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Old 8th June 2009, 15:00   #136
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This seems like a great Idea. I was staying at Kothi, and had to waste 2 hours inside manali due to jams.
I guess when I go to Ladakh, I will just stick to the right side of Beas(while coming from Delhi), and meet the main highway only after manali!
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Old 8th June 2009, 15:59   #137
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Originally Posted by rajneeesh View Post
I would like to know the best route to follow A detailled description with distances would be much appreciated.

I would also appreciate if you could indicate the places to stop enroute for food and toilet breaks ( I will be travelling with my wife and two young sons). Thanks!
Route -

Noida - Byepass - Karnal - Ambala : 220 km - 3 hrs . I'll suggest you to start at 3 am in order beat traffic till Ambala & believe me you'll enjoy the route more, also reaching early at the destination means you get more options for accomodation & price negotiation ( unless you have a booking in advance)

Ambala - Banur- Kharar(as per link posted by tsk): 48 km - 45 min. OR Ambala- Chandigarh - Kharar:65 km - 1.15 hrs because this includes driving though Chandigarh @ speed< 50kmph

Kharar - Ropar - Kiratpur: 60 km - 1hr - four laning of road is in progress

Kiratpur - swarghat - Bilaspur: 58 km - 1.45 hrs

Bilaspur - Sundernagar - Mandi: 69 km - 2 hrs

Mandi- Pandoh - Bhunter: 60 km - 1.15 hrs

Bhunter - Kullu: 10 km - you have a option of taking Left bank road.

Kullu - Manali : 40 km - 1 hr - depends on breaks & traffic jams

Left bank road can also be accesed via new bridge after Kullu town & Patlikoohl ( 15km after Kullu)

Regarding food & breaks-

@ tsk - Starting from Where I Left In Post No.123

@rajneesh - Till Ambala, you can follow what Tanveer has suggested.You can add Nirulas at Panipat but at the cost of skipping the beautiful flyover. Apart from Jhilmil at Karnal ( which has become overhyped), Neelkanth restaurant just before Karnal byepass on RHS is a good option.

(A simple funda of knowing how good a eating joint could be is to have a glimpse at cleaniness in their operational & cleaning areas)

Beyond Ambala, there are lot of dhabas & restaurants till Manali but mostly selling lousy food. But there are a few of them which provide a reasonably better food stuff.

Since my work involves frequent travels to Himachal & especially Kullu district ( of late I prefer flying up to Bhunter to stay afresh & avoid fatigue ), I have zeroed down on certain places as the stoppages whenever travelling by road.

So, my suggestions for a family travelling on this route are as below:

A. Ambala - Ropar - Kiratpur:

Just after crossing Kurali bridge & toll booth , there is a restaurant ( unable to recollect the name) on LHS( within 100 mtr distance from the toll booth), serves good quality food, the ingredients used are very close to home made food.Butter & Karahi Chicken dishes are good. The place also has a few guest room, swimming pool ( built in Punjabi style) & a small lawn in front with swings etc. for children.

Don't: Don't stop at any dhaba/ restaurant on Ropar - Kiratpur route ( even 5 km after that too), they all sell lousy food.And especially in the evenings do not stop at any decent looking restaurant between CHD-Ropar, you can encounter groups of people having drinks.Though harmless in this region of country but never take a risk with family.

B. Kiratpur - Bilaspur - Sundernagar - Mandi:

1. HPTDC Hotel Hilltop at Swarghat:
Swarghat is 18 km from Kiratpur.Food quality is average but better than having anywhere else.

I would like to mention that most of the HPTDC restaurants serve fresh food unlike others which use pre- stored ready to mix stuff. So, be ready for long wait ( >45 min) after your order.
A bit OT though, IMO the top of the list HPTDC restaurants in terms of food quality are at Dhauladhar (Dharmsala), Sutlej cafe near Bushehr residency ( Rampur), Tea-bud ( Palampur) & The Hatu ( Narkanda).

Surprisingly, in Shimla & Manali it is the the other way around, may be as there are plenty of other contenders too.

2. Midway at Slapper:
Since you will be needing a break after crawling behind several Cement carrying trucks till Barmana ( 22km after Bilaspur), the Midway restaurant is ideal place for a break. Situated on LHS of NH-21, 5 km from sutlej bridge/ Kol dam Junction, this is a AC restaurant, serves reasonably good food & accepts credit cards.
In case you miss this place & need a break, don't worry, just 8 km afterwards there is a small hotel called Raja international, the owner himself told us that he is determined to serve best quality food to his customers.The place is not like a Dhaba & has good seating too.

3. Vista resorts: 5 km short of Mandi, this place serves awesome vegeterian food.Nice lawns & good ambience too.

Don't: You'll be tempted to stop at Sagar View restaurant, just 2-3 km after crossing Bilaspur town. Other than nice toilets, they don't have to offer anything else. Yes, on a clear evening one can try beautiful shots of Gobind sagar lake's end. For a real good view of this lake, there is a different route though. Also, don't stop at road side dhabas till Mandi.

C. Mandi- Pandoh- Aut - Bhunter- Kullu -Manali:

It would be better, if you don't stop till Bhunter apart from a small break for Darshan at Hanogi mata temple. As per locals, it is a ritual to stop at this place whenever one crosses this road. At Bhunter, you can have food at Hotel Amit near Manikaran road start point. If you are willing to strech your budget ( reasonably), try Apple Valley resorts 5 km before Kullu.

After crossing Aut, the food & toilet things will become seconday, You'll be overwhelmed by the picturesque Kullu Valley. Just stop anywhere & enjoy. Manali town can give Connaught Place a close fight when it comes to restaurants. And yes, there is a small Tibetan food joint located near Prini on the way to Club mahindra cottages. The lady owner serves delighful food.
On the way to Manikaran, don't try any food stuff at Jari, Kasol, you can 'chhakko Langar' at Gurudwara. Enjoy your trip.

Last edited by breezydrive : 8th June 2009 at 16:11. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old 8th June 2009, 16:56   #138
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Excellent advice breezy. While going Manali side we always used to eat while in PB or Haryana itself, since decent food is so rare on that highway!
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Old 8th June 2009, 17:37   #139
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Tanveer/ Breezy,

Thanks a lot for your inputs. I will travel a lot more confidently as I would not have to spend time looking for the best places to eat or the best route to follow.
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