The transition from an urban girl to a female solo traveller has been fantastic. I always wanted to explore places by myself. I had my share of issues while travelling and I will continue to have them. However, it does not stop me from being a wanderer. Himachal was introduced to me by my friend who was in love with the mountains.
I remember, the first time I had decided to go to Himachal, India. I had invested a lot of time reading and researching about it which filled my head with junk that I didn’t need to know. I’d love my mind to be fresh; it helps in having a different perspective without any preconceived notion. Also, an open itinerary gives you the liberty to mend your days according to your mood. Travelling is not about having the locations check marked in your little grey book.
“No matter how hard you try, you can’t possibly cover the entire world.” Rather, Stay put and enjoy wherever you are.
I arrived in Manali on a bus from Delhi. The town nests in between the slopes of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges. The sprawling meadows, the gushing water from the glaciers and fragrance of Pine trees make Manali undeniably the most scenic destination. I went straight to the valley from the bus stop. I had a thumping heart with goosebumps on me when I saw something so powerful that my stressful life back in Hyderabad had paused. All I could listen to was murmuring wind and raging rapids of the canyon. I couldn’t have been happier.
I was looking for a guest house located on a hilltop in Old Manali. I hired a taxi, and the driver offered to help me find one. I found a beautiful place in the midst of Apple orchids; It’s called “Up Country”. The minute you enter the locality, you’ll see fog tinted fairy Peach and Apple trees. The cold bite of the wind creates Apple-frosted cheeks. Soul of the moody hills touches the bruised blue sky covered with pea-souper. I still have this picturesque moment captured in my mind. The twittering of the birds, burning hash along with ginger tea, has a tint of euphoria to it.
The quaint stalls by the road and the toothsome food will make your senses awaken to the arresting view around you. Manali is an excellent place to Shop. Do check out Tibetian and Himalayan Handicrafts and super cool leather accessories. I picked up Apple Cider from a local store, and I had an endless walk leading nowhere.
Quick tips for a newbie traveller:
1) Take a bus ride to Rohtang Pass – The mountain pass (Ghat) is just spectacular.
2) Hike till Vashisht (Jogini falls) through a mini forest trail from Old Manali – Duration – 3 hours
3) Pack light and always carry a Rucksack in the mountains.
4) Prefer to stay in hostels if you are a solo traveller or with friends. They are super fun and safe.
5) Do check out river rafting (ideal for beginners) in Kullu and Paragliding in Solan Valley if you are craving for some adrenaline rush.
6) Hike till Hadimba temple – Duration – 6 hours – Temple closes by 5 pm.
7) Spend your evening in Lazy Dog Cafe. Live music, food, and coffee are to die for.
How was your first day in the Himalayas? Write to me.