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Old 16th August 2012, 13:23   #46
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepak_misra View Post
Excellent t-logue. You have very good writing skills - Please do keep it coming.

Deepak
Thanks, Deepak—for the kind words and feedback. Yes, I intend to go at it with ferocity this weekend, and take the T-LOG further. A lot happened on this trip—and on the second run as well!
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Old 16th August 2012, 16:28   #47
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Back on the road, we decided that some pictures of the Yeti on the favorite stopping point half-way down the road from Rohtang La were a must. So drive down we did to that point, taking in the vistas along the way, and wound our way down to 'Photo Point'—that's christening by us. These are some of the breath-taking views on the road down from Rohtang.
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Somewhere along the way, we came across two daredevils barrelling down the road, engine off (dangerous thing to do on this road), helmets off, perhaps the grey matter bit is off too
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Beyond them, the vistas and the scenic stuff continue—and the three of us (Motormouth, the Snowman Yeti and me) lap it up
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All along the route, ascending towards Rohtang, were foreigners on cycles, alone, in duos and in groups. All of them pedalling away, working through the 21 gears on their human-propelled machines as the terrain dictated. And even as they labor on on this treacherous road, they are cheerful, ever-smiling and always willing to wave. Like this gentleman here Name:  DSCN0755.JPG
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If you scroll up two pictures above this one, and you can see the same person as a tiny dot at the bottom left-side of the picture, cycling up the steep road... Moving on towards 'Photo Point', the curvaceous road and the verdant views continued
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You need to be careful all the time—after any curve, anywhere, there can suddenly be someone screaming up the road, or laboring up, as in this case
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Who said curves aren't beautiful, in whichever form they may come!
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And to the right, you can see the road that's looming up fast, and you shift down a gear and step on the gas for a bit
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I am in two minds on whether I like what's happening at many places across Himachal—the coming to the fore of digital, solar-powered signages. While they would be a safety-plus, they are a bit of any eyesore if you are one of those that likes nature in its verdant, virgin state, without the tramplings of power lines, mobile phone towers, neon signs and hoardings, and so on. Just around Gulaba, at one of the innumerable hair-pin bends, is the first (of what promises to be many soon) of modernization reaching the road to Rohtang
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Anyway, the few pictures above taken, we decide to zoom off quickly to 'Photo Point' and see how the Yeti stacks up against the other vehicles we have shot at this point on many a previous occasion (with particular emphasis on the erstwhile Pajero!)
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I shift the camera's focus away from the Yeti for a bit as I spot another cyclist on his way up.

Vain as only she can be sometimes, Motormouth immediately starts smiling and strikes a pose!

A couple of seconds later, she realizes the camera is not pointed at her, but to her right!

"SHOOT ME," she exclaims.

"I would love to, if only I had a gun," I retort. "For the moment, though, I am far more happier shooting that gentleman on the cycle behind you!"

Motormouth fumes and sulks.

I smile in my silent victory.

I have won an argument with Motormouth. For a change.
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One final picture of the road from inside the parked Snowman Yeti
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And for posterity, and for comparison(s), here's a picture of the Pajero at the same point from a previous trip. There's no comparison—we all know which vehicle looks better at this point... But I will not put that down in print here.
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And then we are off to Palchan and Bhang—to take the pictures I posted a few days earlier, of the devastation caused by the cloudburst and the flash-floods.

More on that and the Tibetan 'Peace March' is coming up soon.

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Old 17th August 2012, 12:09   #48
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

While I sort out the pictures for the rest of the T-LOG and jog my memory a bit, the video of the Snowman Yeti's climb up the dreaded Jalori Pass Road—on our way from Manali to Narkanda and Mashobra—is ready. Quite a drive this—no roads in most of the places. Slush in all places. Rain in all places. Sharp hair-pin bends, steep inclines on slushy ground at almost all of them. And the Yeti chewed it all up with ease. Here are some glimpses of that drive.





