30th June, Jeori – Tapri
Day 8 riding
Distance: 44.9 km, Average Speed: 9.7 kph, Total: 358 km
On the road at 8:30, after a hotel breakfast of parantha and chai. Climbing on a good surface. There is more evidence of hydro-electric projects.
These projects are criticised by the authors of the standard travelers’ guidebooks for spoiling the scenery. There is no doubt about that; thousands of tons of concrete and kilometres of steel pipe do not enhance the views up and down the valley. But this is a very selfish perspective for travelers/tourists to take; we don’t know how important having an improved supply of electricity is to the Indian consumer, or the creation of jobs to those in the immediate area – who probably don’t know, or care, how pretty their valley is if they don’t have a job with which to support their extended family. And there is no denying that hydro is cleaner than the alternatives and we’re at a time that ‘clean’ is of crucial importance to the lives of hundreds of millions around the world, not just around northern India.
Welcome to Kinnaur (I think)
Typical Kinnauri dress, with the distinctive green felt hat.
Looking back the way I had ridden.
I was offered a ride across the valley in this.
No thank you!
The first section was pleasant enough on reasonable tarmac. The road followed the valley side, occasionally contouring round into side valleys where tributaries entered the Sutlej.
In the middle of the day I reached the part of the road that I had seen pictures of, where the road is carved out of the sheer cliff face.
I had to wait here to get some pictures, complete with the relevant passing vehicles (although small private cars are becoming quite common, trucks and buses are my favourites).
This is a bend you want to make.
Oops! I didn’t see any signs of wreckage below so maybe the barrier worked.
Then a drop back down the Sutlej River, crossing it at Wangto, so the road (mainly dirt and dust now) was now following the north side.
I was hoping to make it to Karcham but called it a day at Tapri where there was a hotel. Rumour has it that there isn’t one in Karcham.