A Soulful Himalayan Sojourn | The Beauty

Manali was a shock.

After a 14-hour bus journey, I finally landed in Manali. And it was a shock to all my senses! The heat(Yes, heat!) traffic and the cacophony that is linked with it noise assaulted my senses. Hey! This was not the Manali that I dreamt about. My Manali is supposed to be serene! But I guess fate had its own plans, or should I say that the average Indian Tourist has their own plans.

We made our way from the chaotic bus stand to the semi chaotic Mall Road where our hotel was situated. And then began our search for a silent, Manali-ish place for us to grab a bite. After quite a bit of walking as we kept getting lost(But that’s the charm, ain’t it!) and we ended up at Johnson’s Cafe. Now we were talking!! This is exactly why I left my life behind for a week. The view was just fabulous, the food was excellent and the people! Oh! They were just out of the world.

This is a glimpse of the cafe.

Photos of Johnson's Bar & Restaurant, Manali
Image Courtesy: Trip Advisor

Absolutely quaint, ain’t it! After a hearty breakfast of yummiliciouspancakes, with the Forests of Manali for your view, I was satisfied with the world. Except for the heat! Manali was almost as hot as Delhi!

Later, after some recommendations from some of the locals, we found ourselves in the hilly area of Naggar.  Our first stop was the Roerich Art Gallery.  This guy Nicholas Roerich came here all the way from Russia in 1928 and settled in Naggar. The art gallery showcases some of his works and also his house. The artist stayed here, I can easily imagine him being captivated by the beauty of Himachal Pradesh, it is to die for!

Photos of Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery, Naggar
This photo of Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Here is an image of his car. Can you see him driving this through the scenic Himalayas, I certainly can!

Photos of Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery, Naggar
This photo of Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery is courtesy of TripAdvisor

I am a huge fan of palaces, so I was certainly looking forward to the next location. The palace of Naggar! It is a beautiful structure which compliments the surroundings. It has a rather interesting history too! It was initially the Royal Seat of Naggar. Then during the British Rule an Englishman added a fireplace and made a few other English-Architectural changes, later it was converted to a courthouse and finally it now functions as a heritage hotel. So you can only imagine the amalgamation of architecture that can be seen here. The view from its balcony is indescribable.

A View of Heaven

 

Magic with Wood

The attention to detail was pretty impressive. The palace also has an in-house temple. And when you take in the fact that building anything here, leave alone a palace, is a very hard task. Then you realize how tough it must have been to build this structure amid these hills, where transportation of the raw materials is a very arduous chore.

The Temple

The puny castles seem like a far cry from the mammoth constructions of Rajasthan, but the natural beauty of Himachal makes up for everything and in grand style! 🙂 Here the mountains are the kings!

After finishing the aforementioned touristy things, we came back to Manali and started trudging up to meet a friend of a friend. We had quite a walk ahead of us, we kept going up..up…up… and after what seemed like an hour of huff and puff, we finally reached a cafe in Old Manali.  Old Manali and New Manali are like two different worlds. The calm to the chaos, the grace to the rowdiness. So the view, the company and the food more than made up to the long walk uphill.

View with Dinner(Not the other way round!)

The day had given everything that I needed and some that I didn’t. But all in all, a great day!

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A Soulful Himalayan Sojourn | The Freedom

Hey reader! You will find that my post alternates between my travel entries and sometimes my views on those entries. Come, live my journey, discover places and people along with me! 🙂

Still can’t believe that this is actually happening!! A girl who doesn’t fight for herself has fought tooth and nail for this. A girl who embodies laziness has taken things into her hand, planned, scrimped and saved to get what she wanted.

In short, a DREAMER has managed to turn a fantasy into her reality.

The past year has been marked with changes not of my making. Amid this choatic concontion called life, I discovered that I have a yearning deep withing me, to travel. Since childhood, I have always traveled through my books, without even realizing it. But that isn’t enough anymore, I need to travel, see places, meet people, experience things for myself. For I realize that things don’t happen to you, you make them happen. Every second that I haven’t LIVED is a precious gem lost in the sands of time. And now it is time to see things for myself, and for others to read my travel tales!

And after a lot of hurdles, confusions and fear like I have described in my previous post, I’m finally here! Here being my first ever solo flight! A first of many firsts that I’m going to encounter in this trip! 😀

After days and days of packing and repacking (All the girls out there know what I’m talking about!) I finally find myself hugging my mum good-bye. I was standing at the check-in counter, staring wide-eyed at a place where I had come only to see people off, never for myself. And all this without trying to look like a village baboon. Don’t think I managed it though 😛

After an hour of check-ins and goof ups later, I find myself sitting alone & undisturbed in a place far away from the grounded reality! I see the earth below in shades of black and white. The sun is playing peek-a-boo with the clouds and the result is a beautiful black and white picture below me, with the sun forming the whites and the shadow forming the darker shade 🙂

I gaze in wonder at the checkered blanket below me, with the green fields and concrete buildings providing a perfect contrast. I suddenly have this urge of eating cotton candy for the clouds remind me of them. I realize that the plane is speeding up but that isn’t the only thing in the fast lane. My heart has followed suit too!

