The romance of the old HT road lies not only in the excitement of retracing a legendary route trod by many adventurous feet but also in the fact that it chronicles in its passage a remarkable transition in climate, vegetation, terrain, people and culture. From the monsoon fed greenery of the foothills, through the snow clad peaks of the main Himalayan ranges, to the barren aridity bordering Tibet, the people and their lifestyle change as vividly as the landscape. It started from Kalka, found its way into Kasauli and Gambhar Pul (where a bridge still stands as testimony to its glorious past) and past small villages of Subathu, Kunihar reached Shimla. From here it wound its way through Narkanda, climbed towards Baghi and followed the ridgeline through Khadrala and Sungri to reach modern day Taklech from where it descended to Rampur (Bushahar), however there were two bridle paths which were built one going over the Daranghati pass over to Mashnu and then reaching Sarahan, home to The Goddess Bhimakali. Sarahan onwards it kept on the higher ridge, with the Sutlej far below and wound its way through Chaura, Taranda, Ponda, Nichar, Tapri, Urni and finally Kalpa. There is only one, non-descript, over a hundred year old, HP PWD rest house here for accommodation. Daran is actually a pass perched at 2900mts, on the original (read old) Hindustan Tibet road. The views are commanding and numerous trails and bridle paths ideal for hiking. The natives revere the place for the Saraikoti temple located here. Daranghati is a declared sanctuary and boasts of a variety of flora and fauna. The best part is getting to Daranghati. From Narkanda (65 kms from Shimla) take the road leading to Baghi. From Baghi it’s a ridge line drive through Khadrala, Sungri, Bahli, Taklech and finally a 29 kms uphill offroad to Daranghati. If you cannot find accommodation at the rest house take the outdoors and camp. the road further leads to Mashnu and then Kinnu village and Sarahan, famous for its Bhimakali temple.
Board the evening Volvo bus to Shimla from Himachal Bhawan, Delhi.
Arrive in Shimla at 5:30AM, meet our representative and board cabs to transfer to Narkanda (65kms-2hours). Arrive at Narkanda, refresh yourself and after a hearty breakfast drive towards Baghi on the erstwhile OLD HT road, dotted with apple orchards on its slopes. All the major villages on the route are 12kms apart – Khadrala, Sungri and Bahli. We ride till Bahli and wind up at the century old rest house there.
Start the ride after breakfast towards Taklech, affording sterling views of the Srikhand range towards the North West. From Taklech it is a steady climb of 28kms towards Daran Pass, from where we descend towards Mashnu and then follow a cliffhanger road towards Kinnu and then further up towards Sarahan (total 68kms of riding). Overnight at Hotel.
Start after a relaxed breakfast and ride downhill backtracking till Mashnu. From Mashnu we descend off roading through apple orchards towards Jhakri by the banks of the Sutlej. We finish the ride here and drive back towards Shimla to catch the Volvo in time to Delhi.