Day 33, August 16, 2017, Bamta to Pandoh
Distance – 70 kilometres
Duration -9 hours
Today on Day 33 as Sunita left Bamta she had clocked 3944 kilometres on her Solo Cycling Expedition from Kanyakumari to Khardungla . Sunita had started this journey from Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari on July 15, 2017 and has ever since traversed through nine states including her home state Haryana. As she crossed the picturesque town of Mandi she completed the 4000 kilometre mark of her cycling journey. Known for its temples Mandi is the gateway to the scenic valleys of Manali, Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti. Traffic has fast returned to normal after Mandi district had a series of landslides resulting in roadblocks and stranded vehicles last week because of cloudbursts. But today the road was clear- thanks to the tireless efforts put in by General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF).
Sunitas cycle has been really taking the brunt of the roads and has been in need of servicing. An early riser, Sunita spent the wee hours of the morning greasing her cycle and tightening its nuts and bolts before setting off today. It won’t be wrong to say that her cycle has been her closest companion in the past month- she spends maximum time with her cycle and its her cycle that keeps her going. Interestingly, during the non cycling hours Sunitas cycle remains parked next to her bed in her room – “Wherever I go my cycle goes. Infact that’s the condition I lay down before I check into any place for the night,” says Sunita.
Things are have been comparatively quieter on the road ever since her entry into Himachal Pradesh. She did have a taste of the traditional ‘ Pahadi ‘ hospitality which people from the Northern hills of India are known for. Just before she reached Sundernagar she met Shri Banshi Ram ji who insisted that she take a break and share a meal with his family. She was touched by the affection of these simple people – As she was leaving they gave her a hundred rupee note a gesture to convey their wishes and blessings. Seeing the look of reluctance to accept it, Banshi Ram ji said “ You are no different from our daughters and we are proud of what you are doing. Go safely” . People who were strangers some time ago were family now. Such are the lovely people of this lovely country .
Today Sunita spent the night at Pandoh a small village a few kilometers ahead of Mandi on National Highway 154, known for the dam built across River Beas,. Her room at the hotel she is staying in overlooks a river and she is really enjoying the peace and tranquility of this quaint village as she unwinds after a strenuous day of cycling.
“It is important that all of us make efforts to preserve the beauty and charm of the small villages of our country- in terms of conserving the natural environment and ecosystem and also in terms of the culture and traditions. There are still regions in our country which have been able to retain their originality and simplicity and I hope they continue to remain as beautiful.” is the message of our girl who is born to explore the mountains.