Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Mystic Manali!"

When I read "surreal" all I could think of was traveling and how poetic my thoughts become when ever I travel. I have been to Manali in the year 2012 when I used to stay in Delhi. The 3-day travel experience is a memorable one and the trip included many things which I did for the first time. In this post I want to narrate my first rafting experience and the visit to Rohtang Pass which was challenging!

God cannot be everywhere, so he created mother. I very much agree but I want to modify it a bit. If you look around,God is everywhere and it feels motherly! Whenever you are near to mother nature, it always feels you need nothing else as you are already in God’s lap and her various phenomena are so very much intertwined with one’s own life!

“The path leading to love is always a tough one.
You have to walk in a storm or scorching heat and it is no fun.
At times you are surrounded by folks, at times there is none.
But you are love-thirst and wanderlust and walk and walk as you have sworn!” 

River Beas in Manali

“Paths are smooth, paths are rough, paths are torn and new paths are born.
You walk with a desire so strong that paths are always shown.
A river flows with more speed due to rough wind or when it hits a stone.
Be like that river which no matter what flows with high spirits all alone!”


These were the first lines I wrote when I saw the hills , the gushing icy cool river water , pine trees and much more. It felt like a dream land.

 People say - "What is life with out some adventure?" . I am zero adventurous but first time tried rafting that too in rough waters and loved the experience. I always was and am little hydrophobic and keep imagining that bridge may get destroyed and that the wave may eat me up but after 2-3 icy cold waves I felt it like a friendly wave waving hi to me :- ) ! It is a memorable experience after which we went to Manikaran -not to say thanks to GOD for saving us from water but to see the hot water springs and to silently wish that we should over come our fears eventually!! Manikaran (Punjabi: ਮਨੀਕਰਨ) is located in the Parvati Valley between the rivers Beas and Parvati, northeast of Bhuntar in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. It is at an altitude of 1760 m and is located about 45 km from Kullu. This small town attracts tourists visiting Manali and Kullu to its hot springs and pilgrim centers. (Source :wiki)
Manikaran Hot water springs
 Our day 2 in the itinerary was to visit Rohtang pass. I actually want to rename the place as Rohtang DUR (far) as we spent a good 6hrs on the road to cover a mere 52kms which will not take more than 2hrs! The trip increased our patience, controlled our temperament, taught us to cooperate with each other  and reminded GOD and gave the stark realization that the godly places are always tough to reach!
This was when we started

Rohtang Pass (Hindi: रोहतांग दर्रा) (Bhoti: Rohtang , lit: pile of corpses, due to people dying in bad weather trying to cross the pass) (altitude 3,978 m or 13,051 ft). It is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km (32 mi) from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India.(Do refer wiki to know more.) and I am dedicating the below poem written long back to this road journey.

Some times road is smooth some times with friction.

Some times life is real some times with fiction!

Road has many milestones to cross.

Life has many phases to pass!

Road shows us mirages at times.

Life shows us dreams And dimes! 

Road ends with destination.

Life ends with re-incarnation!
 --------By Afshan----

The first glance of Himalayas was some thing like below which made me sing "Kyun nai lagrahi hai ye dharti gagan . Maine Poocha to boli ye pagli pawan Pyar hua chupke se" - It is a song from the Hindi movie 1942 a love story. Call me mad, I was even changing songs on my I-pod so that they suit the locations. 
The below one is the most classic shot . Don't you feel like living in that house along with grazing horses and cattle? It is like living in heaven.

The below pic shows the back yard of the house where we asked permission to go to loo. I clicked so many pictures here. I wanted to stay there for long but as driver started scaring us mentioning the land slides and the traffic jam we left the spot. Isn't the spot dreamy ?

As we started taking turns and zig zags it started getting hazy , foggy and icy. We visited in the month of  July and hence we did not experience any snow fall . It was actually the best time to visit Rohtang pass as during winter all the roads will be blocked with ice chunks which are about 5ft in depth.  Sometimes people get stuck due to land slides and when there is no transport they may also die it seems hence the title of the place - "Rohtang. Not sure how many hot bhutta (corn) and tea breaks we took. Nothing passed the time and we were exhausted as we were stuck at the same spot for a good 2 and 1/2 hours. Finally the traffic moved slowly after a total halt of 3 and 1/2 hrs. The ice chunk was dirty as there is sadly no snow fall. The road flanked by ice on both sides made me sing the song - Ye ishq haaye baithe bithaye jannat dikhaye from Jab we met. The song was shot on these roads and I was continuously recollecting the song when our driver mentioned it. Needless to say I tuned to the same song on my I-pod :) Trips and bollywood go hand in hand!

