Its time to fly!
Time went by but the idea of travelling lingered in my mind to explore new places not to collect souvenirs, but stories. Growing up and moving on, I got bit by the ‘wanderlust’ bug and the traveller in me got its way out.
Researching a holiday used to be an uncertain experience. Although I travel a lot but I never got to explore it through the way I wanted . For bloggers themselves, online diaries are a great way to tell friends and family how a holiday is progressing in real time and in more detail than a ”wish you were here” on a postcard.
Today I sense a change, an overwhelming feeling of liberation, a moment of realization that there are no bounds to your dreams, so wake up and fly. Get on the plane of your dreams and jet set go!
Welcome to my visual journey of flying solo with dreams in my eyes and my little Go Pro which lingers to capture the beautiful destinations, travel stories, adventurous memories, solo trips whilst celebrating freedom!
I love to attend Amazon Fashion Week religiously every season and this time after the fashion week I finally decided to escape in the himalayas with my recently bought Go Pro camera that I needed to vent out my vlogging skills with this my newly obsessed gadget. From Delhi what better than a road trip to Manali. It was going to be a 16 hours long bus journey filled with spectacular views.
How to Reach – Delhi to Manali
By Road: You can take a private bus to Manali from Delhi. Buses from Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation are also frequently available on the Delhi-Manali route which is approximately 550 km long. We took a late evening bus from Delhi and woke up to a beautiful sight from my window, sunrise amidst the lovely pristine beas river making its way between the valley of snow clad mountains.
Day 1 – Check-in at Hotel Shivalik Hills/ Snooze all day
After a 16 hour long journey and fashion week had been just over, I caught on some sleep after checking in to the hotel. Freezingly cold snuggling into the warm quilt, I took a day almost to adapt to the weather. I hunted down almost 4-5 hotels before checking into the Hotel Shivalik Hills at Mall Road. Beautiful wooden flooring, a balcony, spectacular mountain view, I was sold on this one.
Day 2.: Manali – In and Around
Next morning the bright sunshine stole my heart, and we were looking forward to explore more. I cannot begin to describe my excitement to get out and capture the unseen. I charged my gadgets over night and was really excited to start the day early. If you are looking for local commuting inside Manali, its always best to hire a car from your hotel as they are genuine and safe if you are travelling solo. The driver from the hotel was an extremely humble and gentleman. I even taught him how to capture few of my shots on Go Pro camera and there you go, I was sorted! We had to cover the following places in the day: Van-Vihar, Tibetian Monastery, Manali Clubhouse, Hadimba Devi Temple, Vashisti Temple and Baths and Manali Mall Road. Our first stop was Hadimpa Temple, a beautiful temple built in 1500 centuary which is located amidst a forest called Dhungiri Van Vihar and is a major tourist attraction. The idol of Goddess Hadimbadevi is placed in a small cave inside the pagoda shaped temple with intricate woodwork on the door. A lovely walk later, we found yak rides and people dressing up to click pictures in Manali traditional dresses. Our next stop was Him Valley, a cultural and amusement park that is sure to enrich you with live culrural dance performances.
Moving on, we tried an activity of rope bounce over the chilly river. When my feet dipped inside the river for the first time it froze for an instance but I made a woohoo noise and enjoyed the activity. It was a fun thing to try and not as deadly as it looks.
Day 2: Solang Valley and Rohtang Snow point Unveils!
We started our day early with plenty of sunshine in an hour’s drive uphills to get down and dirty with the snow! From 6 degree to a whooping 0 degree temperature within an hour’s journey! Well I figured the temperature only through my snapchat though. The locals insisted me to rent a super warm jumpsuit before visiting the snow point which actually shielded me from all that cold. The snow spotting as the road curves high puts you on high! when we reached Solang it was a view that I cannot describe in words.I got down the car and whoom the higher altitude hits you then like you cannot stand straight.Two ladies who sells sticks figured I needed them. I also had the most talked about pahado wali Maggi and then went up the trails. The luxury of roaming around in deserted gorgeous places was gone now. Newly wed couples flocked all around the Rohtang pass snowline and pictures were being clicked in every nook and corner on snow. While a picture is worth a thousand words, I am sharing some beyond gorgeous view Rohtang snowline offered our eyes.
Day 4: Exploring Local Villages
By now my driver quite understood how crazy I was about beautiful pictures at the picturesque destinations. So this day he promised to take me to places that were worth clicking. Although I managed shooting for my vlog video through selfies and Go Pro. But by now he also already mastered how to use my DSLR and Go Pro. I couldn’t be happier! I dressed up in my recent trench coat I had bought from H&M. We cruised around all across the places. As we progressed into the villages it startted reminding me of its striking resemblance to my grand fathers home in a village in Jammu Kashmir. As soon as the nostalgia started to kick in I see beautiful rows of exotic resorts amidst snow clad mountains and villages, away from the hustle bustle of the city. We were now driving between the fields of yellow mustards and apples. And that is when I told the driver. “We have got our picture spot! Lets stop the car here! Enjoy the pictures below!
Day 5: Local Shopping and Buddhist Monastery
The Himalayan Tibetan Monastery was five steps away from the hotel I stayed. I have covered the beautiful architecture of the place in my vlog video. This was my first time at a monastery and you actually dig that kind of quiet and peace. Meditation Hall was so peaceful and you feel the energy that soothes you. I sat there for an hour or so and the cosmic energy starts to kick in!
My hotel was very much in the city which is the hub for all the souvenir shopping. I kept an entire day to scroll through what market beholds. The market reminded me of what markets are like in Jammu. Clothes filled of ethnic kashmiri work and pashmina shops all around. I bought almost 5-6 dresses for my mother and sister. The shop keeper guy was damn too sweet, one of the reasons I ended up shopping a lot from him. Guilty!
This was my second experience here in Manali and I literally left my heart there and the old world charm coupled in the blissful place made my experience marvel worthy.
And it is what it has to be “Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind!
An Arch Attire Production
Series: Flying Solo
Destination: Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India
Story, Concept, Video Post Production: Swati Sharma
Camera : Cannon 70D / Go Pro Hero 5