En route to Manali

Trip Start May 04, 2009
Trip End Jul 30, 2009

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Where I stayed
Manu Guesthouse

Flag of India  , Himāchal Pradesh,
Friday, June 26, 2009

Leaving Delhi behind, I was already in high spirits as the air-conditioned coach pulled out of the bus stop. I made myself comfortable, a little apprehensive in the knowledge that this would be my seat for the next 14 hours or so. I sat idly, looking at the unremarkable Delhi scenery drift by. I had thought that my district of choice - Paharganj had been rough, but with each slum that passed us by, my perspective differed greatly. The journey continued - out of the city through the suburbs passing even more desperate looking dwellings. Save for one deeply embarrassing episode, whereby it was agreed unanimously by everyone on the coach that I was a complete lunatic, no thanks to Bill Bryson's best efforts and my innability to stop laughing, the journey passed without incident.
    It was many hours later, and dark outside, when the trip took an interesting turn. Its possible that I was dozing, or not paying particular attention, but suddenly it registered in my brain that we were in the mountains. Seemingly out of nowhere, we took an abrupt turn onto a steep road, and kept going at this angle for a number of miles. I was suddenly excited: I could see the lights of villages high up in the surrounding mountains, so high in fact that at first I mistook them for stars. My eagerness grew as daylight came, and I was awarded the spectacle of the mountainous regions of India. I will remind you that until now, I have been city-bound throughout my trip and the closest thing resembling a mountain I'd come across was the hill on top of which stood the Monsoon Palace - not exactly worthy of what I was witnessing now. Practically bouncing in my seat and no doubt gaining a few stern glances from fellow coach travelers, cementing their initial diagnosis of the state of my mind, I noticed the coach slowing to a halt at a roadside cafe/rest area. Outside, the passengers sat idly chatting away, keeping their distance. As I was busying myself with a cup of Chai, I was fast approached by a peculiar young man. Adopting the ostentatious "camp" gait, he flopped his way over to me. I couldn't help realise the imbalance of his barrel-chest to his short, spindly legs. Across his face was plastered a vacant but sincere smile, and his eyes were two different colours. I was in trouble here. As it turns out, he was American, and so found it necessary to point out that this was the best time for me to visit Ladakh, "North India" he added helpfully. Yes, I thought, especially as the passes to Leh, closed throughout the rest of the year, tend to open around June/July. I nodded in silent agreement. Then came an in-depth account of every effort from the Indian population to scam him out of a few Rupees.
"You've got to laugh eh?" I ventured with a smile.
"Well no, actually, I don't think its very funny at all. Its against the law" he answered, in all seriousness I might add. My attention was drawn to his flailing arms and petulant pose, and just as I began to wonder the purpose of this seemingly hostile conversation, he started complaining about the sleeping conditions aboard the coach. I busied myself further with the Chai, staring at it intently.
"Its a real drag, I'm in the aisle seat. I'd be ok with a window or someone to rest my head on, y'know?"
Now, most of you know me, and in a way I pride myself on being tolerant. Of course I had no problem with this fine young American gentleman, whatever his sexual preference. I will hazard a guess though, and this is only a guess, that the Northern-Indian locals (predominantly a Muslim population) do not share my liberal views on the matter and so, decided to make myself scarce lest they get the wrong idea and have me hung, drawn and quartered or worse, imprison me. (Trust me, the jails are dreadful) "Yes... Quite" I said as casually as possible, slowly rising to my feet. I took a step.
"Where you goin'?" he inquired. "Christ" I thought, "Norman Bates meets Deliverance" Not missing a beat, I muttered "Oh, y'know, the apple juice needs..." and deftly scarpered without causing too much of a scene. Having gained sufficent distance from the unhinged individual, I sat down again to concentrate on my Chai. Eager not to end up as a lampshade, I kept my distance throughout the journey and thankfully avoided being... Engaged further.
    When we finally arrived at Manali, I'd forgotten about my new friend and simply gawked in awe at the scenery. It was arresting to say the least. Having stepped off the coach, I headed into town to find some accommodation. Seeing that the prices were steep and many hotels full, (many Indian tourists also visit Manali this time of year) my heart sank. It was then saved thankfully as I happened upon a small town 2km north of Manali called "Old Manali". Here I found very decent accommodation for 2 pounds a night, and settled on the balcony with a cold beer from the kitchen. Seeing the sun set behind the green mountains, the distant Himalayan peaks... Well, in the distance... I was once again overcome with a sense of relaxation and happiness.
I coulnd't wait to explore the towns and entertain such possibilities as fishing in the nearby Beas River.
As was becoming the habit, I found myself recovered by the calmess of Manali, and the memories of Delhi began to empty from my brain.
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naintaid on

