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Old 24th January 2019, 12:50   #1
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Default McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

There is some story telling involved, bear with me please. Please do ignore the bad quality of the photos (at least I could clicked few - you will know why at the end of the story).

Also, apologies in advance as you may not find finer details of the roads, hotels and so on like most of the travelogues on our forum. I am not good at keeping track of such important stuff.

McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a64f.jpg

In May of 2018, our dear friend announced his wedding with location as HP state. So it was indeed a right decision to be friends with him is what we three (we are a group of four bffs) could conclude after more than a decade. The wedding venue was a border town in HP just few kms away from PB border. In fact, it was right next to the pong dam.

We wanted to make most of this opportunity as going all the way to HP from Pune just for the wedding wouldn’t be so motivating. I mean who spends so much time and money to witness your bestie getting culled?

So we thought of various places to visit. Right from Leh till Amritsar everything was discussed over conference calls (one of us lives in another part (read town) of the MH state, God knows why). However, we finalised on Mcloedganj, Dharamshala and few places nearby and then the wedding (if time permits) and back to Pune.

Next challenge was to convince the ladies at respective homes about how boring this trip would be and it is purely a formality of attending the wedding. It wasn’t easy but we managed eventually. And so it became a boys only trip!

Initially, the plan was to drive all the way from Pune to Mcloedganj and then to the wedding venue and back. But that was a tricky part: should we risk the whole boys trip for this?

The situation was comparable to this: a toddler trying to steal a cookie from a jar in the middle of night. Once he is successful in getting one out without any noise, the greed creeps in. Now the question is whether to go for another one by risking the one in hand or be happy with just one. Like a smart toddler (however, it’s debatable in case of some of us) we deiced to be happy with one only.

So we finalised to fly down to Delhi and drive from there to Mcloedganj same day, spend a day in Mcloedganj and then drive down to the wedding next day and day after drive back to Delhi to catch a late night flight.

The itiernery:

20-July-2018: Reach Delhi airport early morning. Then pick-up car from self-drive rental (Aerocity) and drive down to Mcloedganj directly.
21-July-2018: Spend whole day in Mcloedganj
22-July-2018: Early morning trek (one of us wanted to do this. Remember smart-toddler-debatable thing?). Then drive down to the wedding venue. Try to reach there by late afternoon as the wedding was at night.
23-July-2018: Early morning drive to Delhi to reach airport before evening to catch flight for Pune.

After somehow twisting Google maps to show the travel time as 5-6 hours from Delhi to Mcloedganj, we got the final approval from the ladies for this plan. So finally we can now eat the cookie in peace.

The not-living-in-Pune friend decided to take an overnight train to Delhi instead of flight due to time convenience. Perks of staying in small towns.

I took a flight to Delhi on 19th evening partly for the reason of taking rest and partly due to “Maaj” ("masti" in hindi). Reached Delhi airport around 9pm and took Uber to the hotel which was 10-15 mins away. Checked-in and dozed off after having a ok-ok meal at the hotel.

The third friend decided to land early morning on 20th and reach my hotel around 9am. By that time I had already picked-up self-rental Terrano. I had booked the vehicle online from MyChoize and got it for 9k total excluding fuel for four days. The pick-up experience was good. It was done in 15 mins and the executive was patient to answer all my questions.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a573.jpg

He also proactively asked me to video tape the car from 360 deg to avoid any issues later on.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a578.jpg

The vehicle pick-up point was just a stone's throw distance from the hotel. I was back to the hotel to have breakfast with the other friend and then checked-out.

While giving the car for valet parking, the valet initially thought I am taxi driver looking at yellowish plates. I was surprised as self-rental in common in Delhi is what I was told. Anyways, I still tip him.

So we were on our way from Aerocity at around 10am. The friend-in-train was about to reach around 10am at main train station in Delhi. We had two options to pick him up that is either the train station or ask him to get to Pitampura (last metro station towards North) and pick him up there.

We decided for Pitampura. Now, here our town friend shows his pedestrian skills. We explicitly asked him to stand on left side of the road and at least 100m away from the end point of flyover.

