Planning a holiday to Manali was quite a hassle since I had to apply for a week-long leave in the office. After a lot of persistence on spending time with my family, the boss gave a go-ahead. The dates from 7th to 12th June were blocked on my calendar as a Rejuvenation Week.
Just to give you a starter, yes it was a cliche place and no it was not at all monotonous. But, the perspective creates a hell lot of a difference too and I was all in good vibes when I started this holiday to Manali. Oh man, did we have a lot of adventures! Wanna know more? Keep reading fella –
Day 1 -Journey (Delhi – Manali)
We took the most convenient option to reach Manali – a hired cab. Unlike train and flight, you have the liberty to stop the vehicle to observe the magnificence of nature. So, that sounded like the best option for a Romantic like me.
My favorite time to start a journey is sunset, so that’s what we were going to adhere to on this holiday too.
We left no stone unturned to overpack our bags, so much so that every bag took an effort to close its zippers. The time was finally here when the sun turned to a perfect hue of red and orange as the clock struck 5. We loaded our bags into the car and started the journey towards the much-hyped beautiful hill station. There are a lot of eateries that fall on the way to Manali, but we chose to eat at a very local Dhaba to enjoy our dinner.
It took us around 12 hours to cover a distance of 542 km from Delhi to Manali. From a pollution-filled air to the air which had winter written all over it, we crossed one state after another to finally reach Manali. We reached early morning and it was a bit cold. So, we pulled up our sweatshirts and quickly walked into our already booked hotel.
Day 2 (Vashishtha Temple & Hot Springs)
The day unfolded like a cold winter breeze, slowly yet gradually. We took a bath and got all dressed up (in pajamas) to invite the first day of our holiday in Manali. Our uncle, a localite from Manali agreed to be our guide on the whole trip. He came to meet us at the hotel and then we began our march towards the famous Vashishth Temple which is around 2 km from Manali.
The entire Vashishtha village is well known for its temple’s hot water spring which is said to have medicinal values.
Believed to be more than 4,000 years old, this temple brings people of all faith under its one roof singing the song of ‘Hare Krishna Hare Rama’.
There is a separate enclosure beside the temple for men and women with huge bathtub-like-area filled with warm water to immerse your worries and meditate them away. At first, I wasn’t even able to touch the hot water, leave alone take a dip. But once I got inside and closed my eyes, I was transported to a whole another peaceful world. All the tiredness of the journey melted away and so did the chaos of my city mind.
( PS – carry your own towel and an extra set of clothes to use after the bath )
The evening was spent exploring the banks of Beas river which is only a short distance away from the temple. As we walked past the houses, I couldn’t help but notice that Vashishtha village was a perfect old school set up being unaffected by the modernities. The houses still had thatched roofs and cows. Exploring the village and forest around the area gave us a perspective of new thoughts.
Day 3 (Paragliding at Solang Valley)
The second day came with a hint of adventure in it. The mornings in Manali were chilly but the afternoons were rather scorching and the sun shone like anything.
But the second day brought a little wind and rain with it. But that low key screwed our plans to go paragliding that day and we spent the day enjoying the view from the hotel balcony. The rain glorified the landscape of Himalayas and I forgot all about the plans of paragliding as I did not need a parachute to make me fly anymore, my thoughts sufficed.
But eventually, the skies cleared up and we were rolling again. We went to Solang Valley with the dreams of flying high. I went to the ticket counter to inquire the cost and other details.
The Cost for Paragliding –
Short Ride ( for 3-5 minutes ) – INR 1200
Long Ride ( for 10-15 minutes ) – INR 3500 including the cable car ride up the hill
(The above cost and duration is only indicative and susceptible to change)
Buying the tickets itself gave me an adrenaline rush, I wondered what would the drop from the mountain do. With that thought in my head, I followed my instructor up the hill who was an interesting creature in himself as he spoke in all possible languages including English and Punjabi.
I was clasped in all sorts of paragliding equipment and the instructor started running to jump and take the flight. He was tied behind me to give directions to the parachute while I enjoy being an avian creature.
