The dream of every person is to travel across the globe, but life does not provide such luxuries easily. For some, Time comes as a Hindrance while for other family, expenses, knowledge, travel route, etc. creates a hurdle. If you are a young, ambitious student, you can totally relate with such familiar dilemmas. In class 10th we had found a very affectionate and caring teacher in Madan Lal Bhairwa. One day our school GBSS HASHTSHAL organised a trip to Kullu and Manali. We proposed Mr Bhairwa to join us for the trip, which he humbly obliged. In the coming days when the D-day arrived, we gathered outside the school gate around 3 pm. After some initial round checkups, we boarded our bus, which was scheduled for Manali.
Image courtesy- dollsofindia.com
Manali is in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh It is often crowned as the 'Dev Bhoomi'. In colonial times Himachal's capital Shimla was the summer capital of Britishers for avoiding the extreme heat. Apart from natural bliss, there are many tourist spots in Kullu Manali are quite scenic which makes the travel business more booming. We left for Manali on 28 October in the evening and reached on 29th October. Before leaving I had cross-checked the weather of the place as I was in the delusion that I can endure the coldness. On the contrary, it was chilling cold. We had to put on our jackets and windcheaters in the bus itself. We were singing, dancing, making Jai-Kara throughout the journey. We were eager to see the places which we had only read in books. Around 3 am bus started to move on the uphill roads, the lights beaming out of the resident's houses were looking like stars in a twilight sky. The bus drivers should be applauded for driving on such risky road trails. The Morning mist blanketed us as we sipped hot tea at a stop near Sunder Nagar. We were still in Himalayan range and nearly we had to cover five more hours of journey from our current place. That place was also famous for shooting for many Bollywood and regional films.There were many hotels, resorts which the local businessmen were running quite successfully.The people of Himachal are very kind hearted, they provide homely comforts to the tourists and make congenial friendships. From the bus, we captured the beautiful picturesque scenery of waterfalls, rivers, trees, mountains. Finally, after a long journey, we arrived in Manali at 11 am. After settling down into our pleasant accommodations, having a brief, delicious brunch hour, we went on to catch an insightful glimpse to our trip's first excursions to Hidimba's temple, a Buddhist monastery and to witness the mesmeric wonders of the Himalayan valley. We were quite amazed to know about the mythological facts and trivia on visiting Shiva's temple which had a tree with its roots firmly fixed to a' linga'.
Later we went on to visit Ghatotkach temple, Shiv Parvati temple, Vashishtha temple,(famous for its medication hot springs) we were feeling to be more spirited and purely sunken into divinity in the shrine of these temples. We were spellbound to watch the two water bodies running in same place one was chillingly cold and other was as hot as a molten iron.There were tourists from all across the world some had come for vacation while some had come to unravel the mystery around the place.Also, we came across some foreigners who were visiting for collecting more evidence for their research work. After temples visit, we went on strolling down in the marketplace of Manali. We did some brief shopping and collected memorable souvenirs and came back to our hotel. After a good day's walk, we had a quite dinner and went down to our beds.
Next morning, we left early at around 9 am as we had to go to Rohtang pass. Although we had our own jackets, we were advised to take more. So, we rented jackets from the vendors out there on the way. Rohtang pass is a very adventurous trekking spot. It is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal range of Himalayas.It lies at the intersection of Chenab and Beas River Basins. After trekking to Rohtang pass, we fell down on snow half out of breath and half excited. Then after gathering our strength, we went like crazy as we played with snow; throwing each other, making snowmen, and clicking pictures as if Bajrang Bali had outweighed mountain on his own. Some students tried trekking while some were engulfed with snow treats. A friend of mine Rakesh impersonated Bobby Deol from the movie 'Soldier' and jumped out of snow. All in all, it was thrilling, exciting and worth remembering moments for all of us. The second day ended on an exhilarating note. On the third day, we went on to visit the Mani Karan Sahib Gurudwara. Manikaran is a pilgrimage centre for Sikhs and it is believed that Manu recreated human life 'Manikaran' after the flood. It is also famous for having India's largest hot spring and langar. After eating a pious meal we gathered together at Manali bus stand, where our bus was waiting and we boarded on towards our return journey.It's harmless to assert that in our small duration of stay in Himachal, we formed a close affinity with the place. Anyhow, with heavy hearts we returned home cherishing the memory of that trip.It was truly an enriching experience for me, my friends and teacher as we bonded not only out of our school classrooms but created an unforgettable tie with one avidly spiritual and cold place like Manali. So this travel experience will go down in history bearing a memorable page Turner for all of us.