This was the outcome:
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-untitled2.jpg

Delhi is not equal to his town is what we tried to explain him for the rest of the journey.

Pick-up sorted (albeit with some verbal abusing), we hit the straight NH-44 towards Chandigarh. Enroute we decided to have lunch. Two were in favour of non-veg while the unskilled pedestrian was in favour of veg simply to be able to eat at his suggested place. We were surprised to note that almost all Dhabbas on that road serve pure-veg only.

We zeroed on “Amrik Sukhdev” which had lip smacking food. I would rate it 10/10 on taste, service and quantity.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a668.jpg

McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a66a.jpg

McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a666.jpg

McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-screenshot-20190124-12.42.56-pm.png

I mean when we asked for extra butter for the paratha, we got a whole bowl full of desi butter. If we try this in Pune, we will be given half a spoon of Amul butter with dirtiest possible looks and a verbal degradation thrown in if the place is anywhere close to old Pune. Only thing that wasn’t up to the mark was paan which we had outside the Dhabba. Well, sorry Pune for the bashing in earlier sentence, you rock when it comes to Paan.

So with our tummies full, we embarked on our further journey at around 2pm. We crossed in to HR state and stopped for a quick bio break plus “Shikanji-soda” break. After almost 20 years, I had “Goti” soda drink. Brought back lovely memories from childhood. Not that we are anywhere close to being a grown-ups now, but some external factors have changed for sure.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a664.jpg

This whole time I was driving and it was concluded that it should be me who will drive all the way. For me there are only two options when traveling in a car. Either I drive or ride shotgun. I simply can not sit at the rear. But that was not the issue. Having a GPS-is-God kind of believing friend as your navigator is surely asking for trouble. But as the road was pretty clear from the beginning, it wasn’t an issue. GPS was stored safely in the pocket.

Call us fools or lazy, but even after warning from the self-rental guy, we did not take online state tax for PB & HP. We missed the small and conspicous tax booth while entering Chandigarh. And as luck will have it, we were flagged down by cops. After negotiating, they let us go by paying some “fine” and asked us to get the tax receipt made at next counter which was 3kms from that place. We drove at 4kmph speed (much to unpleasant amusement of other patrons on road) to absolutely not miss that counter. And again, it was a tiny tin shade booth which is practically not possible to notice while driving. Got down, paid the tax and on our way to HP.

While entering HP, there are two type of fees. One is toll and another is state tax. After our fiasco we were super alert about any tolls or such. In fact, in over excitement I was about to pay extra toll at one location. However, we paid the toll plus state tax for a week and on our way to Dharamshala.

Last edited by the_skyliner : 31st January 2019 at 15:48.
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Old 25th January 2019, 10:17   #2
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Default re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

Let me run through the technicalities of the trip as it might get boring to just listen to a story without any petrol-headness.

Somewhere on NH44:
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a652.jpg

The route that we took:
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-screenshot-20190125-9.13.18-am.png

Aerocity, Delhi >> Ambala >> Chandigarh >> Anandpur Sahib >> Amb >> Dharamshala >> Mcloedganj

Mcloedganj >> Kangra Fort >> Dramman >>Pong Dam HPTDC resort

Pong Dam HPTDC resort >> Hajipur >> Jalandar >> Ludhiana >> Ambala >> Aerocity metro station, Delhi

Road condition:
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a645.jpg

NH44 is as good as it gets. And we traveled most of the 1200 kms on it so it was all good. Very less traffic. In fact, we didn't encounter traffic anywhere in the whole journey. Interior roads in HP are decent. Nothing to complain about. Two lanes at most places but good quality tarmac. Again, very less traffic overall.

However, one has to be careful about driving on steep climbs in Mcloedganj. It can get more than just challenging if you have a low powered vehicle. Terrano was not bad but the issue was with semi-worn out clutch. Also, turbo in smaller engine works against you in hills as there is a "dead zone" before the turbo kicks-in.

