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A century and a half ago practically all the besuty and wonders of the present day Himachal Pradesh lay in secluded isolation. Apart from its inhabitants few knew of them and fewer still had seen them. It was at that time the ambitious Hindustan-Tibet Road was taken to link Shimla with the Tibetan border. In the decades that followed it was largely along this route that people came to experience some of Himachal's fabled vistas. For travellers in the old days, when the traffic moved on foot or on horseback, the tiny village of Theog could have held little more than a brief makeover.
Today the route that branches off the National Highway (the old Hindustan-Tibet Road) from Theong and heads towords the Pabbar valleys and beyond has a lure of the pristine world. This is a tract that even attracted the British Viceroys of India, who explored, hunted and camped here. And if you search for a road less travelled if trekking and fishing set your pulse racing, if ancient temples and legends and charming architecture exicte you, if you long for the serenity of picturesque hamlets, fruit laden orchards cradeled by thick woods and set by swift streams. If you experience a place where man and nature live as one, then come to Pabbar valley.
Places to see
19 kms from Shimla on the Hindustan-Tibet road - National Highway 22
This has long been famous for its ski slopes and the superb views of the valleys and snow clad peaks that sorround it. Kufri also has a small zoo. From Kufri, through woods of spruce and deodar (Himalayan sedar) you can walk a couple of kilometers to the Mahasu peak, where some of its finest vistas unfold. The peak is crowned by a small temple.
6kms from Kufri
Set on a mountain saddle, this is a perfect stopover for someone who would simply like to soak in the views and savour the serenity.
10 kms from Fagu
A small but bustling settlement it rests where the road to the Pabbar Valley branches off the National Highway. The Banthia devta temples of Janog with exemplary wood carvings are barely a kilometer from Theong. The panels are the free standing carvings include the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu, a ten headed Ravana and Devi Durga as Mahishasuramardini - the slayer of the demon Mahisha.
13 kms from Theog
The small town seems to hold the essence of the region and lies exactly 100 kms from Shimla. Chopal's woodand stone houses, topped by slate roofs, are set in the midst of deodar woods. This idyllic scene is framed by a row of snowclad peaks. Sarain village near Chopal is set against the backdrop of the Churdhar. At 3647m, the Churdar sometimes called the Choor Chandni which poetically transalates as the ' Mountain of the Silver Bangle' is the highest peak in the area and forms a popular trek. Held in high reverence Sarain has the Bijat temple which is exemplary specimen of local craftmanship.
Within or accessible from Chopal are the temples of Lankra Bir, Narsingh Bir, Gugga Bir, Shirgul and Lord Shiva. From Chhaila via Neripul one can drive 55 kms to Rajgarh which is well known for its orchards and quality stone fruit like peaches, apricots and plums.
19 kms from Chhaila. It is the peaceful and prosperous area as said about is. As Himachal is reffered to as the Fruit bowl of India, this place too has apples, cherries and apricot orchards. Kothkai produces 40 percent of the apples of Himachal pradesh.
24 kms from Kotkhai
As the name says Khara Patthar has huge free standing egg shaped boulder. Worn smooth by aeons of erosion this is a wonder of this area. From here the steady descent of the Pabbar valley begins.
9 kms from Kahara Pathar
This was once the ruling seat of the princely state with the same name. One of the most important Hill States its earstwhile rulers trace their lineage to ancient Kannauj. Jubbal has a well maintained palace which was designed by French architect in the 1930s and is a remarkable mix of European and indigenous styles. The Jubbal area also has some splendid temples. The high tower like temple of Piri Devi is very beautiuful.
20 kms from Jubbal
With inspiring legends the temples of Hatkoti are on the banks of the Pabbar, the core belongs to the classical shikhara style temple. This is dated to the 7th and 8th centuries. The adjoining Shiva temple is of the latika temple and has some remarkable wood carvings. During their exile of Maharatha the Pandavas are regarded to have lived here for a while. The temple is said to be blessed by Lord Shankara.
11 kms from Hatkoti
This is a small bustling town tht lies on the banks of the Pabbar. In this place people are renowned for their beauty but appropriate that the tract they inhabit should have a fair share of natural attractions. The valley near Rohruhas a graland of attractive spots. The stretch has long been on the anglers beat after trout were introduced in the Pabbar waters.
Rohru's temple of Shikhru devta is held in high veberation and is the site of an annual fair. The elaborately wood worked temples of Baindra devta of Bachhonch and the Gadaru devta of Gwas are acessible from Rohru.
15kms from Rohru
Chirgaon has the trout hatchery. Good fishing spots in the area are Seema, Mandil, Sandhsu, Tikri and Dhamvari. Larot is another attractive spot near Chirgaon. This is the base for treks to Dodra Kwar, the Baspa valley, to Rampur or Sarahan via Taklesh and to Nichar.
Like the resplendant crown for a noble face the snow cald Chanshal range rises above the Pabbar valley. At 4220m the Chanshal pass which opens from May to October is the link to Dodra Kwar. The Chansal area also has some excellent Ski slopes.
The villages of Dodra Kwar are seperated by a few kilometers. Still unconnected bya a motorable road this pocket retains a pristine beauty. There are countless wild flowers and medicinal herbs, thick woods of flowering rhododendron, ceddar and birch, waterfalls and fast flowing streams.
And all this is set against a majestic backdrop of high peaks like the Sharangcha. The villages and their temples are remarkable examples of local wood working skills and come packed with fascinating legends. The 45 km trek from Tikri to Kwar is via Larot, Chanshal, Gajyani-Thach, Kalapani, Dodra and gaon Pujarli, then over the Rupin stream at Gusangu before Kwar.
Spring (May/June)- You would get lots of snow but roads are at worst, lots and lots of tourists and obviously a costly trip with escalated price.
Monsoon (July/Aug) - Ladakh/Lahaul/Spiti is historically there is no rain but traffic is high.
Autumn (Sep/Oct) - Roads are at the best but almost no snow enroute. Weatherwise I like this season personally the most, the weather after monsoon recedes remain crystal clear with least haze/dust/mist and gives excellent visibility for watching peaks.
Winter (Nov-April) - At your own risk without any tourists, excellent bargain and budget trip is likely. Also for special interest tours like say Chaddar trek of Zanskar, this is the time to go.