• My Trip to Manali, Shimla 5 1
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Offline rahulshekhar

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My Trip to Manali, Shimla
« on: August 27, 2014, 05:26:22 AM »
It seldom happens you plan for a vacation trip and everything happens as planned. My summer vacation too deviated from plan but it can’t be put easily; here is a snapshot of my vacation. It was long awaited trip to Simla / Manali, finally successfully cleared.
The flight from Hyderabad to New Delhi (second week of June ’12) was in company of lots and lots of white clouds; they almost covered the blue sky; I hope it rains soon. The pilot announced that we were flying at height of 38000 ft (11.2 km approx.) and outside temperature was -46 °C, and when we landed it was 39 °C at New Delhi (auweee...).

I didn’t roam around much, except Connaught Place [I mean “C.P.”]; thought of boarding Metro rail, but unfortunately the ticket counter queues were overcrowded, even though on weekend afternoon; it reminded me of Mumbai local trains.  Anyways, I didn’t get chance to ride metros that time, but shall get it soon. The traffic-wale mamu’s are smmaart enough to pick their prey. One needs to be more careful.

After a long time, I watched an episode of C.I.D. The show is on for last 15 years and is planning to make a movie now. It’s very difficult to judge - which is at pinnacle, “Comedy Circus” or “C.I.D.”. This episode, C.I.D. finds out that a terrorist is making C-4 bombs in a hi-fi residential complex (say, Lokhandwala area). They call the house owner for investigation and accuses that he had given the flat on rent to a person without background check and he is making bombs in his house. The House Owner – “Sir, mujhe to BOMB ki spelling bhi nahi aati”. This was the C.I.D. dialogue of the week.

From New Delhi, I boarded train to Kalka, and from there to Simla on a Narrow-Gauge train. We were accompanied with a politician Mr. Subramaniam Swamy, a leader of “Janata Party”. He has joined hands with Anna Hazare and is fighting to get effective Lokpal Bill into Constitution; very soon the crowd recognized him and visited him to appraise him for the social cause he is working onto. Many people took photographs with him, throughout the journey to Simla; I too have one. The train was Narrow-Gauged but had decent speed ranging between 10-40 km/hr. The tracks were between the hills and valleys, very similar to those of Western Ghats or Konkan railways, but had its own speciality. 
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« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 10:25:57 PM by Saurabh Soni »




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Offline rahulshekhar

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Re: My Trip to Manali, Shimla
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 05:33:26 AM »
At Simla, the plans changed and decided to visit Kullu, Manali and Rohtang Pass. We spent very less time at Simla, a walk to Mall Road and then to Town Hall. The former was goood, in every aspect; the hill had multiple roads up-and-down slopes like layers or steps to the hill; no plastic on the roads. You should definitely wait for the sunset at Mall Road, it’s beautiful. When dark, the lights lit in the shops and houses and gives sparkling photos. The Town-hall is great place to having a Church, and open public place that can be used for events. No vehicles allowed, so kids can play in open; benches and seats available for people; statues of politicians and statesmen and freedom fighters.
Next day, we started for Manali by road in a cab. It can be 6-7 hours of drive without stoppages, we had many. Road journeys have stereo songs; as we were in a new place, we enjoyed a different set of songs. The start was with typical shayari based songs of early 90’s, some local singers; it was okay. You need to maintain speed of 60-70 km/hr to reach on time, but we were following speed limits on the road 40-50 km/hr. For some distance it was S-shaped up-and down the hill, later it was straight highway road. By noon, it was sunny and hot. We crossed cities Mandi and Kullu in between. There weren’t much interesting on the roads except Satluj river, Beas river, small dams on them and few shops of woollen clothes. Reached near Kullu, we kept constant speed of 60 km/hr; songs had changed to folk songs of Himachal and Punjabi pop songs. Very near to Kullu is a Sangam of rivers Beas and Parvati, you can notice the different colours of waters from different sources. We continued to wards Kullu and then towards Manali.
The drivers need to be very cautious or can end up in accidents. We saw a small accident right in front of us. A Maruti Omni, I guess, overtook us at high speed, faced a Tata Sumo from other side of the road at speed say 70-80km/hr. They both applied brakes and moved aside to avoid collision but actually following each other, finally when very close moved away, but couldn’t avoid scratching the sides. One of them lost the side mirror but fortunately none major damage.
We continued further, in controlled speed; the road was not on hills but on straight tracks, Beas river flowing beside, green hills after it. We took a look at the top of the hill and could see between green hills, blue sky and grey clouds, a white snow mountain peak – beautiful...:)
The in-between road is almost parallel to Beas river and so you get to see River Rafting. We decided to go for that adventure; it was 30 minute rafting for a distance of 7 km accompanied with guard / diver and rower. The river current was very strong and with rocks, you get many crest and falls. It splashes water on face every time, but don’t waste time to wipe-out water from face, but hold tight and enjoy. It will stronger at beginning and slower as we go down or the river widens.
We completed the distance, came back, changed clothes (good provision) and proceeded with journey. Once you reach Manali, you need to register for Rohtang pass at Tourist office, in case you are stuck or missing, they can track and send rescue / recovery team. We reached Manali in some 11 hours, checked-into hotel and lied down for rest.
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« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 10:26:28 PM by Saurabh Soni »

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Offline rahulshekhar

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Re: My Trip to Manali, Shimla
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 05:36:02 AM »