Good bye Deli
Diolch dy fod yn teimlo yn well ac yn mwynhau y daith eto. Mae Manali yn yn sowndio yn neis,gobeithio y gwnei ei fwynhau ac y cawn tipyn o luniau eto.
Rwyt yn dda am ddewis cyd-deithwyr,mae eu hanes yn gwneud darllen difyr ac yn ychwanegu rhywbeth ychwanegol ir blog sydd pob amser yn ddiddorol gennyt. Edrych ymlaen i'r nesaf a lluniau bosib,
Hwyl fawr, Gwen a Ken

momski on

Mwynhau Manali
Swnio'n fendigedig Ows. Y blog - as per- yn ddifyr i ddarllen.Mi fyddi'n falch iawn ohono yn y blynyddoedd i ddod! Tybed os wnaeth Taid son yn yr ebost diwethaf bod 'na heatwave wedi bod yn India - a bod trigolion New Delhi etc yn cwyno am y gwres a'r ffaith bod y monsoon yn hwyr! Dim rhyfedd dy fod yn stryffaglu yn y gwres na! Ta waeth - mi rwyt mewn dipyn o baradwys maen debyg erbyn hyn. Dal i fwynhau a dal i gymeryd gofal mawr o chdi a dy bethau! Swsus mawr, Mam xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

taidanain on

Moethusrwydd o'r diwedd!
Teithio fel y Raj Prydeinig tro yma dwi'n gweld - ond dyna'r dewis yn te, gwario neu eistedd mewn pobty am bedair awr ar ddeg. Wneith tipyn o TLC ddim drwg o gwbwl i ti.Mae'n siwr fod y tlodi erchyll wyt yn weld wrth symud o gwmpas yn llesteirio dipyn ar dy fwynhad o deithio mewn cymdeithas mor amrywiol.
Mi fedraf ddyrchmygu dy bleser o gyraedd y mynyddoedd ar ol poethder anddioddefol y gwastatir. Fel yn un o'r Salmau 'Dyrchafaf fy llygaid i'r mynyddoedd o lle daw fy nghymorth',mi fydd ei angen yn ddybryd ar ol dy anhwylderau y dyddiau dwytha yma dwi'n siwr. Mae'n eitha tebygol fod oll ddarllenwyr dy flog yn eiddigeddus iawn ohonot yn eistedd ar falconi yn yr hwyrddydd efo peint o gwrw oer ac yn edrych ar Yr Himalayas ar orwel pell.Golygfa ddigon i gyfareddu unrhyw un o blant dynion, 'the stuff of dreams' go iawn ynte.Ond dyna fo mi 'rwyt wedi enill yr hawl i fwynhau'r olygfa o'r 'Far Pavilions' rhywbeth fydd yn aros fythol yn dy gof dwi'n siwr.Hwyl fawr a chofion fil, Taid a Nain

mamabruno on

Smell the fresh air of the mountains
What a lovely peaceful place to find yourself into after the awfulness of Dheli. Nothing like a bit of raw nature to make you feel whole again. Nice talking to you on skype today. Went straight to check your blog afterwards. Lovely pictures again, what a lot of different landscapes you have seen over the last 2 months. Only a month left and you're already 2/3 inside your trip. I'm sure that you will stick to it in spite of the old homesickness every now and then. You'll see everything with new eyes when you get home. You might even become a linguist like your Scottish pal. I expect you will be ordering your take away in Indi in your local indian in Bethesda. Looking 4ward to see more photos of these interesting places that you visit and more picis of yourself fisherman.
gros gros bisous.

traceycorps on

manali magic
Lle bendigedig i weld,Owain.
Dwi'n trio cael Alys i gysgu ac dwi yn chwerthin yn hurt...Norman Bates playing the banjo!!!!
Keep up the good work x

moomoo-poos on

molester near manali?
good job am dumpio'r boi na, odd o'n swnio fel nytar! boi efo deathwish, fel ti'n deud, lle yn llond o muslims. 'bla bla someone to rest my head on...'
rest your head on this pal! (fist to the face) hahaha. sori. oni methu resistio.
eniwes, falch ti'n mwynhau dy hun rwan, ti di dal pysgodyn?

iwanllyrevans on

Mae fama yn edrych yn anhygoel o le! Dwi'n siwr fod gweddill India wedi bod yn brofiad anhygoel a ma hi wedi bod yn fraint cael blas o fywyd ynno, ond swni yn aros yn fama rwan achos mae'r le yn edrych yn fantastic!

iwanllyrevans on

Mae fama yn edrych yn anhygoel o le! Dwi'n siwr fod gweddill India wedi bod yn brofiad anhygoel a ma hi wedi bod yn fraint cael blas o fywyd ynno, ond swni yn aros yn fama rwan achos mae'r lle yn edrych yn fantastic!

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