It was a long journey to get to the point where Maloo and I got on Haliatus (Harsha-Prabha's Xylo). I went through the usual ups and downs...should I do the trip? Can I take the time off from family and from work? Am I being selfish going away with Maloo like this? And then I had to deal with the many whatifs that come to my very imaginative mind!
Now I am so glad we did this trip. It is great to, once in a while, drop everything and go off on a small adventure. To be with the fun-loving Harsha and Prabha is a chance to, literally and figuratively, sit in the back seat and not have to think or plan. I feel recharged and ready to take on everything that comes my way!
This was our schedule:
Day 1: Hyderabad-Delhi-Manali
Days 2 and 3: Manali
Day 4: Drive from Manali to Kalpa
Day 5: Kalpa
Day 6: Drive from Kalpa to Solan (near Shimla)
Day 7: Drive from Solan to Corbett (here we got off the car)
Days 8 and 9: Corbett
Day 10: Corbett to Delhi
Day 11: Back in Hyderabad
In Delhi, we spent a few hours with my cousin Sharmila, and then took a bus to Manali, where we met Harsha and Prabha in Hotel Picadilly.
This was (roughly) the route we took from Manali.
The aim was to drive across the Himalayas to Reckong Peo and Kalpa which are close to the India-Tibet border. From Kalpa, the original plan was to drive to Khab, which is the closest point to the border. But we were told that the roads were bad and that the army would not allow us to go to the border, so we spent a day in Reckong Peo instead, and then continued the drive the next day.
This road trip gave us many new experiences---visual, spiritual and emotional. There is much to write about, and many photos to share. I really don't know how to do this. I think I will do it in batches, so that it is easy for me to find the time to write, and easy for people to read.
The one dominating thought I came back with is that Himachal Pradesh makes one feel like an insignificant dot that can easily get blown away in the wind, and not make a difference to the world.
It is good to feel this way once in a while.