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Tour De Himachal

  • Submitted by: Pooja & Gaurav, India
  • Submission Date: 04th Jul 2008

After our previous trips to Sikkim, Ladakh and Kashmir…my husband Gaurav and I had decided to make a short trip to much - hyped about Himachal Pradesh…

Gaurav was already on his work trip to Delhi. I decided to join him there and then proceed for our trip.

Our trip preparations included visiting our family travel agent (just like family doctor :-). From our previous travel experiences we knew that travel agents cheat us…Period. This trip we decided not to get cheated by these travel agents. We wanted some degree of excitement too….hence we asked him to do our basic bookings….our itinerary (as chalked from Mumbai) went as follows:

March 7, 5 pm: Mumbai – Delhi Flight (ticket booked by the agent)
March 7, 11 pm: Delhi - Pathankot by train Dauldhar express (tickets booked by the agent)
March 8: 11 am Pathankot – Dalhousie (not booked)
March 8 & 9: Stay at Dalhousie (hotel booked by the agent)
March 9: Dalhousie – Dharamshala (journey not booked only hotel booking done by the agent)
Mach 10: Dharamshala (night not booked and free to decide)
March 11: Dharamashala – Manali (spend night in the bus, no tickets booked)
March 12: Reach Manali at 6 am. Stay there for next three days (one night booked by the agent)
March 15: Manali Delhi Bus Journey (booked by the agent)
March 16: Reach Delhi and catch a flight to Mumbai in the evening (booked by the agent)

My constant demand for the break up of each cost irritated the agent. He showed his disgust every time I visited him, but I was determined to not get fooled by anyone this time….. Gaurav was very busy with his work in office so I assumed the arrangers role. I asked the agent to book only one night at each hotel per destination for us. He initially said it was not possible and they had to book all nights…I negotiated with him and finally managed to slip of his clutches for all (except one)days in manali and a couple of nights enroute. I paid him for all the bookings that he did and he reluctantly gave me all the travel documents. All this drama just 3 days before our trip!!!

March 7 2008: On the working Friday, I managed to catch a delayed spice jet flight which further delayed once we boarded the plane… As usual due to my late check-in I was in the middle seat…Our flight was Mumbai- Delhi- jaipur (I do not understand this logic, as Jaipur comes before delhi) My travel companions were a middle aged Maharashtrian lady who was on going toJaipur for her political rally and a south Indian NRI on his way to Nepal for a Himalayan trek. I whiled away my time talking to each one of them in turns as the two absolutely could not mingle with each other! When the time for food (on sale) came I had carried some fruits with me which I proudly ate while others paid exorbitant amounts to eat boring packaged sandwiches and juice. Well finally I landed in Delhi and bid a good bye to the political aunty who would hv to wait for half an hour more and travel backwards to Jaipur!
Met my husband at the airport, sat in the prepaid taxi to Delhi Railway Station and rushed to catch the train to pathankot…..My sweet husband had thoughtfully packed dinner for us to be had in the train….after initial chaos, settled in our seats in the train and had our dinner….while eating the soggy sandwiches, couldn’t help noticing the fragrance of Punjabi aaloo parathans that our fellow passenger group (a large sikh family) were feasting on….We retired to our berths soon after that

March 8, 2008: Woke up at 6 am….Gaurav was already awake …I could see beautiful greenery all around…seems like we were in punjab… vast farmlands, cow sheds and typical fragrance of village mornings…..I heard fellow passengers chatting while Gaurav had his headphones on for some music…. reached Pathankot at 9.45 am.
We carrried our luggage and set out to find the bus stand for our onward journey to Dalhousie. Pathankot was like any other north Indian town, lot of hustle bustle, traffic and loads of eat outs enroute. We walked for 15 minutes to reach our bus stand and poor Gaurav carried almost all the luggage!! We awaited the Himachal Tourism bus for Dalhousie, however, was made to understand that there are private buses and the cost are almost the same. Paid Rs120 per person for the bus ticket and waited for the bus to start which was scheduled at 11 am. We had a fruit breakfast during the wait time. Young girls and women carrying a miniature temple in their hands came to the bus and asked for money…I tried to avoid them, but Gaurav gave in 5 Rs to the eldest of the women for her God…She blessed us saying we would have lots of sons…lol!!!
The overcrowded bus started and we began to roll n rock at every turn the driver took mercilessly…After about two hours or so we stopped for lunch at roadside dhaba. The food was simple and steamingly hot. We were delighted to find spinach sabji and ate a wholesome meal. The bill was hardly around Rs 70!!! Woweie!
I noticed the women were all very fair, had sharp noses and wore bright colours with red lipstick and red bindi. To top it all they had pink cheeks which made them look really stunning…The children had chubby cheeks and brown eyes…they looked ultra cute….

