Thursday, August 16, 2007

Leh to Manali

Finally we moved from Leh towards the plains. We had to take a Jeep ride from Leh to Manali and that started at 2.00 Am in the night. The driver was bloody late and we were trying to find him in the hills of Leh. Idiot he was. The army personnel were very helpful in all this.

The 473 km Leh - Manali Road is open for about three months in the year from early July to September. For much of its length, it passes through areas so barren that you cannot even see any vegetation or animals or even birds. Generally people should take two days to finish this journey. take rest at Sarchu which is mid way between the two. Sarchu has nothing but tents to rest in the night.

Rumtse village was the first and the road was bad, I asked the driver "Boss the road is as bad as we see right now?" He said "Sir yeah its bad and sometimes you cant even find the road. We have to drive through waterfalls" I thought he was bluffing but was ready to see what was this road all about. From Rumtse to Langdang-La its around 82 Kms and it took us around 4 hours to reach there. We reached Tanglang La (5,325 m, 17,470 ft) at 6.30 Am and it was freezing. Not a soul was there and it was all cold and chilly winds. I stepped out of the Jeep and rushed back. The temp would have been around -10 deg C or -5 deg C. It was freezing. We had sleeping bags but no place to sleep. Jeep was going through horrible roads and we were getting our bone broken and joined at the same time.

Next was Lachulung-La (16,600 ft / 5,059m) and between these two, there is nothing but rock and sand, rolling hills and broad plains scoured by dust devils. We crossed through More plains. Its 40 Kms of nothing and then it was day light I thought of clicking some photos.


Check out the terrain. Its just mountains of mud and sand and the river flowing through it.

Just crossed More Plains

This is river Chenab and it also flows through India and goes into Pakistan. At some places you can find the speed of water flowing through the river is more than the speed of your car.

Oh It was scary at time too and our driver was an idiot. He had no sense that people sitting behind him are humans.

Amidst all this scare and horror and water flowing on one side, you find people cycling from Leh to Manali in 2 weeks. They travel around 30 kms everyday and rest in tents. They have the regular Indian roti sabzi at small small restaurants and keep cycling. In the night the stay in tents. Simple. I think the Europeans have done everything from conquering countries to sending satellites in space to giving gay rights to people to blah blah blah everything and now they are turning crazy.

People from the age of 20 to 65 were cycling.



And finally what we were scared of. Our driver took a shortcut from a road coming down. Firstly he had put horrible songs and secondly as I said "He thinks we are not human" One one side was the river and the other side "NOTHING" We were driving down and ready to die. Thanks to our driver were said Helloooooo to death.

Welcome to Himachal Pradesh

We can seriously see a change in the beauty of the terrain and also billions of waterfalls. Finally vegetation.


Noisy Bridge.

Huge Mountains.

The mountains started from the river and ended at snow caps. It was brilliant.

Fields

Waterfall. It looked so cool.

Crack in the mountain.

Waterfall 2

Our jeep was going through real bad roads. One of the roads was going through a waterfall. We came down and played in the water. It was icy cold freezing water.

Road on waterfall.

Thanda paaaaaaani.

Scary. The river down.

Waterfall but we have a road now. :-)

About to reach Rohtang.

Mist and clouds.

Brrrrrr. Mujhko Thand lag rahi hai.

Through the clouds.

Again rest at Rohtang. Phew. When will we reach Manali?? Rohtang - La Pass (3979 mtrs , 13,051 ft.) above sea level. Its around 51 KM from Manali, and it took us bloody 2 and half hours for that drive.

Beautiful trees near Manali.

Mast jungles.


Finally the last bridge and we reached Manali.

Well we didnt sleep the whole night and had to check in any hotel, any bloody hotel because we were dead tired and hungry too. We check in a nice hotel which was at the edge of the river Beas. The sound of the river was toooooooo much. We had to leave for Chandigarh the next afternoon so wanted to just eat and have a nice rest this night so that we are ready for our next journey.

More in the next post. If I get reminded of something. I will add in this post also.

V..

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