More pictures and the journey details coming up soon...
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Old 24th August 2012, 16:46   #49
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Come down from the Rohtang La road we did, and landed up dead center in the middle of a crowded Manali Mall Road. Even though it wasn't peak tourist season, there were people everywhere, crowds milling all over the place, people jostling for space in the narrow lanes, at the ATMs, cars snaking their way up steep inclines, and every car with a 'DL' prefix on the number plate honking away as if the lifespan of their horns was about to end and they had to get the most out of what was left!
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SO if you have just driven down from Rohtang La, and your back and other joints are aching and need solace, here's what some may want (I DIDN'T)... Tel Maalish!
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Step into a cosy local lane and the temporary structures speak of the evening attraction from a few months back—Jadoo: The Magic Show!
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And if in the mountains, there's something that can cut the cold out, it is an Ice-Cream Place!
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So what do you do in an ice-cream place? Get yourself the most exotic ice-cream you can get—a 'Four-in-One' in this case!
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And as you lick and slurp your way through the ice-cream, some light chanting fills the air. You thread your way through the throngs to the Mall Road and you see this—hundreds of Tibetans holding a Candle-Light March, praying for freedon for Tibet, and for peace in the region, and indeed across the world. Men, women, children—all walking and chanting together. Touching.
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The soft glow of the candle(s) lighting up portions of the face made for some very nice snaps and a serene time
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The light should remain burning, no matter what the cost
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And the 'Free Tibet' and 'Peace Flags' must be kept flying high, for now and for all time
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It was indeed heart-warming to see little tiny tots also joining in in the march and doing their small bit to keep the march going strong
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And not to be outdone, there were these lovely ladies leading from the front
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The line of Tibetan-Indians went on and on, and on. Total involvement, completely-absorbed in the cause
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Just beyond the marching milieu, a cosy and traditional Himachali temple right in the middle of the Mall Road
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And inside every little shop, a riot of colors—unleashed to woo the gullible tourist, since all of this stuff is available back home too. An interesting observation as well—"Rate bol diya toh bol diya" was the seedy drone from the shopkeepers. Not one of them would allow for any bargaining whatsoever, which was surprising, since the prices being quoted were exorbitant! "Fixed rate hai. Lena hai toh leejiye, varna..."
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Wherever the eye went, restaurants, eateries, fast-food joints, serving every kind of cuisine you could think of
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The authenticity of the same is completely open to question, of course!
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Quality and Rates are Not Guaranteed! Then what is?!
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At one particular corner, the tiniest yet most adorable gulab jamuns I have ever seen—Rs 10 for 10 little ones!
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Then again, a small little Kiryana store, with an interesting title—"Army Ex-Man". I am sure our good old soldier friend means "Ex Army-Man"!
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Having had our fill of Rohtang La and the Manali Mall Road, we decided it was time to have our fill of some food as well. To Il Forno it was then—but this quick Mall Road visit had made it abundantly clear that driving to Il Forno was out of the question. The roads were all jammed, and we would have taken oodles of time and breathed in all kinds of exhaust fumes before we got there. We would walk there and, therefore, the Yeti had to be taken back to my friend's little house and parked.

Drive back to the house we did, and found a motorcycle parked there (the Yeti's parked some distance away, as seen in the picture). Interestingly, this was a bike with no headlight, but two tail-lights, one at either end! What was this 'creature'? Now why would the owner do that, and how would he ride the bike after dark on these mountain roads? Your guess is as good as mine. Meanwhile, here is a picture of the strange phenomenon on two wheels
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Coming up shortly on this T-LOG is what was our only evening in Manali, and our first visit to Il Forno, which we had read a lot about on Harsh Wardhan's T-LOGs. The food was well worth the trudge up to the place. Here's a shot of what you see as you just enter the premises
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Also coming up soon—the Kitchen
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The Gas Cylinder
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And the Gods!
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Thanks for reading, friends!
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Old 24th August 2012, 17:16   #50
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Thanks Rajeev for sharing the travelogue. Some excellent writing skills on display! And you’re getting the Yeti into its natural habitat so very often. Good going

I must say that the photographs in your second installment (with the Sony point-and-shoot) are much better than the initial lot
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Old 30th August 2012, 15:45   #51
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Thanks Rajeev for sharing the travelogue. Some excellent writing skills on display! And you’re getting the Yeti into its natural habitat so very often. Good going

I must say that the photographs in your second installment (with the Sony point-and-shoot) are much better than the initial lot
Thanks, VB-san, for your kind words—I am glad you have liked the T-LOG so far. There's a wee bit more coming soon, and that will take the T-LOG to its completion.

