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Old 29th July 2012, 02:21   #31
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Nice. Lovely travelogue you have there.
I love the colour of your Yeti. Also, from your pictures of the Pajero, it is quite evident that it has seen a lot of difficult terrains in its time. So if you feel a Yeti can manage all that, I respect the Yeti, quite a bit .

I hope you can continue your T-log soon.
Cause this is tempting me to run away to Manali for the weekend.
Oh no. It's Saturday already So next weekend then!!

Cheers.
Sam
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Old 29th July 2012, 15:14   #32
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

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Originally Posted by captain.torque View Post
Beautiful TLOG! Keep up the good work and post more pics.

Last month I was hunting for a picturesque hill station for a vacation and was confused between Shimla and Manali. I finally zeroed in on Shimla but now after viewing these pics I guess would have to plan another trip to Manali soon.

Its a beautiful place!
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Originally Posted by nitinbose View Post
Wow.... This is something! I'm glad now that many members are talking good about Skoda. Had you done any off roading? Please post the pics of the same - just wanted to see how the yeti fairs in real life off-roading.
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Originally Posted by samarth.bhatia View Post
Nice. Lovely travelogue you have there.
I love the colour of your Yeti. Also, from your pictures of the Pajero, it is quite evident that it has seen a lot of difficult terrains in its time. So if you feel a Yeti can manage all that, I respect the Yeti, quite a bit .

I hope you can continue your T-log soon.
Cause this is tempting me to run away to Manali for the weekend.
Oh no. It's Saturday already So next weekend then!!

Cheers.
Sam
Captain Torque,

Thanks for your feedback and inputs. My humble suggestion to you would be to give Shimla a miss and try Manali instead. If you take the Ropar-Kiratpur-Bilaspur-Mandi-Kulu route, the travel time would be just slightly more than what it would take to get to Manali, provided that you leave Delhi early in the morning, or late at night. But believe me, once you get there, the extra drive would have been well worth it!!

Thanks again, and have a great trip.

Nitin,

Thanks too for your inputs. Yes, I am having fun in my Skoda Yeti and will be posting the next few bit sof our journey shortly. I have been travelling on work and just got back to Delhi. Will quickly freshen up and take the story forward.

Samarth,

Thanks. I did some off-roading in the Yeti (nothing strenuous though) and some of that is coming up shortly.

See you all soon!

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Old 31st July 2012, 01:21   #33
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

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Originally Posted by rajeevn View Post
Captain Torque,

Thanks for your feedback and inputs. My humble suggestion to you would be to give Shimla a miss and try Manali instead. If you take the Ropar-Kiratpur-Bilaspur-Mandi-Kulu route, the travel time would be just slightly more than what it would take to get to Manali, provided that you leave Delhi early in the morning, or late at night. But believe me, once you get there, the extra drive would have been well worth it!!

Thanks again, and have a great trip.
Sure Rajeev. I am planning to go to Manali in September
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Old 2nd August 2012, 11:36   #34
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Rated 5 stars for the entertaining read. Tbhp is blessed with incredible writers

A friend has a cottage in Manali and only you have used it for years - Lucky you!!
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Old 3rd August 2012, 16:31   #35
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Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Rated 5 stars for the entertaining read. Tbhp is blessed with incredible writers

A friend has a cottage in Manali and only you have used it for years - Lucky you!!
Thanks, Mallumowgli—those words are kind and encouraging, and the feeling in getting five stars on TBHP-life is heavenly. I have been out for a while and couldn't take this T-Log further for a bit, but I promise that I will take this up over the weekend and take everyone over the next two days of this trip!

Thanks once again, and here are some teasers of what's to come—which I am rustling up on the sly (since I am at work, yet indulging in this as I couldn't stay away anymore).



Well, Friday was over and Saturday was coming up quick. On a three-day Delhi-Manali-Delhi driving trip, Friday and Sunday were consigned to getting from Delhi to Manali, and back from Manali to Delhi. All we had, therefore, in terms of making it count, was Saturday. And make it count we did, as I will detail out soon. Here are some glimpses...

