We finally get out of Punjab

Trip Start Sep 21, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Day 188 Mon 15th May 2006
We finally get out of Punjab and go on our road trip
Well, the adventure finally got under way this morning at 4.30am, we were supposed to leave at 4am but my alarm messed up! When we set off Soma was on the back of Kaka's bike while Gagan was on the back of the Bullet with me, it was a good time to set off as the roads were pretty quiet and the temperature was nice and cool. It took a few hours to get to Anandpur Sahib, the roads were just normal highways, but we still didn't reach there till around 7am. Anandpur Sahib is the birthplace of the Sikh religion, in 1756 Guru Gobind Singh Ji baptised the first five beloved ones here. The temple is beautiful and very well maintained, the others were saying that on festive days there is no space to move for the amount of people, after 'Matha Tekh' we had 'Langar' and then made a move. We had a lot of ground to cover today, and the next leg of the journey would take us up into the mountains. We hadn't stopped all the way to Anandpur Sahib so I wanted a break and let Gagan take control of the Bullet, Kaka on the other hand is a warrior so he just kept on going, just like the Duracell bunny! The truth of the matter is, he didn't trust Soma with his bike, I don't blame him really!
The next stop was high up in the mountains at Naina Devi Mandir, we had to park the bikes and walk up 588 steps to get to the Mandir, as you can imagine that many steps took it's toll on our legs, some of us fared better than others though, I was the first to reach the Mandir while Soma came in last, no surprise there! We did 'Matha Tekh' and just chilled up there for a while (let our legs recover for a bit), there were some amazing views from up there and although I took pictures you really don't get the same feeling as being there, especially after climbing up all those steps!!! Needless to say the decent was way easier than the climb, on the way down we saw this guy playing the Dhol, and I couldn't resist the temptation, so I asked if I could have a go, the guy was more than happy to let me break out a few beats (see pic). When we got down we knew we had a long ride ahead of us so we fuelled up on some Masala Tea and off we went, we changed drivers again on the bullet, but Kaka was still doing the 'Duracell bunny' thing (go on son!!!).
We were heading for Bhuntar for a stopover, before making our way to Manikaran Gurdwara early tomorrow morning. We left Naina Devi at around 11am and didn't get to Bhuntar till around 5pm, that's a long time on a bike!!! The road got scarier the further along we went, I kept telling Gagan to take it easy on the bike, I know what it's like when you come off one, it was on these kind of roads when I had my accident in Goa last year. We didn't do the whole stretch non-stop this time, we stopped at a few places. We stopped at one place for tea, where they had a really long footbridge over the river, a bit like the Indiana Jones one, but wider and more stable (well that's what we were hoping). Soma and I went over to the other side to see what was going on in the little village over there, Gagan and Kaka were too scared, yep your read that right 'too scared' to cross over, what a couple of Larries. Anyway, there was a little shop on the other side where a couple of girls were weaving blankets by hand, I tried to talk to them but they were talking in another language so I just asked if I could take pictures (using obvious sign language, like showing them the camera and pointing it at them!), they agreed so I did the honour's and we left. We stopped later on too, at a 'Veer Zara' style river crossing (see picture), it was basically a cage attached to a rope that went across the river to the other side. Again Gagan and Kaka didn't want anything to do with it, but Soma and I made the most of it, it was good fun and not at all scary, although falling in would mean instant death I'm sure, it doesn't look like it in the pictures but the river was running fast! It was a bit of a mission pulling Soma back though, that boy needs to loose some weight!
We got to Bhuntar in the evening, after checking into a hotel we went for Pizza then had a walk around the town. It's a lovely little place, there are mountains all around and the river (have no idea which one it is), runs right through the middle of it. We all went for a walk in the bazaar, then Soma and I went over the bridge to the other side of the town while Gagan and Kaka went back to the hotel (do you see a theme developing here?) We were all pretty much tired after a long days road trip, so we crashed out around 9pm. It's has been a long day but we had plenty of fun along the way, I had my phone loaded with Bhangra tracks so that kept Gagan and I entertained, Soma and Kaka brought a little radio along the way, so they had that, I don't know what they were listening to but at one stage Soma was sitting back to front on the back of their bike! So far things are going well, touch wood it keeps going that way, the only thing I'm worried about is someone coming off one of the bikes...been there done that already, don't want to do it again, or see anyone else do it either!
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