Leaving behind the dubious delights of Karnal, the goal for today was to reduce the 340km gap up the GT Rd to Amritsar. 340km in Australia could easily be done in 4 hours. However, this is India, I keep having to remind myself. I had to split it into two stages – bypassing Chandigarh altogether. Ludhiana was 220km away close to the banks of the famous Sutlej River – one of the main rivers of India after the Ganges and a major tributary of the Indus. North Queenslanders would feel at home with the rivers here. Massive bridges hundreds of metres long and tens of metres above a small trickle – just like the Burdekin in the dry seaon! But they sure must be a pretty impressive sight when running a banker in the wet season.
The overnight stop at Ludhiana came and went without a second thought.
Only about 120km to Amritsar and the GT Rd lives up to its name – in parts. Part 6-lane freeway, part single-lane goat-track weaving through small congested market towns every 10-15km. The kilometres fairly zoom under the bike’s wheels as I manage to get the bike into fourth gear for short bursts for the first time since leaving Australia. Before I know it I am on the outskirts of Amritsar and the elevated road affords glimpses of the Golden Temple – the most sacred site for all Sikhs. With not too much trouble I find my hotel and set up camp for two nights – the first time since Gorkha in Nepal where I have made more than an overnight pitstop.
Tomorrow will be a day to relax and explore the Golden Temple