We saw that most of the taxis where old generation Altos (one of my all time favourite cars) which makes complete sense in those areas.

Terrano was amazing in terms of ride comfort and handling. It handles like a hatchback so you can confidently throw it around the corners. Please I feel it offers top class ride comfort. Way better than many upper segment cars/SUVs. It can make a fantastic beater car.

The only issue we faced was about the airbag warning light. Which appeared somewhere near fag end of our first leg of the journey. It used to disappear after a while but did show up in between for the rest of the journey.

Total distance travel by road: 1200 kms

Total time on road: 10 + 4 + 8 = 22 hours

Cost of rental Terrano for four days: 9k + state taxes worth 1.5k or so.

Total fuel consumption = 90-100 litres

Our hotel in Mcloedganj: 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel. This hotel is run by a family and has a warm and friendly feel to it. The view from room is good however there are obstructions due to new buildings. Breakfast was okay with pancakes being the best of the lot. Location wise, this is a pretty good option in Mcloedganj save for the tricky parking and super steep approach. The town centre point was 10 mins walk for the hotel. Rooms are very clean and comfortable for 2-3 people or a small family.

Cost of hotel: 3k for two nights for three people. The actual rate was 3-4k per night but our Google-review baba got us a super deal by the means of a complex algorithm of CC reward points, online deals and some coupons. We didn't take efforts to understand the technicalities but suggested him to look for better deals in future (praising spoils our friend fast).

Our resort near Pong dam: HPTDC- Maharana Pratap Sagar camping Site and Cafe

Cost of resort: Zero. Paid by the Groom. There had to be some benefit of attending the wedding after all.

Cost of food: Around 6-7k altogether.

Total cost of the trip for all three excluding the flights: approximately 28k
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Old 31st January 2019, 17:11   #3
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Default re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

We reached Dharamshala around 9pm. It was dark with very little traffic on road. We reached a point where I got the taste of first incline which looked as a very steep climb and narrow road. Out of us three, I am the most averse of taking risks so I asked some folks there if there is an alternate route to Mcloedganj. There was one but around 5-6 kms lengthier than this one.

Both friends were forcing me to take the shorter one and be adventurous. But I rejected and took the lengthier but safer route. Lame, I know but with age comes wisdom (Thank you, Johnny English Reborn) which unfortunately is not true for the other three. While they kept cribbing about how big a cry baby I am, I was engaged in getting these folks to the hotel ASAP so that they will stop cribbing. Food, rather lack of it, does funny things to our friends.

We reached the top finally at 10pm and after much efforts found a parking spot right in the main square. Mcloedganj, like any other popular mountain town, is super crowded and with lots of vehicles pouring it makes it difficult to find place for parking. Then we moved to a local restaurant and had noodles, soup and chicken. As we all were quite hungry, the food tasted awesome. But I doubt it was any better than what we get in Pune in any basic Chinese joint.

Dinner sorted, we moved to the hotel which was 5 mins from that place. Again on a very, very steep decline. The attendant of hotel was waiting for us at the gate (as we called him few mins ago) and showed a parking spot. Again, super tight spot for parking with no room for error. However, good part is that we could see the car from our room. It’s like parking dream come true for me.

We were so tired that without further arguments we dozed off. Only to be woken up by king size snoring of our friend. But somehow we all had a good sleep and were up by 6am.

We decided to not have breakfast at the hotel and go to a famous cafe called "Lhamo's Croissant". It was some 15 mins walk from our hotel but all uphill.

At the cafe we had croissant which our friend (not the town one) pronounced as “Kro-sa-nt”. Plus coffee and some cake. Taste was different and good but nothing to write home about (yet here I am writing).
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a642.jpg
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a637.jpg

The place was a two story house with a very homely feel to it. The host was very friendly and welcoming.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a646.jpg

Next, we debated (yes we love that) about what to do. Whether to visit waterfalls first or go to uphill for lunch at a cafe with awesome view. At the mention of food, the argument came to an end.

After a hike of almost 30 mins, we reached the cafe Morgan which was situated right on the cliff and offered bird-eye view of the town below.

