Chanshal Pass – Pabbar Valley, Rohru
Chanshal is the highest peak of Shimla district situated at height of 4220m .It is approx .170 KM away from Shimla but why to visit Chanshal this question arises every ones mind. The answer is quite simple as Valley is very calm & cool having tremendous scenic beauty. This pass & valley is very less travelled as it remains open from May to October only. It is not crowded by frequent travelers as other places of Himachal. Chanshal also have some excellent Ski slopes. Chanshal is the pass connecting the beautiful town of Rohru with the last villages of Himachal, Dodra and Kwar.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
Just inspired by the serene beauty of Chanshal & our friend Jaspal’s open invitation , we decided to explore Pabbar Chansal valley in Himachal once again together after a span of almost 20 years. Pabbar Valley is situated in Shimla district of Himachal and having deep forests of deodar and oak. This valley’s scenic beauty is still untouched. With an open invitation we were expecting more person to come but at last we were only 4 people who were actually going. So on 13th September three of us started our journey from Solan & I started from Bilaspur & our meeting point was Shimla. We met there & started our journey in XUV 500 to Pabbar & Chansal valley. The road is newly built & it was fun to drive on the new road. Jaspal has already booked the PWD rest house at Rohru for our stay in Rohru. Dinner was really delicious as Jaspal had brought it from his home itself. After dinner we enjoyed a great musical night in which Mr. Dinesh Lohia showed his vocal & instrumental talent along with Pandit Anurag Sansalvi .
Next morning on 14th September we woke up early & after morning tea we visited the college campus of Govt. Polytechnic Rohru our alma mater after a span of almost 20 years. Jaspal who is serving in the college as a Lecturer in Electronics is also the student of this college. We just cherished our old memories by visiting the campus. We all remembered Late Sh. Randhir Singh Thakur our Electronics instructor who inspired all of us to explore this valley by hiking and trekking. After that we got ready for our next destination Chanshal Pass which was almost 50 Km from Rohru .
Rohru is a small town 120 Km away from Shimla which is situated along side of Pabbar river and famous for apple & trout fishing. Chandranahan lake which is considered the point of origin of the Pabbar River lies to the north west of Rohru in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. It is a highly sacred lake for the people of the valley. It has a religious angle to it that ‘Devta Shikru Maharaj’, who is the local deity of Rohru has his origin there and visits the lake every 8 years for some religious rituals.
On the way our most versatile member Dinesh Lohia decided to apply his fishing skills in the Pabbar river. After trying some time in cold water he successfully caught some trout fishes. Then we moved towards Chirgaon enroute Chansal. As we were dying of hunger we got our breakfast, stuffed prantha followed by tea In Chirgaon. Then we bought some snacks & maggi & move forward to Chansal pass. Chanshal is almost 33 km away from Chirgaon. Most of the road is not in good condition & a steep ascent starts after Chirgaon .
Thanks to the driving skills & XUV 500 owner Dinesh lohia after an hour we reached Larot village. Chanshal pass is 16 km away from the Larot village. On the way there were several apple orchards. Plucking of apples were on full pace. Road conditions were not good due to heavy monsoon rains. At 2.30 PM we reached at the Chanshal pass. We decided to go to highest peak of the Chanshal. We started the hike at 2.45 PM & reached on the top of the hill in around an hour. Initially I was a little hesitant to trek but after reaching at the top the scenery was amazing, clouds were hovering around us & atmosphere was little foggy & romantic too.
As Dinesh Lohia had already visited the place he took us to show the Bear den on the Chanshal peak. Firstly we all got scared as there might be chance of Bear in the den, but fortunately we didn’t got him. We all got surprised to see the Bear den which was inside a cave. As per locals Bear hibernate in this den in winter seasons when the peak is full of snow. One can see the higher peaks of Uttrakhand & also Dodra & Kawar villages which are the last habitat village of Himachal Pradesh. From Kawar one can cross to Uttarakhand state. We had a good time enjoying the natural beauty of chanshal valley then after an Hour we started to the base again it took around 1.5 hours & we had some snacks in return journey. At 6 PM we were at the point where we had parked our XUV 500.
We reached back to Rohru PWD rest House at 9 .30PM. As most of the hotel & restaurants were closed at that time we decided to prepare our meal our self. So we cooked Red Lentils (Masoor Dal), chicken and rice. We had our dinner and everyone went to bed.
Next morning We decided to visit our college hostel to cherish our old students days. Jaspal again proved that he is a great host. We had our breakfast there with Parantha & tea. Really we were all remembering our college days. As we have to move back to our respective places and on return journey beauty of Pabbar river again invited us to have some swimming experience and we enjoyed swimming in the Pabbar River.
We paid homeage to one of the most renowned temple of the region the Hatkoti Temple. The Hatkoti Temple is an abode of goddess Mahishasurmardini, an incarnation of goddess Durga or Parvati. The statue of the goddess is 1.2 meters in height and made of eight precious metals. In the dark sanctorum, this idol emits a glow because of its bronze make. The complex also has a separate temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Several other idols inside these two temples stand as examples of great architectural skills.
Based on the architectural styles and design, historians conclude this temple to be built during the Gupta era. Many also believe that Pandavas built the temple while they were in their agyatwas. After that Jaspal had a surprise for us he invited us to have a lunch at his home. We all were overwhelmed by him & his family hospitality. We had a wonderful Rajmah–Rice–Curry combination followed by the Gulab Jamun, thanks to Bhabhi ji’s great culinary skills. After taking tea time had come to say good bye to our host & best buddy Jaspal. It was a trip which occurs once in a life time like the movie “Zindagi na milegi dobara “.
By : Sachin Bhardwaj, Himachal Pradesh