The Yeti has now done Manali-Rohtang thrice and Mashobra once—I hope to do Ladakh soon, but getting extended leaves is a bit of a problem.

Thanks again.
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Old 31st August 2012, 17:07   #52
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

On this short trip, all the images I have left with me now are those from the drive up and through Jalori Pass. Those are coming up shortly.

But before I get to that post, here is the promised surprise package from our official trip photographer NilanjanM—a tunnel ride to get to Aut, with the clip made entirely from still images, with a shutter speed of 6-8 frames per second.

This is the first of four to come in this post. NilanjanM got off the Yeti and set his shutter speed up to 6-8 frames a second. All I could hear, sitting in the vehicle or jumping out to watch him do his stuff, was khat-khat-khat-khat-khat-khat-khat...

A staccato of clicks as he shot away at high speed.

ENJOY!
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He then jumped to the other side of the Snowman—to catch some vehicles rushing towards their destination, seemingly with a vengeance and on a serious life-and-death mission. On this tunnel, most vehicles do over 80kmph!
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I need to explain this one—every bus in India is not rushing towards Manali, as the clip makes it appear! NilanjanM has put all four clips in an infinite loop. So, the longer you watch this third clip, the more buses will keep rushing off to Manali and beyond!
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And this is the final one. Do not miss the green army truck that whizzes past and do check out how close it is to the lens. NilanjanM still gets the jitters when he talks of this one, for he swears it went some 3-4 inches away from him. Engrossed as only he can be when that camera of his gets going, he kept drifting in closer to the moving traffic, not watching how near he was getting to the driving line. He got the perfect shot, and thank God he is around to share it with all at T-BHP!


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Thanks, NilanjanM.

Coming up soon, folks, the last-but-one post of the trip on this T-LOG—the drive up some non-existent roads to and through Jalori Pass. When I came here the last time around, I was driving my erstwhile Pajero. I had a harrowing time, as the high-CG and high-GC SUV bobbed all over the place and rocked from side to side, scaring the daylights out of me on a few occasions. The Paj swayed from side to side the moment I went beyond 4-5 km an hour, and the 30-odd km of bad roads took we well over four hours to cross—and I had lost half my hair to panic attacks along the way!!

This time around, the road was even worse—but that's what I was here for; to see how the Yeti coped with such conditions. As the video in one of the previous post proves, the Snowman made mincemeat of all the slush and rocks that Jalori Pass threw its way, coasting over them easy as pie.

The last and final post of this T-LOG is going to be a discourse on the Skoda Yeti—the Snowman—and how the vehicle performed beautifully almost throughout. Also, on where the vehicle has some stark and glaring loose ends, particularly on mountain roads!

Note from NilanjanM: The four clips on this post have been uplodaded in subsequently decreasing sizes to adhere to the upload size limits—that's the reason for the varying views. For those who are interested, I used a freeware gif animator to create these clips from still images. Hope you liked them!
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Old 21st September 2012, 16:23   #53
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Sorry for the hold-up, friends—but I have been tied up a lot and travelling to boot. Between these two heads, that has managed to keep me off the Net for quite a while. Anyways, here comes the promised post about the trip after the Aut Tunnel drifve-through, on to Narkanda and Mashobra via Jalori Pass. Having done the same trip around a year back in the Pajero, I was all thumbs as I headed to the Jalori Pass stretch.

That was because the Paj, with its high Ground Clearance, was extremely wobbly over the non-existent track, pitching and weaving its way across at a snail's pace. The body roll was so pronounced, in fact, that I was oft-worried that we would topple over and down the edge and into the gorge that always lines one side of the precipitous and narrow track. This was as much a drive to Mashobra, as it was a test for the Yeti. Having mentioned the performance in a previous post along with a video of this drive, I won't dwell too much into adjectives, except to say that that Snowman chewed up the bad roads like dessert and spat out the remains with a grin on its face!

