I hadn’t camped for years! But having a sense for real adventure, the only destination that came to my mind last summer was Kullu- Manali. Since I have a passion for photography and I love to explore nature, that was the first destination I thought of. Nestled in the lap of Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh (northern India) Kullu is said to be the ‘Kingdom of Gods’. Manali on the other hand lies at the heart of Kullu valley and is found to be the perfect destination because of its mesmerizing natural beauty. Manali is situated amidst the mountain slopes and the fascinating views, gorgeous streams, fog covering small cottages and the lingering scent of pines and freshness in the environment invites a heavy influx of tourists and makes it a perfect tourist destination.
It was a mixed feeling of excitement and nervousness as I was heading towards my own expedition to explore the tranquil place. The sharp turn in the roads were a thrilling experience and having an adventurous sporty spirit I started exploring it with my camera.
Manali sets an amazing location to charge up for recreational activities like trekking, water skiing, climbing, paragliding, zorbing, white water rafting and tyre tube sliding which is the most liked activity among all age groups.
The mesmerizing view of nature, a plethora of flora and fauna encompassed with tall pine and cedar trees which were feeding my eyes with the true spirit of the colours of life and an early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
The first place I decided to see was River Beas. Sitting by the side of the river, experiencing nature in its different moods, the rising sun from the mountains, the shiny pebbles along the riverside, the chirping of the birds, the gigantic mountains showing off its mighty power, yet very gentle and calm and giving shelter to the kingdom of flora and fauna, is an overall amazing experience.
Later, I took a long trek to the most famous and ancient temple of Hadimba, dedicated to Hidimbi Devi (a character from the epic Mahabharata) which is surrounded by cedar forest (Dhungri Van Vihar). With its unique form of an architecture, this three-storeyed building is standing graciously since 1553. Built with rocks and wood and with skeletons of many animals on its wall, this pilgrimage invites thousands of devotees from various places to soak in its spirituality. As the evening was growing little darker I decided to visit mall road, a market where people come to shop for clothes, eatables, shoes, bags etc. This place is often referred to as the heart of the town.
The next morning I went to Solang valley, that is situated in the middle of Solang town and Beas Kund. Solang valley is known for its adventure sports like paragliding, where one can fly like a bird which is so thrilling and gut-wrenching with twists and turns. Being the highest point in Kullu valley, it sports many other activities including zorbing and parachuting.
Later I explored Manikaran Sahib a sacred pilgrimage for Sikh and a Shiva temple, much known for its mysterious hot spring. There are other refreshing and delightful spots to visit like the Tibetan monasteries, Vashisht temple, Rohtang pass and Kasol which should be included in a Kullu- Manali trip.
Ras Al Khaimah