river and cut across the hills to Tehri Reservoir and then follow the banks of the reservoir to Dharasu Bend.
At Maletha, I left the main road and took and arterial road which would cut across the mountains to Molnau on the reservoir.
Before that I decided to take a breakfast break. I shared my breakfast table with a babaji, waiting for the bus, and got into a conversation. I was surprised to find the babaji quite well-traveled across India, from the temples of south to a few in the far north-east, mostly on train, bus and a good distance by foot.
Breakfast of bun-omlete and tea at Maletha
A babaji for good company and conversation over breakfast.
The route, though lightly marked in Google maps, was in excellent condition. The jungles were excellent and small picturesque villages were spread across the mountains.
First view of the Tehri Reservoir. I would spend most of the day in traversing the banks of the reservoir.
A little after Molnau, at Kail Bagi, I took another lightly marked route which crossed the river. The route would completely bypass Tehri Dam and new Tehri. In terms of distance it would be shorter, though I guess it took me lot longer.
There was a board which said, “Small vehicles only”. Should have been a hint to me on the road conditions to encounter.
The bridge at Kail Bagi
On top of the Kail Bagi bridge. Met a student who was took this picture.
Tehri Reservoir and the town of New Tehri on top of the hill.
Terraces farms spread all throughout the route.
The road was in general in poor condition, though in patches the tar was well laid.
Another view of the reservoir with a half complete bridge.
One of the many streams that flow down to join Bhagirithi. The small road is visible on the left.
One of the many small bridge that were crossed on the way.
An 8 picture panorama of around the back-roads of Tehri reservoir. The reservoir is visible on the far right while terraced fields are there in the middle. My bike is on the left side. See here for a full screen image.
On one side of the Tehri Reservoir an elaborate network of infrastructure has been built with roads, power transmission lines, small townships and everything else a growing population needs. On the other side are the back-roads just wide enough to carry a small jeep, nondescript villages, terraced fields and untouched nature. Being solo on a bike gives the flexibility to explore these unknown lands.
In general the means to cross the reservoir are few. On the route I gave lift to 4 people dropping them from one point to other. Given the narrow road, there was no bus transport. Villagers were dependent on private jeeps to ferry them around. Even those were few and far between.
One of the few bridges to cross the reservoir.
At places the road is cut through the mountain leaving rock towers like these. Though this is nothing compared to the dangerously cut roads I would find in Himanchal.
Another half constructed bridge. All the four people I gave a ride to, complained about broken promises around providing connectivity to the other side of the reservoir.
It was almost 1330 when reached Dharasu bend. Took a small break for tea and a packet of cake. The place was full of buses and jeeps loaded with pilgrims going to Gangotri. Apparently the road to Uttarkashi was blocked and everyone was waiting at Dharasu Bend.
The back roads of Tehri had taken a lot of time. By now I was not expecting to reach Tiuni for the night. Purola or Barkot would be the place for night stay.
Beautiful river valley on the Dharasu Bend – Wan road.
Road curving thorough the Pine jungle.
Picturesque Valley from a view-point above Wan village.
The road from Dharasu Bend on-wards was a revelation. After the initial few bad patches, the road is well laid and traversed the western slopes of a beautiful pine jungle. A beautiful river caressed by terraced fields flows down below in the valley.
The road first rises up the hills and then after Wan village, descends on the other side into the Yamuna valley towards Barkot.
It was past 1600 when I reached Barkot. I had already decided to head on to Purola. After Barkot I stopped at a small water fall. Next to the waterfall was a small Aata-chakki and tea shop run by two young boys.
Over tea, has a chat with the boys. Unemployment is a big challenge in the hills. Both of them had tried to enroll in the army and weren’t successful. None wanted to work in the family fields. So one was doing further studies at nearby ITI and other was running the tea shop.
Tea shop and the two boys
After Barkot, the road follows the Yamuna river and then crosses over to rise up the mountains. Again the road follows a tributary of Yamuna at a height with a beautiful green valley below.
Green valley below Purola.
River and valley below the village of Khalari in Purola Valley
It was almost 1730 by the time I reached Purola. It is a small town with one main street and shops all round it. It had been a tiring day and I had no interest in bargaining for a room. Picked up the biggest hotel on the main road, which was Hotel Classic Hill View and took a room there.
Ordered two cups of tea and pakoras which took a long time to come. The food wasn’t good, so I decided to step out into the town for food.
Walking down the main road was nice as it stretched my leg and for a change did not stress the bum. After walking around for a little while, I went in a small dhabha next to the bus stand for dinner. Had an excellent meal of unlimited roti, dal, sabzi and salad for 60 bucks.
Walked back leisurely to the hotel to call it a day.
Start/End Time: 0600-1730
Expenses – Food: Rs295/-
Expenses – Fuel: Rs400/-
Expenses – Stay: Rs1000/-