The road to Rohtang begins. Yummy. Yummy. Yummy. Oh, Mummy!
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Some day soon, it will all change. Today, you take the fork on the right to go to Rohtang, Keylong, Khoksar and on to Leh. Soon, the Rohtang Tunnel will open—no Rohtang Pass, and a quick ride way ahead. One can just hope and pray that this move does not see far too many people headed that way, and turning those heavenly abodes into commercialized headaways for everyone, and the resultant litter.
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That's the outer edge of Manali, viewed from a vantage point some way up the road to Rohtang La
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The road to Rohtang La, bless the authorities, is being widened and around 14 km of the 51 km is done
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That's the first sighting of some verdant green on the rockface far away, plus heavenly mist and yes, some snow!
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I was on the same road in the same Skoda Yeti exactly 25 days back and got stuck in perhaps the worst traffic jam i have ever seen in the hills. This time around, no traffic. Bless the Lord.
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M'Mouth living up to her new handle—M'fingers. Half-way up there, the tourists alight the Snowman to take in the sights
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There was one crow at this stopover that wouldn't go away from us. From one branch to the other, it skittered. Not leaving our sides for a good 15 minutes...
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These are magnificent vistas—truly awe-inspiring. Can life get any better than this?
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Thanks for reading, and there's more coming up on the other side!
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Old 4th August 2012, 14:02   #36
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So here's the weekend today, a Saturday, a day on which I resume this T-Log and relive another wonderful Saturday about a month back. As mentioned earlier, this was our only day in Manali and we "had to make it count". The day started rather early for us holidayers who hadn't anyway slept properly for the last two days. But then, this is the only day we had in Manali to live it up and take in the sights—and live it up we did. From early morning, to LAAAATE in the night.

A walk on the wild side was called for, we decided, and instead of doing the traditional and heading toward Vashisht and Rohtang La, we headed down from Manali; not two much of a-ways, just around 17 km, to a resort that I have stayed in many a time before my benevolent friend bought the cottage that he has never lived in—which was our home this time around too. The huts in this resort are separated from a raging river that thrashes and foams its way down the mountains by a bare 50 feet—50 feet of luscious lawn may I add. I remember that some years back, I spent all day rocking in a hammock here, sipping on iced teas and reading Clive Cussler's Raising the Titanic. Throughout the day and through the night, you can hear the lapping sound of the water as it courses its way over and around the rocks, its soporific effect lulling you into a peaceful sleep.

And the sight of the tumultuous river itself is awesome—without saying a word, the river tells you that you take one wrong step over the fencing and she will carry you to Bhuntar before you can say "OUCH"!

Some pictures of gurgling streams that run to your left as you go down some distance from Manali toward the resort
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And some images of what happens when many of these truculent gurgling streams decide to mate and become one—a potent force of nature indeed!
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The mountains on the other side of the river in the early, mist-covered morning are soothing to the eye—and make you wonder why you would ever want to return to Delhi!
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And then, some more of the river as she fattens...
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And then these pictures from the resort—in the second picture, you can see the far end of the resort itself, where small cottages dot the landscape. Pristine. Awesome. Scary. All at the same time. The raging waters turn brown as they rip the guts out of the subterranean soil on the banks and on the river-bed, sedimenting them downstream, somewhere after the confluence in Bhuntar
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Okay. Cottages. River. Misty Mountains. Raw Nature. And us. So where is the much-fangled walk on the wild side, you say?

Well, here it is. Just beyond this idyllic resort is a little path that takes you into the forests, and pardon my literary expediency. Tiny rivulets dot the sides as you follow a meandering path, deeper into the brush. Already enveloped in this visual manna, you can't expect the world to get any better, right?

WRONG!

You walk some more and you come across a little temple, some more real Himachal, children gawking at you from alcoves in the rustic homes, and a cute old woman, who unabashedly poses with the cutest puppy in the world! The world does get better!

The curvaceous path that takes you through this forest...
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Rustic houses in the real Himachal Pradesh dot the sides of the path, peeking at you every now and then...
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And then you suddenly come upon a beautiful and very clean temple, in the middle of nowhere...
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As you take in the sights, watch some local people walking around the perimeter of the temple, your peripheral vision spots some movement, and you turn to see a cute old woman, playing with the cutest puppy in the world...
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Heaven.

