We began the ascent towards Rohtang early morning next day.The beauty of nature that we had witnessed yesterday was overshadowed in an instant with the perfect landscapes and sheer awesomeness of this place.
January-Manali-New Year Celebration
It was a bit early morning in the midst of mountains and cold breeze for us to cover up the things left before leaving for home. After a quick breakfast, we jumped in our taxi only to stop at Gulaba after driving through the curvy roads for around 2 hours. The snow was no where to be found but was quite windy. Climbing up the peak to a certain level was altogether a great experience. Though the place was very clouded and quite slippery but grabbing a cup of hot tea and a bowl of hot maggi added up to the experience.
DAY 2: GULABA I reached Manali at around 8:30 pm and i was tired from my head to toe.Due to the lack of sleep i was feeling as if hammer is banging my head.I checked into my hotel and had my dinner and slept.Next morning my first destination was Gulaba.Gulaba is well known as an alternate destination if the Rohtang Pass is closed.Gulaba is near about 10 km far from manali bus stand but this is the best place to enjoy trekking. You can enjoy snow trekking here even in the month of may.So this is the best tourist place to visit in summers especially.
We left around 10:00 am from the hotel.Our first stop was vashisht  temple. Vashisht temple is 6 km from manali which is hardly 10 minutes drive. You can either walk or hire an auto for rs. 50 or so. The village is traditional style apart from the additions of cafes.  Vashisht was named after Rishi Vashisht. This temple is believed to be more than 4000 year old. This was known to be his meditating place. Vashisht temple is built in a traditional style with lots of intricate woods carvings. It is most popular for hot springs which is believed to have medicinal value. There are separate bathing arrangement for men and women. There is another ancient stone temple known as Rama temple adjacent to vashisht temple. You will spot many tourist here and beautiful Himalayan fauna. This place is little chilly so you can shop some handmade woollen  from the adjoining  shops. We left from here for Gulaba, as Rohtang stays closed in April, due to heavy snowfall and generally opens during the month of June till September.Gulaba  is 27 km away from manali and 25 km away from rohtang. So during this season your snow view point change from rohtang to Gulaba.  Gulaba village is 2 to 3 hours drive from manali. On your way driver will halt at one of the shops selling snowsuits and boots, Jackets to help you walking on the snow. Available on rent. I think the mentioned price per suit was 350 rs, if you want to rent skiing gear as well, then you can rent clothes and gear for 2000 rs for two people with a guide. So we went ahead with 2000 rs option. You will have to purchase gloves incase you haven't  brought yours. They sell it for rs 100 with no discount. The highways always set me high, especially when you are driving across the snow capped mountains and beautiful valley ultimately enhancing the twinkle in my eyes. Himalayas are so gorgeous, I strongly believe that no one can ever stop themselves from falling in love. Throughout our way we had the company of good local music ( thanks to the driver) and lavender colored flowers popping from the small crest in the mountains. I could not stop myself from plucking one as a memory of the happiness it filled my heart with. Soon we reached the trek point for snow, now there are basically two points to trek from, our driver dropped us at a little easy one to climb. I wasn't  really sure if it will be easy to climb up all the way, thinking about my mom as well. But we thought let's try. You also have the option of going for horse ride instead of climbing all the way up. So we started trekking, with those boots on and no snow, it wasn't that easy. We were carefully climbing every turn, because  there will be no well defined path. You actually  don't feel alone looking at the crowd. And the local people made it a warm ambience by providing the service of local tea, water and other eatery stuff to calm you. I guess it took us around 40 minutes to reach the comfortable snow point. We didn't climb further as it was really exhausting to climb all the way up in the snowsuit. So now it was time for skiing,  honestly speaking you can really skip it. If had an idea that snow would be so less, we wouldn't shed so much money, neway it was okay for the start. So it was like a horizontal narrow patch of snow on which at least four people were trying their skiing skill. Hardly ten steps and you could cover the distance. Skiing kit was good for posing for pictures and little try how to balance your body with those blades underneath your foot. So the skiing dram continued for another fifteen minutes,  after which we decided to sit for a while in the snow and play. So we selected a comfortable nice spot, ate maggie and good coffee, enjoyed making snow balls and looking at the people enjoying around. You can also go for the tyre sport, it's nice but cost way too much. This is the only means how these locals earn, so if you can be generous then go ahead. You can also try the local dresses and get pictures clicked for 100 rs. It's fun once you accomplish  the trek and sit quietly to absorb the ambience.  After spending almost an hour at the snow point we headed  back. On the way I took the opportunity  to click pictures of the beautiful valley  and snow capped himalayas.  You can also sit next to the waterfall flowing  from all the way up.We left for solang valley from here.Solang valley is breathtaking,  so gorgeous, you actually  feel like staying here like forever. Solang valley is the centre for Atal Bihari mountaineering institute. The institute provides  courses for proper professional training for those interested in mountain climbing or paragliders. Solang valley provides an arena for adventure lovers. You can either enjoy the ropeway, off-road biking, paragliding for small or a longer distance and multiple small road side games to choose from. The paragliders here are professionals, so the prices are quite high. 1000 for small 10 min, which won't  be fun if you are not first timer and 3200 rs for the longer duration. They will take you all the way up from the ropeway and the fall is so beautiful. The most beautiful one I have ever seen so far. You are flying over the snow capped mountains, like a bird high up in the mountains. I have already done para gliding  in bir billing, so I decided to rather enjoy the sight. The eatery area around offers all cuisines.We headed back after taking a walk around, the public toilet facility is  well maintained here. There is also a shiv temple at a distance of 2 km, in case you would want to visit. On your way back you can also stop to watch himachal culture themed  performance, a proper amphitheater has been set up for this. Ask your  driver to drop you here in case you would like to attend. They also have a brochure, showcasing  their programs. We headed back to hotel. This total trip to vashisht temple, Gulaba and Solang valley costed  us 1200 rs, as it was off season. If Rohtang would have been opened, the charges would have been more depending upon the distance. We slept like crazy in the afternoon and woke up around 6 pm. We were really tired but since it was our last night in manali, we pushed ourselves to step out. My mistake was that I opted to walk all the way to manali bus stand, the distance was way more than I had expected. So after a walk for 20 mins we took an auto for old manali to my favorite  cafe 1947. So this was Wednesday  and the cafe opens only after 7 pm, so I was happy that  we didn't decide to visit it directly in the afternoon. There are many nice local shops around, some nice silver  jewellery  shops, and many more pretty cafes  near the river bank in case you are interested. I was reluctant to experiment on our last day, so we waited for the cafe to open, and as soon as it did, we went to occupy a seat outside next to the river bank. The ambience is serene, you will really enjoy the sound of river gushing  and the cool breeze will make you happy that you have luckily escaped the scorching  heat of Delhi.I ordered  my favorite mushroom pasta with garlic bread and cafe mocha. The evening was really nice. After this we went to the mall road, and it was so much fun.  You have so many options to select from. We purchased a beautiful handmade wall painting for 150 rs, you could see the artist painting it live. Then we went to an accessory shop, purchased some stuff at reasonable price. Mall road market are always charming. We concluded our trip to manali by enjoying pink candy, hehe.