I love to travel. My husband and I have travelled quite a bit by road. However the best road trip was the one from Chandigarh to Leh. It was the month of August. The Northern states were sweltering in the heat and humidity typical of our country. Chandigarh was a busy, bustling city and I was really looking forward to the hills, to cold breeze, to hills and mountains. When I traced the route on Google maps I saw a cacophony of zig zag lines. That is because we were going to climb from Zero feet to 11, 000 feet, Not to mention that we would have to cross a mountain pass touching almost 17,000 feet. Can you even imagine..from 0 to 17,000 feet!!!!
As we drove towards the mountains the scenery changed. The bustling city gave way to greenery. The smog lifted and we could feel the fresh air. The A.C in the car was switched off and we welcomed the soft, cool breeze. At such times I start wondering why do we live in the cities. Why choose to spend your life in a mechanical, claustrophobic, polluted world when there is so much natural beauty around us! We were driving at a very slow pace because we wanted to do full justice to this road trip.
Our first stop was at a place called Mandi. We stayed in a guest room bang on the banks of the river Beas.
Then we moved on to a place called Pandoh near Manali. Manali itself is a popular tourist destination and is usually very congested. Pandoh, on the other hand, is quiet and serene. There I had my first view of the snow clad mountains where we were headed.
Onwards we went towards the Rohtang Pass. Broken roads, ice capped boulders and absolutely breathtaking scenery.
And finally the pass. All I could think was that so many many years ago men on horseback walked through this pass. There were no roads, no landmarks and no habitation in sight and yet men travelled through such places.