My Bus Journey Experience From Delhi To Manali
The school First Term Exams were just over and my head was shouting out for a break! It’s always been crazy, as a teacher, to cope with the exam month and the month leading to it. So right through September and the first week of October, I had hectic teaching sessions at my school with setting papers for revisions, last minute doubt solving, preparations for the exams, invigilation etc. After all that, I definitely needed a holiday to ease the stress and my husband and I decided that going up north during the winter would be fun and so we settled on Manali as our final destination.
Knowing that travelling to Manali, was going to be a road trip, we decided to fly into Delhi from Mumbai, spend 2 days there and then proceed to Manali on the third day. Once in Delhi, we first booked ourselves on the HRTC Volvo bus through www.abhibus.com and then toured the city in peace. This was of course after a lot of deliberating and debating on whether a bus or cab would be better, because of several rumours and supposed feedback from acquaintances. On the third day evening, we hopped onto our Volvo bus at around 7.10 pm and managed to get decent seats towards the front of the bus. The bus was packed with both Indians, as well as a few foreigners. We finally set off at 7.45pm.
Our driver kept a good pace and we managed to weave in and out of the busy Delhi traffic pretty smoothly. Before long, we were out of Delhi, on the highway and heading towards Ambala, which was the next city en route. Fortunately, the two of us had already had some heavy snacks and lovely adrak (ginger) chai just before setting off for our trip, so we were good to go for the next few hours. The bus finally halted at a restaurant pretty late in the night, where most people took the chance to have a light dinner, use the washroom and stretch out their legs. Very soon, we were on our way again.
The lights in the bus had now been dimmed completely as it was way past midnight and people were either dozing off or had already fallen asleep. The temperature in the bus had dipped quite a bit by now, even though they had increased the temperature of the air-conditioning to make it more comfortable. This was because it had become way cooler outside, because of the climbing altitude. Thankfully, we had our light jackets on and had kept our shawls with us, so we covered ourselves and slept peacefully. It was only the occasional bumps and lurches that jerked us awake sometimes [we found out that was mainly at Bilaspur, when we enquired with others after being jolted from our sleep] but mostly, we managed to catch some much needed sleep.
When my eyes finally opened, it was just dawn. The time was around 5.30 and I was glad that I didn’t miss the sunrise. I tried to freshen myself up with the limited toiletries in my handbag and looked out of the window eagerly. The view outside was enchanting! Daylight had just broken……and the landscape outside looked unreal. The hills in the distance with lush green looked so inviting and gave an indication of how fresh and pure the air outside would be. The little specks of orange and yellow from the rising sun, made the sky look like a canvas with a colourful painting. The small tiny houses dotting the road were coming to life. The pretty women were bustling about with their morning chores and in some areas, I could see a few cute, pink cheeked kids running around and playing. We were just a couple of hours away and I couldn’t wait to get out of the bus and experience life in the hills, even if only for a few days.
The bus stopped at a small outlet for tea. It felt good to feel the crisp, chill morning air on our cheeks. I practically ran to the wash room so that I could use it before the rest of the bus made it unbearable. Not that it was great even for the first user, but then beggars cannot be choosers. This is one sore point with buses. You have to depend on the stops and decisions they make for your conveniences. If anyone was still drowsy, this stop definitely brought them back to life! With some nice hot chai down our throats, life felt warm, wonderful and bright and we were soon on our way to our final destination, Manali. Two hours later, our bus finally pulled in and parked at a place close to Mall Road in Manali. And thus ended our uneventful, but peaceful and relatively comfortable bus ride after thirteen and a half hours.
I was glad we chose to travel by bus, which felt safer through the night and dispelled all my fears about bus travel to the north, due to baseless rumours. Hopefully, this review should help others who suffer from such paranoia!
Picture Credits: Devil On Wheels, Go Travels