Stuck in Manali – How I finally reached Delhi

Finally the weather cleared up after 3-4 days!

Note: This is a continuation of my previous blog post on how I was stranded in Manali. You can read it here.

Slowly the rains subsided, and I got my phone network back. But the information I got that the direct transportation to Delhi would not be ready at least for a month owing to the road situation. After asking a few local people on what to do, they advised me that transportation for Kullu is possible now via a less known village road and hence on Thursday that week I called the same cab person and asked him if he could take me there.

He agreed and I left that day morning to Kullu. On the way, we were stopped by a guy who was also headed to Kullu. It seems he was a trekking guide at YHAI and I started chatting with him regarding his trek stories. We reached near to Kullu and saw a huge queue on the road which looked to be at least 5-6km long. All the people stranded in Manali were looking forward to heading back to Delhi via this way.

So now the only option for me was to get down there, walk for 2km to get down to a bridge and walk across, get a local bus to Kullu bus stand and book a ticket from there to Delhi. With no option left me and the trek guide got down. Even though he was a stranger, he even helped me with my luggage. I actually had a total of 4 bags (Another backstory here- I had 2 suitcases apart from my own big rucksack and a small daypack. A couple who had to leave Hampta pass trek midway had their suitcases stuck in Manali and I had agreed to get them back to Delhi where they stay).

The 2 suitcases

So me and the guide got down, he was holding one big suitcase along with his rucksack and I was holding the smaller one along with my rucksack and a day pack. We walked for around 1km on this main road till we reached a point where we had to climb down the steep steps. It was really difficult to go down with all the luggage we had as it was also very slippery and a narrow space, with people coming up from opposite side as well. Finally we reached the bridge we had to cross and crossed it to the other side where we could see a lot of people (around 100) and everyone was waiting for the bus to Kullu main bus stand.

More people were there everywhere waiting for the bus

Most of them were stranded like me and the buses which came here were already full with no space for anyone. I was feeling dizzy as it was already afternoon and I did not have anything for breakfast. So we went to a nearby shop and bought some juice. Finally after waiting for 1 hour or something we managed to get into a rush bus with barely space to stand. The guide did not allow me to buy a ticket and he bought it himself. His stop was few stops before the bus stand so he gave me few instructions and got down, we had managed to exchange numbers just in case. So I finally reached Kullu main bus stand and directly went to the ticket counter to buy a ticket to Delhi. There were already more than 30 people in the queue and I got the information that buses available were only after evening 7pm and already they were getting full. So they suggested me to try booking online as the counter guy was also out for lunch.

Waiting time at the Manali bus stand

So after much trying, I did get a ticket for 9.30pm bus as previous ones were already full. After that, I just looked for a comfortable spot and sat thinking of what to do for the next 6-7 hours there. In the meantime, I got a call from the same guide asking if I got the tickets and had my lunch. I told I had not had lunch yet and the next thing he was on the way to pick me up. He came in an auto and took me to a small hotel for lunch. While conversing he told that his son’s school was nearby and his wife would be arriving with him there itself. I tasted their traditional Kullu dish called “Siddu” and it was nice. We talked for a while there as they also had their food and then they offered me to rest at their home for some time since I still had much time left. I obliged and we all got an auto to go, on the way he left the 2 suitcases in a known person’s shop so that we could pick it up later while going.

Their house was literally on top of a hill which they used to climb daily! To my luck, as we were climbing up their neighbor came with their car. Me and his wife and kid got into their car and the path we went up was really scary! There was no proper road also and it was basically we were going up a stony hilly path. We reached their house and it was so beautiful! A typical Pahadi house, made of wood, carpeted flooring and so colourful! His mom was there in the house and I spent some time eating freshly picked apple and pomegranate from their backyard and talking to them. They even offered me if I would like to freshen up or something. I stayed there for 1-2 hours and then around evening 5pm decided to leave from there. While going they didn’t allow me to go with barehands and instead filled my daypack with apples and walnuts, all grown in their backyard farm and so fresh! I was overwhelmed with all these gestures by them and did not know how to thank them enough. The guide then helped me get to the luggage and made me sit in an auto till the bus stand.

Again I was all alone, browsing my phone till night 9pm arrived. Finally after much confusion I got my bus. Next to me there was a gang of guys who had come and speaking to them I got to know that they also had come for Hampta Pass trek via YHAI and had got stuck in between the campsites. They had to be ziplined across the river crossing as it had started overflowing and was impossible to cross by foot. I realised we were the last lucky batch to have completed the trek succesfully!

I reached Delhi the next morning, on Friday morning. I was tired but the adventure did not stop yet! After much thought, I called my stranger-turned friend in the Delhi to Manali bus who was from Jaipur and asked him if I could come to Jaipur for exploring. It was a sudden plan and the next thing I know, I booked a Jaipur bus online and was on it within a few hours! Even that did not turn out to be a smooth journey, you can read what happened here which is my next blog post 🙂

Its too long a blog post I know, a big thanks for those who read 🙂

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