19th February 2015, Thursday…..Day(3) Mandi-Kingal 223 km
It continued raining throughout the night. I had a very sound sleep though. May be because I did not have good sleep the previous night. I got up early again. Found a tea shop open at 6am. Enjoyed two cups and a bund and began driving for the day.
It was still drizzling. The drive in the fading darkness was amazing. Grey white of the dawn was a sight to behold. Baggi, its rich green farms, fog, mountains, chirping birds and an occasional sight of men/women on the road, was a very freshening. Freshened up at Baggi. Chail Chowk was reached in no time.
It continued drizzling and the surrounding looked so fresh and beautiful. I drove at a leisurely pace, clicking pictures at slightest of opportunity. This route is one of the most scenic routes in Himachal Pradesh. When I drove on this road in 2011, it was a freshly laid road. It has deteriorated a little. The area has some little known but very beautiful places like Chindi, Karsog,Tattapani, Janjehli, Shikari Devi and Kamrunag.
This was first time I was carrying a DSLR, a Nikon D5100. Its another matter that I know nothing about photography. Still I continued stopping every minute to take pictures . By the time I reached Tattapani it was evening. While taking pictures at Tattapani bridge I noticed few familiar faces. They were also looking at me with curiosity. They turned out to be Mrs and Mr Bansal whom I met at their home in Churag in 2011. It was wonderful meeting them again.
Got the car tanked up a Suni. From Suni, took Suni-Behna road. This road runs along Setluj river. It is a very very narrow and scary road. As soon as I was on this road, it got dark. There was hardly any traffic on the road. The road on the left (Setluj river side) was not paved and its edge was not very visible from the driver’s seat, especially on the curves. It was very scary driving on this road during the night.
There was no space for overtaking too. Whenever some vehicle use to come from the opposite side, one of us had to reverse a long distance to find space for the other vehicle to cross. After about one hour’s drive there was a turn to the right. I was on Baragaon road now. The road was newly laid and very beautiful. There was no traffic on the road. Near Baragaon a portion of the road was under repair and difficult to negotiate.
Reached Kingal at around 8pm. There were few shops and dhabas open. I was told they would be close by around 10pm. I came to know that there was a dhaba just 2 km towards Kumarsain which remain open throughout the night. Drove to that dhaba. The dhaba was owned by a family from Nepal.
I was told that they do not remain open throughout the night these days as this was not the season. That they close down at around 1am (night). However it was safe to stay inside the car near their dhaba.
So relaxed. Walked a little. Had two drinks and nice food. Around 10pm I was inside the car and sleeping fast. My mind and body seem to have adjusted with my home on wheels now.
It rained cats and dogs throughout the night though!!!