Why Go To Manali:
Solang Valley (Winter/Summer Sports), Rohtang Pass (Snow, Gateway to Lahaul, Spiti and Ladakh), Vashisht (Hot Sulphur Springs), Hidimba Temple!!!
Elevation: 2050m (6700 ft) Above Sea Level
Distance: 273 km Drive from Chandigarh-Bilaspur-Sundernagar-Mandi-Kullu-Manali (NH 21)
Date of Drive: 24th November 2011
Woke up to a beautiful morning at Hotel, ‘The Hill View’, Naldehra. After enjoying cup of tea, went on a narrow path along the golf course for an early morning walk. Morning at Naldehra was cool, calm and heavenly. Early morning views of the hills, the countryside, cattle grazing in the fields, village folks busy in early morning chores looked nice. Ringing of Bells at a temple far away was music to the ears. Beautiful pahari women were carrying loads on their back. Life seemed very leisurely, peaceful and happy.
It was joy all around. My mind was still filled with overwhelming romance of last night. Beautiful drive up to Shimla. Excursion to Naldehra. Nice simple, romantic hotels. Cool, dark night. Beautiful lonely road. Nice, cosy room. Drinks. Those lovely female pahari singers singing melodious songs. The starlit night. Nice simple food. I don’t remember when I went to sleep while the singing and merry making was still going on in my neighbouring room.
Wonderful start to a dream drive.
Came back to the room. Had another cup of tea. Got ready and started off for day’s drive to Manali.
Early morning drive on this stretch was amazing. On the right of the road were beautiful autumn burnt grassy cliff and on the left were deep, large valley with lovely some villages.
There are so many charming places on the way. The most interesting being Tattapani (hot water), famous for hot sulphur springs. People come here for river rafting on the fast and furious Sutlej river as well.
Sutlej, Tattapani and Bridge
People believe that the hot sulphur water is good for skin. Most of the travelers stop here for that cozy bath. Interestingly, the water of the river flowing alongside is very cold.
After spending some time at Tattapani and taking bath in sulphur water spring I continued the drive. Little later reached Churag. A board resembling the kind of business I was in, caught my attention. Called the phone number mentioned on the road. The recipient, a very nice gentleman, Mr Arun Bansal asked me to visit his home. Turned the car back and within minutes was at beautiful Bansal home.
Mr Bansal’s residence is a beautiful cottage, on the main road, overlooking apple orchard with all modern amenities. The Bansal couple was very nice to talk to. We chatted about their life, orchards, business and education of children, over a cup of tea. In my brief stay at their home, I never felt like a stranger. In fact, It felt like we knew each other for a long long time. I requested the couple to visit our home in Ludhiana. Thanked them for their nicety and left with a promise to visit them again on return journey.
This sign board, located near Chindi, HPTDC Hotel, Mamleshwar, is very informative. Each one of the destination mentioned is a tourist destination. The entire area is a big forest with breathtaking walks and trekking trails.
HPTDC hotel, Mamleshwar at Chindi is one of the most beautifully located hotel of Himachal Tourism. It is well kept and maintained. The way it is kept can be judged by the signboard which a very thoughtful Manager has placed just outside hotel reception.
After a cup of tea, egg omelette, I drove off towards Rohanda and Chail chowk.
Govt. of India has put in place MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act), which guarantees every unemployed person certain number of minimum employment every year. These women were employed under the same scheme.
The drive from Churag to Rohanda-Chail Chowk is a single but beautiful road. It is lined up with thick deodar and pine trees and amazing views of villages in the narrow valleys.
Just after Rohanda, the straight road leads to Sundernagar and the right turn leads to Chail Chowk. Turned right and was soon in Chail Chowk. Chail Chowk is a lively place and a good market. From Chail Chowk one road leads to Mandi via Baggi-Ner Chowk and the other to Pandoh. I headed towards Pandoh. Around 4 kilometers further down near Gohar, there is right turn which leads to Janjehli. The sign board there put a thought into my mind of going to Janjehli on my return journey.
By the time I reached Pandoh, it was pitch dark and Manali was still 90 km away. However I was on NH-20 now. There was lot of traffic on the road and driving in the night was not an issue. From Pandoh onwards I did not take any break and drove straight through to Manali. Reached Manali at around 9pm, checked into the Hotel Kenilworth International, took few drinks, had dinner and went to sleep.