A chanced break, a road-trip crazy partner & the zeal to burn some money was enough motivation to escape the sweltering heat of Delhi NCR & find respite in the scented mountains of Kullu-manali, even if it lasted for couple of days. So, we picked our car, fuelled it & set out to cover 569 kms. from our place in Ghaziabad.
En route to Manali from Delhi NCR:
The must-stop for every journey to that side of Himachal becomes a trip when you take a stop over in Haweli, and fill yourself with yummy paranthas, with dollops of white butter. I top the paranthas with two glasses of Masala tea every time. It elevates my mood & doubles my happiness.
We planned the night stay in Chandigarh, and took rest before we begin the bext day to misty Manali.
Road to Manali:
The road to Manali was beautiful – plain, curvey, heightened, plain again & then scenic with Deodar, Pine & Poplar trees found all around. Just about Kullu, where they charge you a toll, the landscape changed in a moment, like Life does, and from then, the scene changed – Beas river begins to flow, making a musical sound, with boulders lying around.
The sky also joins in & changes colors with beautiful shades of Orange, Red & Blue. Together the road, the river & the sky – create a perfect piece that would fit into every puzzle of your heart while you breathe in the fresh air
In the old and new pockets of Manali:
We reached Manali in a few hours, somewhere around afternoon. It had already rained heavily; and was drizzling even then. We checked in the hotel & straight away went to sleep after lunching.
In the evening, we went for a stroll. The weather was balmy, air was fresh, and we had a constant company in Beas river – by the road, across the bridge, to the Mall road.
That day, we went a little far and found ourselves amidst the narrow lanes of Manali that were flanked by souvenir shops selling Pashmina, Kashmiri embroidery, leather bags and purses & gemstones. I am guilty of splurging on Pashmina stoles.
Bustling & Buzzing Mall Road:
Like every Mall Road, this one was full of activities and life. People were buzzing around like bees. The cafes were extra luminous & I could feel hunger pangs. We did some hopping from momos to Thupka to Chilli Potatoes.
The mere walk on to the mall road was enough of proof why Manali was a favorite holiday destination of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru. A little further on the Mall road, you would also find the famous Chaat Bhandaar that’s frequented by celebrities. Enjoy the mosaic of celebrity photos over a plate of aloo tikki.
A walk down an unknown road leading to somewhere
My best memory of Manali is, of a walk down some roads that led somewhere. I didn’t know where; I didn’t know how; I, however, reached somewhere. And later I felt I probably needed to come here.
There are some wonderful cafes in Manali. I went to a few & tried their pizzas, pastas, coffee and some other fancy dishes that you can’t pronounce but they cost you a bomb. It all tasted good.
It all felt good. Because it was raining. And it was a weekend.
And on that weekend when it rained, I were dining in a cafe, with a beautiful setting of colors and books, that served good coffee, in the city of Manali where the river Beas flows.