AsTOSHing'You don't smoke up, what's there for you in Kasol' a friend asked. He will probably get his answer after he reads this.Almost 550kms away from Delhi lies a paradise amongst the mountains, some call it the stoner's paradise, well to me it's a paradise for all, starting from the tiring trek in tosh to the food in Bhuntar, everything has been remarkable. Words cannot express the elated feeling i went through these days but i am still giving it a try, so here is how the JOURNEY went.After our supper in Majnu Ka Tila, we took a volvo from there to Bhuntar. The volvo buses provide their service till Bhuntar, the journey can be very tiring and the mountain roads will really get to you but we were ready for all of it. It took us almost 12 hrs to reach Bhuntar. Every 15 minutes a public bus goes by from Bhuntar to Kasol, we got on board as soon as we saw one, the excitement of it, the excitement of being in the mountain was slowly getting into us.The bus conductor who was a very generous guy guided us the places that we can visit as most places were closed because of the snowfall they get at this time of the year. It was 9 am in the morning when we reached Kasol, famished and tired. But the view of Parvati Parvat covered in snow got us going. From Kasol we took a taxi to Manikaran, where thousands of people come every year to worship their god in the Gurudwara. The Gurudwara offers langar every day and it also has a hot spring to calm your winter shivers. No one thought that they would come this strong, few people know that this Gurudwara was affected by a landslide in 2015, buildings were damaged but they came stronger than ever, you could also notice the under-construction buildings but that's what makes the place perfect, the imperfections.The sound of Parvati river oozing through our ears almost made us forget about our hunger but we somehow tried to stable ourselves from the excitement and had a hearty brunch in Manikaran. As soon as we were done with our brunch, we took a taxi to Barshaini, it was a long road but the driver didn't fail to entertain us by sharing the story of the peddlers, who were caught smuggling 20kilos of hashish each. Yeah, that's quite a lot. From Barshaini, it's a 3-4kms trek to Tosh, we decided to trek regretting the decision after a km as the roads were pretty uphill and it was really cold. After slowly getting used to the surroundings, me and my brother came to the conclusion that this was probably the best decision we have ever made together.A tiring trek to the sound of Parvati waters oozing in our ears with a view of snow covered mountains, the smell of trees and the shiverings down the spine, i could feel it all, it was probably then I realised that i am lucky to be hereAfter we reached Tosh, with adrenaline pumped up all over, we trekked another two kms to the top to the Pink Floyd Cafe. You might not want to trek to the top because of the slippery passage which was caused because of the melting of the snow but trust me, trek, trek to the top, the view from there is worth every sweat.After a short conversation in the Floyd Cafe with the locals we decided to come down, because it was pretty late and it would have been difficult to come down during snowfall. But you can always stay for a night or two in Tosh during the peak season i.e during March April. After numerous tiring hours in Tosh we took a taxi back to Manikaran and decided to stay at Manikaran for the night. We checked in at around 8pm and realised that it was only moments before we reached Bhuntar. Funny, how time passes by.Alas, it was the end of day 1.This first day taught me two things, most importantly sitting in an Western toilet in the morning doesn't feel really good especially when it's 0-1°c . Secondly - one has to go through a struggle no matter what he/she does in life, but don't stop yourself, put yourself out there, you'll see that the results are worth every damn sweat and tear you had to come across.
• Watch them make their first pot in Kangra, Himachal PradeshWatch in amazement as your children learn how to mould chunks of clay into artistic pieces at the Andretta Pottery and Craft Society, run by Mansimran Singh – a passionate potter dedicated to the cause of resuscitating this form of art in India.The Andretta Pottery and Craft Society offers day-long workshops and additionally, there's a three-month course for those who want to learn all there is to the art of pottery.To pick up the rudiments of ceramics, at least a one-week to 10 days of learning is suggested. A three-month course will make you a full-fledged potter.Where: Andretta Pottery & Craft Society, Andretta, Palampur District, Kangra, Himachal PradeshPhone: 01894–254248
When we got to Bhuntar, my back was sore, legs cramping and sleep deprivation was kicking in. Thankfully, I was able to ignore all of that and concentrate on the freezing cold weather that was slowly numbing my body. We then got into Jeeps and headed for Pulga. The roads were smooth and the drivers, cautious. Just kidding, it was like Death Race. For some reason, over-taking on a road barely big enough for one vehicle is very popular in the mountains. It’s so normal in fact, that our driver was telling us about how a bus went over the edge the other day because it didn’t overtake another bus (all while he avoided potholes, oncoming traffic and certain death).
After a few nights in Charanag, a small town tucked away from the crowds connecting Kullu-Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, it was time to lose myself in oblivion, yet once again. And Sethan, as my next destination was called, sounded like a perfect option.
• What to buy: Kullu topiKullu topi is a part of the traditional costume of various ethnic groups of Himachal Pradesh. Nearly every dweller in the Kullu Valley is involved in the craft of making these caps and has refined the skill of handloom weaving to safeguard the ancestral customs and traditions.
We started the journey from Delhi and It was 13 days long trip. From Delhi, we reached a small town in Himachal called Narkanda. The best things about traveling to a Himalayan hill station are the beautiful roads, the green surroundings, the dense deodar forest and the cool breeze. We traveled on the toughest roads that were not only scenic but extremely dangerous to drive on.
Road 2 Himalaya: I visited Himachal Pradesh from 16 Jan to 24 Jan 2017. This was my third trip to Himachal Pradesh. The reason I said yes to the third time is because of snow. First two times I visited but there were not much snow. This time I experienced snowy Himachal Pradesh and it was incredible experience of my life. I travelled with 35 unknown people who became friends for life. As I have been there twice so I was like quite experienced guy for them. Journey started with train it was a long journey and I used that journey to make new friends. I met with everyone played some games like UNO, Dumb Charades and enjoyed a lot. In train we met a mother travelling to Ambala with her 2 girls and 1 small boy (we called him Babu). Family was nice , children were mastikhor especially Babu; plus he was a good dancer he entertained us with his good dancing skills which he learnt from her sister. When we reached to Chandigarh 3 tempo travellers waiting for us. We met drivers Susheel, Prakash & Nishu ji all are very jolly and safe drivers. They travelled with us whole journey they took us every place and told interesting facts about each and every place. I talked with them a lot , whole year they travelled with different groups and stay away with their family from their tone I can understand how they miss their family but at the end they are happy because all they are doing for their Family only. We reached CK International Hotel, Shimla around 9 PM we did dinner and everyone goes to sleep.Real trip starts from Day 3 after good breakfast we left the hotel for Kufri. From Hotel to Kufri it was 45 minutes journey during that journey we discover beautiful Shimla. Whole Shimla was covered with white snow. Road, Houses, Cars, Hotels everything went under snow. We all were from Mumbai, so everyone having same question, how did people live here? How did they manage? For us Shimla was Heaven.