Here are some pictures from that drive—it was drizzling/raining throughout the trip, and that made things more exciting, as the near dirt track turned the drive into a slug-fest.

So finally, the much-anticipated drive test of the Yeti begins
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As one climbs up this scenic route, the vistas get more and more rustic, with the verdant surroundings taking you up the 'nirvana' value chain
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Mile after mile, turn after turn, next to no oncoming traffic—hence you can keep up a good clip, despite the terrible state of the tarmac
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Nature at its most serene
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But the few times that you do encounter oncoming vehicles on this entire stretch, it is a terribly tight squeeze, especially with wide-bodied vehicles like trucks and buses, and each 'pass' is a close shave
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As mentioned, the views just get better and better and better
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The road is relatively deserted and devoid of human presence, except some spots where you have traditional, rustic Himachali structures lining the tarmac
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Another structure, shot through the Yeti's windscreen as we zoom past
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In the drizzle, in the middle of nowhere, a woman and her daughter draw water from a hand-pump whose 'sump' disappears somewhere deep into the hard, mountain ground
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The road after that particular stretch as straight as the proverbial arrow
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And then, all of a sudden, as happens in 'Dev-Bhoomi' Himachal every 100-add meters, she is curvaceous enough to make you lascivious!
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As you take one of the numerous curves, there it is, smack in front of you—a fellow traveller, 'rudely' trundling along on 'your' road, making you slip down from 6th gear to 2nd, so that you can whisk past him
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Some 20 km after the tunnel, the road begins to live up to its reputation of being amongst the roughest stretches in Himachal, as you get closer to Jalori Pass
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Thank you! The warning that the road is 'damaged' and 'dangerous' is put up some distance after you have crossed the broken stretch!
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'The Transporter'—Himachal Pradesh-style! Iron cables stretch from one hill-top to another, and these little 'trolleys' on pulleys make their way up and down, carrying goods and other stuff up and down
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And this is why you are in Himachal to begin with—the view of misty mountains fading away into the distance
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That's a gurgling little rivulet, way down below, making its way down the hills for its confluence with fellow-sisters and brothers
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That's the same little rivulet, with the viewfinder zooming in on it
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The actual distance, as one removes the zoom completely—this is how way-down-below the river actually is from the road
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And these are some shots of the next few miles of the drive, as we head deeper and deeper into the 'real' Himachal
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And those mountains, standing tall and proud and glorious in the distance, is where we are headed
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The last post is coming up soon, and will focus on the Yeti itself—the strengths, the ooomph factor of driving the Snowman in the hills, and the minus points... Thanks for reading.
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Old 11th January 2013, 13:21   #54
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Hi Friends,

My apologies for adding to the post after months, but I have been re-locating and life has been hectic. While I have not been posting, I have been religiously reading up on all the wonderful threads that have been started and evolved over this Indian winter; and boy, do I miss the cold (I am toward the south of India for a bit).

Here goes then, friends, some of the pictures that are left from that trip that now seems like a dream.

This is what I live for--to get up in the morning and see this view from the hotel window...
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Yes, these are views to die for (and to kill for!)
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And another one...
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Check this one out, T-BHPians--it just gets better and better and better
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And this from inside the room, with the windows shown. This is living nature. And loving nature.
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What's a snow-capped peak picture unless you try and get close enough to hug it with the lens?
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That's not a fuzzy or badly-focused image of a pristine mountain. That's a hill-billy bird in full flight
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When the day dawns, the stomach rumbles. When the stomach rumbles, one heads to where one gets the eats. This is where I headed that morning
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German Bakery indeed. Yummy stuff, and quite, quite satiating
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A narrow mountain lane winding its way through bucolic rusticity. This is life being lived like it truly should
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And in the midst of this all, the Indian tricolor flutters away in all its glory in the crisp mountain air
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Anyone hungry? What about some bright greens in a pot?!
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Rustic. Old world. Charming. Enervating. Invigorating. Refreshing. And bone chilling.
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Bone-chilling, I said? Strike that. Here's some badminton shuttling away in the streets.
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All the above action, and the serene mountains watch quietly
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And far away, little verdant streams gurgle their way southward, with the clear intent of refreshing someone far away
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'Greens' I said a while back?! Nah! These are 'greens'. Indeed!
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Living it up. Two little girls and a derelict motorcycle
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Four little girls. So cute. Same motorcycle
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Three young boys. No motorcycles. Only wide, wide smiles
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When in India, be Indian. Hindustaani hi nahin, yahaan angrez log bhi moochchon ko taaw dete hain!
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Look on the other side, away from the man fiddling with his moustache, and you have a little, craggy mountain
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And to the right of the little rocky glen, a nice, simple and well-maintained temple
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When the moustache and the temple happen, you forget the cold. When you suddenly feel it right and deep in the bones, you head for the tent. A cuppa hits the spot just right
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While the tent is cosy and comfy and the team warm and rejuvenating, what really makes the senses glow is the beauty outside. And what a little, cuddly beauty!
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The tents, fluttering away into the distance. Myriad colors. Same purpose--shield people from the biting wind
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That's the sun having a battle with the clouds, trying the creep its away past them and onto the waiting Earth below
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Parting shot. And what a shot! Mother Nature; what power, what beauty!
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Catch you all soon; I have truckloads of pictures still, and will be back soon. Thanks for reading.

