I woke up as the conductor shouted "Mohal chowk..Mohal chowk". There it was, the perk of booking the front seat in the volvo. As i opened my eyes, the snow capped mountains were peeking right at me, through the windshield welcoming me with the golden rays falling upon them. Trust me, the view itself worked as 3 cups of coffee.
As I reached Pah Nala, the mountain got bigger and the view got more breathtaking.
Just being surrounded by them made me forget where i was coming from. On the way to Pah Nala, you can also witness the majestic Bijli Mahadev Mountain. It is far from the maddening crowd (Shimla, Kullu, Manali etc etc), with gardens filled with pomegranates, plums and apples around you. You can go for beautiful walks amidst orchards; or just loiter around, organize treks; and bonfires that really warms you up. The stream follows you all the way to the village. It is a mystic one. You'll find it out once you wake up in the midnight and all you can hear is the melody flowing through the woods.
What a lovely way to fall asleep and rise up in the morning!
Time to visit:
If you're a snow-snow person, December and January is the best time to visit. And if you're a sunshine kinda person, March to May will be perfect for you to witness the apples and plums blossom out.
How to reach:
The nearest bus drop is Bhuntar and Mohal chowk. One can take volvo services from New Delhi.
By Air, the nearest airport is in Bhuntar, located 12km from Pah Nala. You can then take a taxi/bus to Pah Nala.
Places to see:
Day 1: As I finished my breakfast, the caretaker told me about the village from where the stream starts. I chose to walk 4 kms instead of taking a bus. Mountains on the both sides stand like watchers. You get to see the raw side of village life in mountains. People are so welcoming. I finished my "mystic stream exploring" and came back for dinner. Sat for a while with the caretaker and the cook as they continued their Himalayan stories and suggesting me few more places for next day.
Day 2: My craving for snowfall wasn't settling in, so I decided to visit Naggar Castle. Its 32 kms away from Pah Nala. You can take a bus or cab, choose cab. After the bus drops you at the bus stop you'll have to get a cab anyway, the cabs drop you at the entrance of the castle. By the time i reached the castle, snowfall started with the fall in temperature upto -5°C. The architecture of the castle takes you back to a different era, as its mostly made up of woods. Well preserved and well maintained, Naggar used to be the capital of Kullu and the Rajas of Kullu used to reside here. But now Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) is running it as a hotel and a living museum. The wooden planks in the balcony creak and lightly shake, when you walk over them, adding to the thrill. There is even a temple inside the castle, Jagati Pat Temple, which opens each day at around 8 am for prayers.
Day 3: On the 3rd day, I added Denchen Choekhar Mahavira Buddhist Monastery to my adventures. Just 12 kms from Pah Nala, on Gompa Road. You can catch a local bus to Bhuntar Chowk and then an auto will take you to the monastery. One of the most peaceful and tranquil places i have ever visited in my life. 'De' means Bliss, 'Chen' means Great, 'Choe' means Dharma, 'Khor' means Abode. The inner walls of the monastery that are full of statues and paintings and there are also altars dedicated to Mahayana Buddhism creating a peaceful ambience. At dusk, you will also be able to catch the evening prayers of the Buddhist monks here. The colorful landscaped gardens, the relics, and the elaborate murals provide the perfect harmonizing experience. There is also a shopping complex that has artifacts, clothes, and handicrafts made by the Buddhist monks. The Buddha statue is 31 feet tall and that of Padmasambhava is 21 feet high.
Day 4: There's an another blog for that (Bijli Mahadev Trek).
Places to stay:
ZostelX, Pah Nala: The only place you'll find around the stream. There are no other places as it's an offbeat place in a village.