We spent two and a half days at Shringi Vatika in Himanchal Pradesh. Reaching there itself was a task. Both of us are not fond of driving and the motion sickness complicates the issue further. So, we reached ISBT (bus station in New Delhi) to take a bus to Manali (we would have to get off before Manali to reach Shringi). But by the time we reached ISBT, the last bus for Manali had left. In fact, outside ISBT we met at least four touts trying to tell us that at this hour (it was 9.30 in the night, not all that late) no buses apart from their’s was available. Once we managed to enter the bus station, we found that the best course was to take a bus to Chandigarh and that is what we did. It was a 2X2 decent bus, the only decent bus we took in this entire journey.
We reached Chandigarh at 4.00 in the morning (I was frozen for the part of the journey, it was cold) and then we took a local bus to Mandi. From there we headed towards Aut. We had to get down at that tunnel just before Aut to take a bus for Banjar (which does not go through the tunnel) which might go as far as Jibhi. We did all this and finally around 2.30 reached Jibhi. I was so sleepy for the entire way because of the Avomine that I took no tea anywhere (this is becoming a habit now, almost, bad really bad I must say). At some point, Sesha offered me a laddu (sweet) and that is all I ate for the entire day.
We walked the last two kilometers from Jibhi to Shringi, rather than wait for a bus that was available an hour later. It started raining lightly on the way. Finally, when we saw the board of Shringi Vatika, it was such a relief. It took us 17 hours to reach the place. How we attacked the aloo parathas (stuffed Indian bread) that were served to us a while later.
The weather was damn cold (after all, it snowed there lightly) and after freezing for two days it was time to turn back (the account of these two days will follow soon). We wanted to start really early on Monday, as I had a class to take on Tuesday morning. There were no buses from Shringi to anywhere before 8.45. So we hired a taxi up to the tunnel near Aut to come back. We left at 6.00 am. I took my Avomine really early. I reminded Sesha to do the same but he threw tantrums. On the way, he vomited once! I wonder why he does not learns his lessons soon enough. Thankfully, after that he had no problems.
We stopped at the tunnel and quickly got a bus to Mandi. Our taxi guy waved us off and as soon as the bus started I realized that I have dropped my cell phone somewhere (as my niece would say, gir gaya). I cursed myself like anything, then I thought better to drop the cell phone rather than my camera (colleagues at lunch today gave further insight, better to misplace machines rather than people! Trust them to put things in perspective). From Mandi we took a khatara (uncomfortable) bus to Chandigarh and from there another kharata mercifully directly to Gurgaon. We reached home 12.00 at night and by this time I had caught a good cold (Sesha acquired it Shringi itself). For the first time, I did not load my photos as soon as reaching back. Took the class the next day. Played TT too.
I called the folks at Shringi Vatika today and I indeed dropped my cell phone in the taxi itself. So, the phone is not lost. The cold persists. It was so damn cold at Shringi that I had to take rum like medicine again, neat, in small quantities. The onward journey was 17 hours and the return 18.
So, I just can’t imagine how could the trip had been any better. In other words, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip.
PS. If anyone is heading that way, please get my cell phone back. Sesha is just not saying yes to going back the next month.