Thursday 1 | September '05

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bridge to the mountains
today's pics (7)
on the way to patnitop
stream on the way
Day 7 - Patnitop - winding our way up << | >>
10.35am: Mcleodgunj  >  Pathankot bypass   >  Patnitop :7.00pm

We started latish from Mcleodgunj (around 10.30), after I spent some time blogging and set off back to Dharamsala to catch the road to Srinagar.

We stopped again at the church (built in 1852) which was open to visitors and spent a while there marvelling at the stained glass windows and looking at the gravestones around. Met the Rev. Kunjumon who immediately struck up a conversation with me in Malayalam when he
figured I was one too. Very sweetly he told me, "Wherever you go there must be a Malayali. I'm the Malayali here."

church graveyard
graveyard at st john's

We drove up past Udhampur via the Pathankot bypass, and having decided to avoid Jammu, stopped finally at Patnitop to continue our tryst with the clouds. Patnitop is a picturesque little place on the way to Srinagar at around 2000m. J&K is another very pretty state, and the drive up was as much a treat as yesterday.

Just before reaching, we rolled down our windows and let the clouds drift through the car. The army presence and checkposts have been steadily increasing, and one thing that has been helping us along past the various checkposts is the fact that the Land Cruiser has Delhi number plates. On occasion, we would see cops coming forward to flag us down, and then letting us go after a look at the number plates. As we get higher, it may not be such a help, if the army, which takes over completely, thinks we are spoilt kids from Delhi.

a landslide on the way

beauty passing by...

We stopped at another tacky hotel, a Jammu & Kashmir Tourism run (or maybe I should say run down) place in Patnitop. Most of the walls had fungus on them, especially a good 4 bed suite which had more fungus than wall and we finally took 2 relatively cleaner double rooms. For some obscure reason (maybe they cater to honeymooners or dirty weekenders), every room had heart shaped dustbins!

Tomorrow we set off for Srinagar from where our real adventure begins...

Highlights: St John's Church in the Wilderness, the pleasant drive

Downside: Another tacky hotel
  << | >>
today's route - 275 km
day 7 km odo
Mcleodgunj   183130
Dharamsala 10 183140
Gaggal 11 183151
Shahpur 13 183164
Kotla 18 183182
Nurpur 20 183202
Khandwal 14 183216
Pathankot bypass 9 183225
Sujanpur 11 183236
Kathua 22 183258
Sambha 42 183300
Nud 12 183312
Mansar 11 183323
Udhampur 36 183359
Patnitop 46 183405
total 275 2999