Road Tripping in the Himalayas

Before heading to Pakistan we took a small detour to the Himalayas. After all, we wanted to test if our three wheeled tiger could find her inner mountain goat.

On Sunday we set Manali as our destination and headed north. We did nicely and the road was straight, wide and in good shape. The only problem was that our horn broke.

When we started from Delhi it was working, then after a few beeps it silenced. Suddenly I realised that what had at first been an annoying and uncomfortable noise, had become a life dangering, missing safety device because horning is the lingua franca of indian roads. People are horning all the time. I’m here, I’m coming through, get out of my way, I’m overtaking on a mountain curve so move out, is someone there, I like your tuk tuk etc, etc. Thanks to the high tech machinery inside Pyry’s brain, he managed to connect the two wires that had come off during the bumps.

On the first day we drove half way, about 350 km, and the next day we started at 10 am. After driving 50 km we saw the foothills and that’s when the road started to get scruffy. It was full of potholes and in many parts under construction. It took us 6 hours to get to the beginning of the real mountain road, which luckily was in excellent shape.

It wove up the Himalayas revealing one breathtaking view after another. Pyry was deep in the zone for a whopping 5 hours steering us higher and higher into the Himalayas, but we had lost too much time, and darkness fell upon us.

Then came the sheep.

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It took us nearly an hour to get through the sheep, but we made it.

Vashist gave us rest in magnificent scenery and a high flying experience. We met a couple of guys after hiking to swim at the waterfalls, and they happened to be paragliders, so they took us for a flight.

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On the morning of departure we visited the shiva temple for a hot bath, to warm ourselves before packing everything again. Pyry tried to fix the gasoline meter and engine temperature gauge, but they seem to need a rocket scientist, not a circus artist.

Before heading off we got a chance to exhibit our Thai Tuk Tuk to Thai Baba.

He is the guardian of the fire, making sure the tea keeps coming and the chillum keeps burning. Thai Baba is an old Thai man who lives on the corner of the Shiva Temple and shares everything he is given. Materialistically the man has nothing, but people do not come to this shaman for riches and gold, they come for the spirit. The man radiates positive, loving energy and his spirit rubs off everyone that comes around. Maybe that’s why they call him spiritual.

Thai Baba Then we headed off to Amritsar.

A tuk tuk loaded with stuff on the roof is not the best mountain snake so we decided to take it easy and enjoy the ride. This has been a perfect day and a perfect route for a road trip. Rolling easily on well paved Himalayan roads is what road tripping is all about.

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Now we have taken shelter in the village where the Dalai Lama sleeps. Tomorrow we go to Lahore.

END OF CHAPTER 4

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