Here we came to know about the ulteir motives of our friend from town. He wanted us to come here to see the base of a trek which he wanted us to undertake next morning. Trek? Exercise on holidays? Who does that? But we decided not to argue just yet as there is whole day ahead of us to tear in to each other’s plans/wishes. And besides we wanted to have lunch.

We had pizzas and some drinks when it started raining.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a625.jpg

Not too much but enough to take the beautiful view away from us.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a626.jpg

Without letting our spirits down we decided to move out of the cafe to explore more places. We decided to visit the falls. Went downhill from another route and was much shorter than the one we took uphill. This happens regularly with us. Life.

As expected we were hungry in about 15 mins after lunch. So we stopped at a cafe mid-way and had some snacks plus coffee. It was okay, nothing special.

On our way to falls, another argument broke about cloths. Whether we should manage with small napkins and no extra cloths or get it from the hotel. As hotel as few meters away, we decided against it. Who will take a detour of 50m?

So off we went to the falls.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a5b6.jpg

McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a60b.jpg

McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a5b1.jpg

What we didn’t know that it was few thousands steps up. I had thoughts of giving up and returning multiple times Enroute but to avoid the risk of getting another loser award, I marched on. We reached at the top. The other two decided to take a dip in that ice cold water. Why? Well, I have stopped asking this question to myself a long time ago. My only wish was not to get another loser award so I pretended to be interested and entered in the water to just sit on the rocks with legs in that ice cold water. But it indeed was refreshing. Water was crystal clear and flowing with decent pace.

We also had some snacks (how can we not) at the small shack and decided to return to the town to explore more food options. It was 4pm by then.

We were back to the town around 5 and went straight to the Dalai Lama temple which was super hyped by our fourth friend whose wedding got us here. We had our doubts already as he was insisting on not missing this one. As expected, we were disappointed. No offence, but the monks didn’t seem genuine. All that shouting and verbal fighting seemed fake and over the top.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a5ab.jpg

Anyways, we didn’t waste this opportunity and called our friend immediately to show our displeasure in way that is not possible to mention here. With completely satisfied with our action of taking his 30 mins of time over call a day before wedding, we moved on to our next cafe (Cafe Illiterati).

It was some 2kms from the temple and again on an edge of a cliff. But really, it was a waste of time. No real good options to eat and the ambience was a little funny. A mid aged couple was sitting next to us giving us funny looks and pretending to read some book and trying to look rich. What we observed is that none of them turned a single page in the 15 mins that we were there. High? May be.

So then it was already 8pm and we were super tired. An app on my mobile (installed by wife) showed that we walked 16 kms! I immediately took a screenshot of it to WhatsApp back home to earn some brownie points. A married person has only two basic jobs. A day job to earn living and all-time job to earn brownie points.

For our dinner we decided to go to a Korean joint which was just next to our hotel. Found it after some back and forth walking and got a place to sit. This place was nice and different. They had some board games kept in shelf for customers to play while they wait for food to arrive. One of us took out the one game to play. After 45 mins of reading instructions the friend and our collective IQ, we could not figure out how to play and moreover why to play? So while keeping the game box back in shelf, our friend smartly hid the “5+” years tag on the box.

Food was okay.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a5a3.jpg

Again, nothing that one will not find in a city like Pune. So it was not surprising that our friend-from-town found it great. So we let him be in his illusion.

Now, came the most crucial part of the trip. Trekking. To do or not to do was the question. Rather it was question for one of us as the other two were sure of not getting involved in any kind of physical activity. 16kms walking in a day, we are done for a month in fact.

It was difficult to convince our friend to skip trekking, so we let it be and prayed for the next best thing. That he wakes up late and then there will be no chance.

Last edited by the_skyliner : 31st January 2019 at 18:06.
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Old 31st January 2019, 17:53   #4
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Default re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

True to his past record, he gets up way past the planned start time for trek. Now, any normal person would accept the mistake and move on. But no, no. We are talking about a seasoned actor here. He spent next two hours (and spoiled our breakfast fun too) about why he dropped the trek plan due to his stomach upset and not because he overslept.