We took a dip as we jumped and I almost thought the parachute failed but then we soared with the air and the sky seemed closer than ever. I wished to stay there but the ride got over too soon. I regretted not taking the Long ride as soon as I touched the ground after 4 minutes of heavenly experience. We got back in the car to go back to the hotel but the traffic in Manali every evening makes it impossible for cars to move unless you wait for 2 hours in traffic lines. So, we walked halfway back since we would rather be tired than stuck.
( We also recommend you to read : 9 Offbeat Places in India that are cool for the Summers)
Day 4 ( Snowfall in Rohtang Pass )
This was one of the most exciting days of our entire trip – going to Rohtang Pass which 51 km from Manali. We all woke up before the break of dusk to get started on our much-anticipated adventure. We had done all preparations for it beforehand, which included getting permits and hiring a car to go there. There are only a limited number of cars allowed per day to cross the pass and only professional drivers can manage to drive through those narrow lanes. So we left our car behind and got on to our ride for the day.
We stopped at a shop to rent snow-suits as it is impossible to stay alive without those in the freezing temperature up there. Each suit (including the whole body suit and rubber boots) cost us INR 300 which we had to return at the end. We also bought thick woolen socks to protect our nimble feet from the cold as our regular socks were failing in the snowy atmosphere.
After running all the errands, we resumed our journey to Rohtang. There was an entire trail of cars and I could see around hundreds of them lining the path around the mountain. Slowly and steadily all of them crawled up the Himalayas to get their inmates towards their destination of snowland.
It took around an hour before we reached a place where they were checking permits and the cars came to a halt there. This was the first place on the entire way which has a toilet facility and some vendors selling snacks to calm the hunger of the excited lot coming up.
It was a journey of another hour to reach a famous cafe (this is the only cafe there, hence famous) where everyone going towards Rohtang halt. This was the second place where you could freshen up and eat food like Maggi and other snacks with some chai/coffee to go with it. From here it was another 30 minutes before we could throw ourselves in the snow and make snow-angels. We attended to nature’s call and then resumed our journey towards our final destination.
We were soon crossing snow-covered roads and mountains and we parked our car next to an entire mountain of snow. In total, it took around 2-3 hours to reach Rohtang from Manali. As soon as I got out of the car, I felt a drop in the oxygen and was out of breath for some time. But then the sky started pouring tiny and soft snowflakes which brushed against my cheeks as I stared at the beautiful sky. Nothing got my excitement level pumped up so fast like the snow did. We started sliding down the mountain and playing throwball with snow. It was winter in its true sense, right in the month of June.
We spent about 3-4 hours there but they seemed so less to consume the entire beauty of the place. So, half-heartedly we settled back in the car and went back to Manali and our hotel there. The evening was spent quietly with all of us still carrying the memories of snow-laden mountains in our heads.
Day 5 ( Exploring local area )
We decided to explore the local shops and market area on this day and walked from our hotel to the Mall Road which has a lot of shops for the tourists who come here. It had everything from personalized keychains to handmade wallets, but man, they were expensive. Now a person who hails from Delhi and has been in touch with Lajpat Nagar market cannot digest the fact that a wallet can cost INR 700. But well, what could we do. At last, I found an antique shop and bought a hand fan for 100 bucks which looked pretty fascinating to me. I had to take a souvenir back home from this beautiful place and this was a pretty good option.
The market had other things too, like all sorts of winter clothes, games, antiques, spiritual things, wooden paintings, etc. But there was nothing that interested me. We spent the evening at the hotel and the day went by.
Day 6 (Bidding Adieu to Lala Land)
It was difficult saying goodbye, but then goodbyes are never easy for me, especially when it is to the place that gave me a million beautiful memories. But then, the regular life only allowed me a week of holiday and I had to eventually return to being a city girl at the end.
With songs in my heart and thoughts in my head,
I departed with a sad smile on my face.
With a promise to come back,
I said goodbye to the miraculous place.
Here is our Video Blog for everything we did in Manali.
Hope you enjoy it 🙂
Special Thanks to Mom Dad Mini Aman Kunnu for giving me an amazing time ♥
(You should also read: DHARAMSHALA DIARIES – JOURNEY TO PEACE )