Solo Travel, these are not just two mere words but also carries a lot of meaning and a load full of guts inside the mind of a travelling enthusiast who is yet to travel alone.
After infinite times of unsuccessful attempts to persuade my friends for a group travel, I asked to myself, am I ready for this?, am I ready for solo travelling?. Suddenly an array of all kinds of questions started creeping in. I had to face a lot of rejections from my family. Some friends thought travelling alone is nothing but a foolish and dull idea, some worried and some just giggled at me for they thought I can't do it. After contemplating day and night and with a leap of faith on my conscience, I straightaway went and booked my bus ticket to Manali for the next day.
When the time was nearby, I realized that my mind was filled with confidence and heart was pounding with excitement. After all, I was going to an alien place with no one to accompany. I started from my home in the evening. All the time while traveling whether it be in the Modern electric rickshaw or in the metro, a song from the Malayalam movie NPCB (neelakasham pachakadal chuvanna bhoomi) was playing in my mind for countless times throughout the journey.
While standing at ISBT Kashmiri Gate, I saw buses to different destinations as if they were all branches of a big tree with each branch having beautiful fruit at its end. But mine was sweetest of them all and it was Manali. Though, I didn't get the expected bus service from HRTC nor it was a peaceful ride but when somewhere in between my tired eyes opened from the usual jerks of the bus, I saw a rather magnificent site. It was the Vyas river running besides the road with mists covering atop. That scenic view alone was just the beginning of what Manali had to offer to a Travel buff like me. Although, it took me a little while to reach Manali town due to improper bus service from HRTC. But I never felt being late as my eyes got hypnotized by the gigantic Himalayan mountains.
Soon after reaching Mall Road, I made my way towards Zostel, a place where I had booked my accommodation. It is situated in Old Manali near the Manu Temple. I was expecting Zostel to be just like another ordinary hostel but it just took me by surprise. Staffs are so amiable and the nature surrounding it would bring down a soothing effect to your whole tiresome journey. It was an off season and also not a weekend so as expected, there was less crowd. I soon realized that I was going to share my room with a German, American and a Colombian. It took me few minutes to freshen up and off I went to explore Manali as soon as I could.
My first destination was the Manu Temple which was few kilometres away from Zostel. It was not possible to know each and every corner of Manali so I had to always rely on Google Maps. Though I lost my way a couple of times.