Memorable experience of sudden snowfall and being stuck on the road at Kalamuni Top on the way to Munsiyari……….!!!

4th March 2015, Wednesday……..Day(16) Chaukori-Thal-Kalamuni-Thal 136 km

Got up to a stunning morning in Chaukori. Sun was about to rise. The setting was cool and serene. Went out for a little walk around the rest house. The views all around were beautiful. Found a wonderful location to view the stunning sight of rising Sun.

Chaukori, a small hill station, at 2010 meters ASL is famous for spectacular panoramic views of the snowy peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panchachuli, Sunset and Sunrise.

KMVN, TRH, Chaukori
Stayed IN THE CAR at parking of KMVN, TRH, Chaukori

Since it was too early, no one else was around. I saw a tall handsome gentleman carrying a big camera walk briskly. He found a vantage point and started clicking pictures of the rising Sun and Himalayan peaks. Our eyes met and instantly I knew we were going to be friends. The gentleman was Mr Sunder Iyer, a journalist, a teacher, a photographer and an avid traveler. He was calling someone to come out quickly.

Soon I saw a lady walk hurriedly towards us. She was Mrs Namita Sunder an equal match to Mr Iyer. Like me, she took an early retirement from the bank to take care of the family. She was also an avid traveler, blogger and currently running an NGO. It was good to meet a couple who shared common passion and had good chemistry.

View from TRH, Chaukori
View of the snowy Himalayan peaks from KMVN rest house, Chaukori
TRH, Chaukori
Cloud cover eclipsed the view of Himalayan Peaks that day
TRH Chaukori
There was a viewing tower inside the KMVN rest house, Chaukori.

Munsyari in mind I left Chaukori just before noon. On the way met many drunk men who stopped and asked me to give money to celebrate holi. No amount of excuse could keep them away. But the hard nut that I am, did not budge.

on the way
Wonderful road just after leaving Chaukori
on the way
From Udairi Bend I turned left on this beautiful road towards Thal
to Munsiyari
From Thal reached this v-junction….left goes to Munsyari and the right to Didihat.
To Munsiyari
From Thal the road to Munsyari was along beautiful Ramganga River
To Munsiyari
Road from Thal to Munsyari…River Ramganga is to the left.
Birthi
The road till 125 meters high Birthi Falls was lonely, passes through sleepy villages
Just after Birthi weather changed dramatically and it started snowing...6th time in this trip.
Just after Birthi weather changed dramatically and it started snowing…6th time in the trip.

From Birthi the ascent to Kalamuni top began. Weather, which was sunny till birthi, suddenly became murky. It started raining followed by snowfall. It happened so quickly that It was hard to believe..it was sunny few minutes ago and then snow was falling. The snowfall got heavier and heavier. Soon it was snowwhite everywhere, on the road, on the trees, on the mountains, valleys and whatever was in view.

I continued driving though, until I bumped into a bus carrying students from Bangaluru stuck on the road. Luckily there was enough space for the car to cross. But crossing the bus my car got stuck on a steep turn too. It refused to go any further. Little ahead many other vehicles were stuck too.

This 4X4 vehicle was finding it very difficult to move forward on the snow
This 4X4 vehicle was finding it very difficult to move forward on the snow
Near Kalamuni
My Lalpari got stuck in the hard black ice and refused to move forward.
near Kalamuni
View of the freshly snowed road and surroundings…. Lalpari waiting for things to clear up.
kalamuni
Kalamuni Top was very close and visible from where we got stuck
kalamuni
I was not the only one though, there were many other vehicles stuck too.
near Kalamuni
View of the freshly snowed peaks and the road ahead.

There was no way out other than to wait for the weather to clear up and the road to open. Many other vehicles were stuck as well, some were coming down and few were going up.

The snow and rain continued for over an hour. Suddenly the weather cleared dramatically again. Sun was out in full glory. It appeared as if nothing has happened. The only evidence was fresh snow white landscape all around which looked stunning in the brightly shining Sun.

Some drivers tried to drive through the thickly snowed road but could not. The Bangaluru bus was also stuck in such a way that it blocked the road. The vehicles going down were not able to cross it. So we were stuck in between…could not drive ahead as due to thick ice on the road…could not go down as bus had blocked the way.

near kalamuni
Posing with Lalpari. 

Soon we heard a big roar and saw a machine coming down from Kalamuni Top. The way machine and men were working we thought things were going to be okay soon. But it was not to be. It started getting dark very quickly and the ice on the road became harder with the colder weather of the evening.

Few maxi cab drivers and trucks were able to drive their way out but the bus and other light vehicles were not able to move. The struggle continued till around 8pm in the night.

near kalamuni
It started getting dark. We were waiting for the road to clear up.
near kalamuni
Sun was set and we were still hoping the road to open.
Google map showing route followed for the day….Chaukori-Thal-Birthi-Kalamuni-Thal.

The BRO men advised me to drive down instead of going up as there were more chances of me getting stuck again and that I might not get any help during the night. The bus people were really having tough time, the was neither able to move up or turn back as the road was too narrow.

The only option left was to go back in reverse gear. The driver was finding it very difficult to drive the bus back on a narrow slippery road and the bus moved back ever so slowly. Little later there was enough space for my car to cross and the driver asked me to cross.

Checked up TRC at Birthi Fall but somehow decided to drive down to Thal. Driving on that lonely narrow road, I reached Thal at around 10pm that night. The otherwise bustling Thal bazaar was all closed and no soul was awake at that time.

Parked the car in the middle of Thal bazaar under the safety of lights, pulled the cover over, slipped into the car, locked it from inside and pushed myself into the sleeping bag and slept after an eventful, unique and memorable day…….!!!

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4 thoughts on “Memorable experience of sudden snowfall and being stuck on the road at Kalamuni Top on the way to Munsiyari……….!!!

  1. Sunil bhai….awesome trip….yes….the moment I met you that morning…i knew…you are a ‘Friend’ ….you impressed n inspired me instantly…I am so sure, we will meet again in some unknown land someday….keep rocking….

    • Yes….Sunder Iyer brother that meeting is a memory for life. I am sure some day we are going to meet again and this time we will not be strangers……it will be fun!!!

  2. Hi Joyclubsunil,
    you should always keep a set of Tyre chains in your Lalpari. You never know where you will use them since you are a hardcore traveler.

    Also if you sleep in you Lalpari, do you cover it during the night. Don’t you feel blindfolded and do you get proper body aeration.

    Regards
    Sunil

    • Thanks Sunil ji, I will keep your advice in mind. Yes, I cover the car before sliding in to sleep inside the car. So far I haven’t faced any problem whatsoever, blindfolded or aeration etc….mostly I sleep inside the car in winters, keep both the windows little down for ventilation and cover the car so that no one disturbs.

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