Whichever way you turn, you see sights that rock your world. The mountains are never far away, and hold you tight in their mesmerizing embrace...
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Bottled water, anyone? Not here in Himachal. Every drop is pure as gold. Here's how they pot it in the real Himachal. People come with buckets and other utensils, fill them up, and it's ready for consumption. As safe to consume as any other water source in the world, let me assure you!
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We walk past the temple, and down some more along the meandering path, gobbling up the sights. It gets still better. Tiny rivulets dot the landscape, and you cannot but marvel at how Mother Nature did all this, all alone, in the middle of nowhere...
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A woman witting on the balcony of her home in this winderness stares at you for a bit, and then breaks into a toothy smile...
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Another lady, this one with a backpack that belies her day's work so far, looks on as you pass
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And then, in the middle of this delight, a bigger surprise—one of the largest and perhaps one of the highest nurseries in the world!
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More on the nursery and all the floral goodies therein is coming up soon. A teaser—what we had stumbled upon was home to one of the largest exporters of flowers to Europe.

Right from My Own India.

Thanks for reading, folks.
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Old 4th August 2012, 15:08   #37
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

You had fun Rajeev, I can see that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeevn View Post
Bottled water, anyone? Not here in Himachal. Every drop is pure as gold. Here's how they pot it in the real Himachal. People come with buckets and other utensils, fill them up, and it's ready for consumption. As safe to consume as any other water source in the world, let me assure you!
But beware, this is not entirely true. Mountain streams are (also) easily contaminated by human and animal wastes by 'users' up the hill. So its not really quite 'potable' unless one knows that the source is indeed protected.

Last edited by LithiumSunset : 4th August 2012 at 15:29.
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Old 4th August 2012, 15:41   #38
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My apologies, friends... My Internet connection snapped and I pick up the thread again from that where the chain broke.

Nursery! The last time I went to a 'Nursery' was when I was 4 years old. And I clearly remember bawling my head off all the way there from home, while trying to jump off my father's Lamberetta scooter! "Anywhere but school", I remember my infant tonsils screeching.

Some 40 years later, I was back on one. And SMILING—never thought that that would happen in this here life!



We took in the sights, inhaled the aroma of fresh blooms that stretched to the horizon as far as our eyes could see, in every which direction. We saw flowers of colours never imagined before. We saw shapes, sizes and hues that are indescribable, except in one tame and lame word—BEAUTIFUL. Here are some of those amazing glimpses...
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And here are some images of recently plucked and nipped ones—threshed from their pods and ready for nearby temples...
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Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)-dsc00121.jpg

And one more, in full bloom, waiting for the scalpel and a quick flight from there. To Switzerland?
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As I mentioned before—flowers, flowers and more flowers. As far as the eye could see
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Having had our fill of flora and fauna, we decided to move along the trail—only to find ourselves slam-dunk in the middle of a cricket match at the local school. Here's an adage—when an 'uncle' goes to little ones playing games and asks, "Can I have the bat?", the bemused little ones will never say no! The little ones didn't break that rule and handed me the bat. For the next 10 minutes, I was back in school myself, wielding the bat and rocking the game!
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Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)-dsc00131.jpg

Having completed a triple century (!), we decided to spice things up further and move on to Rohtang, with a twist in the tale though. We would not go to Rohtang La in the Yeti—we would go to Rohtang La in the Yeti and on an Enfield Bullet Machismo! A quick call to our good friend Chander, who rents out bikes from Manali, and we were all set to begin this little adventure. We romped back to the city, picked up the bike and the helmet, and chugged along the road to Rohtang.

That's me on the Enfield Machismo, just past Gulaba, taking a break and gulping in the vistas
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That's me again on the bike, just before Marhi, wondering at the awesome beauty of the mountains.
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Along the road to Rohtang La, as one goes higher and higher, the rockfaces get steeper and stepper, and craggier still. It really makes you realize just what a tiny speck we all are, in the face of the amazing immensity of Nature
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Do not miss the paraglider in the middle upper-half of the picture. Pristine. To each his own.
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And here's that same paraglider again, coming in for a smooth-as-silk landing
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And then again, here are some more of the pictures taken along the way
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And some pictures from inside the Yeti now—can't ignore the little bull and her occupants, can we?
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So that was the ride and the drive going up the mountains. Coming up next, Rohtang La and the cutest little girl you can hope to see there!
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Thanks for the read.

