Bidding adieu to the serene tranquility of Shimla, the lonesome introvert continues his journey up north to the trenches of Manali.
Signing off on a heavy note, sitting on the window seat of the bus en route to Manali, I bid valediction to the place that kindled my spirits with love. Creating miniature skids of finger marks on the fog-tinted window of the bus, I traced back any last remains of the place as a memoir.
With the darkness of the winter nights of November blocking any view from the outside, I sheepishly pushed myself back into my seat and tinkered my thoughts with what lays ahead.
A quick knee-jerk plan to explore the precipitous regions of Manali in what seems a trip of a lifetime lays ahead. But, is the hassle all worth it? Considering I had to cut back on my days in Shimla. It better be worth it, says an angered voice from inside.
However, that’s the beauty of travel, to encompass unexplored avenues. Straying my thoughts aside, I mustered back to get some much-needed sleep. After all, a long day awaited me.
The trip ended with a drop at the bus stand at quite early in the morn at 5, to which I picked up my belongings and hastened to find a nice cozy place to get myself comfy. I found one after a little juggling off the naysayers and went right away to get myself all readied for a long day haul.
One thing I hadn’t quite breathed into was the fine atmospheric blend of this town. Well, the toll to find me a place might have put my mind off it. However, the view from my hotel’s verandah was simply breathtaking. The early morning glances of sun rays on the snowy mountainous peaks glistened it all around. A fine start to the place, aye?
After finishing off my morning calls, I hurried down to the Mall Road, well Manali’s got one of their own Mall Roads, to have a bite. Finishing off my sandwich, I inquired around as to how I can reach the famed Rohtang Pass. Your trip to Manali isn’t complete if you don’t reach out the snowy region, a la 50-km stint from the tinsel town of Manali.
I counted my stars lucky as it was still November and the pass was open. Cometh December, you’d be shut down under with excessive snowfall. Time to hitchhike a ride, aye Captain.
Getting on the back of a cab with fellows like me wanting a piece of Rohtang Pass at the 50 km ride high up in the curvaceous road gathered pace. Our driver acted as the guide for us along the ride and enlightened us on different excursions. Minutes into the ride, trees littered with green apples, only one of its kind in India laid on the sides of the road. A little later, we were presented with the forest and the river that made its way into Hrithik Roshan starred Krrish.
A quarter past half into the excursion, the cabbie driver stopped by at Marhi, a place famed for its delicious Maggi along with snow dress on rents. Guess what, I tried a bowl of it and I can vouch that it’s the best I have ever had till date. I along with my fellow cab riders rented snow dress at Rs 250 per person, a must-have if you want to have a bite of the snow at Rohtang Pass.
We started back our ride en route to Rohtang Pass and encroached upon the famed bridge shown in 3 Idiots. Then there lay the long curvaceous road, a la song Bhehti Hawa Sa depicts of in the intro of the movie. Can’t believe we’re on the same roadmap as shown in the movie. Yippee.
After a couple of hours on the back of the seat, we’re let open into the snowy region of Rohtang Pass. Time to roll ourselves into the snowy flakes, then. After a few excursions around the area, I hovered around to find a ski. I hadn’t tried it till date, but life’s full of surprises, ain’t it?
A few minutes of ski ended up with me falling over countless times and just managing over a little more than 40mtrs in distance. Poor me, ski’s not for me. However, the experience surely gave my adrenaline the much-needed pumping. Lest I satisfied my quench by getting a whole-hearted self-exploration. The self-exploration that kicked off the meaning of being alive in me.
After being back from the self-exploration venture of mine, I grouped my fellow cabbie riders and traced them to journey back to the tinsel town of Manali. The ride down the hills wasn’t as jubilant as the ride up here. Tiredness might have had something to it.
After another couple of hrs. on the back of the seat, we reached back to the town of Manali. Time to disperse, then fellow mates. Paying my way for the services rendered to me, I turned in at the hotel for much-needed rest. After spending a good few hours snoring in, I escalated down to the market for dinner. After exploring the places afar, I stepped inside a food point and ate my way to a tummy full.
It was still around half past eight which gave me a whole hour and a half before tucking myself into bed. I set out on a venture into the charm depicted by the glowing lights amidst of dark night of November. The place isn’t quite Shimla-esque but its fine for a small town area. The chilly weather of the night around these places offered quite a contrasting view to that of a hub area of bigger cities. It’s as if, Manali wanted you to breathe deep into the fanatic atmospheric air.
After a few clicks into the glittery night lights, I called it a day and hobbled back to the hotel. Envisioning the long overhaul waiting next day, I tucked myself into the warmth of the blanket.