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Friday, August 17, 2012

2 And A Half Months Off! (Part 7)

This series of posts is a day by day account of my two-month-and-a-half trip that begins with a stay in Bangkok, followed by a train ride Amritsar, a bike trip from Leh to Manali and a yoga teacher training in Kullu Valley, the end of the habitable world.

Day 11: The Long Drive to Manali
Yesterday, realizing that it was within our budget to book a taxi to Manali, we got the owner of Hotel Grace to sort one out for us. Unfortunately, when we checked out, the taxi that we booked for eight o'clock hadn't arrived yet. 

Twenty minutes later, a taxi arrived and we were about to put our bags into the trunk when we were told to wait. The receptionist talked to the driver in Punjabi. And then, the taxi driver left and the receptionist told us to wait again.

Another twenty minutes passed and another taxi came. Instead of letting us put our baggage into the car, we were again asked to wait. And, again, loads of talking followed. And, once again, the taxi left.

Around 9:30 AM, the owner and his son came in. Another cab pulled over. And, finally, we got a ride to Manali. The trip to Manali usually takes twelve hours. But, because our newbie driver made a wrong turn, we ended up arriving in our guesthouse around 11:30 PM.

The taxi was 6,200 rupees. We were told that because of huge taxes, they couldn't give us a lower price. The owner of the hotel named three types of taxes. During our ride to Manali, however, we only paid the toll once. And, according to the sign, the toll fee was 500 rupees.

I don't know where the money we paid was going but our arrangement with them was to pay the "taxi company owner" a deposit of 2,000 rupees and then give the cab driver 2,200 rupees for his expenses. The remaining 2,000 rupees should be paid after we've reached our destination. 

The traffic as we were leaving Amritsar.

Ladies picking flowers.


Shades of orange and yellow

Sunset. Taken during one of our stopovers.

Day 12: The Morning After
The night before, when we arrived at 11:30 PM, we walked around in the dark to look for the Eagle Guesthouse. And then, we climbed up some steps with all our bags. It was quite a challenge getting up the steep steps. And, it was a long, rough day for the both of us.

The next day, however, everything just got better. I looked out of the window and saw the beautiful scenery. Outside our window was an apple orchard with yellow and pink fruits and behind it was a magnificent mountain with wisps of clouds. Outside our room was a shared terrace with a view of more green mountains with silver waterfalls slithering on their slopes. And, from the garden below, we had a good view of the river. And, every second, we were accompanied by the sound of its flowing water.

We had an amazing breakfast. My boyfriend had a toasty while I got their shakshuka. Their helpings were very generous. My shakshuka had three eggs and I had a hard time finishing my breakfast. And, the owners and other guests were great company. We were in paradise -- great company and food, wi-fi and a nice room with a comfortable bed in a beautiful location far away from the noise. It was a really nice place to chill before our three-day bike trip to Ladakh. 

For such a fantastic place, we paid a very reasonable amount of 450 rupees per night. So, we decided to stay here for six nights.

The View From Our Window.

The guesthouse dog, Tiger

Day 13: New Manali
We spent the morning in New Manali, buying supplies for our trip to Ladakh. There were loads of shops, stalls and people walking about but it wasn't as intense as Amritsar or Delhi. Better yet, cars and rickshaws weren't allowed in some areas. So, we were able to do our shopping without worrying about getting hit by something. Most of the shop owners don't hard sell so it was quite a pleasant place to shop.

For lunch, we had some delicious mutton curry in our guesthouse. The food was so good there we barely ate elsewhere.

Mutton Curry

Day 14 (AM): Vashisht
Yesterday, I found out that our host, Liet, did yoga in the past and has been trying to go to the ashram in Vashist but hasn't had the time to do so. So, we decided to check it out together.

Shri Hari Yoga Ashram
The yoga ashram is located along the shortcut to Vashisht which is basically a bunch of steps which can be found after a petrol station. It had a beautiful and well-kept garden as well as a fantastic view of the mountains.

The teacher was quite nice. He may look serious at first but you can get a chuckle or two from him while he's helping you with a pose. 

The teacher is a Hatha yoga instructor. And, the Intermediate and Advanced class at eight o'clock began with some pranayama, followed by some forward folds and back bends and ended with a hanging headstand. The hanging headstand he made us do had three variations. First, our legs were in an upavistha konasana (wide legged pose) position. Next, we were asked to do a baddha konasana. For both variations, the teacher pushed us as close to the wall as possible. And, the third one was quite a stretch. He asked us to do a baddha konasana again. This time, our shins were on top of the rope. And, while we were holding on to the rope with our legs, he gave us a nice stretch away from the wall. He did this around three times before he moved on to the next person. It was a very nice opening experience.

Inside the Ashram.

The View From the Ashram's Garden

The view as we were walking back to New Manali.


  1. WOW! u really went there! i love reading that your making your dreams come true! :)

  2. Thanks, girl! It's unfolding. It took some time but it's better late than never.