Next day, our plan was to reach Manali, another 450-500 km or so drive, but there were two routes: either via Chandigarh-Mandi-Manali or via Panota sahib-Nahan-Dharampur(Solan)-Sabhathu-Arki-Barmana-Mandi-Manali. These two routes meet near Surendernagar, but the first leg is what makes difference. We thought we wont travel through the plains and avoid the rush so we decided to go via Nahan. We started at about 9.30 which was a bit late, but nevertheless.. I don’t know whether it was a mistake: the road was bad for quite a bit but traffic wasn’t much with sparsely populated places and the scenes were gorgeous. Soon after Panota Sahib, the beauty of mountains started and we started working, busy with the our cameras or busy looking at the nature. Worst was to be the person driving the vehicle in this situation, for whom it was an excitement as it was his first real mountain driving experience and he did very well, 100/100. We reached Dharampur after driving for about 4-5 hours at about 2.30 pm and after covering about 175 km. Dharampur is a junction for people going towards Solan or Shimla from plains or Chandigarh/Delhi, so we faced a bit of crowd there. Had our lunch and then proceeded towards Sabathu and Arki. The roads in this stretch were basically state or district roads, traffic wasn’t much but roads weren’t good either. We couldn’t drive fast enough, and by the time we reached Darlaghat, to join NH-88, it was quite late, about 6 pm and we hadn’t traveled enough, almost 70km in about 3 hours. We realized that it would be tough to make it to Manali on the same day in good time. We then switched over and I started to drive, my first real experience of driving on mountains. However, the road towards Manali was good as except at some places, so not much of an issue. We could not much of scenery as it was getting dark, except the visible forest fire at certain places on the high hills.