1st August 2015, Saturday……Day (1) Amritsar-Nainikhad 200 kilometers.
Ever since I had returned from amazing solo drive to HP and UK 2015 during Feb-March this year and successfully experimenting with sleeping inside the car, I was itching to go on another such drive. I felt so good that I thought I would undertake this kind of drive at least once every quarter with duration of 20-25 days each, totaling around 80-100 days every year.
Come April and we decided to experiment with yet another thing. Rented a home in Rakkar near Dharamshala and decided to spend summers in mountains. Although we had nice time in Rakkar, yet at times my wife felt homesick, my father fell ill and had to be hospitalised as well. So we left Rakkar in July.
Luckily, my father got well and I was little free from family responsibilities. I had been thinking of driving to Kashmir and Zanskar since long but due to law and order situation in Kashmir and heavy rains I was little reluctant. I thought let me drive to Khajjiar and then see how things go.
So packed up and began driving in the afternoon at around 3.30 pm. During last few travels I have noticed I always find it hard to leave home. However things get normal as I get involve in the travel.
With two toll of Rs.80- and Rs.95- Amritsar-Pathankot (NH-54) is butter smooth and a beautiful drive. From Pathankot, I prefer driving through Madhopur-Shahpur Kandi-Dhar Kalan road while going to Dalhousie.
Although it has a bad patch of around 10 kilometers yet the views around are beautiful. The road runs along the Ravi River and passes through the township of Shahpur Kandi and Ranjit Sagar Dam. The views of Ranjit Sagar lake from Ucha Thada are beautiful.
Heavy rains in the past few days have made the rivers and streams roaring with huge volume of water and flow. Sky was overcast and the flowing waters, misty. The lush green surroundings with tiny blooming flowers of many hues, seemed freshly bathed,
At dhar it started getting dark. Enjoyed two cups of tea with mutter. The drive thereafter was through the dark of night and uneventful. My mind was now looking for a nice and safe place to spend the night.
I have been driving through this road for ages and formed a kind of liking for this place called Nainikhad. As the name suggests, Nainikhad is a low lying road side stopover and has a stream flowing through it. Besides a tyre shops, a daroo shop, few dhabas, it has few tea shops which remain open throughout the night. It is a popular halting point for truckers and night buses bound for Chamba.
There were already some trucks parked over the bridge. I parked my car on a nearby abandoned bridge and started strolling on the road. After sometime went inside a dhaba and had nice veg thali@80-.
A little later, slipped inside the car and tried to sleep. Since it was August, a very hot and humid month, I could not sleep inside the car. Even with the windows open, it was difficult to breathe inside the car. So kept almost fully awake throughout the night.
Tea and chatting with passing commuters were my only savior throughout that night…..!!!
Map of the route followed for the day