Trip to Leh – Part 1

Yes, we did not get Leh’ed like others proudly write and talk about. We were in a way lucky to have got delayed in our journey towards Leh from Delhi. We were in a way unfortunate to have missed the extra bus of excitement if we were travelling on schedule. In the end we had a different kind of excitement and adventure which most other people missed out. We had fun, we had our tense moments, we had moments of depression, we had moments of dance on the roads.

In the train journey from Chennai to Delhi on TamilNadu Express we kept eating like anything, little did we know that would have been last times of hogging. Once we got down in Delhi, we got into Ginger Yatri Nivas Hotel and occupied half the space in the restaurant. Had a good breakfast and took the bikes from the parcel office. Checked the bikes, added small carrier to another bike at Karol Bagh.

By 2:00pm we were on the road towards Ambala. A brief halt for food. Remember don’t think you would get non-vegetarian food on this stretch. Most of the dhabas are pure vegetarians, no egg’s too. When we reached Ambala, we checked into Hotel Royal Place. We were on schedule.

    Second day

was a delayed start from Ambala, and we went hunting for ATM to withdraw some cash. Finally an ATM where we could take money. This city has Fun Cinemas multiplex too!!
It was almost 10:00am when we left Ambala limits. We had to reach Manali but then we did not take the route towards Chandigarh. We took a longer route via Dodhara, Rupanagar. Just after Ambala at the petrol station when checking tyre pressure we found that in one of the bikes, the tyre was getting cut due to hitting against a nail at every hump or pothole. This took another 2hrs of our time. In the meantime we finished our brunch too.
This route that we took towards Ludhiana and another deviation to Rupanagar through Dodhara is really scenic with river flowing by the side. Funny incident was cops told us not to take photo of passing train!!
At this place we had first brush with what might have been in store for us. A river bridge had broken off and we had to wade through sand to get across to other side. Slowly with delay we were losing time and close to Mandi it started pouring. I was having visibility issues and decided to stop riding further and went under the shade of a shop. Others joined out here. But my friend Anand, kept riding ahead in search of what? And he also has visibility issues in the night more when it rains. To top it all.

Niranjan: Anand poitan (Anand went)
Me: Enga (where)
Niranjan: Straight aa poitan (He went straight)
Me: {Given Anand’s visibility issue and the way niranjan said I was like f***} straight aa??

Then I understood he went in the wrong direction and went up straight towards dam.
There was one guy among in this place who started a conversation with me.

He: Aap idar se Mandi ki mod pe jao. theen kilometer ke baad rehne ke liye milega. Acha hai. (You go in the direction of Mandi after 3kms you will find a nice place to stay)
Me: Teek hai (ok)

Since his breath was smelling of alcohol we did not want to be coned like what guys on Chattisgarh side tried with me during New Year. So, we rode in the other direction and later came back to same place which he had mentioned of!! To realise guys in these places are not crooks all that.

It was dark and we could not ride any further forcing us to stay at “Mid-Way Resort”.
This resort is almost like an exact mid-way to Manali. The staff were very friendly here and made sure that everything was comfortable.
Now we were a day behind schedule. We were supposed to reach Manali by night-fall. Here we were mid-way.

    Third day

, we thought we should be able to cross Rohtang. I was aware of the traffic and conditions on Rohtang from people who were there before. Little sceptical but looked like possible. We were still not aware of the conditions completely. About 20kms from Mandi, I had my first fall. I was slowing down for an overtaking truck in opposite direction and the bike behind me touched mine. I lost my balance and fell down. Luckily it was not a bad fall and I didn’t fall with bike on top of me and neither on side of the traffic.
I got up to notice bit of oil leak from the clutch case box.
We continued our ride and decided to fix the leak at Kulu. Now again getting delayed we decided against and to halt at Manali. Lunch was near Kulu by the river side. We were dead hungry since we hadnt eaten anything from morning. We took breaks but no food break till then.
Now it was not only hot but more humid from rains. At Kulu we fixed the bike oil leak. Got a new luggage carrier for another bike. The mechanic Salim is close to them temple after the bridge and reasonable and knowledgeable. While we were fixing the bike others caught on sleep and others bought new sunglasses, only to lose them further down in the journey.
Before entering Manali, there is a GREEN Checkpost. All vehicles with registration outside Himachal Pradesh have to pay this GREEN TOLL. Of course there are some hotel guys also sitting here, whom if you approach would take you to hotel. And our stay happened at “Hotel Chaman”.
New Manali is crowded with lot of Indian Tourists. Every inch is a honeymoon couple flashing bangles and all smiles. Some with tired look on faces. So many honeymoon couples that even a club at a basement of shopping lots is named “Club Honeymoon”, not strictly for couples. Entry at Rs.200/- non-redeemable.
Few firang tourists are also here on this side of town, New Manali to have walk through.
I walked around too with Anand and had ice-creams. And wondering why people do shopping here when everything can be bought in every other city. It was not cheap by any means too, being a touristic place.

Click here for photos.

2 thoughts on “Trip to Leh – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Trip to Leh – Part 2 « Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

  2. Pingback: Delhi 2 Bangalore « Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

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