Rohtang Pass: Experience of a Lifetime! (Part 2 of a 3 part series)

A  year ago if you had told me I would be standing in a bus, at an elevation of 13,000 feet in the Himalya Mountains, trying to decide if it was safe to get off  and help push it out of the mud, I would have thought you were crazy!  Fast forward one year later and you might think I’m the crazy one! One thing is for sure, traveling up Rhotang Pass was the unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

Why it’s famous

Rohtang  Pass is about 51 kilometers from the hill station of Manali on the eastern Par Panjal Range of the Himalyas.  The roads are rough and steep with no guard rails. Typically only one car can fit at a time even though there is two way traffic.  It is such an adventure that the History Channel has featured it on Ice Road Truckers and Deadliest Roads.  Major traffic jams are common due to accidents, poor road conditions and snow and ice. In fact it is only open from May to November.  

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Manali: Little Town of Big Surprises

We were super excited about our trip to Manali so we left Delhi around midnight on a Friday night. It was a holiday weekend and we were hoping to miss traffic, but we didn’t. Instead it took us five hours to get out of Delhi! Finally the roads cleared somewhere around daybreak and we welcomed the clearing air, blue skies and quaint villages, along with the first dawn of our nine day vacation. We drove through the cute towns of Mandi and Kullu where we stopped at a fruit stand for some fresh apples. I eventually took my turn at the wheel so Kirti could take some much deserved rest before navigating the steep winding roads of the Himalaya Mountains. Finally, 18.5 hours later, we arrived in Manali. Little did we know that Manali is a little town full of big surprises.

Abandoned home along the highway

Interesting Sights on a Road Trip in India

Last weekend we headed out on another road trip, this time to Jim Corbett National Park, which is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India. The park was established in the year 1936 and is India’s oldest National Park.They have a wildlife and tiger reserve there and I’m still on a quest to see a tiger in the wild before I leave India. As is the case with life, the journey was every bit as interesting as the destination.

 

Getting there

The park is located at the foothills of the Himalayas and It took us about 7 hours by car to travel the 250 kilometers. We drove through a number of small villages and towns, including Ramnagar and Muradabad. I’ve been in India for 6 months now but the things I see on the roads still fascinate me!

Beautiful Udaipur India

The Ups and Downs of Travel and Tourism in India

I’ve been in India for four months now and so far I’ve visited Agra, Jaipur, Udaipiur and Rieshikesh. Booking reservations and traveling around India is quite different from how we do things in the USA.

Your passport

First of all, all reservations, even domestically require a copy of your passport. They want a hard copy and copy machines are not readily available, so someone is always taking your passport from you and then heading into the back room with it. The first time that happened I about had a panic attack. I’ve heard stories about travelers getting their passports taken away only to find they have to buy it back. Fortunately that’s not the case here!

Middle men

Another thing that annoys me is that you can’t call any resort or tourist activity directly to book a reservation. You have to call a tourist service. There are so many middle men, each getting a piece of the pie, that it drives the price way up. Sometimes these middle men are just scammers that take your money and run, so you have to be very careful. Taxes are also very high, 20 to 30 percent in many areas!

The temple at HKV

My Date to Hauz Khas Villiage in Delhi India

I am writing this during my 24 hour trip home. Our airplane is somewhere over Iceland and the view of the icy mountains below is really amazing.

Just a couple of night ago I had a very fun date with a young Indian man who works in the hotel where I am staying. He suggested we go to Hauz Khas Village. I had no idea what to expect. Turns out Hauz Khas Village is a very unique and fun experience. Picture downtown New Orleans meets The Alamo and Central Park!  It is a contemporary shopping center with hip bars and restaurants on the upper floors where you can stare down at the young hip crowd below.  Right outside is a huge park surrounding a lake, an ancient fort and an Indian Temple.