First Bus to Dodra Kwar – The Remotest Region of Shimla

NOTE – Please mind any errors. There is a reason I am a photographer not a writer.

It was 2009. The newspaper had a piece about the remotest region of Shimla. The motor-able road from Rohru to Dodra Kwar was now open and the government was starting a daily bus service to this remote valley.

So, I along with three of my friends decided to take that bus to Chanshal Pass (3750m) and camp there. Having no idea how camping works, our camping equipment included; two tents, three sleeping bags(we were four), a pressure cooker, raw pulses, rice, tomatoes, half a litre bottle of petrol and matchsticks. Thats about it. We didn’t even carry a flashlight with us. Luckily one of us decided to carry few packets of maggie noodles. Badly underprepared with no previous experience of camping we reached Rohru and booked our seats for Chanshal.

Dodra-Kwar is a nightmare for the government employees of Himachal. The employee in Himachal are scared of transfers. So, the political class has been using it as a weapon for decades. Dodra Kwar being the remotest area of Shimla district is the least preferred place to work. The region remains cutoff in the winters and opens only for a few months after the snow is cleared off Chanshal Pass. Before the road, it took a three day hike to reach here. The name of Dodra Kwar continues to bring shivers in the government employees across Himachal Pradesh. The valley is so remote, that even experienced motor-bikers think they have done something adventurous when they reach Chanshal Pass.

Dodra and Kwar are two villages on the opposite sides of the valley separated by Rupin river that merges into Tons river. It borders with Uttarakhand and is a famous trek from Naitwar as well. You can even cross Rupin pass from Sangla in Kinnaur to reach this region.

Our plan to camp in Chanshal was delayed by the invitation of the bus conductor to explore Dodra Kwar villages. We happily accepted the offer and crossed Chanshal Pass into this beautiful. The bus descended slowly on the dusty road through the never ending hairpin bends into the village of Dodra. After a short halt, it descended further to the river bed, crossed the river and started ascending towards Kwar village – the headquarter of this region. 9 hours and 80 kms later, the green HRTC bus slowly entered the village. It was really strange to see people coming out of their houses to see the bus. The kids ran behind it. The bus was no less than a celebrity. The bus stopped and the driver and conductor were greeted by the locals. We were covered in a thick brown layer of dust from the road. We strolled around the village and saw a school, a police station, a liquor store and a Radha Soami Satang venue (Yes, they reached here aswell, even before the road).

I’ll share the rest of the story of our failed camping in a different blog post, when I’ll learn how to write. Till then, here are some of the pictures from these villages I took in the year 2009.