I land in Delhi to find myself in the sweltering heat. I see a kid and wave to him. Such a natural thing to do! I realize that I’m completely amid strangers, but the kid reminded me that in the end, we are all the same. Out for the same thing, to live to the best of our knowledge!

The day just went on to prove that there is as much good in the world as the bad, if not more. I do not know anyone in the city and yet I find myself being onvited to a strangers house! A co-traveler in my trip, who I had only communicated till now by emails, is calling me over to her friends place, to kill time before we catch our bus together. Naturally, I was really skeptical to go to a strangers place and that too in a strange city! But when I spoke to her, I really felt comfortable. So decided to take a chance and went on to her place(Dumb idea maybe, but gut instinct I tell you!) I found her to be the most independent, smart, witty person who has a really warm personality! After having yummy koftas and the best hot chocolate that I’ve ever tasted along with some vanilla cake! Yumm!!

And then we were off to Manali! The day has just proved to me how beautiful the world is..

For now, I’m content to just start at the beautiful but distant orange tinged horizon, while my mind if whirring with the thoughts, imaginations and whispering of the day to come…

A Soulful Himalayan Sojourn | The Travel Bug

Preschool…. School…. College…. Office….

This is the rite of passage  that every human goes through(more or less) Because I live in India, I can speak in the Indian Context, between all these pit stops, we go through numerous other avenues like the daily tuition’s, the innumerable family solemnization’s and the yearly family vacations where we cram in all the possible places and sights to turn our holidays into yet another taxing hullabaloo. Because, we have far too less time to see all that there is!

But for once, I wanted to actually travel, to revel in the glory of a place, to take the time out to talk to the locals, to see that amazing sunset. For once, I wanted my trip to be more about people and less about places!

For the past few years since I’ve started working, much of my time goes into introspection and am dealing with the resulting dilemmas. Because I do not want to look back and think that I have lived my life passively, by just going with the flow. I read a quote by Dalai Lama which rang a bell, with alarming intensity!

“Man surprised me most about humanity.Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Then, I came across this lady who lives, and how! (See, a reason for why I love blogging!) How else would I meet such sweet people like you guys! She has a blog called The Shooting Star, in which she talks about her travel tales. I found her story to be so very captivating and after I read some of her posts! I was bitten by the bug! TRAVEL!!

So when I heard about this trip that was being organized by her! I jumped with joy, for I knew that any offering of hers would not be the run-of-the-mill tours that are organized by the travel companies which provide a tourist experience, not a travel experience! Believe me when I say that I was walking around like a crazed person with the thoughts of nothing but the expectation of watching a beautiful sunset with nothing to listen to, but the sound of the wind howling and with nothing but your thoughts to give you company, just your thoughts and no one else’s.

But before I got ahead of myself, I needed to look after the practical matters. The most important and almost insurmountable task of getting my parents to agree to let me go on a trip alone! To a place far away where even cell phones do not work!

And when such requests are made, I found out that you’re made to listen to the news everyday so that you realize how dangerous the world is, you are made to listen to the family history dating from god knows when so that you understand how respectable your family is and you are held accountable for all the crazy things that your friends so that it serves you as a warning to not try stuff-out-of-the-ordinary. But all this just managed to confirm my belief that just sometimes, you need to rebel, stand up for what you believe in.

And I’m happy to tell you that I finally managed to convince my amma to let me go! One of the best days of my life! 😀 And after that everything seemed like a piece of cake!

I was scared out of my wits with the fear of the unknown, the dangers involved with solo travel. The day before I was to embark on this monumental trip, I had vivid dreams which led to a rather sleepless night filled with utter dread. To the point that, I had almost decided to back out! But good sense prevailed and I remembered the skies of blue, red roses too.. What a wonderful world!!

Remember the song! 🙂

And this is how my adventure started! Even before I started it, to believe that world is not all it’s said to be. Full of creeps, thugs etc etc but to also remember that it is the land where women are respected, where there are so many cultures, a place where you have food that is just waiting to be tasted!

And this is just the beginning! Picture abhi baki hai mere dost! Do stay tuned in! 🙂

Back to the pavilion

Hey there!!

Been so long since I’ve churned up something new! I know, I know.. You’ve been wondering if I’m dead to the blogging world like those thousands who disappear after a few posts and are even thinking of unsubscribing! Stop those traitorous thoughts right there!! 🙂

I’m very much alive and kicking. I’ve been on a loooooong overdue vacation and have returned 2 weeks back. But due to a parasitic disorder called Laziness, I have procrastinated so long! But after looking at people like her and her, who love blogging so much that they’ve jumped right back into the blogging world. I’ve resolved to get my act together and get going!

So you can expect some very interesting posts soon! VERY SOON!