As soon as you leave Udaipur you will see lush green jungle and a water body amidst the thick forest, that’s Mini Manali. Mini Manali is far better than its original version. The road starts disappearing from this zone and every now and then you get to see patches of pucca road from this point onwards. Ride four kilometers from here and you reach the Madgram Village. Madgram Village is a collective name given to five small villages. The landscape is without any doubt amazingly beautiful but it is the “Madgram Nallah” that makes this village popular.
This “nallah” happens to be the largest I have ever seen. In the rainy season it becomes impossible to cross this nallah in its full flow. It is not advisable to cross it after Mid June, stupidity in July, and suicidal after that. I wish to see it in its full flow and perform the stupidity part. Fortunately this time it was dead silent and even then it was scary enough. The nallah is 100 meters along the length of the road and I am not sure about its width because its width depends upon the time of the day you are crossing it. Even the best of the best; the Himachal Roadways (HRTC) drivers also play watchful while dealing with the “Madgram Nallah”.
Chandra-Bhaga runs along the road and never disappears for a moment. The terrain changes gradually and with every passing kilometer pucca patches disappear from the road. Tindi village is just 25 kilometers from Udaipur but it took us more than two hours to reach Tindi. We got the news at Tindi that a bridge was broken near Killar, the Sub Divisional Headquarters of the Pangi Valley region. We were told that only two wheelers could make it to the other side. We were glad to hear the news.
Every day two buses run from Kullu to Killar but because of a flash flood trouble in Killar buses were not going beyond Tindi and Killar is 60 odd kilometers far from Tindi. We met people walking alone on this tough terrain going one from village to another. Road blocks, flash floods, and natural calamities are a part of daily life in this region, the Pangi Valley in particular.
We met a couple with two kids, kids sitting on their shoulders, walking all the way from Killar to Udaipur. They started early in the morning at 5 A.M. and had covered 40 kilometers in six hours. They were going to walk the next 50 kilometers as well in god-only-knows-how-many-hours.
The terrain changes one more time as we enter into the Pangi Valley near Kadu Nallah. A large number of sign boards welcome you near the Kadu Nallah. The road there was blocked because of landslide and GREF people were working to clear the road. Some of the vehicles were stranded there for more than 18 hours. We were lucky to escape the site within thirty minutes but our luck was not going to favor us in the long run.
This road from Udaipur to Killar has weird characteristics. The road changes its appearance thrice, from kuchha to dirt track, dirt track to boulder track, and boulder track to fuck figure yourself track. Moreover, the nallahs too behave eccentrically. What looks like standing water actually turns out to be a 5 feet deep pit because the pebbles that make its surface displace under load. The moment you put your motor in the pit, you realize that you are knee-deep in bone chilling water. The number of nallahs on your way is surely greater than ten. I was counting them all but I lost count after ten. Madgram Nallah, Kadu Nallah, and Malu Nallah being the most difficult ones to cross. There is a village after every 7-8 kilometers (approximately). Purthi is the largest village and Chari is the most beautiful village-cum-transit camp on the way. There is a PWD guest house in Chari known as Chari Bungalow and it reminds you of one of those movie Dak-Bungalows where hero-heroine go for honeymoon and then eventually get killed by the ghost.
As soon as we crossed by the Findru Seri village, we figured out that the disc brake was not working properly. To worsen our condition, the terrain changed one more time. Now we were riding on the boulders, as big as dinosaur’s eggs. Five hundred meters down, Chenab (ChandraBhaga) was running along and the mere sight was enough to send shivers down spine.
Lastly we reached at the point of no return. The bridge was broken. We were told in Udaipur that two wheeler could make it across the broken bridge but actually that was not the complete story.
They forgot to mention the risk clause.
We requested the Major Incharge of the site to help us. He simply said take whatever equipment or labor you need and do it. We tried to figure out an engineering way to the problem but it did not work well. Major as in Army’s Major.
And then we lifted the 180kg monster with the help of 6 laborers. My legs were shivering and the sight of 60 feet pit made me feel sick in my head. The video will help you to understand what I am actually talking about.
Watch the video and stay happy.
And that’s the road for the next day 🙂
A special thanks to Nishant Thakur, BDO Killar for the amazing hospitality 🙂
P.S. Killar-Udaipur distance is approximately 80 kilometers. We took exactly nine hours to cover this distance and that too when the nallahs were dry. Photography and tea-smoke breaks included. I think that the kilometer stones are actually “milestones” in the Pangi Valley. I have a strong feeling that we actually covered 80 miles and not 80 kilometers in 9 hours. Same thing, I believe, happens when you travel through the remote regions of Chamba; Sach Pass, Bharmour to Hadsar for instance.