Anything with “Old” in its name tends to draw one into the past, ponder on how things must have been, what must have transpired in those times. Whether on the road or at your desk, take a small break as The Mountain Walker takes you to the Chaura to Wangtoo section of the Old Hindustan Tibet Road. This is one road section that enthralls and pulls the common man, the engineers, the artists, the thinkers, anyone, and everyone, all alike, but then different, revisiting the past in their unique own ways.
As a child, growing up in Shimla, I was really awed by the majestic mountains all around. But what would intrigue me even more was what lay across the mountains that i could see, what was the road that would go cutting into those huge landmasses, reaching people and villages. And the Old Hindustan Tibet Road had a mystic sound to it, seeming to age back to many centuries ago, headed into the Forbidden Land.
Over the years I was able to travel a few times on this “road of my dreams”, but the farthest I had been to was Rampur. Finally as I got to go beyond Rampur and deeper into the core Himalayan mountains, my amazement knew no bounds as we crossed Chaura and hit this unique patch of the “highway”.
This section is an engineering marvel for the factually inclined, having been carved out of the steep rock face of the mountain with the wild Sutlej eating away the base. For the artistic folk, the shades and shapes give an open canvas to fill in with their own endless imaginations. Irrespective of who or what you are, just looking at the way the rocks have been carved out to make way for the road and the innumerable formations on the rock face are a sight to enjoy on this otherwise treacherous road. So “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel” while you enjoy the remarkable sights of this Himalayan road.