Sangla sleep was amazing, it refreshed all of us and now were all set to be launched into the last Indian territory, the beautiful Chittkul Village. We started not so early in the morning and this time, there was no oil theft. As we started towards Chittkul, we saw ‘किन्नर कैलाश यात्रा’ posters and pamphlets pasted on the walls, trees, electricity poles and vehicles. I stopped the bike to enquire about this peak and a school going kid pointed towards a peak on our left and said that was it. I was amazed to see the mountain peak covered in mist and clouds. For the curious cats here, it is beleived that there are seven Kailash Mountains [कैलाश पर्वत] in the Great Himalayan Range. Mostly people know about the Manimahesh in Chamba, Srikhand in Shimla, Amarnath in J&K, Kinner Kailash in Kinnaur, and Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet. other two are not so popular or may be they are dangerous to climb. Read more about the majestic Kailsh Parvats here.
On your way to Chittkul, you will see numerous campsites, hotels, restaurants, tea shops claiming to be the last Indian establishment on the Indo-China border. However, the real Indo-China border is beyond the reach of an ordinary tourist. Ordinary tourist will reach Chittkul or at the most few hundred meters towards the border, the real border is not visible from the village and secondly, the border is not accessible to all the tourists.
Chittkul is a small village that looks modern because a healthy amount of tourists visit this village every year. There is a school, a higher secondary school that does not claim to be the last higher secondary school on the Indo China border. Honestly speaking, Chittkul did not made us happy, it was a cool place but it was way past our expectations. May be we were expecting some Chinese soldiers marching past the borders and staring at the Indian tourists, but that did not happen. On our way back, I realized that we were riding on one of the most dangerous roads of the trip. One look down the hill and you will never look down again. While going uphill, it was dark, so I did not get the feel of danger but in broad daylight, it was scary.
Like always, our next destination was again undecided. We were thinking of staying in Luhri, Sainj or may be Aani in Kullu. One of us even said that we should reach Kullu on the very same day, which would have required Rajni style riding, which was not in our syllabus. Undecided, we continued towards Jhakri, the ‘hydel-power’ town of Himachal Pradesh.10 kilometers before reaching Jhakri, you take a detour from the National Highway and after traveling 22 kilometers uphill, you reach at Kinnaur’s most famous temple, the Bhima Kali Temple at Sarahan. The temple was supposedly built by the kings of the region and even today, the local King comes to pray in the temple frequently, who happens to be the Small and Micro Industries Minister of India.
And those 22 kilometers from Jeori to Sarahan took us only 15 minutes to climb down, you know why? Because the MSMI Minister cum King would not like potholes and jumps in his way. Proper Civil and Drainage Engineering was applied on those 22 kilometers, concrete patches on the watery area and multi-layered bitumen spread on the roads to make it look like brand new. How I wish, we have ministers or Kings in every village of this country. However, it continued to be a boring day for me and I did not like the Sarahan Temple either. I stayed inside the Dhaba, while others prayed to the Goddess. Soon we were on our way to the mighty Jalori Pass with courage inside our heart to reach Kullu on the very same day.
Just like Kunjum Top Temple, before leaving/entering Kinnaur District, Taranda Temple welcomes you. It is kind of mandatory to stop here because if you do not stop here, historical evidences prove that that particular vehicles goes down into the turbulent Sutlej River. Another interesting fact, as stated by the priest of the temple is that those who do not know anything about the significance of stopping at the temple are spared because ignorance is bliss. Those who know and yet do not care to stop are stopped by the river or landslide.
Soon we reached Jhakri and there we met few of our college friends and the whole story started to change. All the plans failed there and then because the atmosphere started to get alcoholic. I find it strange that most of us tend to enjoy the past, especially college days. However, when we are in college the only thing we wish is to get a job and get out of the college. Once we are out of college, we start missing college days and crave for the old days. Fuck, past was once present and if live on the same lines, we will definitely miss this ‘present as past‘ in future. Is Life a substitute of regrets and remorse ?
Anyways, alcohol started to flow and soon everyone was neck deep in alcohol. There were 10 of us, or may be 8, and even those who were not drunk were intoxicated. Some slept at 12 and the four brave ones continued the group drinking session until 4 in the morning. It was already planned that we will leave at 6 A.M in the morning, sharp. One of us [JP] drank till 4 AM and got up at 7 AM. The journey forward started at 8 and I bet, he was intoxicated and half sleepy. However, he continued to ride and without falling or sleeping, he did an amazing job. We reached at the top of Jalori Pass next day and then we realized something, which could have killed at least two of us for sure.
I was wondering how come this trip was over without any hassles. Murphy hit us back.
Sometimes, you get what you want. I expected trouble, I got it.