Without much listening to the made-up explanation, we started packing and went for breakfast. It was a limited menu, but nice breakfast.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a59c.jpg
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a58c.jpg

It started raining heavily as we were about to finish the breakfast. Our car was parked just 3.5 meters from the hotel gate.

Here is a diagram:
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-untitled2.jpg

There was a super narrow road to exit and the car was parked correctly in that direction. Any sane person would have just taken the luggage to the car and drive off even if it was raining heavily. Plus there was the attendant ready to help with luggage as well as umbrella. But our great friend had a genius idea to save us from the efforts of carrying the luggage to the car (again, 3.5 meters away and total luggage was 2.5 bag packs - of the size of laptop bags).

I cautioned him as there was one way and super narrow road on a super incline stretch. But no, listening to each others sane advice is not something we are used to.

He reverses the Terrano after 4-5 point turns with black smoke coming out of the exhaust and proudly parks it in front of the gate. Literally, in 30 seconds, there was a traffic jam of 10-15 cars on that super-inclined road. We are screwed!

Then started a marathon of putting stones in front of the wheels revving the car to max, half-clutching and what not. All this was absolutely unnecessary. Something which our friend never accepted.

After removing the car from the way of oncoming vehicles, we let all the cars go. The looks those drivers gave us (especially me because I was in their line of sight) can beat any Pune shop owner hands down. At one point I was waiting for someone to throw something (leftover and all) at us. Thankfully, nothing of that sort happened.

Once the road was cleared, we took the car back to the parking spot only to learn that there is no road from that side. After few pace-palms, our friend turned the car back and without losing momentum drove it to city exit point 2 kms away. Me and other friend walked to that spot and from there bid our good-byes to a nice town of Mcloedganj and on our way to the wedding town.

As per the my friends, there was some time in between which we can utilise to visit some place. Wedding town was some 2 hours from there and it was 10am. Our friend had asked us to reach there by 3pm. So technically we had 5 hours but as per my friend we had 8 hours. How? The answer was: what will we do there? My response: it’s his wedding for God’s sake, a few hours time with him before the wedding would be nice. Friends: Let’s go to the Bhakhra dam, its just 3 hours from here. What did I tell you about the not listening part?

However, after some arguments, we dropped the idea of visiting dam and instead we decided to visit Kangra fort.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a589.jpg
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a580.jpg

Absolute waste of time is what it tuned out to be. Our town friend didn’t shy away from getting an audio guide. So we made him our guide. He used to pause the audio and explain to us the significance of each spot in the fort. However, the spot and story never matched. At some gate, he was explaining how the Rani jumped in to the well. We started looking for some well hidden in the gate somewhere. But no, no luck. When we found the well few meters away he was talking about how a particular pillar was built. So like a misguided missile, we let him be.

Fort out of the way, we finally started our journey to the wedding town. On our way to Pong dam resort, we witnessed some river and valleys. Few spots were worthy of a stop so we took few mins breaks in between to soak in the beauty of the place.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a591.jpg

It was some 2.5 hours from the fort and it was around 1pm. We decided to have lunch in between. However, as we didn’t have any knowledge of the place, we let our GPS-loving friend work with his phone. After 3 failed attempts, we finally zeroed on a Dhabba which was few kilometres away. We have this habit of judging the quality of food served based on the how full the parking is or how less show the Dhabba/restaruant puts up. We had already rejected 3 options based on this undeniable science and were skeptical about the 4th one too. 4th didn’t even had a parking and was a hole-in-a-wall kind of Dhabba. Such places can be insanely bad or insanely good. It was the latter! Yey!

