Travelling induces the feeling of being uncertain.
The voyage often turns out to be an invigorating adventure. Well, in my case, this expedition turned out to be thrilling. For this year’s annual vacation, we headed straight to the Himalayan resort town, Manali.
As the driver drove the car through the majestic mountains, it felt heavenly. The car continued along its way, taking sharp turns every other minute; it is then, I observed the beauty of the unpredictability of nature. The narrow ends and the deep valleys aroused a stellar feeling within me. Sweet and innocent voices welcomed us happily, their faces as red as the cherries they were selling. The snow clad mountains followed us to our hotel room window.
Situated in the hamlet of Himalayas, Manali is beautiful. After settling in our room, we decided to walk up to the famous Hidimba temple, about 500 meters from our hotel. The road to the temple led through a marketplace rustic in look and authentic in taste. The ancient temple was named after Hidimba Devi, the wife of brave Pandava ‘Bhima’ and the mother of ‘Ghatotkach’. The temple was a three-story structure, constructed with rocks and wood, surrounded by deodar trees and located in the presence of the apple orchards. In the evening we visited the local markets. Quaint roadside stalls and street-market stretches buzzed with the crowd. We walked down the ‘mall road’ a focal point of the hill station, tasting the local flavours, buying Tibetan articrafts, carpets from Thekchokling Gompa and the famous Kullu caps.
The following day we had another journey. By 6 am next day, we were inside our pre-booked car and began to scale the snow-clad mountains. Every view was worth capturing. The chill in the breeze intensified as we came close to the Rohtang pass. People around us were skiing or at least tried to. Even I tried my luck at it but failed miserably, although I did manage to pose for a few pictures. Except for the few ski stalls, the only other stalls were that of Maggi. The temperature had dropped below the freezing point and the hot bowls of Maggi acted as a much-needed heater.
We were back in the car once again, traversing through the narrow roads. Colourful gliders, welcomed us as we reached Solang valley. The mystic green and white landscape offered adventure sports to the visitors. A humongous ropeway caught my eye. It was a bit of nerve-wracking as I entered the small compartment, but gradually as the cabin started scaling the mountain I began to enjoy the rest of the journey. Gathering all the courage I had, I decided to try paragliding. I felt like a bird; I felt like I had grown wings. I flew over the mountains admiring the landscape, enjoying the calmness. The feeling is inexpressible. The night ended with a bonfire followed by a sumptuous dinner.
Finally, it was the time for me to bid adieu to this quaint little hamlet town. Lessons, memories and a lot of unforgettable moments were Manali’s parting gifts for me.