Sunday, 12 February 2012

Day 8 – Himachals in Winter - Speechless Once Again by the Ever-magical Manali

The next day was sunnier and clearer than ever perhaps and there was not the tiniest chance of snowfall, so our hotel manager informed us. The next day again, the cottage –made breakfast of toasts, hot tea and boiled eggs satiated our hunger.  We left our cottage at around 10 am.
The sunny day was a quite a refreshing welcome compared to the previous day, though the day wasn’t warm by any means.  There was a sober wind on top of the cold day, which perhaps brought the temperature down even more. Everywhere the patches, lumps and heaps of snow were to be seen, as a reminiscence of the previous day. The people who were arriving today, didn’t know what they missed perhaps.
We went to the Manali Club House first. The club house itself had now been converted to an amusement park which we didn’t find that much interesting. There were a cluster of small shops selling local gift items, specifically attracting the tourist of the ‘fairer sex’. So we were also no exception. After indunging ourselves into some non-serious shopping – I consider the seriousness of the shopping through how much many is wasted (read ‘spent’) – we went towards the backyard of the clubhouse. There we found what we were looking for, an unhindered glimpse of Manali.

A scene from the backyard, Manali Club House
The Beas river was zigzagging through the rocks covered with snow and snowy at the farthest corner were glittering under the sun rays. Nothing apart from the  birds chirping, and the gentle sound of the stream were to be heard. The ambience was so calm that we sat there for an hour.

Another scene, horizontal view

The peaks

The next destination was the famous Hadimba Temple – many films were shot at this location, including Roja. The entrance of the gate were jam packed by the touts and hawkers offering to sell from toothpic to carpets. Yak ride, horse rides were the other attractions. The place, after entering the gate and a short walk of 5 mins through the tall trees and stone-curved path, became much serene. The trees were so tall that it seemed they areached reached the sky and blocked the view of sun.

Around Hadimba Temple Premises
People were offering Pujas to the Hadimba deity, my wife joined the queue and since I was admirer of the nature more than the temple itself, engaged my self into clicking some shots of everything. Once the rituals were over, my wife wanted to have snap wearing the local Himachali dress, and if you would like to be great husband, you must not say ‘No’ many times to the wives, and especially if its your honeymoon , there was no way. So after getting wrapped under the local attires, we posed at least for 20 mins in front of the camera. The snaps were to be delivered to our cottages.
Hadimba Temple
The next destination was a buddhist monastery, the name of which is beyond my memory now. But it was right at the heart of Manali. The sun was now playing hide and seek to us and so were the snow-capped peaks. At one moment the views were pleasing the eyes of the mortals, but the very next moment, it disappeared behind the clouds.
Gompa - the monastery
After the gompa visit, it was the time for lunch. We started a search for a Bengali restaurant, just being nostalgic. There were many bengali eateries to be found, but none of them were open. The owenrs and the workers, they felt even more nostalgic than us and went to spend a vacation with their near and dear ones, since it was an off-season. So again, the ‘Sher E Punjab’ saved our hungry souls, and stomachs too.

Just like an oil-painting
Now it was the time for some serious shoppings, since it was our last full day in Manali, everything had to be purchased today for the relatives and many whom I even didn’t know, I dared not to ask any questions.

The sky was covered under cloud
Once the shopping was over, we kept the bags in the car and roamed around the mall till the afternoon and enjoyed the beauty of Manali. We even managed to take some occassional shots of the gorgeous peaks when they were peeping through the clouds.

And the sky was cleared again
and that's how we managed this shot..
By the nightfall, we were in our cottages, today we didnot have any plan to cook so we ordered some food from the canteen itself to devour. The photographer from the temple came and handed over the envelope containing the snaps inside. I had to admit that they came out nicer than expected. We started packing things with a sad mind as we were to prepare for another long journey next day.

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