one of our best trips of 2016...
How's 2017 treating you guys...
So this is like the very first blog that I'll be sharing with you guys and I'll be talking about one of my best and also one of the most different kinds of trips that I took with my friends ever. And the reason behind that is that we never take trips to the mountains.
It's mostly about beaches with us. But last year, finally somehow we managed to make our minds up for this particular trip to Old Manali and this I guess happened maybe because it was freaking hot and boiling here in Delhi.
Now, I'll be laying down complete details of the trip and I'll be doing this for all of my trips. I'll be doing this so that you could have a proper understanding of the place, the kind of itinerary we follow and the cost we incur for the same because I believe that's one of the most important aspects of any sort of travelling - Managing budgets and having an idea of what all you could do around the respective place you ought to visit.
So the plan was made a week back and we left Delhi on a Wednesday night at the end of April 2016.
We took a nice, comfortable, Volvo bus from Majnu ka Tila Bus Stand. The bus was amazing but the timings...oh god. We were supposed to reach the bus stand at around 7:30 p.m. and the bus was supposed to leave for Manali @ 8:00 p.m.
We made it in time to the stand but it was of no use. We had to keep waiting until 10:30 p.m. after which the bus finally took off.
Even when the bus was delayed for quite some time, we reached Manali like almost on time as expected which was around 9:00 a.m.
We took a cab from the Manali Bus Stand to our Hotel, Hotel Manali Mahal which is located on the main Circuit House Road. Since we were early and 12:00 p.m. was the check-in time, the hotel guys were kind enough to give us an office space on the ground floor until our rooms got ready upstairs. We changed and freshened up there and left for breakfast towards Old Manali.
As soon as you cross the lane towards Hadimba Temple, the Deodars stand parallel to you while you walk down the Circuit House road to the bridge that divides Old Manali from the regular town.
You can hear the music from the cafes on the edges that lure you to dine but, we chose to break our fast at Drifter's Cafe, which is located almost at the topmost end of the Old Manali hill, so you can figure out it was a long long walk.
All the walk and all the starving was absolutely worth it because the cafe is awesome and the food there is spot on, just what we needed. We had English Breakfast with Coffee and played a game of Snakes & Ladder and Ludo until we waited for our food to arrive.
So it's Drifter's Inn & Cafe which means it also provides space to stay in, about which we did not know until we went there and ultimately decided to put up there when we visit next given the seclusion and the cosiness of the whole place is what we sought all the time.
And now was the time to head back and officially check-in to our Hotel, which is about a 10-15 minutes walk from Old Manali.
We then spent our lazy noon at the hotel and finally left in the evening for a stroll and a meal, again in Old Manali. We chose Cafe Kathmandu this time. The place wasn't well kept but who said we were looking for fine dining. The food was awesome and that is all we needed.
After the meal we headed back to the hotel and took to walking again for the weather was just amazing and the road with the trees on sides was definitely a good one.
We called off the night quite early, as we had to get up at 7:00 a.m. the next day for trekking.
The next day we did get up @ 7 and got ready and left for our trek and touristy drive around Manali. We had booked a cab with the driver for the whole day at just 700 bucks, who had agreed to show us around Manali, which covered the Gulaba Trek, an amusement park that came on the way and lastly the Hadimba Temple in the evening where we bid our cabby a goodbye.
The Hadimba Temple and the Van Vihar Park adjacent to it is so beautiful and so peaceful, I just did not want to leave the place and we visited that again the next day.
You could just sit there with your friends in silence and still not get bored at all given the place is the one you just can not stop admiring.
And that is how we'd spent our last day in Manali - dining at Cafe 1947 and then chilling and sitting at peace in Hadimba Temple. After which we boarded a bus from the Manali Bus Stand to Delhi at around 6:00 p.m. and made it back to Delhi early morning the next day.
Sipping a hot cup of Mocha, sharing a bowl of noodles and momos with my people, Summer of 69 in the background in the lap of Parvati Valley; this was the major part of my trip to the not so talked about and a laid-back town, Old Manali.
No. of Nights: 3
Stay: Hotel Manali Mahal (Rs.1,400 per room, double-sharing)
Travel: Delhi-Manali-Delhi - Volvo A/C Recliner Bus (Rs.1,900 return journey per person)
Local Travel: A lot of walks | 1-Day Rented Cab (Rs.700 for 4 people) | Autos (negotiable)
Places to Eat: Cafe 1947 | Drifters' Inn & Cafe | People's Cafe | The Johnson's Cafe & Hotel (Rs.2,000-2,500 per person, 3 days meal)
Must Visit: Rohtang Pass | Hadimba Temple | Van Vihar | Old Manali Hill for strolls and shopping