Manali, an exquisite paradise on earth, pitched high up in the Himalayas to glitter like gold.
The Queen of Hill Stations, famous among adventurers for trekking, skiing, rafting; newly married couples seeking quality time together; and youngsters the place has something to offer to everyone all the year long.
Climbing through the winding highway with Beas River by our side, the journey to Manali from Delhi is a lengthy twelve hour ride.
The city is a mystery in itself. Enter Manali, tall trees and numerous hotels welcome you on your way to the main bus stand and beyond offering affordable to luxurious accomodations. While in New Manali, the mall road is worth visiting. The HPTDC office and the main bus stand are located on the mall for easy access to travelers.
I arrived in Manali at around 11 a.m. and followed the road up to the mall. Lining the town is the Nature’s Walk, a 2 K.M. path through the rising pine trees. Freshness of the air and fragrance of the morning grass made it a bliss feeling.
At the end of the nature’s walk, a small road splits towards the river. The only bridge connecting Manali to Old Manali cannot be missed.
“City of Two Worlds”, the bridge looks like as standing guard. The village is timeless like a folk tale but equally exposed to the modern world possessing its own unique charm; not entirely Indian, not entirely foreign. The village is shared by locals and outsiders both living in perfect harmony.
I arrived at Sheshbesh Café at around 12 p.m. The place was mostly empty with just a bunch of foreigners sitting and chatting. I decided to have lunch. Enquiring about the menu from the person who came to take my order I decided to eat veg pasta. I took a table by the balcony overlooking the Beas river.
There is only one main road with shops on both sides. All the café’s are located on this road. People are very open and friendly. Some of them came to stay for days and ended up staying for months. There is an aura about the place that binds you. There is a growing trend of café’s and guest houses in the area but the locals still prefer leading a simple life. As tourists and foreigners made up half the population, there was certain idleness about the place which could be felt.
People from various nationalities can be seen. Everyone is equal and everyone is enjoying. Sitting in café’s, relaxing, socializing, and listening to unconventional music makes up for most of their daily time. Life in the village is simple and slow with people living carefree. The village is relaxing and not chasing time
Exploring further on the winding road, we came across apple and pear orchards. Sound of gushing water, birds chirping in the air, feeling the cool breeze and with the view of the snow clad mountains; it’s a sight to behold and a moment of a lifetime.