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Old 28th March 2013, 11:18   #55
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

My apologies, friends, for the extended disappearance and not concluding this T-Log. Life took an interesting turn on the professional front, with me and Motormouth shifting to Hyderabad. But as fate and life would have it, I realized that once a Dilliwallah, always a Dilliwallah. So three months of that beautiful city and back to Delhi it was.

Both the Yeti and the Laura were dispatched to Hyderabad from Delhi by container truck. For the return trip to Delhi though, I drove them both back, over the space of a fortnight. And that taught me a lesson; India's best highway roads, perhaps, are in AP. The moment you enter Maharashtra, though, you are jolted back to reality. Drive to MP and you are caught in roads that don't justify the toll you pay; in fact, car-owners should be paid for destroying their vehicle suspensions on the potholed nightmares. There is NO ROAD between Jhansi and Gwalior. Someone began the work and stopped half-way, and its getting worse and worse. At one point on the Jhansi-Gwalior route, the NH suddenly ended up running down to a dirty, stench-filled rover, about 2-feet deep and strewn with rocks.



How does one take a Laura through this?!

But hey, this T-Log is about Delhi to Manali to Rohtang to Khoksar to Manali to Jalori Pass to Narkanda to Mashobra to Kufri to Chail and back to Delhi. So here are some more pictures of that memorable drive back from Narkanda and Mashobra, through a snow-filled Kufri and Chail.

Here's the Snowman Yeti, taking a breather after a long run in the mountains, through Jalori Pass and on to Narkanda, and finally reaching Mashobra-Naldehra
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These are some views form a little tea-shack at Naldehra. While you wait for a hot cuppa in the blistering cold, hawkers selling Shilajit and owners of half-horses keep pestering you, keen on literally taking you for a ride. In the next couple of pictures, please do not miss out the little girls sitting on the ground while their teacher holds class in their makeshift school
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And that's yours truly, bundled up as best as I could at that time, waiting for the cuppa
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And here are some shots of what we came here for; gleeful, pristine and freshly fallen snow.
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When snow falls, and then vehicles drive on it over and over, spewing black diesel smoke, this is what happens. Slush.
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Here are some pictures of the road from Mashobra, and on toward Kufri. We started off early in the day to beat the 'tourists', but founds them anway at Kufri, in their hordes and utterly chaotic in the way they blocked the way, even for vehicles that were sliding and struggling their way up on snow-laden steep inclines
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And more snow...
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The Yeti and another car cross each other cautiously. 'Cautiously' because while the Yeti held rock-solid with its all-time 4x4 and traction control et al, most other cars were sliding all over the place
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The quaint little market between Shimla and Mashobra-Kufri
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Those tiny specks are people trudging their way up to Kufri...
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...while cars also grunt and chug their way up
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The next lot of pictures are all of the 2-km ride up to Kufri from the main highway. There was snow all the way up and beyond, and most cars were sliding hither and thither while going uphill
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And there's more coming on the other side (like the picture below)! Thanks for reading...
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Old 28th March 2013, 14:13   #56
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

I have always been enamored by the mountains, ever since I first ventured out to Dharamsala on my Yamaha RX 100 in 1988.

