From Palampur to Mandi
I had to leave early from Chachian in order to reach Mandi before sunset. The 110 kms travel took a long time. A private bus that had come from Dharamshala took 45 minutes to reach Palampur bus stand. It stopped at every other corner for passengers.
The bus that I took was headed for Manali. It must have reached Manali at 6 pm. Buses don’t travel beyond 30 kmph in the hills. It’s not a very sensible thing to do either. A BRO signboard said, ‘Drive slow and enjoy the scenery. Drive fast and become the scenery.’
There were many times where the bus was stuck in a deadlock with vehicles headed the other way. It takes skilled and experienced drivers of the hills to resolve these deadlocks. The drivers have some kind of understanding which allow them to automatically back off or slide to the sides without any verbal communication.
I reached Mandi at about 3:00 pm. My entire day was spent in the bus.
In and around my hotel in Mandi
I got an apparently good deal for a hotel in Mandi called Hotel Sangam. The deal sounded too good to be true. As the saying goes, if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. It wasn’t. The hotel didn’t mention that the room they had advertised for the awesome price of 400 rupees did not have attached bathroom. I paid 300 rupees extra to shift to another room that wasn’t as bad but was not even as good as Backpackers Inn of Dharamshala.
Indira Market is just across the road. I had a lot of junk food for my evening snacks. There is also a Kali temple inside but I have had enough of temples already.
Mandi closes a tad bit later than Dalhousie or Dharamshala. At 8:30 pm, some shops were pulling down their shutters.
I entered a bar to have some food. I have seen that bars usually serve better food. My hypothesis is that they have to do so lest they incur the wrath of drunken public.