After more than 3 months spent in dry and very high mountains of mainly Buddhist Ladakh, we went down South and entered a still very hilly state of Himachal Pradesh. The landscape changed dramatically after going down the Rohtang Pass (2000 meters of a pure downhill). Instead of rocks and deserts we were now surrounded by misty spruce, pine and cypress forests, apple orchards and Hindu temples. It took a while to change the habit and greet people with “Namaste!” and not “Juley!”.
We were heading towards Nepal and to get there we had to cross from Himachal to Uttarakhand – the state where the border crossing is. Cycling across Himachal was harder than we thought – we had uphills of nearly 2000 meters, many of them ending with a small village at the top and a downhill of 1700 right after. So we used to climb the whole day, sleep and go down for half a day just to start climbing again.
As soon as we crossed to Uttarakhand the landscape and nature changed. We were suddenly surrounded by a thick jungle covering steep slopes, banana trees and rice fields!
For a change we visited Hindu temples.
Being in places with easy access meant good food. We were sick of chapati with omelette that we ate everyday in Ladakh, so we were happy to have Thali (a plate of different dishes, mostly legumes served with rice and/or flat bread) for lunch.
Some of our favourite snacks are Indian sweets – they are super sweet, mostly fried or dipped in a sugar syrup.
Our favourite are called gulab jamun – deep fried milky balls dipped in sweet syrup.
The lowest we went, the more typical India we witnessed – with its crowd, colours, customs and wildlife.