My then Girl Friend had gone to this rustic and bucolic hill station on a school trip, and I remember riding through the day and all through the night to reach Dharamsala at 0600 hours.

I clearly remember going into Dhauladhar Hotel and cleaning up in the Restroom there, proceeding to vrooom vrooom past her hotel at 0700 hours, with the silencer 'baansuri' removed.

I distinctly remember her friends rushing excitedly to the window and waving at me; lots of giggly teenage girls.

I acutely remember her coming to her own window and looking at me.

And I permanently (and chillingly) remember her opening her petite mouth, saying: "I came on this trip only to get away from you in Delhi. You can't give me even a few days of peace?!"

And I finally remember me and my friend (who had accompanied me on the bike from Delhi) quietly retreating from the scene of the crime, my self-respect in smithreens and our tails between our legs, sitting on a verdant hillside, sipping tea. I remember him saying: "Boss, ladki neh toh thappad maar diya. Ab kya karein?"

I remember me saying: "Ghar chalte hain. But we will come back to these mountains and all the others. Again and again. Without her!"

(...as if she was pining to come with me, anyway!).

What that lovely lady did, other than giving me a rude wake-up call, was inadvertently introduce me to the mountains and make me find true love. A love that speaks in its sheer beauty and silence, and not with the acidic twist of a rude, feminine mouth!

Disclaimer: Ladies who read this, and Gents who mind, please pardon me. This is only in jest. My best friend is the lovely Ms Motormouth, featured prominently in this here T-Log.

Back to T-Log business, I was a teenager still, then, and while I most certainly lost her affections, and she mine, I did gain an innate love for all things well above Mean Sea Level, especially things with a white frosting on their heads (read snow-capped peaks). Thanks to her, I found a love that persists as vehemently and ardently as it did that fateful day, roughly 25 years back.

And here's what I saw next on that wild ride through ankle-deep slushy snow to Kufri. While mountains will always fascinate me, the rot that is spreading quick and strong worries me silly.

Where we had only nature at its most beautiful, with people enjoying that nature quietly and in their own personal, inviolate space, we now have raucous crowds, horn-blaring cars, people, animals led by people, animals not led my humans (including the two-legged kind wearing designer labels), and more people. There is a fast-vanishing sense of parking responsibly, next to no sense of hill driving or making way for ascending vehicles, and certainly no sense of giving anyone their own little space.

Some pictures to support my vitriol; While we head towards a Nature Park and calm and quiet...
Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)-dscn1485.jpg

...on a road that is lined with hard snow and slush, and is steep as well
Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)-dscn1487.jpg

You have this gentleman in a rental Sumo. Parked dead center of a road lined with slush and snow, on an incline. With the passengers arguing over the price of renting a khachchar (half-horse, half-mule) with the poor animal's owner. The Yeti made it here just fine, but the Tata Indigo behind us, which had been slithering all over the place till the driver somehow managed to climb up to this spot, almost spun off while braking to avoid me. Me, I had had no choice but to brake since Mr Sumo was there, dead center of the road.
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It was only the view all sides that stopped me from heating up on the inside...
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...Till we came across this gentleman. Same story, same argument, only the animals changed (inside and outside the car). This car's passengers wanted to sit on a yak.
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Luckily, it was heaven once we managed to creep past these lovely people who had but not a thought for anyone other than themselves
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Thanks? The pleasure was all mine, so 'Thank You Too'...
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Can anyone figure out whether this is a burrow where there's a cuddly little thing inside, or just snow cascading off a man-made object?
Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)-dscn1499.jpg