Reached Dalhousie bus stand at about 4.30 pm. Learnt that our hotel (booked by the agent) is a few minutes away on a steep climb. We set out with our luggage to walk towards the hotel. Dalihousie, like any other hill station is on a mountain slope with all the roads whirling like a ghat! I panted at the end of every staircase and Gaurav motivated me to move forward. I was completely exhausted till we came halfway and forced Gaurav to sit on a bench. Gaurav was enthu about clicking snaps of our new destination, whereas I was looking forward to reach the hotel as I had started to feel mild headache by then… En route could see piles of dried snow on the roadsides….was a beautiful site to a Mumbaikar’s eyes, though the snow was mixed with lot of dust making it almost black! It was getting cold too…We reached our hotel Shangrila and were escorted to our room which was the last in line facing a deep valley just below our common balcony…Its then that we realized that we had reached a very high altitude. First task at hand was to have a clean bath (after more than 30 hours). I started experiencing severe headache and rushed to the bed. I began to get convinced that this was an attack of the Acute mountain Sickness (AMS) and believed our whole trip would be ruined…Gaurav woke me at dinner time and forced me to have tomato soup because I didn’t want to eat anything….It was very ,very cold in the room though we had a heater. Gaurav had his full course dinner while I dozed off in the bed as soon as possible. End of eventful day 2 for me

March 9, 2008: Woke up at 7.30 am and ordered tea. I was feeling aright and my horrible headache had miraculously disappeared!!! Yuppiee!!!!! We got ready and decided to take a tour to nearby places. We reached the local taxi union office and were told that the tour would show some 5 points and would cost Rs800! We enquired for a share cab/bus. The taxi union person denied with an irritated look on his face. We decided to search the place on our own for any shared transport. To our dismay there was no public transport available. We went back to him and finally booked an alto for the day. We started on our way to Khajjiar which was about 23 kms from Dalhousie. We had learned that it is like Switzerland of India! We were excited as we had already seen Indian Switzerland in Gulmarg in Kashmir!!!

The narrow road was full of curves. We passed many high profile boarding schools as we left Dalhousie which I had otherwise seen only in bollywood films.
Enroute we saw lovely landscapes of snow filled hills and deep valleys with all the coniferous trees rising tall from these valleys.. It was a breath taking view and I was reminded of the song ‘Yeh hasin vaadinyaan’ from the Mani Ratnam’s film ‘Roja’ … We stopped in between to click a few snaps in the snow. Gaurav was posing for the snaps while I directed him to move backwards…back and thump dhamp!!! He slipped over the dried ice and fell in a small pit! My poor hubby had his entire denim spoilt and had to take off his jacket and tie around his waist for the rest of the journey…I did some skidding on snow slopes along with a group of college students who had come from Madhya Pradesh of an excursion.

Finally we reached Khajjiar. This place was a miniature of Gulmarg (or Switzerland to my dismay) Nevertheless, the landscaping was beautifully done by mother nature to form low broad hills almost like plateaus that were filled with greenery, white snow and surrounded by large coniferous trees. There were tiny manmade bridges over what formed like small lakes. The entire place was a perfect picnic spot carefully drawn by the Natures Artists! There were lovely snow white horses and flock of sheep to make the scene as lively as possible. There were many tourist who had come like to us to visit khajjiar.Some of them were newly wedded couples which I could make out from the new brides’ hand decorated with mehendi and their heavy make-up. I wondered that these couples would be heaven like world where life is nothing but a bed of roses! That’s wat is honeymoon all about…sweet nothings and mesmerizing views.

We started feeling hungry and just then we met a hawker who asked us if we wanted to try his fruit bhel! Fruit Bhel?// how weird is that???? We ordered for one we saw him mixing the freshly cut fruits together with the bhel masala and served us within seconds in paper cones …WOW it was the most delicious bhel of our lives!
Going ahead I had an intense desire to eat sizzling Maggie Noodles in the cool weather and I scanned chaiwalas to know who can offer the cheapest Maggie…Gaurav started ridiculing me that thousands of kilometers away I bargain for 5 rupees!! But that how I am!! Well I ate a sumptuous Maggie meal on the chai tapir and had the most satisfying lunch of the day.Gaurav had his usual dal roti sabji khana in a near by dhaba.

