When I planned for journey then I really didn’t had idea that I had to travel this much in hills. My initial expectation was that the hill area begins post Mandi only and my plans were in reference to that. So the real part of the journey was to begin by now only when I was heading towards Manali from Mandi after having a satisfying lunch.
I was prepared in advance for the journey but still wasn’t sure that where the 3Kms long tunnel is (Its at Aut BTW), also when would Pandoh dam would come and if its on the same road or again offroad like Bhakhra one was probably. So, we asked and got to know that Pandoh dam would be roughly 20km far from the place we had lunch.
Roads were nice to drive up Pandoh & even later on so it didn’t took long to reach there. Only one gate of Pandoh was open & it was already crowded by tourists and vehicles taking pictures. I would say, I could have taken some better shots but … somehow photographer in me wasn’t charged. We started driving after a while and found a place where cars were stopping & some sellers been selling local fruits. My attraction for the place was interesting rocks on the side of roads & big portion of river while wife went to check the fruits. She returned back after buying some as they tasted good indeed.
The 3km long tunnel, happened to be just few kms away from there. 3Km sounded way too long in reading but didn’t last for long and then it was sudden light over eyes once it was over. Beas river banks were now together us for most part of journey till Manali.
There was a great profit of Beas river for tourists, which we came to know after half an hour of crossing the tunnel. There were some tea shops on sides of roads giving access to river banks, where we decided to stop by for touching the river once. Only after dipping the feet in river, you come to know that snow might be ahead otherwise anyone coming from Delhi heat and moderate weather on the way, won’t even believe that snow might be there after just few kms. Trust me, its hard to keep the legs inside water even for 2-3 mins. But the water has some magical effect over us. It took almost all pain away from our legs. Little tired shoulders and back may be, but legs were revived as just beginning for journey.
Around 70kms of roads through Kullu was remaining and it was already 2.45 PM, when we left after enjoying river banks. Hotel charges begun post 12PM, but that part I already knew and didn’t care about. Later on, we took some spontaneous stops to take one or two pictures (one happened to be on other side of river bank at Naggar) but target was to reach hotel as early as possible to have a sound sleep before starting for Rohtang.
GPS made us reach close to hotel which happened to be at walking distance from Mall road and 2kms away from Hidimba Temple but reaching to it ??? It was quite a narrow route to reach hotel & after missing the place, always hard to take a U-Turn in those streets. Managed the same somehow by old fashioned way of asking people. Very narrow street, which could hold only one car by inches while not leaving even place for any person to pass by on feet when car crossing, but once we reached to the hotel then it was relaxing to find ample parking space and scenic view.
It was 5.15 PM when we reached hotel and roughly 5.30 PM, when we moved into the room. Solar operated water heaters meant our first job was to take a bath to get away with the tiredness. I discussed the options for Rohtang cab with travel desk, which informed me that it would cost me 2100 INR for both side journey. In last conversation over phone from Delhi, I was informed about roughly 2000 INR, but I didn’t mind as it wasn’t on higher side considering a 104 km journey with possibly toughest roads and also the driver was supposed to pick us by 2.30 AM sharp.
Keeping in mind that we are up since early morning & have to wake up same early tomorrow as well, we decided to sleep in hotel room post 7.00 PM after a short half an hour walk in lawn of hotel while sipping tea, which we asked hotel staff to bring for us in lawn only. We woke up by 10.00 PM again. Having an electrical kettle, we had option of eating Maggie and some soups in the room only, which we preferred than going out for dinner. Kiddo after playing a little was forced to sleep. The best part of the trip was about to come… the Rohtang pass.