The bus was a great help for the residents of Dodra Kwar who had to walk for three days to reach Kwar village
The bus was a great help for the residents of Dodra Kwar who had to walk for three days to reach Kwar village.
The beautiful Chanshal Pass at 3750m is becoming a famous tourist destination after the road reached here in 2009
The beautiful Chanshal Pass at 3750m is becoming a famous tourist destination after the road reached here in 2009
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
Traders from the plains have been doing business in these remote areas for decades. Here, one of them is resting at Chanshal Pass, where the bus stops for twenty minutes.
The road is dangerous but driving on these roads daily is a piece of cake for the skilled HRTC bus drivers
Driving on these roads daily, is a piece of cake for the skilled HRTC bus drivers.
When the bus started in 2009, some people got a chance to travel in a bus for the first time in life. Like his small kid in local dress.
When the bus service started in 2009, some got a chance to travel in a bus for the first time in life. Like his small kid.
The village of Kwar, camouflaged nicely in the beautiful valley.
The village of Kwar, camouflaged nicely in the beautiful valley.
Many locals got employment from the road construction work to Dodra Kwar village
Many locals got employment from the road construction work to Dodra Kwar villages.
The beautiful village of Dodra, with traditionally designed wood houses covered with slate roof, remain warm in the long and freezing winters.
The beautiful village of Dodra, with traditionally designed wood houses with slate roof. The houses remain warm in the long and freezing winters.
The newly carved road to Dodra Kwar was dusty and full of sharp hairpin curves.
The newly carved road to Dodra Kwar is dusty and full of sharp hairpin bends.
Many in the village of Kwar had seen a bus for the first time in their life. Specially the kids.
Many in the village of Kwar had seen a bus for the first time in their life. Specially the kids.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
The men of Kwar village at the village temple complex.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
Beautiful house in Kwar village of Rohru, Shimla
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
The village deity and the people at the temple complex. They were praying for rain and coincidently, it started raining after an hour.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
People of Kwar village in Rohru, running to take shelter from the rain.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
The inquisitive people of Kwar watches the driver check the bus for the 9 hour drive back to Rohru
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
Dodra village as seen from Kwar village with the sharp hairpin curves of the newly constructed road.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
A young girl carrying hay crosses the bus ready to depart for Rohru from Kwar village.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
The remote Kwar village of Rohru, Shimla
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
Not everyone likes the bus journey. This lady was feeling uneasy with motion sickness and asked the conductor to stop the bus. She preferred to walk instead.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
The school kids of Dodra Kwar villages, love the fresh new mode of transportation. They would walk all the way to school before the bus.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
A lady from Kwar village traveling to Rohru, the nearest town of the area.
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
Young boys and girls at the bus stop of Dodra village
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
Women of Dodra village standing at the bus stop
Dodra Kwar in Rohru, Shimla
Before the bus, the village people had to walk for three days to reach Rohru.

12 responses to First Bus to Dodra Kwar – The Remotest Region of Shimla

  1. Nishant says:

    Himachal pradesh is truly a gifted abode . Plenty of everthing for survival and to feel joyous about when we compare it with Metro cities of India.
    Don’t mind but yes in writing there are grammatical errors, alot. Even in photo captions. Rest writing sense could always differ and be individual style.
    Pictures are nice.
    All the best for further projects.

  2. Himanshu Khagta says:

    It sure is my friend. Himachal is the amazing.
    Also, there is nothing to mind bro. I should be more careful and read everything again once at-least. I I know I don’t write that well and my grammar sucks, but I am learning.
    I’ll be happy if you’ll correct me. Practice makes perfect. Thanks again! 🙂

  3. Himanshu Sharma says:

    Dear Himanshu, why are you outlining your writing limitations so much? You write decently fine, and any errors may be due to rush of thoughts to pen your experience. Moreover, as the proverbial saying goes, each of your picture is more than a thousand words. Cheers.

  4. Shubham Rana says:

    Hey , why are you so surprised by the RSSB centre there , RSSB centres are all over India and also world. By the way I’m from daulatpur chowk district una (HP). Ohh and Nice work

  5. These villages have a fascinating feel yet I have a terrible story to share. If you live in Shimla, we must meet up soon. I shall be around in some days time.

    Great work. God bless you, traveller 🙂

  6. Himanshu Khagta says:

    Thanks. I am surprised because its a very remote place.

  7. Ajay says:

    this village,house, people, temple, and beuitiful nature are osm….this is the lovely place………..this is my one of the fevrite place in hp

  8. Himanshu Khagta says:

    Totally agree. Its really amazing. I’ll go there again. 🙂

  9. travellingslacker says:

    Hey great photos and you write well enough… plz write more…
    I have been planing to visit this region for ages and will probably do so this month…

  10. Himanshu Khagta says:

    Thanks a lot! You definitely should. Its a lot famous now.

  11. prashant says:

    awsm clicks bro..all th bst for your future projects..I recommend you to explore bada bangal village of kangra,one of th remotest village in himanchal

  12. Himanshu Khagta says:

    Hi Prashant!

    Thanks a lot for the kind wishes. Bara Bangal is in my list already. Have to find suitable time to explore that area. Thanks for the suggestions.

Leave a Reply

Pingbacks & Trackbacks