After lunch, we lay sleepily on the plains when a himchali singer from Chamba district came with his weird musical instrument. He sang chamba valley folk songs for us and told us the meaning of the song…he said a himachali wife asks her husband to bring her a nose ring which she has been longing for! He told us that this song had been passed by for generations and generally sung in himachali social gatherings like weddings etc. We were delighted to have a feel of himachali folk culture!
We left Khajjiar with wonderful memories and proceeded on our day trip. Though it was not as fascinating as Switzerland, it had made a special place in my heart that I will cherish forever..

After khajjiar, the other spots seems boring…we went to something called panchpoola where 5 streams meet, one memorial of some famous himachali soldier etc. Only thing worth remembering here was a small tea house that we went for our evening tea.By this time it was getting cold and it started raining…We were freezing…just then we saw a group of people enjoying by the fire place planted in a small metal vessel kept in middle of the restaurant. I sat there as soon as the place was emptied by the previous group and warmed my hands and feet. It was truly blissful to sit by the fire and enjoy the company of some women and children who were locals of Pathankot and come for a weekend trip to Khajjiar! How lucky I thought! Gaurav teased me that I started my Mahila Mandal with strangers there too!

Once we reached Dalhousie we left the car and took a long stroll in the lanes and by lanes of the sleepy hill station. We saw houses that were built in chawl like buildings and locals getting back from work and school in a relaxed manner, unlike our rush to catch local trains and buses in the evenings! What a life!

We retired to our room and ordered for an elaborate dinner with salads and soup. We watched the film ‘Jab We Met’ on the TV and ended our day with high expectations of our tour ahead; especially Manali, as beautifully portrayed in the film!

March 10: We started our day leisurely and set out for Dharamshala... On reaching the bus stand we learnt that the bus to Dharamshala was only at 12pm….more than two hours to go….we kept the luggage in our bus and went for a long walk to the sleepy lanes of Dalhousie. I saw locals busy in daily chorus like mending their houses, drying their hair in the morning sun, all at a leisure pace! Our bus started at 12.30 pm on it slow ride to dharamshala. We passed by market places ,farms and valleys….again same sites of beautiful and simple women folk and healthy children….The bus took a late lunch break near a dhabba and we again ate Punjabi food of dal, roti, sabsi …Passed many lush green valleys and colourful flowers enroute that reminded me of my journey to my native place in Konkan in Maharashtra!

We reached the busy town of Dharamshala at about 5 pm. I was disappointed to see the crowded roads and herds of people walking down the roads…I thought my holiday was reducing to another version of crowded place like Mumbai! I attempted to blame my travel agent for giving me this itinerary! Gaurav asked me to be patient and see wats in luck! We got down at the bus stand and started the search for our hotel – The Dhauldhar. People gave us directions leading to small lanes leading to more crowded roads…I felt more n more dejected! Just off the main road we entered a small lane that led us to the Hotel The Dhauldhar. It was a Himachal Pradesh Tourism Hotel and seemed to be made up of sturdy stone walls. Seemed good to look at but I was very skeptical! It turned out to be a well maintained property with spacious rooms and all required facilities. We parked our luggage and went to the restaurant for a cup of tea. The restaurant was a valley facing open air verandah. It was a breath taking view from that place with mountains surrounding us and birds flying high up in the air…We were overlooking the entire town of Dharamshala…I instantly came to like that place and started praising my travel agent for booking this hotel! My husband made me realize how impatient and judgmental I can be at times.
We went for a stroll along the road and saw the simple but wonderful town of Dharamshala. We visited small temples which had beautiful idols of almost all deities. We saw a small garden with a toy train for children. Maeclodgunj another town adjoining Dharamshala was 9 kms away. This town was renowned for tibetian monasteries, markets and hang outs. We decided to check out the town the next day. On route we saw many young tibetian boys and girls moving around in groups on the way to maeclodgunj. I guessed that these people must be living in Maeclodgunj and attending schools and colleges in Dharamshala. They stood out conspicuously like foreigners from the local himachali people.We also saw many monks and lady monks on their way to maclodgunj on their way back after shopping for necessities.