Next morning we had to start for Rohtang Pass, it is 52 km of road round the hill from Manali and takes 4-6 hours for one way; we were ready by 4 am and started. You need extra woollen clothes before go up, else not allowed. We had jacket / wind-cheater (single piece scalp to ankles) and gumboots; hired a person with skiing equipments. We had breakfast at Mrdhi, last village after Manali and before Rohtang; it was 4°C in morning, you get bread toast, paranthas, tea, coffe, and our beloved Maggi noodles.
After that point no vehicles other than Himachal Pradesh’s or national transport trucks or tourist taxis are allowed further. There had been 350 accidents on that route in a year (the route is closed for 5-6 months, i.e. 350 accidents for 180 days, 2 in a day). We could see why it takes so much time to reach at the top, there was a huge queue ahead of us (apparently we started late by 2 hours). Some 5000-6000 vehicles take that route daily, for tourism and transportation. The road was barely 10-12 feet wide, just enough for 2 vehicles to cross each other, one by one. As it was Wednesday, the visitors were more (the route is closed on Tuesdays).
In the beginning of the route we can see rocks and green plants, but as you go up, beside the roads, the hill sides are covered with snow. As we go further, the road narrows, 2 vehicles are difficult to pass together; one side needs to stop for a while and the other can go. Wherever we stopped, we can step out and take beautiful pictures; there were Cliff Mountains, green hills with patches of snow, like frozen waterfall – Beas Naala was the best.
After some 7 hours of ride you reach the top of mountain Rohtang. It was some 2 miles of flat area covered with snow; you can play there or take the road (the highest place in India, 16000ft, to have roads for transportation) and go towards Leh. The same route was taken by the Army during Kargil war. It was easily recognizable; the same location had been used for many film shootings - Jab We Met, etc. There were many sports and fun activities available – skiing, snow-motor bike / scooter, hand sledges, animal (yak, pony) rides, slides, etc; adventurous to have some of them; it was already -10°C and it started drizzling a bit with very tiny crystals. Noticing carefully, the place had less oxygen and if one is not accustomed, can get sick very easily. The place had few eatables – maggi noodles, omelette, bread toast, etc. and a shade to take shelter.
Take pictures of nature, play, relax, and enjoy the cool beauty of the Himalayans.
The Mom is the best; she got sick of S-shaped route but still managed till the top and stayed with us. We could continue to play as much as we liked but had to take the same route to reach down. In some 2 hours, we started return journey; it had more frequent and long stoppages. Initially, it felt good that you stop and relax to get some strength, but later it was frustrating to sit idle for an hour and a half. People around started speculating what could be the reason; it could have been punctured tyre OR a rock on the road OR Bus and Truck unable to cross side by side OR road repairing work in progress (they repair a part of one-side of road in day time). We had crossed some 12-15 km from top and wasted 3-4 hours. Later when we witnessed and go to know, it was a landslide; big pieces of rock on the road blocking one side of road. People were stuck into that jam since 8am in the morning; it was around 3pm. Our Taxi driver shared previous encounters, when they were stuck for 2 days; last autumn, a batch of girls was stuck for some 12-15 hours. We crossed that and continued our journey with fewer stoppages this time. We reached our hotel in some 13-14 hours since morning, lied down to rest for the remaining day.
Next day, we roamed around Manali (I was very tired); the backyard of hotel had many fruit orchards – apple, pomegranate, pear (nashpati), roses, etc. We took some photographs and visited Hadimba temple (probably most popular among local people); it was some 400 years old accompanied with same old Deodar trees, width larger than span of open arms. We also saw thick furry animals – cute Rabbit, big Yak and Pony available for rides. Next we visited Club house available for water sports; Beas river flowing on backside is as cold as freezer, it can numb your senses in seconds. After that, we visited Van-Vihar (park with large deodar trees); you can rest there or can hang around. That place had shooting of movie Krissh (acrobatics of Krissh in first half). Lastly we visited, Tibetan monastery; it was very quiet and peaceful.
Return journey was equally tiring, we had to reach Kalka and board train to Delhi. Again we started early; this time the songs were all mixed up, Bollywood, albums, local pop songs – frankly I wasn’t caring much and was relaxing and keeping memories of trip. We had completed the quota of events of the trip, nothing further eventful happened; we maintained speed and reached Kalka in some 10 hours; reached Delhi from train and then back to Hyderabad in a flight. When I landed here, I was welcomed with Rain. I took AeroExpress, and was drenched till I reached home.
This 1 week of vacation was probably the best thing of the year. However, I missed few places to cover – Pinjaur Garden, Trolley, Kufri, friends at Delhi, etc; but I will cover them later, may be next time. It’s better to keep some things pending to make another opportunity.
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« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 04:59:18 AM by Saurabh Soni »

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Offline Saurabh Soni

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Re: My Trip to Manali, Shimla
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2014, 10:28:52 PM »
Nice Log rahulshekhar and nice pics too.


Hope to see more such posts from you


Regards,
Saurabh

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Offline Rahul Singh

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Re: My Trip to Manali, Shimla
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2014, 01:40:30 PM »
Hey Rahul,


I have been to the places you have written your blog upon. Could never put the beauty of Rohtang and Manali into words. I have relived the journey through your words. Thanks a lot from my entire team to you.


And I like your writing style. A lot of humour in it. :) CID. :P
Rahul Singh
Economy Traveler

"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."- Greg Anderson


 


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