Whenever I see any of the mountains for the very first time, my mind starts to imagine about the view of the world from the top, the places on the peak and about the view on the other side of the mountain. This degree of fascination is proportional to the altitude and the difficulty level to hike over the mountain. Harder the mountain, the more mesmerized I feel to imagine all this. That’s why the feelings to view the parts of Pir-Panjal range from Manali and from Pangi, were entirely different.
After rising from the Kashmir on its northwestern end, Pir Panjal range traverses through Himachal Pradesh (HP) and separates Chamba, Kangra and Kullu districts from Lahaul-Spiti. Soon after entering into HP, this range takes a south-eastern turn and passes through the middle of Chamba district, dividing it into Chamba valley (or Ravi valley) in south and Pangi (or chandrabhaga / Chenab valley) in the north. Pangi is the northernmost valley of HP on the northern side of which lies the Laddakh region and on the eastern side the Jammu region. Due to the barrier imposed by Pirpanjal, Pangi valley is one of the remotest areas in Himachal.
Starting from my first ever exposure to Pir-Panjal at Manali, I spent a couple of weeks around this Himalayan range. While going from Manali to Lahaul,the Pir Panjal was crossed for the first time. In next few weeks, places in trans region were visited. On some of the last days before crossing the Pir-Panjal for the second time, I came to know about its existence of Pangi valley where I reached through Udaipur of Lahaul. I had never heard about the Pangi before. Once in Pangi, I was not interested to leave the valley by the same route as it would be repetitive (https://travelparable.com/2017/03/19/abundance/). Two other available options to leave the valley were via Kishtwar or via Sach pass. By discussing the weather conditions on the top of Saach pass, local jeep drivers try to develop a consensus over the preferred route. If conditions are better on the top, saach pass, which connects the two huge valleys of Chamba district, is always the first preference as it is a much shorter route than the kishtwar route. On the day of leaving the Pangi, drivers reached on a consensus to move via Saach pass. The second experience of crossing the Pir-Panjal through Saach pass was much more memorable than crossing it for the first time.
So what made the experience of Saach Pass far much greater than the experience of Rohtang pass was insignificance of the Saach pass over Rohtang pass. Rohtang pass is well known among the tourists. Every year, thousands of people visit this place. Moreover, the motorable road from Rohtang is one of the preferred road to reach to Laddakh. So despite the fact that I had never been to Rohtang, I was well aware about its presence. On the other hand, Pangi valley was an absolute surprise indeed as I had not even heard that name before. I did not see any of the tourists at Pangi valley. The experience to visit an obscure location is always entirely novel.
This photo essay is about my personal experience to go through the pass and have a look of an entirely new world from there.