Day 27 – McLeodganj to Sangrur
McLeodganj is a quaint little town with about 4 radial roads going out from the city cetre which end before you can say ‘kaput!’. And on those 4 roads, shops sell everything from locally made handicrafts to can’t-find-even-in-Mumbai chocolates. There are Buddhist monks everywhere. The Bullet’s roaring sounds is in the air. You hear Hindi and English the least and what you hear doesn’t make much sense. People from all over the world are here. The Dalai Lama’s home is nice and pretty. Definitely worth coming. But if I am here to “see” anything, there is nothing but disappointment. No temples. No museums. No snow filled resorts. Nothing. Which is the reason why not too many Indian tourists come here. And thank god for that!
I had a nice Italian dinner at Mickey’s (or was it Jack’s or Jenny’s? I can never remember names) and read through 50 pages of Agatha Christie’s novel (don’t expect a name). As I slept, I deliberately didn’t think of where to go next. Partly because I was busy watching a completely random Hindi film which didn’t seem like it had much of a begining or an end. Occupied my mind completely. Therefore, woke up at the crack of dawn. 10 am.
Out came the map and the finger pointing started. Jaisalmer was the destination, no doubt. How to get there was not so easy though. Two days, at the very least. Painfully, I decided that the fastest way to get there was to get on the plains again soon. And that meant coming back about a 100 kilometers on the road I had taken yesterday. That went against policy. CAN’T GO ON THE SAME ROAD TWICE. But there are times which call for extraordinary measures. And afterall, I was ready to take the Manali Leh Highway twice. So out went the policy and I was packed and ready to leave. End of day target: Ludhiana.
The mountains here are not like the mountains in Kashmir. Quite sandy. Some stretches are pathetic. Narrower than two lane till you hit the Himchal – Punjab border. And after that the sand on the sides of the road keep increasing in amount and height.
Luckily, the solitary barely 20 metre long tunnel on the way was being relaid with tar and all traffic was stopped. Except bikes of course. So I sped on. Unhindered by thoughts of overtaking slow moving buses and getting out of the way of cars being driven by maniacs. Soon, I am on the highway on the plains. And it gets super bloody boring.
The traffic is killing. The heat is increasing. The dust is searing my hands. Towns are coming and going without registering any image or thought on my mind. Soon, Ludhiana was beckoning. With a warm cup of tea at a roadside stall within striking distance of Ludhiana, I looked at the sun. There was still significant distance to be covered before the light went out. Stopping at a large city like Ludhiana will be criminal. I pressed on. The next dot my finger touched was a little town which would only come as a footnote in a political leader’s campaign trail. Sangrur. Small but by no means sleepy, it seemed perfect. I parked my ass in a cheapass hotel 200 bucks for the night. Got a shave. Went to sleep a very very content man.