We reached our lovely hotel and got to our rooms to freshen up and then left for an early dinner to the restaurant and while watching our favorite film ‘Tango Charlie’ which was incidentally playing on TV. The meal was delicious! We returned to our room and started chatting out the plan for the next day. Gaurav wanted to go and visit the temples at Masroor which is about 52 kms. from Dharamshala. This is a monolith (cut in one rock) temple which was built at the time of Mahabharata. The legend goes that at the end of the Mahabharata War, when the Pandavas wished to go to the heaven for their moksh, they were trying to build a temple within one night and steps that would lead them to heaven! Unfortunately their temple could not me completed in one night and the steps to the heaven were not completed either! However this temple is an exact blueprint of a much larger temple complex found in Cambodia known as Angor Wat. We decided to accommodate masroor on a priority move to maeclodgunj and spend the night there. We did not have any booking for a hotel for the next night which left us with good options!

March 11: We prepared for our check out from the beautiful Dhauldhar hotel and kept our luggage in the bell room. There are hardly any tourist that visit this place and 99% of them are foreigners. We decided to catch a local bus from Dharamshala to a more central location enroute and from there change the bus or hire any vehicle to go to Masroor.We enquired at the bus stand and the person asked a man to usher us to our destination. I was very suspicious of this ‘pseudo guide’… I kept asking him the route etc. He said we would have to change our bus from Gaggar (central place en route).

We again saw beautiful women in our bus. Himachali women wear this special nose ornament made of gold with a red stone in the middle. This intricately designed ornament looks stunning on these fair and sharp nosed women. I was fascinated by this and could help clicking their photos. First they shyed away but later when I showed them the photos through the digicam, the wanted me to click more n more snaps!

We got down at Gaggar and the person told us to wait at a tea stall for another hour or so till the connecting bus arrived. We started chatting with our new pseudo-guide and learnt that he worked in dharamshala in HP state transport and lived in a village near Masroor. He followed this route every third day when he traveled back home from work...I started to shed my initial suspicion and became slowly comfortable. In the meantime we started searching for any possibility of shared car to go to Masroor while our companion was whiling away his time at a tea shop (this must have been his routine, I thought).

We found a Maruti 800 parked on the street along with numerous other cars for hire. We asked him the charges and the little boy said he would take Rs800 for a return trip to Masoor which was 32 kms. I started bargaining with him and after about 20 mins Gaurav and I succeeded to strike a deal at Rs500. We decided to invite our pseudo guide with us and give him a lift en route which was nearest to his home. Our new driver looked of age 14-15 years. He was so amused at my concern that finally he showed me his driver’s license and I felt safe to make the trip in his hand! I was really excited for Gaurav because he really wanted to go and see this historically significant and off beat place. The locals called them as Paudiyon wala mandir which means Temple with steps (to heaven)!!

Barely a few kilometers down in our new vehicle, we had a flat tyre. We pulled over at a tyre shop and driver said it would take 20 mins!!! Anyways, to kill time, we started walking on the road and saw lush green fields spread out with little yellow flowers contrasting the deep greens.They were mustard fields..I coaxed my husband to come with me in these fields and we saw himachali women farming in these field. I was over excited to see these folks at work and eager to strike a conversation with them. They were very shy and just giggled at my every question. Finally I clicked their snaps with their permission and waved them goodbye…it was fun walking through the mud lanes. Our flat tyre gave us a true flavor of himachali rural life!

After a 45 mins drive we bid our pseudo- guide goodbye and he told us to join him for lunch in his humble home! How kind of him! We gave him some fruits we purchased en route and proceeded further. The road started getting worse and it seemed like a never ending journey. Finally we reached the ancient temple premises on a hillock.

The temple premises were calm and there was a huge pond in front of the temple. This temple had numerous sculpted idols of various ancient vedic deities like rahma, Vishnu, etc. Some sculptures were incomplete; It felt like they were left incomplete when rays of the morning sun fell on them on that deadline given to Pandavas! To my surprise, the temple was closely guarded by several chameleons like creatures. These creatures were present only on the rock structures and remains and did not venture in nearby areas of the pond and other land! This surprised me and I really believe that these were God sent guardians to this ancient monument. We saw the paudiyas (steps to heaven) and various other structures like the lotuses, elephants etc.
In the serenity of the place, I felt as if I had traveled back in time to the mahabharatha era and trying to understand how the pandavas attempted to build this huge structure in one night!