The day was both sunny and icy which troubled my sinuses. Many people puked on the way. I was later told it is called Acute Mountain Sickness. We ate nothing but still people were following the ritual to puke one by one which made the atmosphere uneasy and I got a bad head ache.We were lured by the shops on the way , who charged some 500 for the jacket and the special boots which we took on rent. Boots were useful but jacket was a waste as it was not freezing!

Isn't the above scene scenic? After all the hard ships , too many people falling sick in our jeep and an unnerving traffic jam it was worth it when we touched the ice. We were actually on the Himalayas. That made me sit on cloud 9 :)

I started feeling slightly cold as it was evening 5 and as we ate nothing since morning my stomach started rumbling and the head ache got worse. I just rested on the shining rocks by the side for a while where we got a chance to get clicked again.

Finally this stall made me happy. We had piping hot ginger chai(tea) and maggi . Where ever you go you can find solace in maggi - the universal food and you can say the staple food of hill stations in India. Due to dizziness and nausea-tic feeling I couldn't have more than 2 spoons :(

Maggi - hot
The sight of this energized us

The below pic is my most favorite. I appreciate myself every time I see it . My best Rohtang pass pic
Lastly my pic with my favorite travel partner - Harnoor from Chandigarh who made me smile all the way with her silly jokes and doubts . She was a relief when ever the journey seemed endless. Enjoyed her company hence a click was must. Among other partners there were Harnoor's parents , 3 fiery, feisty girls who worked in Delhi and Gurgaon, who were very co-operative and offered us the middle and front seats when the back seat of the jeep made us sick! Half of the clan fell sick and I just wanted the trip of that day to end but in the return journey we again faced a jam though it was not a prolonged one!
we enjoyed the sledge ride too on the ice where the person
pushes the sledge down the ice slope.
me with Harnoor
Thus our trip ended and even if the journey was little stressful I can never ever forget this first time Himalaya experience in my life.
Image source : here

My next dream destination is Leh- Ladakh.  A tunnel is being constructed from Rohtang to Ladakh to travel in all seasons. The works get halted now and then as its very challenging to build the "tunnel" due to extreme weather conditions. I hope it soon gets completed . Next time probably I will go to Ladakh and see a real snow fall. Lastly a beautiful song for you all which continuously played in my mind on that day (It was shot in Rohtang Pass).
[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. I am the guest author for the month of February. The prompt for today is "Whoa!What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?"]


  1. We stayed in Manali for some 10 days! it was awesome ! nice post :)

    1. 10 days !! Thats wow :)
      Thanks for dropping by Ankita

  2. I love Manali....beautiful place and very nice pictures :)
    plz join my blog

    1. Thanks Sonali !
      Saw ur blog. Will read in detail soon :)
      Thanks for reading

  3. Ahhh you made me relive,...MANIKARAN and ROHTANGPASS!!!
    The maggi went cold on its way to my mouth from the plate! :D

    1. Thanks for reading as always!
      We went in July but still it got chilly by evening ....aah the trip was not that easy :)

  4. After a very long time, I have read such a beautifully done travelogue. I can see from the pictures why poetry is what you thought of writing. I can also feel through the post how the place touched you. Really, isn't that the purpose of travelling in the first place? Beautiful post, Afshan. So happy I saw this first thing today. Now, I miss my Dehra Dun somewhat! :)

    1. Thanks Sakshi . Feels good to see an elaborate comment aws always :) ya the entire HP to that matter the whole north east makes me poetic !! its heaven on Earth !
      Aww U r from dehradun!!!GRT

  5. Beautiful pics..You made me remember our visit to Manali last year :-)

  6. You had an awesome trip by your post. I love the way you tie up songs to the places :) When we went to Kufri, it was again ginger chai and maggi on the way. And yes, I felt quite nauseous too.
    I love the pictures. the thought of the cool water, mountains and the scenic beauty makes me long for a trip too. Loved that house and the horses grazing. I'd definitely love to live there :)

    1. Thanks for dropping by my blog !
      Ya Kufri was on to visit list tooo but nai hua when I was there :( Ginger chai was a life saver !
      I miss visting to these scenic places

  7. Manali and Rohtang is actually beautiful. I had been there a long time ago and loved it. I would love to go there once again! Beautiful pictures...whenever a trip ends, stories like finding that house for you, make it so much more personalized.

    1. ya Rohtang is jaw droppingly bful !
      I can only imagine the beauty of Ladakh. Thanks for reading Sugandha

  8. Now, you want me to travel all these places and do all the stuff you did :)

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