Sunday, 31 July 2011

Shimla – HP

Reached Shimla HP at about 6:15 pm, it was extremely difficult to find a Budget hotel after spending about 35-40 mins with our luggage we settled for Hotel – Vatika @ INR 350 which is below the market area of Manali, about 15 mins walk. The hotel was undoubtedly the worst budget hotel we stayed in the mattress below the sheets had stains there was graffiti inside the cupboard doors, the wiring for the mains in the rest room was exposed, since it was a question of one night so we decided to tough it out.
The next day Sep’28 we explored the area near the Shimla market also called as the Mall, visited the Trishul bakery for some tasty treats, the Rendezvous Bar and the Christ Church near the Ridge, unfortunately it was closed at the time, it is the second oldest church in Northern India. This was the only place during our journey that we spotted a pizza shop; the area is very similar to the Fort area in Mumbai in terms of Architecture and people density.


On the previous evening we had booked the Train (Paschim Express) from Kalka – Haryana to Mumbai @ INR 1577 + INR 200 Agent fee (Tatkal).

The Train was scheduled to leave on Sep’29 but since we did not want to stay in Shimla, we check out from the hotel in the morning, after exploring the Shimla market area, we boarded the bus from Shimla Bust station to Kalka -Haryana @ INR 100 – 70km, we reached Kalka - Haryana by 5:40 pm, instead of staying in the hotel for a day we decided to try the railway quarters (Retiring room) which is located inside the railway station, to our surprise the room was well maintained with all the basic amenities the cost was INR 400 for 12hrs. 
Sep’29 we boarded the Train – Paschim Express @ 10:20 am reached Mumbai @2:30 on Sep’30
Overall the trip to Himachal Pradesh was excellent with a lot of first times like commuting through the Delhi Metro with its color coded tracks and insane rush during the evening, awesome trek through Kalatop followed by the Diankund trek which brought me to the limit of my trekking abilities, interacting with Tibetan Monks and the exquisite local food in McLeod Ganj, the view of Cannabis plants in their natural habitat in Manali, the face numbing cold and snow fall in Rohtang pass, the grotesque hotel stay in Shimla and the surprisingly spacious and clean retiring room in Kalka.
Himachal Pradesh is one the best places in India and a must go for any and all nature and culture lovers.

Manali – HP - Videos

                                          Hotel Vijayant @ INR 300 per day

                                          Hidimba Devi Temple
Manali Sanctuary - Funny News

Local School Kids - Manali

Cannabis Plants - Manali

Stone Tree - Manali

Tibetan Monastery - Manali

Yak Near Rohtang Pass

Sheep Shearing near Rohtang Pass

Bad Roads on the way to Rohtang Pass

Paragliding Rohtang

 Funny Interview "In Search of Ice" Rohtang Pass

                                             Funny Interview "Gupt Zaga" Rohtang Pass

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Manali – HP

Reached Manali - HP at 5:30 pm after a few attempts we finally found a budget Hotel – Vijayant @ INR 300 per day, the room had a good view of the market area of Manali, there is SBI ATM near the strip.
Hidimba Temple

Sep’23 we trekked about 2km from the Manali market to Hidimba Devi Temple which is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, sister of Hidimba, who was a character in the Indian epic, Mahabharata, The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest at the foot of the Himalayas. The sanctuary is built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground, which was worshiped as an image of the deity. The structure was built in the year 1553.
Mahamaya Durga Temple

About 1.5 km from Hidimba Temple we reached the interiors of the sanctuary, on the way up the hill there are apple plantations and small huts along with cement houses, overall the hike was refreshing since the way to Hidimba Temple was toxic due to traffic and narrow roads.

Sep’24 we trekked about ½ km to the river bank temple which is just behind the Manali bus stand, the river was amazing the sound of gushing water just relaxing but the major drawback was that it was used as a Toilet by the locals, also near that area were a lot of Cannabis plants along with some livestock.

Sep’25 we visited the Himalaya Nyinmapa Buddhist Temple which is about ½ km from the Manali market it is located in the interiors but would be worth the visit, it has the usual beauty and ecstatic of a Buddhist temple, the living quarters for the monks which is located in the temple premises reminded me of some of old colonies located in south Mumbai.



Sep’26 boarded a bus from Manali Bus stand @INR 250 – 53 km to Rohtang Pass  it took us around 3 hrs 15 mins to reach since the roads (Leh–Manali Highway) were very bad due to landslides, try and avoid traveling in small cars to this location since they would lack the power and traction required to make this journey. We spent about 2.5 hrs in Rohtang Pass the view and climate was just uncanny, it was the first time I had felt the extreme cold weather and it wasn’t even winter, we had intended to push forward to Spiti Valley but unfortunately due to bad roads and time constraints we had to scrap the idea.

As expected refreshments in Rohtang were expensive Tea/Coffee – INR 20, Biscuit – INR 20 but it was worth it.

Sep’ 27 at about 8:40 am we boarded a bus @ INR 450 – 260 km to Shimla – HP 

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