On our way back to Dharamshala we took a hpstc bus after leaving our little master and his car at Gaggar. We took a shared cab to Maeclodgunj immediately and toured the overcrowded and over hyped town of Maeclodgunj. The street leading to the Monastery was colourful with all Tibetan handicrafts and clothes, ornaments for sale. The town was infested with foreigners and beggars and had a bad stink! I failed to understand why tourists liked this place so much! We visited the monastery and took a shared cab back to dharamshala. We really got a feel of the hippie culture that so closely co-exists with the sleepy himachali culture

We were left with two options, stay at Dharamshala for the night, or proceed to Manali by a bus at 6pm. We could take the night journey and reach Manali the next morning at 6 am or break the journey and spend the night en route in a hotel and continue the journey the next day. We caught the bus to Manali.

Our fellow passengers were a group of monks about 6-7 of them who were traveling from maclodgunj to manali on a religious tour. I struck a conversation with one of the elderly and friendly monk and he told me he was from Ladakh. He belonged to Diskit monastery in North ladakh. I told him that we had visited his monastery during our memorable ladakh tour the previous year.
The bus journey was getting very uncomfortable for me and I was trying to persuade my husband to break the journey and stay at some place midway. Also before leaving out favuorite Dhauldhar hotel we had enquired about HP tourism hotels midway to manali and the person referred us to Hotel mandav at Mandi. We still decided we would play it by ear and decide about breaking the journey when night falls.

After the dinner break, we were on our way to Mandi. At about 12 am we reached mandi and decided to call it a day. We went to hotel mandav and checked in this HPTDC hotel.

March 12: We were woken up by the loud noises of trumpets and drums playing on nearby grounds. We were informed that Mahashivaratri festival is still on at Mandi. From our hotel rooms we could see religious processions and vast melas (fairs) in full activity. We decided we had to vist this mela before our trip to Manali. The melas had hundreds of colourful palkhis of local deitites from every village in himachal being carried and danced on the shoulders of men. It was a mesmerising site to see thousands of rural folk gatherings at one place. Everything from clothes, large traditional utensils, local delicacies, were there in the fair. i was really glad we broke our journey last night! After touring the melas we went to the bus stand to look for our bus to Manali. There are numerous buses on the stand and more n more buses were entering Mandi with overflowing people. We caught the first bus to manali and began our jouney to our dream destination!
We passed deep valleys and long rivers with clear water and lots of greenary. Every view made us spell bound.This was another reason that we were happy for breaking the journey as we would have missed these lovely bounties of Mother Nature in the night travel! At few places there were small cradle like cable cars (manually operated) attached from one end of the river to another. Locales used it to cross over the river instead of a bridge… how adventurous I thought!!!
As we reached near Kullu, we started passing by lovely apple orchards. Unfortunately for us, the apples were still very small and green. My mind started imagining these petite trees with red apples! Wow, just the thought made me delightful! I wondered wat life will be for the Himachali people who see these sites day in and day out...I compared them to our concrete jungles in way...I was in Heaven right now...please dont disturb me!!

The bus took a lunch stop at Kullu. Kullu town is on foothills and is surrounded with tall mountains of coniferous trees..We made a bhelwala prepare special fruit bhel for us...he must have thought we had lost it! But fruit bhel had become our favorite food in Himachal! That was our lunch...light and fresh...just like himachal!!
The drive Kullu onwards for 41 kms to Manali was quite steep. I started seeing the change in started becoming more and more sparse in vegetations, it felt as if we passed from spring to Autumn! Also we noticed a change in the types of houses, features of locals...I felt it more like dry plains of ladakh...I was amazed to witness this change around me...
We reached manali in the evening. It was much colder than Kullu. We started walking with our luggage to our Hotel which was 3 kms from the bus stand near Hidimba Temple. The walk seemed easy at first..but later i struggled to pull my luggage thru the steep climbs on the roads. We thought our travel agent must have really booked a great hotel for us...Nevertheless we were enjoying our stroll in cool breeze, tiny roads, green conifereous trees!
We checked in our room and were happy to see our Apple suite...The hotel was at a secluded place with hardly any transport availability to the market place. After having lovely snacks we ventured to the market place again with a 3 kms walk. En route we started screening various hotels as we were open to hotel bookings for next 3 nights...We short listed and enquired a place called Johnsons cafe and found it suitable. We also checked out some HP tourism hotels, but found them very mediocre. We then went to Himachal Tourism office and booked our next days tour to Solang valley and few other tourist points. The tourism office offers cheaper price as compared to the private taxi owners who deny sharing facility and are out to fleece us. We had an early dinner and luckily got an auto to drop us at our haunted hotel!

