It was a cold February evening I decided to travel somewhere, I was supposed to visit some place but I had no idea where. So I travelled to ISBT Kashmiri Gate just to check what buses were available at that particular hour and that made me even more confused. There was a bus going to Udaipur, then there was a bus going to Masoori and another one to Manali. While looking around and deciding on what bus I am supposed to take I overheard that it has just snowed in Manali and since it is Valentine’s day everyone is going there and hence I decided my travel destination will be Manali and I took the first bus going there without any information.
Back in 2011 in month of March when I was fresh bitten by travel bug I was wandering around Connaught Place all of a sudden I decided that I have to visit Manali and back then I took a bus going to Manali that dropped me to my destination in only 250 bucks. Today when I took the same bus going to Manali it charged my 650 rs, I can only wonder what happened in gap of 3 years. Things like these happen when you travel somewhere without any prior planning.
I reached Manali next morning around 8 AM and the moment I step foot outside of bus stand I was surrounded by travel and hotel agents giving me lucrative offers to visit places around. A newbie who has no first-hand experience of this place will soon become pray to these travel agents but because I knew where I was supposed to go I took my bag and walked towards Old Manali.
Old Manali is few kilometers away from Manali and is way lot cheaper than Manali. Old Manali is a popular destination for hippies and foreigners who come to Mountains and wish to stay for a long time. There are a lot of home stays in this area that are as cheap as 250 rs for a day stay. It had snowed in Manali and since Valentine’s Day was day after the area was filled with couples. I wonder what is that takes me to couple infested places everytime I travel.
There was snow everywhere last time when I was here in 2011 there was not this much snow. I took a walked towards Vashishtha. It was one of the few places around Manali with less crowd and more nature to follow. Vashishtha is few kilometers above Manali and is about an hour walk. Frozen Beas river accompanied me alongside the road followed by some Tibetan settlements. The small town of Vashistha is famous for its hot springs.
I walked to and back from this place, played in snow around Beas river and then returned to bus stand. I had no idea that at this time Rohtang is closed and they were charging some 500 rs for trip to Solang. After wandering around for a while I gave up and returned to my room. The stay home owner got Maggie and soup for me in lunch, there is something magical that makes Maggie taste best when you are on the mountains.
It was evening when I decided to visit the Mall Road that was so badly filled with love-struck couples that I returned to my place as fast as I could, I tasted little Gulab Jamuns on my way followed by momos, tea and toast. I planned to leave for Kasol next morning (Again without reading up any information in advance)