Sural Bhatori – Experiencing the Magic of Himachal

by Sachin Rai Vaid

This article is in continuation with a previous one and a part of my Pangi Valley Travelogue. We arrived in the valley via Sach Pass and spent the next few days exploring Sural Bhatori and Hudan Bhatori. Please click on the link below to read the previous part of the travelogue.

The real adventure took place at Bagotu nallah, while we were descending down from Sach Pass towards Killar. I have had heard from many people about the dangers of Sach pass and how treacherous the route was. So far, we did experience the narrow roads and the famed snow walls. But it was nothing that we had not already seen during our previous trips.

We were however soon to be proved wrong and about the get a taste of what Sach Pass is so famous for. The incident had our hearts pumping and for a while, we even thought that we were going to lose the newly bought Mahindra Scorpio we were traveling in.

Bagotu Nallah

 It was evening and the water flow was at its peak. The force of the 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 waterfall (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 inflow and a trench was created on the 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 the 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 get our stuff outside it!

A Narrow Escape

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 it to wade away in the trench. My friend poured two drinks of the 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.

The Savior

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 pickup guy told us that while he was crossing the earlier nallah i.e. 10 km. before Bagotu dhaba, the whole road (Dallah) fell down in a ditch after his vehicle’s 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 every summer season.

We again shared a drink with the pickup guy and left for Killar. The moral of the story is that one should not take these water crossings (Pagal Nallahs) Lightly. The key is to leave early so that you do not get the highest water flow.

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 that 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 km. there comes an intersection and one has to take the upper right cut. The straight one would go to Kishtwar. It takes 3-4 hours to reach Sural Bhatori.

For Hudan Bhatori, one has to go straight upwards on the PWD rest house Killar road. It also takes 2-3 hours to reach Hudan.

Sural, Hudan, and Saichu, etc. are Sub-Valleys of Pangi Valley. These are clusters of 7-8 villages. The last village in each cluster (where the road / kacha rasta ends) houses the Bhatori. Bhatori means Gompa (Buddhist temple).

Another important piece of information is that if one intends to go to Keylong from Killar and also intends to visit Saichu then Saichu should be done while going to Keylong because around 25-30 km one has to travel on the same road.

sachin rai vaid sachin rai vaid sural bhatori sural bhatori sural bhatori sural bhatori sural bhatori pangi valley pangi valley pangi valley

After Sural Bhatori, we ventured deep within the valley towards Hudan Bhatori and Hudan Lake. Please click on the below to continue reading the next part of this travelogue.

Exploring Sural Bhatori – Conclusion

I hope the travelogue, pictures, and brief information on Sural Bhatori were of help. If you have any questions or need any other details, please feel free to ask in the comments section below or at our Community Forum, and I will be glad to answer.

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Ankur August 8, 2017 - 8:33 am

when you were there? how far is from delhi?

Vargis.Khan August 8, 2017 - 2:03 pm

I wasn’t. A friend of mine was there last month and shared the pics. It is near Sach Pass, at least 2-3 days from Delhi.


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