This article on Sural Bhatori is in continuation with previous article by Sachin Rai Vaid detailing his trip to mighty Sach Pass and across Pangi Valley. Please click on the link below to read previous part of the travelogue.
Journey So Far: Camping at Khajjiar, Bairagarh and crossing the mighty Sach Pass
Bagotu Nallah Incident
The real adventure took place at Bagotu nallah, while we were descending down from Sach Pass towards Killar. It was evening and the water flow was at its peak. The force of water was sufficient to wash away any vehicle to 15000 feet deep ditch, if the vehicle was to be stuck inside the crossing. Scorpio 4#4 is a capable vehicle, especially the 2017 model which has upgraded suspension, chassis and other specs. We being very confident of the vehicle`s capability to cross the flow; entered the dragon after engaging the Low ratio 4#4. Exactly in between the crossing and beneath the mighty water fall (around 200 ft.) the road (temporary stones supported with iron cable- called Dallah in local language) caved in.
A big stone beneath the front left Tyre got washed away in flow and a trench was created on left side of the vehicle which made it impossible to get it out. The water started filling inside the vehicle. we tried to place stones beneath the tires but the flow increased dramatically in next ten minutes. Any large stone we used to fit beneath the tire was washed away immediately. It almost appeared sure that the vehicle would be waded away in the Ditch/trench along with the flow of water. It was getting dark. we decided to leave the vehicle and to get our stuff outside it !
We brought out our luggage camping equipment etc. and threw it outside water. My friend Ashwni was not interested in getting any other stuff out but the bottles of scotch. He tried hard to pull them out from beneath the seats and succeeded.! He left his wallet, car documents camera etc everything in the vehicle. we smiled at each other.We pulled out our camping chairs and table on road and sat looking at the vehicle waiting for ot to wade away in trench. My friend poured two drinks of costliest scotch we had and we Cheered! After half an hour The flow of water started decreasing. The vehicle was stuck in such a manner as if it was fixed with bolts, inside the flow.
After half an hour a Mahindra Pick up arrived and we took out our 8 tons Tochan( tow rope) and pulled the vehicle out. Mr. Monu, the pick up guy told us that while he was crossing the earlier nall i.e. 10 kms. before bugotu dhaba; the whole road (Dallah) fell down in ditch after his vecles rear right tire crossed over it. It meant that Sach pass was going to be blocked, at least for a day. He also told us that these incidents take place there in every summer season.
We again shared a drink with the pick up guy and left for Killar. Moral of the story is that one should not take these water crossings (Pagal Nallas) Lightly. The key is to leave early so that you do not get the highest water flow; And more importantly however meager the water crossing might seem, one must get out of the vehicle to inspect it and to enjoy the view. By inspecting it can be judged that if there are loose stones which may wade away. Overall, It was a memorable evening.
Day 3 & 4 – Camping at Beautiful Sural Bhatori
For Sural Bhatori one has to take the Killar – Kishtwar road. After 7-8 kms. there comes an intersection and one has to take the upper right cut. The straight one would go to Kishtwar. It take 3-4 hours to reach Sural Bhatori.
For Hundan Bhatori, one has to go straight upwards on the PWD rest house Killar road. It also takes 2-3 hours to reach Hundan.