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Manali

A place with beautiful landscapes and snow-clad mountains.

[ Travel date : April 2017 ]

Being one of the cliched Indian tourist destinations, it boasts millions of people visiting every year. Manali is a town surrounded by mountains in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Manali lies in the North of Kullu Valley and often referred to as the 'Valley of the Gods'.

The famous apple trees of Manali here were introduced by the British.

My trip to Manali finally happened after too many canceled plans. Plans to visit several places, all ended up canceled like It was destined for me to be in Manali. So when it was final, I decided to go trekking and experience something I had never done before. A trek to Kheerganga. It was quite challenging for me, first of all, a 24 Km trek to and fro, and trust me there were few moments when I was so tired and wanted to quit but the only thing that kept me going was the beauty of Manali.

 

You can visit Manali anytime throughout the year, and this place will never fail to impress you. However, the peak season is during the summer season, when people actually want to be in a cooler place.

 

Reaching Manali is very easy. You can choose any mode to travel: Air (nearest airport around 50 Km from Manali) or Road (the overnight journey from Delhi to Manali).

 

We did the same, traveled from Nagpur to Delhi (via train) & Delhi to Manali (via bus).

Day 1 : Reaching Manali

After reaching Delhi in the afternoon, we took a bus for Manali in the evening. It was my first time traveling via bus to the north. A journey of around 12-13 hours.

 

As we were crossing the state borders from Delhi to Haryana to Punjab and finally to Himachal, I could completely feel the change in weather and temperature. Due to the excitement I had for traveling to a new place, I couldn't sleep all night and kept thinking about it.

Though at some point, I did fell asleep. At around 6 AM in the morning, as soon as I opened my eyes and saw outside the window, I could see the orange light of sun spreading on the white mountains, and with the mix of little warmth of sun-rays in the chilling air, I felt welcomed.

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Passing through small villages, and able to see the mountains up close always makes my heart happy.

We stopped at a "Dhaba" for a while, as soon as we stepped out of the bus, I felt really cold. Took out one more jacket and my monkey cap and ran towards the "chai wala" cause "पहाड़ों में चाय पीने का अलग ही मज़ा होता है". Stood by the road-turn, observed the view of mountains while I was sipping tea, soon after around 5-10 min bus conductor called us to board the bus as the engine whirred.

 

As we were reaching toward the bus stop, the roadside view got completely changed. Heavy rainfall with Beas river (known as Vyaas commonly) flowing in the deep chasm that goes along the right side of the road which I could barely see through the window due to the fog. I was a bit scared because of the weather and the way the bus driver was actually driving. I could never imagine myself driving at more than 30 kmph here credits to the sharp turns and narrow road but the bus drivers here seem to have seasoned well and they know all turns like the back of their hands. But it was still scary for me.

 

Finally, after an adventurous ride :P, reached the Manali bus stop. From there we checked-in to our hotel.

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DAY 2 : Around the town

So we started our trip by visiting the nearby places of Manali. At first, we went to "Gulaba".

 

Gulaba

Gulaba fell on our way to Rohtang Pass. It is a small village and can be found covered in snow during this particular season. In winters, one can enjoy many ice skating, skiing, paragliding, trekking, and much more here in Gulaba.

 

Since it was the month of March, for us it has very little amount of snow to offer to our eyes but still an outstanding view to look at.

One can rent the snow dress and boots here to play freely in the snow.

 

We played for a while and then before heading to Solang Valley, had the mandatory "Eating Maggi in the mountains" moment.

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Solang Valley

Solang Valley is known as the skiing destination of Himachal. You can also enjoy paragliding as well as horse riding in this scenic valley.

We enjoyed the cable car ride here. This ropeway is a 10 min ride which offers you a panoramic view of the valley. My first out of the many other things I did for the first time was this rope-way ride. We reached the top, sat in the cafe, and while having our tea, experienced snowfall !!! No matter how many times you experience it, it always feels like the first time.

After enjoying my lovely moment at this place, and dancing around a bit ( cause why not? It's snowing !!! ), went back through the same cable car.

 

Later, we had our lunch in the hotel and headed to the Mall road for some shopping !!!

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Local Market / Mall Road

 

Mall road is the main street in Manali. You can buy a lot of things from here like souvenirs, showpieces, winter clothes, etc. However, below things are famous in Manali :

 

- Tibetan and Himalayan Handicrafts

- Woolen clothing

- Kullu Shawls, caps

- Prayer wheels

 

You can also enjoy and hang out at the cafes here. They are pretty cool to be at. Try out some local meals at food stalls.

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DAY 3 : Exploring Kullu

The next day was planned for exploring Kullu and visit a few monasteries and temples.

Adventure Sports

 

Okay... a little bit of truth here, I'm not into adventure sports. Why? Still struggling to overcome my fear of high speed and water. And as I said, the sole purpose of this trip was trekking which was going to start the next day. So we still had one day left, so my friends decided to go paragliding and I decided to stay around and enjoy the beauty of Kullu.

But for your reference, if you are into adventure sports, you can go to Kullu and enjoy a wide range of adventures. The price for all the activities are moreover the same here no matter from whom you book.

Dhakpo Shedrupling Monastery, Kais

 

Next, we visited a Buddhist Monastery located in Kais village, also known as Kais Monastery. The monastery gives quite a religious feel and is dedicated to Dalai Lama.

 

Many monks stay here in search of peace. And while roaming around, I found children monks playing around. They all looked so cute and happy, enjoying themselves. Not to mention the monk outfit, feels quite disciplined and lovely on them.

Later in the evening, we headed back to Manali. It's around 2 hours drive from Kais to Manali. Traveling through road with the river on one side and tall dark trees on the other through which the sunlight was playing hide and seek, listening to the Bollywood songs [with "Safarnama" being played like it's a mandatory song to listen to when you travel] and feeling the cold breeze by letting my hands out of the window. Days like these and views like these make me realize that it's beautiful to be alive and living.

 

On our way back, we also saw a lot of honeycomb being grown in the fields of the villages.

Hadimba Temple

 

Later, we visited the famous Hadimba Temple, an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimba Devi, the wife of Bhima. This unique temple is surrounded by tall trees.

During Navaratri, all Hindus across the nation worship goddess Durga, but people in Manali worship Hidimba Devi.

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 The time will take you along, 

 the time will age you, 

 the time will make you mature, 

 the only thing it can't change is 

 the child that lives hidden inside you, 

 that would never agree 

 with the terms of time. 

 - Shivam Tomar ( @shivamscolumn

We wanted to go trekking in Manali, so that was our main reason for travelling here. When it comes to trekking, Kheerganga is one of the best trekking destinations in India. As a result, it quickly became my first choice because this trek is suitable for beginners as well.

So the day before, I packed my bag and was all set for the next morning. At this point, I had no idea what my next two days would be like, but one thing was certain: it definitely was going to be adventurous.

 

My first trek !!!  ( Know more about how it started here )

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