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Old 4th August 2012, 15:44   #39
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Originally Posted by LithiumSunset View Post
You had fun Rajeev, I can see that!

But beware, this is not entirely true. Mountain streams are (also) easily contaminated by human and animal wastes by 'users' up the hill. So its not really quite 'potable' unless one knows that the source is indeed protected.
Quite, quite true, Lithium. I completely buy your point. But there is something that I saw—many of the locals using a unique 'filtration process', wherein they get rivulets of running water to pass through pits of gravel in various stages. Their version of a mutiple-point natural water filter, I guess.

Thanks for the feedback and inputs. Yes, I had FUN.

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Old 4th August 2012, 17:14   #40
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Forgive me for going off topic, but I begin this new post with a heavy heart—I just saw on News Channels on the television that there has been a flash-flood in Manali (near the Rohtang Tunnel) following a cloudburst. Vast stretches of the Manali-Rohtang Road have been washed away, along with a couple of bailey bridges; leaving two people dead, as per latest reports. A similar flash-flood also happened in Uttarakhand last night, leaving 7 dead so far and causing extensive damage to property and infrastructure. Here's hoping and praying that the damage is restricted and those afflicted get respite and the courage to see this through. Amen!

Back to the T-Log and the journey to Rohtang and some glimpses from the La. Here are some pictures of the road to Rohtang La as we saw it in end-June, with portions of it nothing more than a dirt track.
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This road is one of the most treacherous in the country, prone as it is to crumbling and landslides. Mix in the heavy precipitation here and the regular rainfall and incessant drizzles, it more often than not turns into a slushy, marshy affair. There have been instances where the only people who make it through certain stretches are cyclists, who carry their rides on their shoulders as they trudge through sludge that is knee-deep in places. All but the most sturdy 4x4s flounder here and the heavy truck movement ensures that their laden tyres make mincemeat of the tarmac, leaving lighter and lower vehicles stranded as their wheels spin to find traction and the smell of burning clutch plates hangs heavy in the air.
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Luckily for us, in end-June, the rains had yet to make a concerted appearance and almost all the stretches were dry. In fact, some stretches were a delight to ride the bike and drive the Yeti on.
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Horses and cows dot the roads throughout the journey. While some of them sit around sanguine, staring at cars with bovine eyes full of curiosity, there are others who are more adventurous and hang on to precipitous edges while nibbling away at tufts of grass. The most number of horses, paradoxically, are to found on Rohtang Pass itself!
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The views along the route, meanwhile, continue to be tantalizing and evocative
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Please do not miss the edge of the bonnet of the Yeti in the bottom of the picture, as the Snowman too takes in the verdant view as we pull in for a pit-stop to take pictures
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And here are those pictures, taken from the spot where the Yeti was parked for a while. Ohh-la-la indeed.
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Pit stop done and pictures taken to prove we did indeed go there (!), we ride on toward the summit, and this is what we find when we get there. Large empty tracts, very little snow, a lot of horses tame and otherwise, not very many humans, one little chai shop, and the chai-and-maggi-wallah's daughter—tousled hair, fair as snow, red chubby cheeks and cute as hell!
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And then there's a man who hires out his horses to take tourists up. Up where? To a tiny little crag around 3 km away, where is to be found the only substantial bit of snow at Rohtang Pass this time of the year. Excited and chirpy tourists don rented snow masks and skis here, and pose away for pictures, all the while pretending to be skiing on a snow-field which is slightly larger than a badminton court! Everyone takes pictures very carefully here, to ensure that the frame captures only the snow bit and makes it appear that they are on Mount Everest!

