Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vacations: Kullu - Manali - Dalhousie - A place close to heaven

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As they say all work and no play makes jack a dull boy. For the same reason I always try to find some time to unwind myself. And, it was that time again when I packed my bags for a fun filled vacation. This time the destination was Kullu-Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh state is located in Northern part of India just below Jammu and Kashmir. This was the first time I was visiting Kullu-Manali. 

The best time to visit Manali is between April - June period. As by this time of the year the internal roads are cleared of snow and weather is not that cold. If you are travelling to Manali from Pune, the most convenient route is to reach Delhi first and then from Delhi you can catch a bus or a private vehicle for Manali. Manali is approximately 600 kilometers from Delhi and it's a long journey of 14 hours due to the hilly narrow roads and difficult track. 


We reached Delhi at around 3 PM and without wasting any time we started our journey in the cab we booked earlier. We traversed through four states of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and reached Manali at around 7 AM next day. I must say the journey was quite exhaustive. It was drizzling that day and due to fog the visibility was very less. Thankfully we were able to get our hotel room before the check-in time, and could rest for a while.

Manali - Picturesque view
Manali - Picturesque view
Manali is not a very big town, it has few tourists attractions like temples, a club house, a little market which is known as Mall road etc. The Mall road is quite interesting where you will find shops selling all types of items for daily use, some souvenir shops and few restaurants. Also there is a separate market where you can find variety of woolen clothes, sweaters and jackets. Though I would like to mention, you will find plenty of photo taking opportunities wherever you are in Manali, it is simply picturesque.

Manali - Greenery and flowers everywhere
Manali - Greenery and flowers everywhere

Manali - A lazy foggy day
Manali - A lazy foggy day

Manali - A small village
Manali - A nearby small village
We spent the first day to explore the places in and nearby Manali, as the next day was going to be an adventurous one, we were going to visit Rohtang pass. Rohtang pass is a high mountain point which is 50 kilometers from Manali and is on the way of Manali - Leh highway. It is a very famous tourist point where people go to enjoy the snow view. The peaks here are always covered with snow and it is developed as a ski point and other fun activities for people to enjoy the snow. I have never been to a snow point earlier so it was going to be a different experience.

Our driver had earlier informed us that we must leave our hotel no later than 4 AM in the morning otherwise we will be stuck in the heavy traffic going towards Rohtang pass :(. Though it was a daunting task for us to wake up that early, we somehow manage and was able to start for Rohtang pass by 4 AM. On the way we stopped to get the snowsuits, there are plenty of shops on the way which provides the snowsuits for nominal rent.

Manali - Snow point near Rohtang Pass
Manali - Snow point near Rohtang Pass 
Once we reached near Rohtang pass we realized our driver was right, there was a heavy rush of vehicles and people and it was a traffic jam like situation. But as we were very close to our destination we left the vehicle and decided to walk. 

It was a clear sunny day and there was snow everywhere. People were trying their hands on skiing, children were playing with snow and snowman. There were guides available to give quick skiing lessons. Also there were few yaks which you can ride on. I liked the sledge ride most, it was fun to ride on these. We spent few hours enjoying the view, played in snow and were mesmerized with nature's beauty. It was the time well spent. If you are interested in photography you will not regret coming here.

Manali - Ski slope at Rohtang Pass
Manali - Ski slope at Rohtang Pass
We returned back to our hotel by afternoon and as were tired so spent rest of the day at hotel. Next day we went to Kullu which is about 40 kilometers from Manali. Kullu is comparatively a small town, one can do river rafting here which is quite popular or river crossing through ropes on river Beas. One can also visit the Naggar castle, which is a small but well maintained castle and art gallery. This was our last day in Kullu-Manali so we covered the places which were on our list, did some shopping and returned to our hotel.

The next morning we packed our bags and left for Dalhousie. Dalhousie is another hill station in Himachal Pradesh and it is around 350 Kilometers from Manali, still due to the narrow and hilly roads it takes around 9-10 hours to reach there. The route is very scenic with great valley views, waterfalls and the Beas river flowing close to the road, overall an enjoyable journey. We found Dalhousie little warmer as compared to Manali.

Next day, we were ready to visit Khajjiar which is the most visited tourist spot near Dalhousie. Khajjiar is around 30 kilometers from Dalhousie and usually it takes 1 hour to reach this place. If you have been to any European country you can relate with Khajjiar. It's a small plateau with a lake in between and surrounded by forest. You will find few restaurants at one end, cows and sheep grazing in the grass fields. Khajjiar is also known as mini switzerland for the same reason. You can take a horse ride there or do zorbing. I earlier had some doubts about Zorbing but once I experienced it I enjoy it, it is liked by adults and children alike. Again, you will get lots of photographing opportunities here so make sure your camera is prepared for it.

Dalhousie - Khajjiar aka Mini Switzerland
Dalhousie - Khajjiar aka Mini Switzerland

Indian squirrel posing for the camera
Indian squirrel posing for the camera
This was the last stop of our trip, we returned back to Delhi and took our flight back to Pune. At the end, it was a fun filled and refreshing trip and surely I look forward to visit Himachal Pradesh again in future.

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8 comments:

  1. Manali is a beautiful place indeed! Nice post :)

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    1. Thanks divsi for visiting this post. Yes, I agree it is a great place to visit and praise nature's beauty.

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  2. Real informative post, am marking this page to plan my trip. Thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Meghana. Sure, do let me know if you need any specific information about the trip :).

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  4. shimla kullu manali is one of the best place in india which is most visited by the tourists from all over the world. i like this place much more than the any other place in india.
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  5. Kullu Manali is really a place like the heaven . I really like these places, specially in the Summer. The best way is Chandigarh to Manali is by road.

    ReplyDelete