11th March 2015
Satpuli is situated on the river Madhu Ganga and is more of a pit stop for rest, lunch and dinner for travellers. It has a bustling market and serves as a shopping hub for nearby villages of nayyer valley. It lies midway between Pauri (52 km) and Kotdwar (54 km) on beautiful NH 119.
I was feeling heavy when I got up and came out of the car parked near the temple in the market. Few shops were open quite early and I could see some people getting the shops ready for what looked like a busy day.
It was a misty morning. I stopped at a place few kilometers from Satpuli and freshened up. The drive thereafter was amazing…clouds playing hide and seek with mountains, nice music playing on fm radio, beautiful road, amazing landscape and wonderful thoughts flashing on my inner eye. It was blissful.
The road from Satpuli to Khirsu bend was amazing. It was lined with blue pines. The view of the valleys was great too. From Khirsu bend I drove right and reached a place from where the views of Garhwal Himalayan range was beautiful. Especially Chaukhamba Massif looked amazing from many places in the area. The miss at rainy Deoria Taal was amply compensated here. The village which I mistook as Khirsu was in fact some other village and a local woman guided me the route to Khirsu.
Khirsu was not very far either. It turned out to be a bigger village with many shops, guest houses, Echo Park and GMVN Tourist Bungalow. The view of chaukhamba range was even better from the big open compound of GMVN Bungalow.
Perched on a slope, Pauri, headquarter of Pauri Garhwal district, also famous for Ramlila, is a bustling city. The market was so overcrowded that I decided to give it a miss and hurried towards Srinagar (Garhwal). Like Lohaghat-Almora road, this road from Kotdwar to Srinagar (NH 119) is one of the finest drives in Uttarakhand. On the way I saw a pair of foxes walking and staring at me with fearless eyes.
The sight of blue green Alaknanda River meandering through Srinagar city from up the road was a treat to the eyes. Srinagar (Garhwal) is the hottest and largest city of Garhwal. I stopped for a while to click few pictures and then took byepass road (NH 58) towards Devprayag and then from Maletha I took right turn for Tehri on Maletha-Pepaldali-Tehri road. This road was good but very lonely.
The drive from Srinagar (Garhwal) to Tehri was on a lonely but good road. This was amply compensated via an fm radio program. Ms Kalpana Lajmi was talking about filmmaker Guru Dutt. Ms Lajmi, herself a film director, producer and screenwriter, is a niece of Guru Dutt. Guru Dutt films ‘Pyaasa’ and ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ are now included among the greatest films of all times. He himself is included amongst the greatest directors of all times.
She made the remark that work of a genius is rarely appreciated by the contemporary generation and is mostly recognised after the person has died. Guru Dutt was found dead in bed in his rented apartment at the age of 39. But before that he produced many classics including ‘Pyaasa’-the story of a poet, rejected by an uncaring world, who achieves success only after his death.
It became dark at Chamba. Mussoorie was still more than 50 kilometer away. This was a single road passing through Kanatal and Dhanaulti. Although this road was familiar to me still I had to negotiate night driving on a lonely road. There was still some hard black ice left on the road near Dhanaulti and a bit of chill in the air too.
Traffic is always a problem in Mussoorie. I wanted to cross mall road and park the car on Kempty road. I was asked to wait till 9pm and later to pay Rs.150- to cross the mall road. Finally I had to find my way through narrow lanes and reach Library chowk via new byepass road.
I found a nice secluded well lit spot on Kempty and parked the car. Thereafter I went for a stroll on the mall road for about two hours. Although it was a lean season still there was a sizable crowd on the mall road.
At around 11pm I slipped INTO THE CAR, pulled the cover over, pushed into the sleeping bag, locked the car from inside and tried to sleep.
This ends my 23rd night of ‘IN THE CAR ON THE CAR’ trip!!!