25th November 2011, Friday….Day(3) Manali-Solang-Vashisht-Manali 30 km
Manali (6700 ft, ASL) is a popular hill station in the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Surrounded by huge cliffs from all sides, It used to be a small village on the Banks of river Beas. These days it has grown big like any other big city and is famous for its weather, location, river Beas, Hadimba Devi temple, Naggar Castle, Solang valley, Vashisht hot water springs and Rohtang Pass.
It lies on the important route to Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti valleys. Manali is also an important base for many trekking and mountaineering expeditions. Indian Institute of Mountaineering is also established here from where basic and advance course can be done.
Since I didn’t have any plan for today, so got up very late. Went for morning walk in Van Vihar opposite my Hotel, Kenilworth International.
Nature park Manali, with dense forest, runs parallel to NH 21 and Beas river. Enjoyed walking in silence and among chirping of birds. The park is dense, dark and deep.
Came back to the hotel….had some food and decided to drive towards Vashisht.
After crossing bridge at river Beas the turn to the left towards snow clad mountains goes to Rohtang pass and beyond to Leh Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti valleys. About a kilometer drive on this road, the turn to the right goes to Vashisht, a bustling village with a temple, hot water springs and lots of hippies.
Vashist is a small village with big market, narrow lanes, wooden houses, hot water springs, temples, german bakery, cafes….popular with the travelers from abroad, who usually stay here for longer periods.
After visiting the temple, a cup of tea from Ganesha chai house and small walk in the narrow lanes of Vashish, drove back on the main road and then turned right towards Solang Valley.
Solang valley is a large meadow on the left of Beas river perched few kilometers above. It’s a popular place for paragliding, horse riding, cable car and lot of other adventure activities. It’s a popular ski destination and other winter sports.
Had a nice time walking in the valley, watching and chatting with excited first time paragliders.
After spending quite good time at Solang Valley, drove back to my hotel in the evening. Walked around the mall for a while, watched tourists from different parts of India enjoying, making merry with their friends and families.
Later in the evening enjoyed watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara while enjoying drinks in my hotel room.
For so long I have been waiting for these times…..the drive, cheerful tourists, colorful market, cool weather, enchanting atmosphere, snow clad mountains, excited paragliders, beautiful solang valley, nice cosy room, nice food, drinks, wonderful movie, solo traveller and a sense of freedom, I could see how things are shaping up………..!!!