The owner was chef himself and he had only two options. Mutton or veg. Without letting our exceptions go out of control, we ordered three Mutton thalis and hoped it to be edible at least. It was the best food of the trip! Simply amazing. And he served us hot rotis and considered all our request of: “bhaiya, jarra kadak roti do”, “muje, normal roti do”, “thoda, pyaaz do” and what not.
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a575.jpg
McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh-unadjustednonraw_thumb_a56f.jpg

After, this sumptuous meal, we concluded that the trip was worth it and even if we skip the wedding now, it should be fine. But as the wedding town was on our way to Delhi, we thought why not. And so we reached the wedding town around 4pm. Not before stopping enroute and contemplating whether to climb a small rock patch or not. For a change I wanted to but the other two were too full with that delicious meal that we let it go.

Wedding was in a town but the staying arrangement was right next to the Pong dam. It was a resort with multiple tents and our friend had booked all of those. We three got one for ourselves and decided to doze off. But now that the forth one was there, how can he let us be in peace? He came to us armed with emotional blackmailing about decorating his wedding car. Yaha pe bhi kaam karvaye ga tu? Anyways, our GPS-baba is also a Google review baba, so he searched for some places where we can get flowers. We found two options. One was in a town near wedding town and another was in PB which means we have to cross state border. The one near wedding town seemed to be more sensible option but we didn’t want to lose an opportunity to earn the right to win the title of “friends who cross borders for friend”.

Shockingly, there was not a single florist in any of the nearby towns. So the Google baba was confused and started questioning his faith on Google reviews. GPS was still safe.

So we decided to buy ribbons and stuff. It took us good 3 hours to get this and be back to resort. As it was late, we decided to decorate the car at the wedding spot itself. We got ready and jumped in to the car and the convey of 10-12 cars head to the wedding. Our Groom would have never felt so important in his life like that day. We didn’t spoil his day by letting him know this.

After artistically decorating the car (half windows covered with ribbons and rest left untouched - who will take efforts of getting another ribbon), and a good meal at wedding, we decided to head back to the resort around midnight.

While we were driving back, we suddenly cam across a bunch of wild deers. They were crossing the road and seemed to be not bothered by our car. I asked friend at shot-gun to click pics. Any normal person with iPhone or the likes today will be able to click a photo in approximately, 10 seconds. Our friend took 30 seconds to reach the camera app.
Will explain:

The normal procedure of clicking a photo on iPhone SE:
- Press the home button
- Slide the screen up
- Select camera app
- Press the “Big” white button

This is what our friend did (please bear with me (or him)):
- Press the home button
- Punch in unlock code
- Suddenly realise it is not required, so hastily sweep the screen from downward
- Nothing happened as the unlock code screen was active
- Go back to lock position
- Put unlock code
- 17 notifications on the screen
- Closed them all and by mistake press select on one of them
- Enter some unknown app
- Exit the app
- Locate camera
- Enter video mode
- Exit camera app
- Enter camera app
- Deer gone

The other friend and me: Face-palm! We didn’t say anything. Partly, we because we were tired and partly because we were in utter shock that such photography skills could exist.

As we moved a km ahead, guess what? Yes, we saw another bunch of deers standing in the middle of the road. This time our photographer friend was successful in getting to the camera in less than 30 seconds but just by 2 seconds only. Outcome: a blurred photo of deer’s tail and leg which can be easily mistaken for a bush and leaves.

We reached the resort around 1am and dozed off. Last argument of the day was the starting time for the journey to Delhi. I wanted to leave as early as possible while the other two wanted to leave at a later time so that we can enjoy the trill of missing our flights.

However, we could leave on time thanks to the greed for tea and snacks. We packed, had tea and left around 7am. After one overspending ticket, one worst meal of the trip, two re-fuelings and 600kms we reached Aerocity metro station ahead of our scheduled arrival by an hour or so. Handed the car to MyChoize executive who was equally good and the process took just 10 mins.

We took metro to the airport and killed some time there before proceeding to our respective gates for boarding.

This was my first encounter with the mighty Himalayas (if I can call it an encounter). It was mesmerising and I can see myself coming back to the North more often than any other place on the planet!

One short but fine trip came to an end. Next one will follow soon…..(sssssuh, the ladies are listening).
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Old 31st January 2019, 19:37   #5
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Default re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

Note from Support: Thread moved to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 1st February 2019, 08:38   #6
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Our car was parked just 3.5 meters from the hotel gate. Here is a diagram
Your drawing skills are too good, how about creating few for educated drivers/owners from Pune.

