I knew this would definitely be some trip when I boarded my flight, took my window seat and read something on the wings of the aircraft that startled me. “Don’t step beyond this area”.I was shocked as well as amused, C`mon, who on earth is going to the wings of the aircraft.Okay, suppose he does(for whatever reason). Is he/she unaware of gravity and its fateful consequences?.During my entire flight, I was left wondering as to the logic behind the instructions. So it started, my unique trip to the land of apples.
This was a special trip not only in the challenges it threw but also in the characters that I met.Before I describe how the trip was.Let me tell you something about the characters I encountered in this crazy journey.I may skip few of them as I didn’t find them interesting enough.
Character 1: 40 years old lady of forks and spoons.She is a marathon runner, a chartered accountant, has a great sense of humor.A Self-proclaimed wine enthusiast.Her Punchline:”when I am not mean, I am philosophical” and surprisingly for a Gujarati she has class.
Character 2: 36 years old serious looking finance guy who is anything but serious.He is a leader, super chill guy and knows parts of lyrics that no one ever remembers.He has lots of advice for younger folks.His favorite line “Always listen to your heart”.
Character 3: 26 years old entertainer.He is multi-talented wedding choreographer by the day and a DJ guy by the night.He loves attention and even writes content for stand-up comedians.Every time I remember him: Lyrics of Drake ring in my ears:”I live for the night that I can’t remember with people I can’t forget”
Character 4: 27 years old enigmatic guy.He is always hidden behind shades and is difficult to comprehend
Character 5: 26 years old Coder: Smart, logical and intelligent and has tons of interesting stories
Character 6: Age unknown and self-proclaimed organizer(Organiser by accident)
Now you know the characters who embarked on this amazing journey to Manali and kasol.Let us see who makes it to the top of the mountain.
We reached Manali at 2:00 pm after enduring 15 hours of the hectic yet interesting bus journey.The characters in the bus made it less hectic and more fun.The scene to reach Manali was simply too good for my eyes to grasp and fathom.I don’t know if it is always like that when you travel from a big city to a hill station.But something definitely changes when you encounter mountains and real flora(pristine tall deodar trees).The air is so pure that you get intoxicated by it.We spent the entire evening just admiring and soaking in the beauty of this place.We had some interesting, funny and amazing conversations that I will remember forever.
Next morning we picked up our not so fancy bus(which rarely went above 60kmph even on flat roads) and made our way to a pious place located in the midst of a beautiful river Parvati.We were in the mood to get some blessings from Manikaran Sahib, a gurudwara which could not have been located at a better place.Strong yet pleasant winds, mesmerizing waters of river Parvati flowing across, surrounded by pristine mighty Mountains.Ferocious waves hitting and jumping past rocks was simply a sight to admire.The place was serene, beautiful and definitely looked like a place God will choose to live in.In other words, it was heavenly.
Savoring the beauty of Manali and seeking the blessings of God, Now we were in perfect state physically and mentally to conquer the trek.9 warriors took up the challenge but only 4 actually started(Character 1,2,3 and me).
Team Leader: Crazy lady of forks and spoons
Second in command: Me
Other Significant members: Funny Finance Guy and Entertainer(Let’s call him Bollywood)
Our team leader had great ideas(Just like our prime minister) to conquer the trek but little did she knew of the obstacles that will come our way.
Trek was 14 km long one way.We reached base camp Tosh at 8 in the morning.Our team had sumptuous parathas and much-needed coffee.We were all set to conquer the Himalayas.We were forced to buy wooden sticks to help us trek our way to the top.The seller simply convinced us that we would be dead without it.The start was simple, not so steep, mostly well carved out paths.As cliche as it may sound but the greenery surrounding the trail was simply too good to comprehend.No wonder Lord Shiva chose this place for meditation.As we forged ahead on this challenging trek, we encountered a plethora of mesmerizing waterfalls and an unlimited supply of unadulterated oxygen purifying our lungs.First 3 km was a cakewalk for three of us, but our team leader was feeling the heat.She still kept on motivating us to move forward.No doubt she was the eldest but had immense willpower and courage.One more good thing about this trek apart from scenic beauty is the availability of food joints at every 2 km.It’s a famous trek, it had to get commercialized one day.We took a break every 2 km to rejuvenate with coffee, dry fruits, and energy drinks.The first major milestone we reached was the waterfall point.It was simply breathtaking and unimaginably beautiful.Other interesting features about this amazing treks are the dogs.Wow, they are so healthy and cute and show you the direction to the top.Mountain dogs are the best.
