Just had a wonderful trip to Himachal…. So what better way to restart my blog with a description of the trip…. Won’t be possible to cover this in one post… Better to go one post for each trip day…
Initially we were planning this trip as a college friends get-together… and indeed, in the starting I was more excited about enjoying with friends than the place we were planning to go.. Shimla or no Shimla. I was in for the trip… But that didn’t go as planned… Some of my friends didn’t get leaves from office, some had chores to do at home, some dint find the trip convincing enough 😮 So finally we were only four in the final list… Me, my college batchmates Aakash and Kaushik and their colleague Anuj..
So we took off on December 27, Wednesday.. an overnight bus journey from Delhi to Manali.. Started the trip with a bit of Dumb Charades, Gave up after some time as Kaushik and Anuj were pure newbies in the game and were not enjoying as much… We stopped at Karnal for dinner before we decided to have some sleep in favour of a hectic day ahead..
But the weather too was literally freezing.. But what else can ne expect in Dec end in Himachal..
We passed through Kullu….. Didn’t look quite gudd to us.. Nothing bad about it…But somehow it didn’t offer us anything special.. Moreover we knew that manali has so many places which had to be missed if Kulu was to be included. So there itself we dropped Kullu from our itinerary..
So Now it was just Manali and surrounding places to see..
Time for some history (rather, mythology) lessons:: Manali translates to “Abode of Manu”. As per Hindu belief, after the great flood had wiped out life through out the world, it was at this place, Manu stopped his ark and re-created the world.. (The story is a parallel to Noah’s ark in Bible). So Manali can be considered as the place from where the life re-originated..
We reached Manali at around 9…took a cab to Hotel Vintage, which we had booked thru travelmasti… As we were going to experience in the coming two days, the hotel was quite good.. Good food, Good hospitality, Reasonable prices and location-wise good too.. I’d recommend Vintage for anybody who plans to visit Manali with a reasonable budget…
This experience is in sharp contrast with Hotel Shubham at Shimla.. A bad experience.. will talk about that later)
We planned our itinerary to cover Manali local on Day 1 and visit the nearby places like Solang, Kothi , Gulaba etc the next day… Manali local was mostly temples.. though not as exciting in itself.. But the sceneic Manali surroundings made even this simple trip enjoyable.. We had 3 digi-cams between four of us.. And rarely had any of us had seen such beautiful natural scenery from so close.. The snow covered mountains, the River Beas flowing down in the valley everything was really so gudd..So we were clicking at anything clickable… ( We finally ended up with 900+ pics plus some videos; With this collection, I suppose we’re ready to make a documentary or at least an ad for Himachal Tourism 😛 )
We decided to start with Vashishtha temple… Some 2-3 km from our Hotel… Took an auto and reached there at about 1:15. But we found at the Shiva temple at the entry that the temple is closed from 1-2 PM… Without checking it out, we concluded that it must be the same for the main temple as well.. Smart people!! Aren’t we??? Decided to pass the time in visiting the market around and some photography…That’s the beauty of a hill-station.. You can stop just about anywhere and start clicking.. The beauty is scattered everywhere..
After we were done with our photo-session, we found a handloom-waala selling something called Chingu 😮 We got interested and went in.. The chingu was a quilt kinda thing.But the difference was that it’ll keep you warm in winters and cool in summers!! 😮 Moreover, it wasn’t for sale.. It was for lease.. The cost was 6K; after a period of 5 years, a person from their side will supposedly come and collect the chingu from you after paying you 5.4K!!! That is you can use it for 5 years by changing just 10% of the cost…. And why so?? Because Maneka Gandhi has banned the furnaces that were earlier used to heat the chingu stuff to make out shawls frm it… 1 chingu once heated expands to make 5-6 shawls each of which sells for around 20-22K. Now human body is the best furnace in the world!! 😮 So they’re actually using our body heat to make business!! Height of marketing fundas!! The guy must be a marketing genius, except that he cud not convince any of us to buy those… 😀
Now it was past two and we were back to see the Vashishtha temple… Only to discover that that the main temple is closed from 2 to 3!!:-( We had not bothered to check the main temple and just expected it to be the same as the Shiva temple.. Now we were not in a position to wait any further… We just visited the open temple (Shiva Temple)and left for Manali market..
After having lunch, some marketing and booking our tickets to Shimla, we moved to Tibetan Monastery… Well.. this was the first timeI was visiting a Buddhist place… And I found the atmosphere inside really peaceful and serene.. The constant chanting of some mantras and sounding of chimes made for some real divine world inside.. Would surely like to visit such a place again in future if i get a chance..
It was getting cold.. So we decided to drop other temples from our list and visit just Nature Park (In front of Monastery) before winding up the day.. The park was in itself quite beautiful and well-maintained.. But the best part was river Beas flowing through it..That was a perfect ending to an enjoyable day…..
But we were still missing the stuff we had come for.. We hadn’t seen any snow yet.. Snow and other stuff in the post for Day 2.. Coming very soon..