March 13: Woke up early and check out of our hotel...As we started walking on our ritual 3 kms trek, we were offered a lift by a local in this omni. We gladly accepted and he dropped us to our new abode 'The Johnson Cafe'..We loved the rooms and the landscaping done in this hotel. it had stone walls with wooden finish for doors and window sills. The room overlooked a well maintain garden and a view of tall himalayan mountains and snow clad peaks. The exteriors as well as the room interiors were just the perfect for our trip! I could see most of the rooms were occupied by foreigners and even the menu was quite continental. We hurriedly checked in, parked our luggage and rushed to the tourism office for our tour!
A 30- seater bus was waiting for us. We were accompanied by some family tourist with children mostly south Indians.

The bus started trudging against the cruel road to Solang. We were made to rent out snow dresses and snow shoes on our way so that our clothes and footwear remained intact. After struggling on the ugly roads, we reached Solang Valley. (We couldn’t go to Rohtang pass as it was closed during that time due to heavy snowfall) Solang Valley had snow covered peaks and we saw hundreds of tourists with lot of traffic in the parking lots. This place has definitely sprung into a commercial destination with numerous photographers, small tea shops that served momos and Maggie, and caps ad shoe too. There were various activities going on like adventure sports- there was paragliding, skiing, and the most funny one was tyre skidding. I decided to try my hands at paragliding first…after striking a negotiated deal with the person I started following him on a hillock for getting into my paragliding gear. Gaurav preferred to wait down and take my pictures. The cold wind beating against my face but my spirits were high…I was going to do this for the first time in my life! I carefully took the instructions from my gliding instructoer and fastened the parachute. He asked me to keep running till the land was over and air started under my feet! Sounds really scary…..I waved my husband from top (as if it was our last) and started running on the hill ……and kept running till I saw myself floating in the air…Wat a magnificent experience……I could actually feel TOP of the World..freely floating in Natures Bounties…This as a heavenly feel for me…I was gliding in thethin cool winds of Himachal! The glide hardly lasted for 2 minutes, but at the end of it I felt I had lived my life to the fullest…and wanted nothing more from it..right then!

We saw tourists struggling with skiing equipment and trying to practice to ski…Gaurav and I didn’t have to patience to practice anything…we just wanted to freak out before our tourism bus decided to return. We saw some men making tourists sit in a tyre and skid them from a height in the snow…We decided to try out this funny and dangerous looking game…The man told us that if we take 2 rides, the 3rd was free!! The ride required us to climb up the hill and reach the top to sit in the large tyre tube. Both of us were fitted in the same tyre and pushed away from the hill like on a slide…..vrooooooom…we slid down and I went screaming all the way so loudly that the other tourists thought I was dying!!! When we hit the ground, people started staring us…my husband said we are going to shut the tyre business for sure!! I enjoyed the ride so much that we decided to take his 3rd ride free offer and enjoyed each of the rides equally! We laughed and laughed till our hearts content to see the confused tourist at my screams!

I was in no mood to go back and wanted to be in the snow… we started simple sliding on the snow slopes and lie in the snow…Time to go!! We sat in our bus extremely exhausted by our activities and desperately wanted LUNCH! We were told we were going to visit few temples and a castle before we had lunch. I dozed out for the rest of the journey and woke when the Gayatri Temple halt arrived. Thereafter we went to the castle built by ancient Maharaja of Himachal. It was a beautiful wooden palace and overlooked a beautiful valley. It started raining and getting freezing cold…The palace is now converted in to a restaurant. We hogged on the lunch served and returned to the bus after sightseeing. Our return journey was hardly memorable. We reached the hotel and crashed until late evening…went for a short walk and dinner thereafter…

March 14, 15, 16: We spent the rest of days at manali very leisurely like morning jogs, sumptuous breakfast, long walks, local sightseeing, Italian dinners and mindless strolls and souvenir shopping at the market. I coaxed my husband to travel to Solang once again, but he asked me to stop my untamed behaviors and demands! Alas..I had to be satisfied with only one visit of the heart throbbing snow clad valley.

Our return journey to Delhi from Manali was a night journey and was very uncomfortable in the AC vlovo…I missed the local HPSTC buses that we used for the passed weeks. We reached Delhi on morning of 16th morning and caught an evening flight to home sweet home Mumbai, after meeting old friend at Delhi.

But as our bus left Manali, my heart sank at the thought of leaving this beautiful countryside…last eight days flew like beautiful tender birds out of my hands making a permanent footprints in my mind and on my life….