16th May, 2012, Wednseday……….Day(1) Ludhiana-Mcleodganj 215km
It’s been enough watching cricket on tv. I longed to see a cricket match live in a stadium. Ever Since new stadium was built in Dharamsala I was looking for an opportunity to be there as Dharamshala happen to be my favourite hill station.
IPL (Indian Premier League Season V) match was scheduled to be played between Kings-XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings on 17th May 2012. Since I took VRS from the bank a year ago, I did not have leave related difficulties this time.
I have travelled to Dharamsala many times in the past, on bike, on car but never on bus. This time I thought why not have a different experience. So took HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) Bus at 1.30 afternoon from Ludhiana. Enjoyed the ride thoroughly as I was not driving and for a change had nothing to do except watch everything happening around me.
The journey upto Hoshiarpur via Phagwara was just a routine. From Chohal dam, 20 km from Hoshiarpur, Punjab plains give way to lower Shivalik hills. This is a popular route for people who head for Mata Chintpurni, Kangra Devi, Jwala Ji, Chamunda Devi, Dera Vadbhag Singh and Baba Balaknath.
From Mubarikpur, road to the right goes to Dera Vadbhag Singh, popular place for people of Punjab, the road to the left goes to Talwara (Pong Dam, Pratap Sagar Lake). Little ahead at Bharwain just 2 km to the left is famous Chintpurni Mata temple.
From Barwain the road descends to Dehra Gopipur and after crossing the beautiful built over river Sutlej a road to right goes to Jwalamukhi temple.
Pretty soon we reached beautiful lush green Kangra valley. Mighty snow clad Dhauladhar range were standing tall like a big wall behind the valley. The road crisscrosses Kangra rail treks and bridges at many places and after crossing a small tunnel, we reached Kangra town.
From Kangra, Dharamsala is 10 kilometers ascent. Our bus reached Dharamshala at 7.30 pm after completing a journey of 200 km in 6 hours and in 200- Rupees. From Dharamsala I took another bus and reached Mcleodganj at 9.00 pm.
The atmosphere at Mcleod ganj was very lively. I have never seen people from so many different backgrounds and countries at one place in Northern India except at Mcleodganj. This time it was even more livelier due to IPL.
Suddenly, there was huge cheer. The entire Kings XI Punjab team was dining at Maclow restaurant and the crowd was waiting for the players to come out. The appearance of Shaun Marsh and Gilchrist alighting from the stairs of Maclow restaurant confirmed it.
We have been watching them on TV for so many years. It was a wonderful feeling watching and meeting them in person.
Spent the rest of the night walking and roaming in the streets of Mcleodganj. Took few drinks, had nice dinner and slept in a simple guest house thinking about exciting next day………………..!!!