We reached the waterfall point, took usual photos and selfies.This was the moment that turned our trek from smooth hunky dory ride to a challenging one.All the guides and other trekkers advised us against going to the top as there was a huge landslide 5 km up the hill.Surprisingly, our Team Leader(Lady of spoons & forks) backed out.She actually believed the bullshit story of trek not being safe beyond this point.Finance guy agreed and followed her back.But I and the entertainment guy had other ideas.When we started the trek, our goal was to reach the top.It hasn’t changed yet.So after the elder fearful members bid goodbye to us.We bravely moved ahead in our journey.
The easy part of the trek was over.As we embarked on the challenging part of our journey, I started feeling the pain in my legs.I haven’t done anything like this in years.This trek was testing my endurance limit.My partner was also feeling the pain but he pretended to be an athlete and a bad liar.As beautiful healthy mountain dogs showed us the way, we courageously kept climbing the mighty Himalayas interspersed by gorgeous waterfalls on the way.It was getting steeper as we hiked up.The most dangerous part of the trek finally arrived, the one folks were talking about in the town.Yes, the landslide zone.It really was scary, the first time we glanced at the spectacle, all the slippery rocks and debris fell over, with only wooden logs and luck to help you cross the valley.Chanting the name of Lord Shiva, we managed to somehow cross the landslide zone with the help of kind fellow travelers and plenty of luck.After the biggest hurdle was crossed, we felt relieved and ecstatic.Our dream was getting closer.But we still had miles to go.We took our customary break at the next food outlet.
Now the last part of the trek was still left.We had high spirits but no legs to move further.We kept on motivating each other to keep moving forward.For the first time in my life, words of Robin Sharma helped me to keep going.He isn’t that bad after all.Giving stupid motivation to each other, we somehow footslogged our way to the top of kheer Ganga.I can`t describe the feeling when we reached there.It felt like we conquered Everest.This place is a heaven for campers, adventurers, weed smokers, and nature lovers.We sat down at a local cafe to have a quick lunch.After a sumptuous lunch at the top of the mountain, we headed to much hyped hot water springs to cure ourselves of all skin diseases.It is said that Lord Shiva meditated at this place for 3000 years.Now, having reached here, I truly understand his logic of selecting this heaven.Pure air, majestic mountains, natural hot water springs and tranquility in abundance.
Let me tell you something about the experience of taking a bath in the hot water springs.I am not exaggerating and I am not the one who uses colorful adjectives if the actual experience is not splendid.Trust me, this truly is a magical water, all the pain I endured while climbing, vanished within seconds of my entering the water.This hot water natural spring is indeed magical, therapeutic and incredibly amazing.I and my entertainer friend were simply ecstatic after entering this magical water.
After taking a plunge in this magical water and getting rid of all sins, we embarked on our journey down the fall before it got dark.People say Wild Bear come out after dark.We didn’t want to test our horoscope, so we started our journey back around 4pm.Downhill wasn’t much of a problem.We sprinted down with ease.We reached the base camp by 7pm.That day I truly felt victorious and satisfied.Conquering your fear and throwing worthy challenges definitely changes your life.
This trek was indeed a memorable one.It gave me new friends, threw me out of my comfort zone and helped me become a better version of myself.Once in a while, take a break from your routine life and hike into mountains.It changes everything.That’s enough for this post folks, until my next adventure.
Wishing you a happy and adventurous life.