Himalayan Heights with Punjabi Delights
Route covered for places to visit in Himachal Pradesh-
Haldwani-Delhi-Manali(755 km)-Chandratal(128km) – Mandi via Manali(236km) – Mcleodganj(131 km) – Amritsar via Pathankot-Delhi(680 km) – Haldwani(278 km)
Day 1 ( Haldwani -Manali)
After two weeks of discussion finally, three of us headed to Spiti valley leaving Haldwani around 3:00 pm and reached Delhi at 7:30 pm. After picking up our one more member we left at 8:00 pm. Reaching murthal at 10:00 pm our stomachs starved for food so we made our first stop at very famous Sukhdev ka Dhaba at Murthal. Spending 2 hrs enjoying food and later Ice cream in the cool breeze we picked up two others and continued our journey.
Enjoyed morning tea on the way and reached Manali at 11:00 am. After checking in at Snow Valley Resort we were given welcome drinks. Later two of our members went for taking the permission for our way forward to Rohtang and Spiti ahead ( Its is to be obtained from the SDM office and takes about an hour or more). The rest day at rest. In the eve we headed towards Solang valley but had to return from midway due to heavy traffic. Later we enjoyed a walk on the Mall road. We had a lot of expectations from the Momos but all went in vain when we tasted at two stalls and were too costly ( Rs. 60/8pcs for veg and Rs 100/8pcs for non-veg). Taking an auto rickshaw we reached back to our hotel and enjoyed the delicious complimentary dinner.
Moving ahead we left from Manali for Kaza and the hotel staff was so good to provide packaged breakfast early in the morning when we checked out at 6:30 am filled up the tanks as no fuelling station was to be expected before Kaza. We were supposed to take a halt for an hour at Chandratal also called the moon lake and then drove further to Kaza. But thanks to the roads or should I say boulders over which we had to drive the average speed coming to be 10 km/hr. It was almost being dead as the other car from opposite side took a pass. Thanks to our big bro’s fantastic driving skill who solely made this trip possible. We witnessed the famous rally “Raid The Himalayas” sponsored by Maruti Suzuki. Watching the so experienced and completely equipped drivers getting stuck on the way left us stunned as we had no idea about the route and above all no safety gears making it more adventurous and risky. At Batal, 14 km before Chandratal, was the famous Chacha Chachi ka Dhaba probably because it was the only one in that area.
Finally after driving over the boulders in the river, struggling on the sharp curves we reached Chandratal at four in the eve. We booked a camp (first detour due to the bad road) out of the three available owners. One can easily get it for Rs 800 – 1000 per head with meals. Drove ahead for 2 km from the camp towards the lake. After parking the car it’s about 20 mins walk. Spending an hour near the lake taking some shots we planned to leave as the fast freezing wind started blowing in the area. But for me and my sister so enthusiast, dared to go up ahead to have a better view of the lake were not yet back so others waited for some time near the lake and later headed to the cars for furthers till our arrival.
Reaching back the camp started the longest night we ever had in life. At 6:00 pm it was almost dark and all hungry suffering from a headache. Next, we started making pulao since we were carrying all stuff needed for doing so. We wanted to enjoy outside but the cold freezing wind in the – 6 degree celsius made us move to our camps. Luckily we took a single camp for all six of us instead of individual one. By this time one of us had already vomited and all were suffering from mountain sickness due to very low oxygen. Not too late around 9:00 pm another one vomited twice. All night seemed to be never-ending every minute time passing with speed slower than the snail. Problems were yet not over.
Around 12:00 am our big brother who was to drive us all the way ahead already having breathing problem started suffering from very very severe headache and forehead nerves began to swell. We were all worried and since me and my sister were not much affected gave a head massage to the other two hoping to heal them soon. Before it’s too late I pushed up myself to go out to the car and find the medicine pouch under the phone’s flash. After two hours the effect of medicine was felt and we decided to soon leave the camp.
At 7:30 am we came out the temperature was -8 degree celsius and the car was covered with frozen mist, the water bottles kept in the car were frozen and also the water flowing was frozen. We started the engine and left for about an hour meanwhile settled the luggage. When we went to the owner’s camp to pay him he was enjoying the weed and said: ” Abhi to mein bhole ke pass hoon, paise rkh jao”. The minute we left the camp everything started to be back to normal. No headaches. No vomits. There must have been something spooky about the camp no. 3 on the Tenzing camp. May be the story the owner told us about a man killing the other in the camp was true and that’s why he refused to give us the knife. All is well that ends well. We decided to head back to Manali and terminating our journey toward Spiti because of the route. At 9:00 am we left the camp and reached Manali at 3:00 pm and without taking a stop we headed to Mandi and booked Visco Resort that we found on google. Checked in at 7:00 pm and had dominos pizza that we bought from the market before heading to the resort.
Enjoyed a cup of coffee sitting in the riverside garden listening to the pleasant chirping of birds and watching the mist rising from the river. Since we still had time in hand we had no mood of returning back home we checked out at 11:00 am and headed to Mcleodganj. On the way, after an hour we stopped and cooked our breakfast which included pulao and Maggi with egg. All this took us an hour.
We drove ahead and 40 km ahead of Mandi the condition of the road for 3 -4 km was a pretty bad. At 2:30 pm we reached Baijnath Temple situated on the way to Dharamshala. After a short break, we continued. On the way from Dharamshala to Mcleodganj, we stopped at the church but it was closed so took some shots and left. Reached Mcleodganj at 7:00 pm. Searched for a stay option. After check-in at Hotel Sapphire close to the Mc’LLo square, we came back for filling up our stomachs. We gave a try to two restaurants Tibet Kitchen and Mc’LLo cafe. Since the New Zealand team was in the town for the ODI to be held in Dharamshala we were hoping to see them but our bad. The food at Tibet kitchen was good and Mc’LLo had a lovely north Indian taste but failed at Tibetan cuisine. Next headed to Woeser Bakery for the delicious tart. Back to the room.
Enjoyed morning tea at the square and then freshen up, checked out at 9:00 am. Went to the Bhagsu Temple, waterfall and then, at last, the Dal lake. Reached Pathankot at _ and on the diversion quickly took an another detour to Amritsar instead of making it directly to Delhi. Reached Amritsar at 5 :00 pm. First, we were amazed by the level of renovation they have done to the area surrounding the Golden Temple. After praying, we had a glass of Lassi and got some snacks packed from McDonald’s before leaving for Delhi. Took a 1.5 hrs dinner break at Haveli, Rajpura. The food tasted nice and the price was also justified. Reached Delhi at around 5 in the morning. Slept for few hours at sister’s flat.
Dropped one of the cousins in Ghaziabad and had breakfast. Left for Haldwani at 11:00 am from Ghaziabad. Reached Haldwani at 4:00 pm.
Trip successfully ended with lots of risks, adventure, and some detours. Thanks to our car Innova and my big bro whose driving skills made the trip successful without giving up even at the hardest point.
After reading all this lot of stuff you would be wondering about the hefty amount of money spent. Not to worry as it was merely Rs.8000 per head to cover all the above places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
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