Geography - Tehri Road
First written - 27 March 1997
Note: From the feedback I've received to my
first installment of Cobra Mountain,
I've realized that I'm using place names that aren't familiar to
everyone. So before I send out part 2, I'm providing a short geography
primer. If you already know the names or could care less go ahead and
delete this message now. A map would be more helpful but it is beyond my
abilities to do in a form that would look intelligible in most mail
programs so a description of the main route to Nag Tiba will have to do. I
have included two digressions from this route because they figure in part 2
of my story. These sidetrips from Tehri Road are enclosed in square
brackets and numbered to reduce confusion.
Tehri road, of course, runs roughly east from Mussoorie and more or
less level all the way to the town of Tehri 40 miles away, usually
following the south side of the front range of the Himalayas. Dotted along
it at intervals are single houses or clusters of houses, one of which is
usually a tea house. These locations are known as banyas and in our days
at Woodstock were distinguished by numbers.
First Banya, Jaberkhet. Thus 1st banya, also know as
Jaberkhet, was the collection of houses just at the point where Landour
hill comes down and meets Tehri Road. Here the road makes one of its rare
switches to the north side of ridge to skirt around the hill where the
Haunted House is located. Then it switches back to the south side as it
crosses the side of Prayer Flag hill.
Second Banya and Prayer Flag Hill. The 2nd banya is at the end of
Prayer Flag hill at a point about two miles from Woodstock.
Here one can leave Tehri Road, turn north and take a trail heading straight
down to the stream that divides this front range from Pepperpot. This
stream is the site of Smith's swimming hole. Pepperpot is a flat topped
mountain that lies just north of the line of hills that Tehri road
[Sidetrip 2- If one continues east on Tehri road from 2nd banya
for a couple more miles one comes to a side trail that goes up to the top
of the ridge above the road, drops slightly down the other side past a
cave, and then circles right onto the ridge that connects the front range
Sixth Banya, Seakoli (also spelled Siukoli).
If, however, one continues on east on Tehri road for
another couple of miles one arrives at the town of Seakoli, also known as
6th banya. I have skipped over 3rd, 4th and 5th banyas for the simple
reason that I could never figure out exactly where they were or if they
actually existed. It may be that the numbering of banyas was not
consecutive but was taken from the nearest milepost because Seakoli, 6th
banya, was 6 miles from the school just as 1st and 2nd banya were 1 and 2
Mugru and campsite. In any case, Seakoli is the point at which one leaves Tehri
road and turns north to go to Nag Tiba which is in the second range of the
Himalayas. The road drops down the east side of a valley formed by
Pepperpot to the west and Tope Tiba to the east. About a mile down the road
from Seakoli one comes to a place called Mugru and a little further on to a
pine forest where we often camped on our first night out.
Uglar river and Dhalsari campsite
(also spelled Aglar and Deo Sari). The road
continues gradually down for several miles to the Uglar, the stream that
separates the first and second ranges. At this point one has dropped from
an altitude of about 6000 feet at Seakoli to about 3000 feet at the Uglar.
One then starts to climb back up the other side following a valley that
leads one up onto the flank of the second range to the forest campsite
known as Dhalsari at an altitude of 6 or 7000 feet. This was the usual
second night camping spot.
Nag Tiba. From here one circles a little bit west and
then up to the top of Nag Tiba at 10000 feet. I was told that the total
distance from Landour to the top of Nag Tiba by this route is about 25
Note: If this has not made things perfectly clear, I trust that it has at
least led to a more colorful state of confusion! [From Gil]
Cobra Mountain 1 OR
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