The Big Trip

Mandi to Manali

The weather report predicted heavy downpours plus thunder and lightening. Since driving (in this case being driven) on those dangerous roads even in dry weather was not my favorite activity we opted to leave McLeod Ganj a day early and drive the 6 hours to Mandi well before the rains came. We acknowledged that this would mean spending three nights instead of two in a town that barely made it into any of our guide books. We chose to stop there to avoid a 10 hour drive to Manali. Anyway, we figured, how bad could a hotel that called itself a resort and was the number one pick on Trip Advisor be? We could spend two days of predicted bad weather reading and updating the blog.
In reality the Munish Resort in Mandi wasn’t exactly how it had been hyped on its website. And all those positive comments pushing it to into first place? Perhaps many family members were instructed to sing its praises. Who knows. Lets just say that the third strike was a totally inedible meal of foods taken directly from the freezer and deposited in the deep fryer. Having to stand outside the hotel in the rain to get a wifi connection was number two, and the fact that the hotel had no heat was number one. Once again my darling husband saved the day (three days, in fact), by saying that we should spend one night in Mandi and go to Manali two days early. This, of course meant driving in the rain. Caught between a rock and a hard place I chose the rock. It was the right decision.

We checked out of the Heartbreak Hotel and headed north the next morning knowing that a lovely hotel and a charming town was going to be our next stop.

Along the way we passed miles of tea plantations. We stopped to watch the women harvesting the leaves by hand. It brought a whole new appreciation of each cup of tea that I drink from now on.

Here’s a link to a short video of the workers in the fields:
tea harvesters

Here’s their reaction to seeing themselves on my eye pad:

There were some unusually pretty sights that took our eyes off the precipitous drops to the valley below:

There was a welcome committee of sorts as we pulled into Manali:


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