Bir-Billing & McLeodganj: A Flying Adventure-Day 3 & 4

Read Day 1 here                                        Read Day 2 here

This morning I woke up fresh again and was surprised by the sudden chill in the weather. It was cold and my clothes were clearly not equipped enough. Anyway, I got out of the bed and was looking forward to spend the whole day here and go out. As I got ready and came out it started drizzling a little bit for sometime. So had my breakfast while getting some gyan at the tea shop.

The sun was playing on and off game and there was good breeze. The weather forecast was not good for today but people were still asking directions towards the Triund trek point. I asked the tea shop guy why are these people going if the weather is not so good. He said,"kitna bolo inko maante hi nahi hain". (They just don't listen to us). I started my walk towards McLeodganj. It was absolutely a pure nature experience.

I reached McL and walked towards the Dalai Lama monastery. Sun was out by now and people were still opening their shops. After reaching the monastery, I first visited the Tibetan Museum. 

I was deeply touched by the above picture. Being in this museum suddenly took me to a different place and time and I came to know of the story of Tibet and the torture it has gone through. Honestly I was not aware of the details of the invasion by the Chinese and how Tibetans were not allowed to pursue their choice of religion. Several people started self immolation- setting fire to themselves as they found no use of living in a country in which they are not free.

When inside the museum please respect the place maintain silence. I did not like how some people were laughing and talking very loudly inside. So this museum is a must visit place.

Then I continued to the monastery. A visit to any monastery is always such a peaceful treat for the mind. I was inside the main complex. It had statues of one Indian guru who went to Tibet in 8th century, 2 more statues which I forgot. The main complex had translated scriptures from Sanskrit by students of Gautam Buddha in the fields of philosophy, medicine, astrology etc. Then I saw this board and finally I understood the meaning of rotating the prayer wheels.

People were, were offering their prayers in a very interesting way which I had never seen anywhere else. They were sliding themselves down on their palms completely on a wooden plank, getting back up and repeating the same. It must be physically exhausting! However I realized its also a good exercise. People kept on doing this for hours I suppose.

So it was a good visit. As you walk back towards the chowk, you will find many cafe's where you can relax and sip some coffee, because that's what they do at cafe's (I find it overrated). I continued walking to reach the chowk only NOT to be surprised by the traffic mess again. Taking an auto to Bhagsunath was not an option anymore. I decided to walk.

Its a 1.5km walk to the Bhagsunath temple which is the parking point and after that you have to walk anyways to the waterfall and the famous Shiva Cafe. 

Reached this temple point at 11am and skipped it as usual but decided to sit and rest for a while before climbing further up. 

 As in the case of any waterfall you will find semi naked uncles taking a bath and I continued climbing my way to Shiva Cafe. 

At 11:30 I reached Shiva Cafe. Its a VERY difficult trek and I had to stop a few times to take  breaks and drink water. But once you reach here you will see it was totally worth it. The view of the valley is beautiful from over here.

Trip on! That's what you will feel like doing here, you can openly smoke up at this place. I was even approached by a guy, not to sell but to ask if I can help if get some stuff. LOL. I politely refused him. Here I went inside and met another solo traveller, Vibhu from Bangalore. 

Started chatting with him and we connected instantly over our similar interests and experiences. We thought we can smoke some  hookah but it was finished. Already!? It was just noon. After a quick bite we walked down together and came to this place to try some Chinese food.

The food was good and now I wanted to head to Cafe Snowlion to try the apple pie here because I read about it online. But hard luck again, it was finished and the next batch will take time to get ready. Had to satisfy with the lemon cheese cake which was absolutely delicious! You can also try the coffee here.

After such a good lunch I was too tired to walk back and took an auto back to Dharamkot and reached my room at about 3PM and crashed on bed. What sound sleep! 

It was last evening at this place and tomorrow I was to head back. I didn't think much and landed at the same Cafe MoonLight View for dinner. Same 4 girls to my left smoking up, although a different set of guys to my right..smoking up. But this time the dinner came with an experience I will never forget. The moon rose slowly from behind the hill, proving the cafe's name to its purpose. What a wonderful sight it was, only time I wished I had my DSLR camera with me to capture it.

This bacon pasta was too good! 

I like to pack my stuff a night before the ride and so spent some time getting everything together and stuffing it in the tank bag. Hit the bed again to wake up early tomorrow.

Expenses on Day 3:
Breakfast: Rs. 50
Shiva cafe: Rs. 100 each
Lunch: Rs. 280 per head.
Cheesecake: Rs. 60
Auto: Rs. 70
Tea: Rs. 30
Dinner: Rs. 250
Total: Rs. 840

Day 4
I was able to get up at 5:35AM and it was cold! But I was focussed on getting out of the place and hit the highway before getting stuck in the bunch of cars which will follow and head in the same direction. I was about to run into Low fuel but was able to reach the nearest petrol pump at Dharamshala which was 7km away. Pic near Mubarikpur:

This cloud passing was a pleasant surprise. 

I can't explain why but I didn't feel like stopping at my next stop was at 8:35AM just before Amb. The roads are very smooth from here but I slowed down from here. After covering about 120km I stopped at Una for breakfast. It's just a straight way back to home now. My main worry was that being a Sunday there should not be another mess of traffic at Anandpur Sahib again and thankfully it was not. 

I was doing good speeds and slowly the car traffic increased on the road. At 11:15AM I was about 40km from Ambala. 

At 1:45PM Gurgaon was about 85km while I tried to locate the petrol pump where I lost my airtel wifi device but I think I had already passed it behind. Playing the game of overtaking with cars and cars overtaking me every now and then, the hard seat of my bike was had literally become a pain in the butt. This combined with the increasing heat made me take some more breaks frequently. 

Near Dhaula Kuan I was stuck in a very bad traffic jam. Reached my home in Gurgaon at 3:35PM which means it was about 9:50hrs ride today. 

Expenses on Day 4
Petrol: 450+500= Rs. 950
Breakfast: Rs. 35
Sugarcane Juice: Rs. 10
Total: Rs. 995
Total km: 520km

Total expenses overall: Rs. 6662
Total km covered: 1148km

The good point of starting early on a ride is that you can escape the city traffic and hit the highways early. After reaching home you can take a nap to wake up fresh the next day. That's why I do not like riding at night, apart from safety reasons of course. This ride gave me a wonderful paragliding experience and I was also able to visit a wish list place. Why wouldn't I be happy?! Yes, riding makes you happy.
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