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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You Won’t Believe the Cause of Traffic Problems in India

So you think we have bad traffic jams in America huh?  Well, just like everything else, it depends on the basis of your comparison. Traffic in India can be some of the worst in the world, but there are different causes depending on whether you are in city or rural traffic.

In the city:  Probably the biggest factor leading to the awful traffic jams is the sheer number of vehicles on the road.  There are over 8 million vehicles per day on the roads in the greater Delhi area.  Many commuters take metro, ride share in a tuck tuck, or ride a bicycle, but the roads aren’t designed to handle the volume.  Many Indian workers commute over 2 hours each way without air conditioning and arrive to work already dirty and sweaty.  

The Ganga River

7 More Things That I Like About India

 

I realize I’m guilty of bitching about things over here so it’s high time I share some more things with you that I appreciate about India. There are many special things that I like about India, and here are my top seven.

Love

I know it’s corny, but I love my boyfriend, Kirti, very much. I never expected to find love in India. The best I hoped for was maybe a companion and a little fun. But four months into our relationship we are very much in love, in spite of significant cultural differences. He is adventurous, funny, smart, and compassionate.  Kirti has made a huge difference in my life and has made my adjustment to life in India much easier. I am thankful for him every day! I guess you never know when and where love might strike, so keep an open mind.

Road trips

There are so many cool places to visit over here!  From mountains to beaches to ancient forts and spectacular temples, it is all incredible!!  Plus it is very close to so many other countries that there are endless possibilities for vacations and it’s hard to narrow it down. Soon I hope to visit Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, maybe even Africa. 

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!

You see everything on the roads in India

The Causes of Traffic Nightmares in Delhi, India

Aside from the pollution in Delhi, the next hardest thing for me to adjust to has been the traffic, and I’m quite certain there is a correlation between the two. With over 8 million vehicles a day on the road, the result is like Mr. Toads Wild Ride, a game of Frogger and the worst possible gridlock, all combined into one horrible nightmare.  There are very few cross walks, so people just cross traffic whenever, and wherever they feel like. If you hesitate you’re screwed. You just have to do it with confidence, trusting that the traffic will go around you. It’s a new kind of adrenaline rush!

Traffic laws aren’t enforced

The next most notable thing aside from pedestrians crossing everywhere is that there appears to be no enforcement of any traffic laws. A three lane highway becomes five lanes of traffic with everyone squeezing in shoulder to shoulder and honking boldly and often. The honking basically alerts other drivers that the one honking is proceeding so they had better get out-of-the-way. It is non stop and very annoying. Most roads are one way roads, and it’s all too common to see people pull U turns and go the wrong way down a one way street just because they are fed up with traffic. I can assure you that when you see headlights coming straight at you at night on what is supposed to be a one way road, it will make even the most courageous tourist’s butt pucker!

Commute in India

What is it Like to Live and Work in India? 7 More Things You Should Know

Working in India has many similarities to working in the U.S.  It also has many differences. I can only speak of my experiences so far and it includes working with one of the largest companies in India.

Working Conditions Vary

The building we are in has nearly 4,000 workers. It’s quite modern with lots of glass. It even has a glass elevator, large fountain in the lobby, a huge open courtyard with palm trees in the center, cafeteria and daycare. The bathrooms have bathroom attendants. Directly across the street is a huge pile of garbage and homeless people. It is quite a contrast. The street vendors argue for the best spaces out front and dozens of tuck-tucks await their eager passengers ready to commute home after a long day of work.