And this is the roadside for you, as only a roadside in Himachal can be in the winters. Nice.
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And that's Lady Ms Motormouth doing what she does best, when she is not speaking non-stop
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And that's the road for you, curvaceous and slushy, while the and air outside is crisp and clean
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And she being she, has to try and ensure that she gets 'captured' as many times as possible, even if she is doing the clicking herself
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And thank god for that furious clicking away, else I wouldn't have these to share
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And then, out of the blue in the middle of this wonder and yonder, comes this. TRAFFIC JAM!
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I had to get away from here. I just drove and weaved and spun and turned till I left that mess and those people behind me. It's little wonder that I don't go to the 'commercial hills' anymore. Time to pack the bags in the hotel. That done, it would be back to Kufri and on to Chail. I wasn't looking forward to the drive to Kufri, but certainly was to the drive after Kufri to Chail, where there would be no traffic to talk of, and we would have the mountains and loads of fresh snow all to ourselves. This below is what we saw on the way down to the hotel in Mashobra
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Catch you soon, for the drive from Kufri to Chail. I have pictures only till the point there was snow on the roads and mountains. The moment we 'lost' snow, we stopped clicking.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 1st April 2013, 00:00   #57
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

One hell of a TL. Buddy you know how to keep the people glued to your thread. Awesome writing. Btw do you watch Daily soaps? The teaser of whats coming next is so catchy. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

This is one reason why I love Delhi inspite of all the reasons I have for disliking it. You hit the mountains within a few hundred kms.
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Old 1st April 2013, 13:48   #58
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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 Funda View Post
One hell of a TL. Buddy you know how to keep the people glued to your thread. Awesome writing. Btw do you watch Daily soaps? The teaser of whats coming next is so catchy. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

This is one reason why I love Delhi inspite of all the reasons I have for disliking it. You hit the mountains within a few hundred kms.
Dear Funda,

Thanks for the kind words and the appreciation—I am glad you liked the T-LOG. It’s great fun to share this with fellow T-BHPians as well, for it makes the one writing relive the whole trip, again and again. In this T-LOG, there’s a bit more to come, on that wonderful ride from Kufri to Chail on roads and mountains bedecked with fresh, pristine snow—untouched by human hands or feet, or by the black acrid smoke belched out by passing diesel vehicles.

You are right, Funda, Delhi’s proximity to the hills is a blessing for those who like being at least a couple of 1,000 mts above MSL! Having fixed myself on the professional front, when I was considering returning to Delhi from Hyderabad, one of the aspects that swayed the decision in favor of Delhi was the fact that the odd weekend could again be spent in the hills—be it in Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttarakhand or anywhere else.

Don’t get me wrong, what I saw of Hyderabad in three months I loved—right from Banjara Hills to Tolly Chowky, Yerragada to Somajiguda, and Bachupalli to Khairatabad. Most important, the average person on the street is a genuine human being, unlike in most parts of North India. So my personal thank you to every person who made my short stay in that beautiful city so pleasurable. And Hyderabad’s cars… Phew, they make a mockery of every other city in India, Delhi and Mumbai included! And Andhra highways—the best in the country!!

As for watching soaps, no, I don’t, at all—at least not the Hindi ones. Far too much of the tear-jerker kinds. I do watch English serials though, and they are fast becoming a mini-rendition of our own Hindi saas-bahu types. Perhaps that is where the inspiration comes from!

Thanks again, Funda, for writing in.

PS: Love your signature—how so very completely and totally true. I travel to GO. I travel for travel’s sake!

Fantastic.
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Old 1st April 2013, 21:19   #59
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Default Re: Lightning strikes twice! 3-Day Delhi-Manali trip twice in a month (Skoda Yeti)

Great TL rajeevn.
I loved the way you write and I absolutely agree with you on the point that with whatever negatives Delhi has, your accessibility to the Himalayas makes you not really want to leave it.
The snowman is the car to the drive these parts. My absolute favorite drive in the hills.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 10:25   #60
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Great TL rajeevn.
I loved the way you write and I absolutely agree with you on the point that with whatever negatives Delhi has, your accessibility to the Himalayas makes you not really want to leave it.
The snowman is the car to the drive these parts. My absolute favorite drive in the hills.
Thanks, Baddychat, for the encouraging feedback.

Yes, Delhi has its one big plus point; in its proximity to the hills. And I intend to take advantage of that this weekend... Perhaps a quick trip to Chail or Rishikesh, before the summer really sets in and one has to go to the higher reaches to get away from the scorching heat. Since I am in a new job, don't want to apply for leaves anytime soon; so just the weekend it has to be, with Friday evening thrown in...
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