This is the horse-man, proudly clutching on to his machine—this animal is hardy as hell, making the trip up and down the precipitous 3-km path some 10 times each day!
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And here's Ms Cutie Li'l pie, unabashedly looking into the camera when we say, "Hello, Dear!"
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And the views from where we are standing are to die for—Mountains viewed from Rohtang La
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Saying a silent prayer at having got to the summit safely and haven taken in the views, we start our six wheels for the drive-ride back to civilization. We are hungry and we have a date. With who, you ask? With a place called Il Forno and a lady called Roberta, who we have heard, makes the best thin-crust pizzas in the world. Says who? Well, a friend of ours on T-BHP stops there every time he does his Lahaul-Spiti trip and we have read it all, we have seen it all on his T-LOGs. We have to taste it all now! Here's thanking Harsh Wardhan for his advice, for Roberta's pizzas are TRULY, REALLY GREAT.

The journey through Manali town to Il Forno was the opposite of great, it was horrible—and that's coming up in the next post. Our Official Trip Photographer NilanjanM is built for everything but speed, and we had our spills and chills walking through Manali to get to Il Forno.

Some shots of the trip down from Rohtang La. Kothi is just 2 km away!
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The helipad with its occupant lazing around for a while. At Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,000 per person for a 15- and 30-minute flight over these mountains, the deal seems like a steal and the views must be spectacular. We had time to do either Il Forno or the heli-ride, and we chose the pizza place. We were really hungry!
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Two Bullets wait for their riders as we zoom past them on a curve
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Mummy! What in tarnation happened to this Jeep Wrangler?
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Coming up: Il Forno and what NilanjanM ended up paying with for his pizza!

(Hint: He lost half of his hard-earned belly walking there).
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Old 13th August 2012, 14:16   #41
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Hi T-BHPians,

I am back from a quick drive, and guess where from?

Yep, Manali. Again.

I had three days off last week and the boss was kind enough to let me take two more—that made for a nice, meaty getwaway. Why Manali yet again—the third time in 45 days? After the recent cloudburst and flash floods, I felt I just had to go to Manali and see what had happened there.

Thankfully, the loss of life and property are both not too high, and life is limping back to normal. Just after Bhang, en route to Palchan, the road is broken up in places and repair-work is on in full swing. If you weren't aware of a recent cloudburst and flash floods, you could be forgiven into thinking that this is just one of those oft-happening landslides in the mountains after Manali.

A look at the river changes that perception dramatically. Wherever the rover banks are mud and foliage, the Earth has been ripped and gouged out. Most of the river bed itself lifes exposed, with the rushing water having brought down thousands of trees and huge rocks and boulders. The Bailley bridge at Palchan has been shredded by the rocks that came plummetting down with the raging flood waters. The entire river bed looks a scene from another place—I say that because when you look around at the mountains and rockfaces, it is the same old Manali. Pristine, green and beautiful at this time of the year, with the monsoons just about half-way through. The drive from Manali to Rohtang is as usual too—slushy though it is, as always, on this stretch.

It is the river that really tells a tale of the destruction that happened here early this month. My apologies for not posting pictures here, but the Camera and the pen drive are at home. All that will be coming up later this evening...

With the permission of the Moderators, I will dedicate one post to the cloud-burst at Manali. Post that, I will move back to the T-LOG and take it to its finalé, including some nice pictures of the vistas from this latest additional trip.

As the adage goes, all's well that ends well... And Manali is slowly but surely limping back to normalcy again.

Amen!
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Old 14th August 2012, 00:37   #42
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Pardon me for the poor picture quality in the post coming up, but all we had was a point-and-shoot, the SAME blooming Sony belonging to Lady Motormouth aka Motorfingers (and Thank God for the SONY, else there would be no pictures; since our official pix-man NilanjanM wasn't around this time around, having just had a beautiful baby daughter and celebrating in Delhi still).

Worse, all we had was our hearts in our mouth. The enervating vistas of Manali and beyond, enjoyed by us mini-mortals in their ever-replendent glory twice in the last one month, were suddenly changed, grey in demeanour, bleak in their being, and grinning in their seeds of destruction, or so it seemed.

A sudden, minute-long, Nature-made devastation; a cloud-burst and the resultant flash-flood—it takes but a minute to destroy—had flattened everything in its path. That one minute of nature would take a long, painful eon to reclaim and recreate.

