The journey uphill was amazing in every sense of the word. The road adjoining to Beas river brought a certain sense of serenity in my mind. My eyes were locked at the sight of the river current flowing over the small rocks. The river bank was lined up with pine trees that created a picture straight out of a painter’s canvas.
As our car got deeper into Manali, the snow-capped mountains looked closer to us. Our hostel was in Old Manali, which required us to pass through the famous Mall Road. I asked the driver when exactly does it start snowing in Manali, and he said, “After New Year.” It did break my heart but what he said soon after cheered me up. “The nearby places are seeing heavy snowfall and this year it started snowing early,” he added.
I looked at Abhijit and flashed him a massive grin.
After crossing Mall Road, the road became steeper. We passed by many iconic cafes of the town, including Café 1947 and Drifter’s Inn & Café. Manu Temple wasn’t far from Drifter’s and the entire stretch was enclosed by the towering Himalayas.
Our car dropped us at a point near Manu Temple from where we walked for another 5 minutes to reach our hostel. The hostel was three-storied and had beautiful plants decorating its courtyard. From the walls to the reception desk, everything had cool posters and paintings. I stopped to look around and witnessed the mountains glimmering at me. The sun shone on the snowy peaks, making them even more beautiful.
“Hey, I am Apoorv,” a dark-skinned and deep brown-eyed boy said. I turned around to see a lean but fairly tall guy standing before me. He introduced himself as one of the owners of the hostel. “Now is the off-season so the owners who are all either travellers or artists are running the place,” Apoorv added.
We had paid him 50% of the amount for 2 days beforehand, which was Rs. 1343. The remaining was needed to be paid at the time of check-out. He showed us our personal room with the name ‘Kothi’. The room was quite cosy and in sync with my OCD-likes.
We spent less time to freshen up and headed for lunch. We walked down the hill and stopped by in many corners to take a snap of the Himalayas. The area around our hostel was filled with locals’ houses. These homes were made of wood and were built by the locals themselves.