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We got ready and jumped in to the car and the convey of 10-12 cars head to the wedding.
Where is the photo of decorated car(s)?

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I asked friend at shot-gun to click pics.
This is hilarious.

Hoping that you had as much fun with your close friends as me reading this travelogue.
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Old 1st February 2019, 10:36   #7
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Default re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

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Your drawing skills are too good, how about creating few for educated drivers/owners from Pune.
Sir, I can't even draw a straight line.

This is MS paint's skills.

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Where is the photo of decorated car(s)?
Will post soon but will need some disclaimers.

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This is hilarious.

Hoping that you had as much fun with your close friends as me reading this travelogue.
Glad you enjoyed! We were laughing our guts out. I had to park the car on the side for few mins to calm myself down.
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Old 1st February 2019, 12:33   #8
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Default re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

I enjoyed reading the travelogue.
I can imagine your struggle on the steep incline road of Mcloedgunj while loading the luggage and the mini traffic jam that got created it. The nimble and small altos are fit for that steep incline road to Mcloedgunj.
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Old 1st February 2019, 13:17   #9
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Default Re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

I enjoyed reading your live narration. Those food photographs were mouthwatering. A road trip with friends always has its own charm. We end up doing absurd things. Believe me, that iPhone camera thing happened with me many times.

Thanks for this travelogue, the_skyliner. However, I accepted more photographs of mountains of Mcloedgand.
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Old 1st February 2019, 14:02   #10
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Default Re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

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I enjoyed reading the travelogue.
I can imagine your struggle on the steep incline road of Mcloedgunj while loading the luggage and the mini traffic jam that got created it. The nimble and small altos are fit for that steep incline road to Mcloedgunj.
Thanks! Being an Alto fan myself, it was fun to watch them in action on the challenging terrain.

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Thanks for this travelogue, the_skyliner. However, I accepted more photographs of mountains of Mcloedgand.
Sure, will add more pics once I get them from friends. However, there is less chance to click mountains from the town of Mcloedganj. I guess one has to undertake the Triund trek to be able to do that.

May be next time.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 23:29   #11
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Default Re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

Nice travelogue!

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We reached Dharamshala around 9pm. It was dark with very little traffic on road. We reached a point where I got the taste of first incline which looked as a very steep climb and narrow road. Out of us three, I am the most averse of taking risks so I asked some folks there if there is an alternate route to Mcloedganj. There was one but around 5-6 kms lengthier than this one.

Both friends were forcing me to take the shorter one and be adventurous. But I rejected and took the lengthier but safer route. Lame, I know but with age comes wisdom (Thank you, Johnny English Reborn) which unfortunately is not true for the other three.

Here are few clips from the shorter route captured during my drive. Yes, this route is not an easy one, especially with traffic on both sides. Local taxis will keep pushing you from behind.







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Old 3rd February 2019, 11:04   #12
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Default Re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

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True to his past record, he gets up way past the planned start time for trek...


A good read and your friends seems to be good at keeping you well entertained.

Food from that hole-in-a-wall looks
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Old 3rd February 2019, 12:57   #13
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Very well written and interesting narration !
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Old 3rd February 2019, 15:46   #14
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The shorter route from Dharamshala to McLo is just not worth the trouble. Also it was good that you reached so late. Otherwise you might have had to waste some of your time in the jam that is ever present during day time. I have been coming to this area since 20 yrs and now reside over here but have never been to Kangra Fort myself. Just never seemed worth it. If you come over next time, try visiting Bir-Billing, Barot Valley and/or Parashar Lake. Much more beautiful and relaxed than the crowded McLo.
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Old 4th February 2019, 00:00   #15
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Default Re: McLeod Ganj with friends and a wedding in Himachal Pradesh

Extremely well written and hilarious! I could sense your excitement while reading through and you captured live moments perfectly. This trip will be cherished in your memories forever!
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