MANALI – THINGS TO DO – A TRAVELERS ACCOUNT

Going on a trip with family to see snow-capped peaks of Manali can be a thrill! Here’s one traveler’s account of all the fun!

Both my partner and I were excited as we went about our shopping spree for woollens just before our trip up North. This was going to be our first trip to a place having snowfall and we were looking forward to an adventurous holiday, complete with a list of things to see in Manali!

Taking an overnight break at Chandigarh, we continued our journey by road to Manali. A beautiful drive along the river Beas, we were experiencing this type of terrain for the first time – the rocky bed of the meandering river on one side of the road and steep hills on the other. Driving up to the center of Manali, is the marketplace bustling with activity and the jaunt of enthusiastic tourists. The rosy-cheeked, cheerful, local people were so welcoming. Moving over to the bridge, across the mighty Beas, there’s an awesome view of the mountain ranges cradling the picturesque town.

The weather had started becoming chilly as dusk fell and being hungry and tired, we checked into our hotel, looking forward to the next day’s activity of exploring the places around. On the first day we visited the famous 16th century Hadimba Temple and Hot Water Springs at Vashisht which are of historical importance. It was a great experience as we had never seen steaming hot water coming from a natural source. One interesting activity was the yak ride (a furry animal found in this region).

The rest of the day was spent in the vicinity of Manali town with a stroll on the bustling Mall road, sipping a steaming cup of tea, munching hot pakoras and window shopping! Manali being famous for its pashmina wool and Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, there were incredible handicrafts, carpets, delicate jewellery on display as were fresh jams and pickles.

The best part of our trip was left to the end as we had planned to visit Rohtang Pass the next day. All geared up for the much awaited trip, the 51 km long uphill climb though a bit treacherous with its steep and narrow roads was truly amazing. At an altitude of 13,060 feet above sea level, it offers stunning views of snow-capped peaks and glaciers.

En route there is a stop-over at `Snow Point’, where there is enough snow to not only make a snowman but children and adults alike enjoy making balls of snow and throwing at each other or just moving around in the soft snow. Tourists have to take those furry snow caps, gloves, jackets and boots available on rent here in order to cope with the sub zero temperatures and icy winds. There is also an option of taking a break at the village of Kothi, which is a fabulous spot amidst alpine meadows and the most phenomenal River Beas as it comes roaring down through a deep gauge.

Due to its heavy spells of snowfall, this exotic location is an ideal destination for adventure sport like skiing. This required some expertise, so we opted for the safer option of merely sliding on the snowy slopes in a huge rubber tube. There are also other activities like horse riding and even short, rafting trips on the river, for kids above 12 years.

The most fascinating part of our trip was obviously snow and gorgeous views around. Wherever we looked, we found snow looking like white sheets covering the entire landscape – it was simply divine!

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