Heavens fall Here! Winter Visit to Manali

The onset of winter brings back memories from last year! There were six of us. I don’t know how we ended up making up this crazy plan of visiting Manali in the December of 2010. Our initial plan was Goa … Warm sunny beaches and the works. But, one thing led to another and we were headed for Manali instead. I had never seen snow in my life and the prospect was exciting! It took us a good 16 hours from Delhi in an Innova. We started off from Delhi at 4:00am and reached our destination at 7:00pm. 

On the way we sang and talked and laughed and ate and slept and on and on we went. On the way, we stopped at this lovely river bank and had Maggie sitting around a small fire.

And I remember this crazy thing we did as we neared Manali. The whole while we kept searching for snow covered peaks. We craned our necks and looked out the window after each bend, each curve. We mistook sand for snow and yelled like lunatics let loose in the free world. Our driver kept telling us, “abhi aage dikhega baraf”. But, to our disappointment we reached our guest house in Manali and we still hadn’t seen any snow. The grounds were bare, the trees were green and there wasn’t one speck of snow to be seen. Our driver comforted us by saying that the next day we would visit Rohtang Paas which has a permanent cover of snow. That evening it had started to rain. The locals said that there was a good chance of snowfall. We all had dinner and went off to bed!

The next morning we were woken up by the guest house keeper knocking on our door urging us to look at the falling snow. “Madam, Sir … baraf gir rahi hai … bahar aaiye, dekhiye”. Whaat!! I was up in an instant … Me and my sister went berserk, squealing like crazy we put on out shoes and jacket and cap and ran out the door anxious to enjoy the snowfall while it lasted. It was a first for all of us and we went about clicking pictures not caring about our socks and gloves getting soaked. We were ecstatic! After a while we had to get back in … it was soo damn freezing outside! We then had a goood breakfast of aloo parathas and garam chai. Heavenly it was in that weather! Our driver informed us that we will set out for Rohtang once the snowfall stopped.

But the snow just wouldn’t stop. The snow fell and fell and fell intermittently the whole day. By evening it had become thicker and the trees, bushes, railings and slopes of houses had a thin layer of snow. We considered ourselves extremely lucky. We strolled outside. Clicked more pictures and played snowfight! It was great fun! From our window we could see the snow falling and it was such a pretty sight. That day we obviously could not venture outside. Tomorrow we thought excitedly, we get to ride on a sledge at Rohtang!

Same tree as in the picture above, now covered with heaps of snow

But that tomorrow when I looked out the window in the morning, I was bowled over looking at the amount of snow there was now! Our guest house keeper informed us that it had snowed the whole night! Only a day ago there was nothing, now there was about  1-foot cover of snow. We ventured outside once again covered from top to bottom. And it was acutely ch-old yet it was breathtaking. The landscape was now white … the mountains, the trees, the houses … everything … all stark white yet so beautiful! It was one of the most gorgeous sights to behold. And it continued to snow …

After talking to a few locals and the people in the guest house, we decided that we should head back downhill as the weatherman predicted more snow. And that meant that the roads would be blocked and we might be stuck here for another 3-4 days. By now there was at least a 3-feet snow cover. Our guest house was situated on top of a small hill. Our main concern was how the hell we would get down to the main road, with all our luggage, to where our taxi was parked (thankfully, our driver and the boys had managed to get the taxi down the hill the previous evening … that’s another adventure they will be able to tell you better … one that involves a few slips, a couple of misses and the taxi almost falling into a ditch 😉 ).

We got ready as if we were going on a mission! It was one actually! We had to wade through 3-feet of snow, 2 km downhill, in minus degree temperatures carrying our luggage! It was going to be a one hell of a trek for us! We started off … one after the other … carefully … step by step. Our breaths sending puffs of vapor in the air. As we moved ahead, our bodies warmed up with all the physical work. We weren’t cold anymore and started enjoying the trek. Every now and then someone would lose their footing and fall flat in the snow. We all went laughing mad each time that happened. I fell a couple of times too, and let me tell you, it didn’t hurt at all! It was so damn amusing!  It was hilarious! And the scenery was beeeautifulll! I don’t have words to express how it felt like … in the midst of all that beauty … that environ. You have to be there to understand it in totality! And when I had a fall again I just felt like lying there in the snow and just be there!
We finally reached the main road and there ensued a round of snowball fighting! Our target was each other’s bum! 😉

Our taxi arrived, we got back in … and started off on our journey back home ooh-ing and aah-ing at the picturesque snow covered slopes … We had now seen the snow … much more than we had anticipated  … much more than we had imagined! 🙂

What an experience it was!!!!! Once in a Lifetime!

There are some other details of this trip that I can’t share here but, it was a helluva trip. Thanks to Anhad, Aadhar, Gurpreet, Astha and Deepak for making it truly amazing. Cheers!!
Let’s plan Leh-Ladakh soon! Who z Game … err … Is Goa better … ?????