Geography - Tehri Road
Gil Osgood

First written - 27 March 1997

[Tehri Road] [First Banya - Jaberkhet] [Second Banya - Prayer Flag Hill] [Side Trip 1 Smith's Swimming Hole] [Side Trip 2 Pepper Pot] [Sixth Banya - Seakoli] [Mugru and campsite] [Uglar river and Dhalsari campsite] [Nag Tiba]
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.
    [Sidetrip 1- 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 follows.]
    [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 with Pepperpot.]
  • 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 miles out.

  • 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 miles.
    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]

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