In the evening, snow started falling and the roads were closed. Then no other truck passed by. The driver left in search of some help nearby. The cleaner stayed there to guard the truck.
Winter is in full swing in North India. Due to the snowfall on the high reaches of the Himalayas, the temperature has dipped to freezing sub-zero. Even though it is freezing cold and has minimum luxury facilities, few travellers venture to the Leh-Ladakh by air service.
During the summer, travellers make a queue to Leh. The route from Manali to Leh is definitely tough, but exciting and worth remembering for life.
The mountains of the cold desert of the Himalayas are mesmerizing, but life is difficult in this part of the earth. The day passes by looking at the beautiful scenery, but in the night one can feel scared and a few ghost stories added to it. Gata Loop (15,302 ft) is one such place on the Manali-Leh road. There is a high climb with many sharp turns. This place is around 200 km from Manali en route to Leh. A small hut-like structure with red flags has been built there. It is believed to be an abode of a ghost with a bottle.
On our last trip, I asked the driver of the car what was the secret of bottles. Why were so many water bottles lying there? He replied that “there lives a thirsty ghost”. When the trucks pass by at night, the ghost harasses the drivers. There have been many accidents due to this reason. To keep the ghost happy, the truck drivers leave a few bottles of mineral water there. Sometimes biscuits too. Then, they pass away safely.
Many years ago, a truck broke down on this route of the Gata Loop. Even after trying for hours, it could not be repaired. In the evening, snow started falling and the roads were closed. Then no other truck passed by. The driver left in search of some help nearby. The cleaner stayed there to guard the truck. When the driver returned the next day, he found the cleaner dead. Hunger, thirst and cold had killed him. It is said that the soul of the same thirsty cleaner wanders there.
The locals have built a temple in respect of the soul. Trucks passing leave water bottles on the temple.
There is no dearth of such absurd stories and notions in the mountains.