My Himalayan Sojourn

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Hey guys, Finally here I am with my Manali Travel Diary. It took me forever to sift through the pics and make myself to sit & write this post. Nevertheless here I am.

I also was able to create a Video Diary this time with help of my brother. He has a You Tube channel of his own under the name of “NOMAD SAM” so you can catch some informative travel Vlogs there.

This was my 2nd consecutive New Years trip to Manali & needless to say that we had enjoyed so much the 1st time that we decided to go there again 2nd year in a row & what fun it was. I will not hide my mild disappointment for not being able to witness the Snow. We were so hoping that it would snow but unfortunately it happened 2 days post we left the place. Nevertheless Manali was as beautiful as I remembered it to be & even though I am not a Roadie at all, the company of my near and dear ones made up more than for my lack of enthusiasm for a Road Trip (no wonder I did it again)

The Journey begins
We flew down from Mumbai to Delhi & after spending 2 wonderful days in cold cold Delhi with friends & savouring some delicious Delhi food took to Road in our Myles XUV.  Myles is such a boon for people who like to take Road trips every now & then.

IMG_0314DELHI HALT

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AMRITSAR

We stopped over at Amritsar to visit Golden Temple and seek blessings from the Almighty and while we were there wanted to catch the Retreat at Wagah Border

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Wagah Border

A word of Advise about Wagah Border
If you plan a trip to Wagah in future especially during school holidays, a word of caution, please reach at least 2 hours earlier even with a VIP Pass cos the seats are limited and it is pretty chaotic. Extremely disorganised and you will end up missing the parade after driving so much so please reach early

GOLDEN TEMPLE
On the other hand Golden Temple is such a pleasure to visit. It is one of the most well organised Holy places in India. I was pleasantly surprised to see all the changes at Golden Temple. The whole square surrounding the temple has been redesigned and beautified. It is always an amazing feeling to visit the temple. So much peace, so much tranquility. Even though it was extremely crowded, the whole darshan and everything was completed in less than 45 min and we got ample amount of time inside the shrine without any pushing or pulling. It was amazing.

IMG_0469Golden Temple

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IMG_0450The square outside Golden Temple

What not to miss in AMRITSAR

  • Authentic Amritsar Kulchas
  • Lassi & Jalebi at Ahuja sweets
  • Food at Kesar Dhaba
  • Chicken at Beera Chicken

JOURNEY TO MANALI
It was a foggy drive. The Roads towards Manali are very bad so yeah its a bumpy ride & if you are a non Roadie like me I suggest pop a sleeping pill and get up straight in Manali :-) But yeah before you take that pill do not miss the dhaba food on the way to MANALI

MANALI STAY
We stayed in this beautiful place called THE HIMALAYAN. Its got this old Gothic charm to it and the view is to die for. It’s surrounded with mountains and if those mountains are snow capped, its almost like you are in heaven so I will highly recommend HIMALAYAN to all of you. We stayed there the last time & really I mean even the cottage was the same :-)
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The first day was just chill and we decided to take it easy so just went to Old Manali to some of our favourite cafes for lunch. Old Manali is closed during this time of the year so there are hardly any cafes open during this time but I totally recommend DRIFTER’S CAFE for some nice continental food. Also Old Manali is a quaint little colourful place which means a lot of Photo opportunities.

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GULABA
This is usually where you get to experience snow (which happened last time I was in Manali) but this time it was not the case. Nevertheless the drive is beautiful towards Gulaba but this time it felt like the whole world was in Gulaba so a whole lot of rowdy public and traffic jams was a dampener. But I recommend a Maggi break at these small dhabas overlooking the mountains on your way to Gulaba. To have Maggi in the mountains is an experience you can only feel not explain. I am sure a lot of you have done that. We made 2 trips to Gulaba just incase we could catch the snow.

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maggiMaggi breaks every once in a while

KASOL & MANIKARAN
We hadn’t been to Kasol & Manikaran the last time so we made it a point to go there this time. We had heard a lot about all these cafes in Kasol so we definitely wanted to try out. The drive to Kasol was awesome & beautiful. It took us a lot of time because there was a lot of traffic in Manali this time & we stopped in between to take pictures and absorb the natural beauty. I think it took us almost 2.5 – 3 hours to reach Kasol & Maikaran is like 15 min away. We quickly did the Darshan and headed back to sit in one of the cafes. We ate , chilled & headed back home to bring in the New Years. It was a long & tiring but fun day.

IMG_0758On our way to Kasol & Manikaran

IMG_0829Manikaran

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IMG_0832Moon Dance Cafe, Kasol

Like I said we went to Gulaba again in the hope to see some snowfall but it didn’t happen so just chilled by the river front & had lots of fun. It was an awesome start to 2017

Places I totally recommend
1. Highway on my plate by Bella River Banks – it’s a small restaurant by the Beas River. The food is awesome & the view is to die for & pls do have the trout

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2. Johnson’s Cafe – Beautiful cafe in Manali with great food especially the Parathas

IMG_0957Johnson’s cafe

3. Drifter’s Cafe in Old Manali – for some continental food & lots of board games

4. I also recommend taking a picnic basket (packed food), some music & sitting by the Beas & chilling. It’s therapeutic.

Rest Manali is beautiful with lots of things to explore like we went to Jalori Pass the last time. If you are a Roadie & like adventure then you can take this not so treaded path 11000 km above sea level. Its a difficult terrain & it takes a helluva time & its a back breaking journey but the view is awesome at the top. But if you are not so much of a Roadie then avoid it.

Last but not the least, its best to have your own vehicle to move around so I do recommend MYLES
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Sorry for the long post but I had to share everything I could
Hope it helps

Lots of Love
xxx
Shonima

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