Ever wonder what traveling in India is like? Here’s a glimpse from Patricia’s travels!
Have a wonderful Friday and weekend!
Guest Post – India by Patricia
We finished our desert trip and went back to Delhi to re-group. Once again we booked a car and driver (Bikram) and this time we went north, our final destination being Manali. The first couple of days were in the Corbett National Tiger Reserve where we took a jeep safari in hopes of seeing one of these beautiful animals. Well honestly there was more wildlife in our hotel room than in the park! Us two city slickers were stalking around the room with murder in our hearts as we were trying to eradicate all interlopers. I thought I had done a clean sweep but as I was in bed reading my kindle a cockroach landed on chapter 4 and I almost lost it. Oh well…India….Right
Next: off to Rishikesh. This was where the Beatles came to seek enlightenment with the Majarisha Yogi and apparently where they wrote most of their “White Album”. Right next to it is Hairdwar the second most holy city in India. (Varanasi is 1st) At night we went down to the Ghats along the Ganges and along with a thousand other people cleansed our sins and did a puja (prayer) for loved ones etc. The group energy was very intense and it was a really fantastic experience.
By the way my camera has packed it in……….sorry about the photo thing.
After that we were bound for the famous Hill Stations of the British Days. First stop Shimla; an ethereal place built on a steep mountainside reached by driving on a zig zagging road up and up to it. Until that point we had been ahead of the monsoons but now they caught up with us big time. There was a huge deluge and all the views were obscured so we cut our visit short by a day and headed up to Manali. A breathtaking drive through the Himalayas on the way. Manali is kind of a hippie dippee place with all kinds of adventure opportunities like backpacking, trekking, zorbing, paragliding, rafting, lots of yoga retreats, lots of dope and mostly a younger crowd of travelers. We are none of those so ……. Anyway it still keeps raining and raining and we decide after a couple of days to head to Dharamsala (home of the Dali Lama). After three days of torrential downpours the road is a nightmare. Right off the bat there are huge boulders and rocks on the road. The Beas River was really high and raging away with lots of places that the water had already crossed. This road is terrible at the best of times and I asked our driver if maybe we should go to Delhi instead of Dharmasala because possibly the road would be better and he said it should be ok because” it was raining up not down”. Makes sense I think??? After that we drove through huge patch of water that had overflowed the river’s bank. Made it through ok but was a bit nervous. Then awhile after that we hit a massive traffic jam where the river had washed out part of the road. Cars were braving the water one at a time with both sides trying to get ahead of each other before it became completely impassable. Spectators line the bank and shout out encouragement if anyone gets into trouble, which of course we did. Right in the middle we got hung up on some rocks and couldn’t move forward or back. The water is a fast moving torrent and on one side is the mountain with the rapids rushing down at us and the other side was a huge drop and water is coming into the car. There we sit, helpless and scared. Barb starts crying and I am sitting in the back frozen with fear thinking of all those huge Indian disaster newscasts I had watched. A bunch of men wade into the water and finally manage to lift the car off the rocks and we gun it up the bank and at last we are safe. Holy smokes! We drive on for an hour and encounter another traffic jam and this time there is no going around it. The road is impassable and people are waiting and they say in 5 hours maybe the water will go down……… We take the opportunity to head back to a town to get the alternator that got all wet during the crossing fixed. (We had no lights, not a good thing) Finally that is done and we head up a steep and narrow mountain road that is still open. As we start we have to wait for a bit of avalanche clearing but only a short wait this time and pretty soon we are on our way.
Our 4 ½ hour drive turned into 14 and we still didn’t make it to Dharmsala that day. The road closed both in and out of Manali later that afternoon so we felt pretty darn lucky that we got out when we did.
Our last day on the road back to Delhi was through the Punjab which is experiencing huge floods and people are dying so you can imagine how fun that was. The floods didn’t really affect us but we were stopped on the highway and had to detour because as our driver said “People Fighting”…. Good grief. Just 10 minutes before we got to our hotel we had our second flat tire but finally made it back. Phew!
I have done so much driving here that a reverse thing is going on with me. Instead of getting more comfortable I am starting to think in percentages of days of luck. It is definitely time to stop driving and time to head out of India. Oh oh, am I sounding homesick?
A school in Jaipur
Home sweet home
Fish in Jalismer on the only day they had water in the lake.
View of the city fort from our hotel in Jalismer
Here is where you can find more of Patricia’s traveling guest posts:
Senegal Part II
Senegal Part III – Mini Adventure