This is a continuation of a travel series. Read the previous blogs here..
- To The Himalayas - Unguided Solo Travel
- Niti Malari - Where People Are Gods
- Heavy rains, Dark night, A stone cave and Me
- Loitering in Badrinath | Sadhus, Cannabis, Free Meal, Free Stay
The Heart's Walk
I was having a wonderful and quality time in the ashram of Badrinath, but somehow after 3 days into it, my heart started to run away to gather other experiences. I got restless and decided to take a leave.
To Ukhimath and trek Nandikund, and then trek the Panch Kedar was the plan. I was supposed to get a vehicle from Joshimath or Chamoli, but don't know what happened, I headed towards Dehradoon..
Let's Inject Some New Excitement To My Plans By Boarding Any Bus From Dehradoon
On reaching Dehradoon, I went straightaway to its ISBT. There were lots of buses parked, and I decided to play my luck by boarding any bus to my eye's likeness !!
At around 4 PM, I was seated in a bus to Manali.
With that, my plans had now changed drastically from the initial one, which was centred in Uttrakhand only. Now I was going to Himachal !!
Somehow Manali was very plastic and my camera became my best friend. I did not want to waste money on drinks and food. So I sought out corners to feed myself with Tibetan delight !! I knew I would be getting authentic Tibetan food here.
A half plate of fried Juma ( spiced clotted beef blood stuffed into intestines, dried and fried before serving ) and 1 full plate of Pork momo.
Aah !! Full and Content. It was time for a good night's sleep.
Street Photography In Boring Manali
Getting To Keylong
Manali was overcrowded by tourists to my liking I didn't quite like that. If I liked anything about Manali, it would be the journey to it, and its authentic Tibetan food, in the corners, near the Government Bus Terminus.
Not to my heart's content was indigestible for me. So I started to overwork my mind to do something about it. I remember reading a book by Mr. Manohar Singh Gill on Lahaul and Spiti, which described the places in a most authentic way. Soon I was found on the jeep going to Keylong - the capital of Lahaul.
.. And The Milestone Which Read - Leh 362, Changed It All
The drive was getting better with time and I started to receive the 'Drug of Thrill' to calm my soul.
Rohtang Top gave me a sad feeling. It was a fairground for some of the most irresponsible tourists and tour operators there. Good, that I was in a daily transport jeep which didn't stop there !! I had entirely different visions of Rohtang.
Soon after Khoksar, the road showed a different charm and kept me excited, but it was on reaching Keylong when a milestone reading 'Leh 362' entirely changed it all !!
I spent the remaining of the day loitering around Keylong, but most importantly, booked my tickets to Leh, on an HPTDC bus. The bus would leave at 5 in the morning. I asked at the counter about the cheapest stay option here. He replied, in the bus stand itself, opposite to the counter. I checked into a basic clean dormitory, which ensured no security of my luggage. Rs. 50 per night. Food would cost another 50. Cheap, isn't it?
Now, it was time to get some good sleep for an eventful journey tomorrow..
Keylong To Leh
Well, only 6 of us boarded the huge bus. 3 Indians, a Korean, a Mexican and a German. The rest of the journey was a lifetime experience. Himachali drivers, I tell you.. Till now I had seen humans taking shortcuts while walking. Now, I was witnessing a big bus, taking short-cuts in the treacherous mountainous roads !! UNBELIEVABLE !!
While all of them were sleeping or feeling dizzy, the route was extraordinary for me to even blink my eyes. If I had closed my eyes, it was only my right eye, to see through the camera viewfinder
For the rest of it, let the photos talk.
Leh - My heart feels settled
The thrilling and beautiful drive to Leh already won my heart. Leh further did magic to capture my soul...
"You will stay here for longer " - said my heart.. :-)
Stok Kangri - An Unplanned Climb