Manali is my favorite destinations from all the places I have visited so far. I went to Manali with my dear husband in 2009 during the winters. We chose to go there in the winters because I wanted to see snowfall desperately. I kept my fingers crossed while planning the holiday, in the hope to see snowfall while holidaying in Manali. And this was so important for me, because I had never seen snow ever before.
Due to time constraints we chose to fly to Kullu from Delhi and henceforth hire a taxi to Manali. We were in for a wonderful surprise, as we flew amidst snow capped mountain peaks as we approached kullu. At one point we actually flew in between two peaks and I felt we were going to crash. It all seemed like a dream and before we even landed I was so excited about the trip. The best part about the flight was the landing. It felt like we were gliding on the Beas (pronounced as Vyas) River and for a moment me and my hubby thought that the flight was going to touch the water and BAM, it just hit the runway of the Kullu Airport. Wow so thrilling eh!
From the airport we hired a taxi for Manali and reached Manali in an hrs time. There was no snowfall when we reached Manali and I kept asking the driver if there was a possibility of snow in the next couple of days. He said, there might be and all I could do was hope for it to snow. We chose to stay at Apple Country Resort because it had great views of the mountains. The hotel served only vegetarian food, but we were ok with it because for some reason, we preferred eating vegetarian food while holidaying in the mountains.
After checking into the hotel and freshening up we took a walk to the Beas River. The water was extremely cold but we just sat by the river and enjoyed watching the river flow and the mighty mountains that surrounded us. Deepu tried the river crossing sport and he had fun. I didn’t, cause I am a chicken ;P. After that we just surveyed the local market and headed back to the hotel.
The next morning at around 5 a.m, the reception calls up our room and tells me, “mam if you want to see snow fall you should come down because it is snowing”. I was in my sleep but still I immediately got out of bed, changed and rushed outside. I was so excited to see the snowfall and I stood there staring at the sky with a huge grin and thanking God, that he let my wish come true. It was still dark and all I could see was the snowflakes falling down. After a while, I went back to my room and slept. When we woke up in the morning and looked outside the window, everything was covered with fresh, soft snow that was in its purest and cleanest form. I can’t tell you how happy we were.
After breakfast, we headed to Solang Valley. Because of all the snow, it was not easy reaching the place. The vehicle we hired could only take us till one point and after that we had to either walk or take a horse ride to Solang Valley. During summers, it isn’t a problem to reach there by vehicle. On the way, we stopped and rented some snow gear that included a jumper suit, rubber shoes and gloves – without which we couldn’t have survived. The horse ride took us 30 minutes to reach Solang Valley. It was a lovely ride and the views were breathtaking and it resembled a picture that you would probably see on a postcard. Alas, I couldn’t capture any of it in camera cause because I was freezing. By the time we reached Solang Valley, both Deepu and me were freezing to death and felt we couldn’t move and we needed heat desperately. Luckily there was a tree house with a fire lit in it. We went there and warmed ourselves till we felt normal again. We got out and played in the snow for a while and when we started to feel cold again, we decided to head back to the hotel.
The next day we went sightseeing and visited several temples, a tibetian monastery and hot water springs. Hadimba temple was really nice. On the way to the temple, you had to climb these stairs that were surrounded by tall fir trees and they swayed in unison with the wind and made that frightening sound that you would hear in horror movies. I realized then, that those sounds actually were for real and not a figment of someone’s imagination hehehe. We then went to a couple more tourist destinations and went back to the hotel.
All in all, the trip was amazing and I will cherish the memories for a lifetime. The only thing I missed to see was the apples hanging on the trees. I guess I will visit the place again in the summers, to get a green view instead of a white landscape.