The brighter side—the recreation, God Bless BRO, is already on, and we shall soon re-attain and re-obtain (for a while, at least) what is truly the beginning of paradise. In these pictures, while the tall and monsoon-soaked vistas of Manali are omnipresent, so is the destruction that MOTHER NATURE can wreak at a moment's notice.

The beginning of the new road to Rohtang La—which I praised as "a wide two-lane blessing" at the beginning of this T-LOG... is now all but smashed to smithreens for a while
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The Bailley Bridge that we read about in the news, as having been destroyed, is there, but buckled, fractured, and the size of the rocks that have done this deed tell their own tale...
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From wherever you view this debacle of Nature, it looks and feels bad and worse and well beyond—a feeling in the pit of your stomach that just won't go away
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Where did everything go oh-so wrong?
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From within the Yeti or from outside, the destruction is all evident and so very garish to the eye
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No matter where you look from at this sight, it brings a sigh to your heart(s)
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But the people from the Border Roads Organization, and a lot of the local people as well as tourists, are all at work making this wrong go right—the beauty, a lot of foreigners are also taking an active part in ensuring that this is all put right.

Be it broken homes, bridges and hearts...
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Or be it broken and sunken roads that motorcycles and cars slither on, but strong-minded people take to, to fix, repair and bring back to life
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The perseverence of the human soul, in the middle of devastation, was heart-warming. There were people ar work everywhere, all of them chanting slogans and the Lord's name, while hundreds (including us) stared on in morbid fascination from our comfortable vehicles. Destruction be it there—on the mountainside or on river beds flocked with rotting tree stumps—was but something to stem over. For the show would go on. And the cleansing would happen.

So that the next lot of people who came in here would only see the brevity of human courage, and how Nature itself would redeem the scar that had rent its own serene face.

Some of the last sad images I share on this T-LOG, before we return to the Rohtang La road, one that always inspires us to drive on, and blesses us with vistas beyond compare.
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Beyond this, no more of what went wrong. For there's almost everything that's still just right—beautifully so!
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Old 14th August 2012, 01:58   #43
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Back to the T-LOG...

We had decided, Motormouth and I, that we would go back to Manali. All our friends had warned, some direly so—"Not the right time. Dangerous now. Go somewhere else this time. Stop being a hero."

Sorry. That was not to be. We would not be deterred from going to a place just because there was some trouble there now. If Manali had been our destination twice in the lasy one month, we wouldn't shy away now that she was in trouble. And we headed right back, some five days after the cloud-burst and the flash flood hit.

The roads were perfect and the traffic non-existent. Till we were about 100 mts away from our (friend's) house. Screech! Hard-slam brakes brought the Yeti to a sudden stop. A mountain about 2-feet high, full of mud and ruts, marked the road. Confronting us. Repeated sojourns by trucks had ensured that this 50-mt stretch was like an off-road expedition.

The Yeti could do it, I decided. I had been driving for 12 hours, and was dog tired. We started off. Half-way through, I spotted three little rocks on top of the mud-pile. Big deal—snowman Yeti would make it, right?

WRONG!

Kapong! Ghattar! Ghattar!!

The Yeti was stuck! I reversed, cursing myself, while I could feel the bottom being scraped off my near-brand-new almost-SUV!

Got off the Snowman.

Walked through the slush... Removed all the stones I could see from the mud. Back in the car, 'Off Road' engaged, I started off again. This would be a cakewalk.

Kapong! Ghattar! Ghattar!!

Ouch! OUCH! Reversed again, only to see a black little trail of an oil slick dead center of the road, matching the middle of the Yeti's bonnet, as I backed off the second time.

Engine oil leak?! Here? Manali?! Nearest Skoda workshop perhaps in Karnal. What the hell do I do now? How could I have been so stupid?! HELP!!



Some 10 meters later, as I reversed out to the side of the road, luckily, thankfully, blissfully, the oil slick didn't follow me to the side, but remained on the center of the road. Some other vehicle had done the same Kamikaze act and been done to death.

The Yeti was alive!

The rest of the night is a blur. I somehow ate something in the house and prayed. If there was something wrong with the car, I was done for. All thoughts of all the good advice given by TBHP-ians flashed before my eyes throughout the night. If that car was in trouble, so was I. Visions of hiring a truck to get it back to Delhi haunted me all night, as I tossed and turned in the bed. God, why did I try that stupid manouevre? Why didn't I use the shovel to ease off the hump on the road? Idiot me!!

