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Day 4: October 5th: Amritsar to Jogindar Nagar

My Adventure to the Land of the Eternal Snow and the Himalayas

sunny 40 °C

The next fifteen days I was going to explore the Himachel Pradesh and the Western Himalaya in north India. It is a mountainous state, deriving its character from the Himalayas, the largest mountain range in the world. It includes high snow capped peaks of 6000m and glaciers, deep forested and cultivated valleys of the Kullu, Kanga and Patten, the mighty rivers of the Chandra Bhaga, Chenab, Ravi and Beas which flow down from the Himalaya. It has high, remote, barren and arid plateau's and valleys in the northern areas of Lahaul, Spiti and Ladakh.

I was going to explore this area on foot and by motorbike. I would visit Dharamsla, the home of the Dali Lama, trek for four days in the Dhauladhar mountains, ride a four day motorbike trip along one of the worlds greatest or "dangerous" roads through the Himalaya from Manali. Finally a visit to Shimla, the capital of HP, in the Himalayan foothills, once the summer capital of British India, travelling on its famous narrow gauge mountain railway from Kalka (one of the worlds great railway journeys).

I was picked up by my driver Lalli, who is 68 and a great man. He was great company on the six hour car journey North. We drove through the agricultural land of the northern Punjab, passing busy and prosperous towns and villages, shops, workshops and people going about their daily lives. A very green and lush area, crossing railways and canals built by the British Raj.

We reached the Punjab and Himachel Pradesh state border crossing at Chakki Bridge, well bridge is an understatement, the new one was being built, so we crossed an earth and stone bridge to the HP border post checkpoint at Chakki. “Can I see your passport and visa Sir?” We then stopped at Jyoti’s Hotel for some lunch and a break by the river post. The transition from the Punjab to Himachel Pradesh was much defined, the forested hills of the lower HP rose straight away from the river, and the road climbed up now for the rest of the journey.

We were soon at Pathankot were I saw a big military garrison and barracks, this would be typical now all the way North through the Himachel Pradesh to the border areas or “line of control” with Pakistan. The states of the Punjab and the Himachel have a long history of providing men and women for the Indian Armed Forces, it is custom that every families eldest son serves in the Army?

We have been following National Highway 20 from Amritsar or NH20. I think at this point I should state that India loves to abbreviate names, places and roads! So for example, NH20 is National Highway 20, HP is Himachel Pradesh, JN is Joginder Nagar, and I am MC Mike Casey and I ride a RE Royal Enfield and live in the UK United Kingdom.

We arrive in JN at 5pm, a long day, through spectacular landscapes. Incredible India! We drive through JN and up to Trekkers Nest Hotel where Naresh and all the staff are waiting like a guard of honour. I sit down to dinner with Naresh and we discuss my plans for the next ten days. We have a great conversation about our lives and my trip to India. This is the next stage of my adventure in Incredible India.

Naresh suggests a one day trek tomorrow up onto the Dhauladhar Range to get acclimatised, then a four day trek from Barot, into the heart of the mountains. Also a day and night trip to Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj. Then my motorbike road trip right into the Western Himalayas, up through the Kullu Valley and to the high road passes from Manali to Leh. One of the worlds great motorbike journeys and adventures.

An early night, because tomorrow my first trek up into the Dhaladhar Mountains, and high altitude.

Posted by Mike Casey 05:37 Archived in India Tagged the to pradesh himachel Comments (0)

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