Hotel Sangam should be taken by ASI
The building in which I was staying in Mandi is probably as old as the ancient artefacts around it. It is hard to figure that out from the upper floors. The paint-job conceals most of the visible defects.
If I had realised this earlier, I wouldn’t have even got into the hotel in the first place. There is a property maintained by ASI right beside the hotel. They should have taken over the hotel property, too.
The travel from Mandi to Manali is long
Most buses that have boards mentioning Manali doesn’t actually run till Manali. I got on such a bus, only to be informed that it would only go till Kullu. It was still an acceptable deal for me. I could have my lunch at Kullu.
Kullu is about 70 kms from Mandi. NH 21 is very well maintained. This distance was covered by the bus in about three hours. In my opinion, that was still fast. Most vehicles were moving at comparable speeds on this stretch of the road. A BRO wisecracker came to my mind, ‘Never drive faster than your guardian angels can fly.’
The bus also travelled through Aut Tunnel, a 3 km long pass drilled right through the mountains.
I had my lunch at Kullu bus stop and boarded on a Manali bound bus. Traversing this shorter distance between Kullu and Manali (about 40 kms) took quite a long time. The buses, instead of taking the NH 21 on the west of Beas river, takes the Kullu-Naggar-Manali Road from a place called Patlikuhal. The bus also stopped for over twenty minutes at the Patlikuhal fork.
Manali is freezing
The moment I got down at the bus stop, I could feel that my clothing wasn’t adequate. Luckily my hotel was very close to the bus stand.
I put on an extra layer of thermals and ventured out again. I needed some good food. A Tibetan restaurant called Chopsticks provided me with that. When I was done and came out of the shop, it was drizzling.
There is only one thing to do to escape the cold – sleep. I came back to my hotel room and slept for hours.