Morning took forever to come and I did teeth, tea, myself and everyone else that came into my sight soon as I could. I needed a car-wash and inspect the under-carriage...

Here's the Yeti being washed, with me in a bit of a panic. Would I get away with it?

Here are some pictures before the wash, from all possible angles, except the 'right one' (from below—where the vehicle had hit rocks the previous night)
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The washing begins, before we can figure out what all is bent below the vehicle
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Unable to take the pain anymore, I jump into the act to speed things up. Are we driving, or we being driven home in a truck, given Skoda's reputation for ASS?
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The views from the service center, which didn't really mean that much in those 30-odd minutes
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And the views after, which meant a lot... (Wash done, the Yeti was checked a 100 times over. All of us crawled under the SUV(?). The skid plates were bent. The fuel tank underguards were warped. The exhaust underguards were smashed.

But every vital organ was PERFECT. VA-VA-VOOM. We were driving after all. To these sights and places.

Despite the cloud-burst, and the flash-floods, and the devastation, there was still this to look forward to
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We were driving up to Rohtang La in an under-carriage-dented, but otherwise pristine vehicle. Every underbody guard had done its job. We were going to the La. I trusted the Yeti. And she would get me there. After all, she looked splendid. And still ran like a dream
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Even the Lady, Motormouth, was all smiles and charisma... The worries were behind us (though when Lady Mouth smiles too much, I get too worried
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And here's the lady that really mattered in this particular equation, herself all spotless teeth and gums (Sorry, Lé Mouth)
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And these are the sights that awaited us. A no-brainer then it was, no? We just had to go on toward Rohtang La, again
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Rohtang La. Here we come again. To be truthful, my heart was in my mouth, at every turn up to the pass—what is something went wrong with the Yeti? On this here road, if something went wrong, we wouldn't need a truck. We would need a Sikorsky! But plod on we did
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And it was worth it. More of that coming up soon... Thanks for reading.
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Old 14th August 2012, 16:07   #44
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

And these are the sights that greeted us we wound our way up the road to Rohtang. Mind you, the roads were terrible in most places, and we moved up quite gingerly
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About the one plus point of going to Manali and on to Rohtang La at this time of the year—almost no traffic was met going either way, except for lonely one-off trucks like this one
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Other than that, the ride was one of complete solitude—and, therefore, complete serenity (except, of course, for the inevitable, where MotorMouth would keep gabbing excitedly about one thing or the other)
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And then, yet again, there were horses as we got closer to Rohtang Top. And more horses—dotting the landscape in every direction the gaze went
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And since it was raining most of the time, we also had company in the form of mist and clouds—clouds atop mountains in the distance, clouds on the road as we drove past, and we even believe clouds IN THE Yeti a few times!
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And then we came across a sight not seen before—I have seen enough paragliders in and beyond Manali, but didn't know that paragliding happens well beyond Marhi as well. Incidentally, there were no checks for Vehicle Permits, either at Kothi or at Marhi.

Some pictures of one of the paragliders way, way up in the sky...
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I had stopped at one place to try and feed the horses, but they just wouldn't let one get close enough. Each time I went close by, they would scamper away. I finally acceded and left some rotis and rajma on the ground for them, which, surely enough, they gobbled up even before I had reached the car barely 20 metres away. Here are some pictures of the Yeti at that spot, well into the mountains and almost at Rohtang La
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Just as we began moving toward the summit, I was quite surprises to see a large bird perched on a huge rock. It couldn't be, could it? Well, it was! A vulture! I didn't know vultures were present at this height as well. I tried two angles to try and get the beauty in its entirety, facing the camera, but it kept darting around some niches in the rock...
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All I could manage from some distance down the road was the bird neck-up, and then even that was gone
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More on the drive coming up, and soon, a Tibetan 'Candle March' through the streets of Manali—all for the cause of global bonhomie and peace.
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Thanks for reading.
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Old 15th August 2012, 08:24   #45
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Excellent t-logue. You have very good writing skills - Please do keep it coming.

Deepak
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