While our return journey we didn’t take the Kullu-Mandi highway, instead we decided to travel via Prashar Lake. Around midnight we were tired and reached a point where we had two options. One, stay on our journey towards Mandi (25km) and drive all the to Dharamshala(129km). Two, take a diversion towards Prashar Lake(23km) and find a room for the night.
We voted for the second option because that was something we had in our mind since Manali. As we were too late we didn’t find any room nor any Dhaba to eat on the way to Prashar Lake. We had some snacks with us, which we ate before going to sleep. It wasn’t a pleasant night. Due to the small space, it was hard to sleep inside the car. We were not carrying our tent, so that was the only option we were left with. After a long drive, this was going to be an uneasy night.
When we woke up, we were not feeling relaxed and our body aches were a reality. After all, we squeezed ourselves the whole night to fit in that car. When we got out of the car, the surrounding view of Prashar Lake was enough to forget everything about last night. We freshened up and walked towards the Lake.
We stayed there for a while, did Prashar Rishi dharshan, played cricket with the kids who were there with their parents for pooja and did some photography. We ordered our breakfast at a nearby Dhaba while enjoying the incredible view of Pashar Lake. Read more about Prasher Lake ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prashar_Lake ). From here we headed back towards Dharamshala from where our journey began.
This is not the end of the story, though it was the last portion of our journey. But before we tell you how did we end up sleeping in a car and narrate our journey about the fourth day, we want to thank you for reading our blogs and supporting our venture Pahadi Zaika. We are doing our bit for giving back to society and you are a catalyst that is helping us in achieving our goals faster. So, thank you reader, for your time and money spent on our venture. Without taking any more of your time let us take back to Gaurav’s house in Phindru village.
That night it was raining and got almost dark when we reached Phindru village. We stayed at Gaurav’s house who is our point of contact in the Pangi region.
The next morning Gaurav woke us up early. He had a piece of bad news for us. The farmer who had agreed to talk with us had to leave for Kullu due to urgent reasons. We were a little disappointed at that time but quickly came up with an idea. We asked Gaurav if his father would agree to give us an interview who also is a farmer. He said he will ask his father but before that, he took us for breakfast.
After finishing our breakfast we came out on the lawn and we started discussing our plans for the day. Mr Karam Chand (Gaurav’s father) came out and asked “what do you want to know about?”.
Hazelnut ( Local name – Thangi) is what we traveled this far for. It is a very rare dry fruit that grows in wild in the Kinnaur district and Pangi region of Chamba district only. Hazelnut from the Pangi region is very famous. Thangi’s mentions can be seen in old songs ( such as this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nrxDR53zLA ). The quantity of Hazelnut in Kinnaur is not much and due to which its commercial use is almost nil. Thangi in Pangi valley grows in good quantity and people have been trading this rare fruit for a very long.
We then finished our interview with Mr Karam Chand. Then we hiked towards the mountain top where the Forest department has planted Hazelnut plants. The department of forest sees the potential of this rare fruit and doing what it can to increase its production. If successful, this will not only help the local population in increasing their income but also in protecting this rare plant.
Around 12:30 pm Gaurav and our team were back in the village. By now we knew that Sach pass is blocked and we will have to skip our plans of journeying towards Chamba. We thought about exploring more of this region but kept the idea for our next visit in September when Hazelnut is harvested from the forest.
By 1:30 pm, we made our mind to start our return journey. As the weather was good that day and the next few days according to the weather forecast was going to be rainy, we did start our return journey at around 2 pm. We thanked Gaurav for his hospitality and promised to visit again.
As we knew about the condition of the road, we were confident that we will cross the dirt section before it gets dark. After driving for an hour we reached Shaor village and it suddenly started raining heavily. We stopped for a minute to discuss whether we should carry on our journey. The rain was interfering with the visibility and we knew the chance of shooting stone increases in these conditions. We asked one local about the road conditions. He told us to ask GREF personnel working few kilometers ahead of where we had stopped. When we reached there, GREF personnel told us that the road was open and told us to drive slow and carefully.
Acting upon the given information, we kept on the road. The conditions of the road were already poor and the rain had made it slippery. We drove very carefully because our one mistake could have landed us in a bad situation. Finally when we reached Tindi rain stopped and we took a deep breath. By 6:30 we reached Udaipur. We knew that from here onwards metaled roads has started. We got out of the car and enjoyed the delicious Momos which we ate the day before after refuelling.
After this, we stopped at Tandi station for fuel and in Manali for dinner. In Manali, we discussed if we will drive to Dharamshala or make a stop for the night. We decided not to take Kullu-Manali Highway and also to stop at the point where there is a diversion towards Prashar Lake to further discuss our options for the night.