Wednesday, February 29, 2012

First Ride of 2012 Manikaran to Manali (Day 2)

After long ride on Day 1 of 270 kilometer, I had kept second day for less of ride and more of snow. So the best option was Manali, short in distance and full of snow.

The ride was as short as 3 hours in cold weather with temperature ranging between 0 to 5. The solitude of riding alone was beyond imaginations.

The clouds wandering on snowy mountains were clearly indicating the possibility of snowfall in the valley of Manali. With a mix of excitement and little worry, I kept moving towards Manali. The cold winds blowing from all sides were clear indication of rain and snowfall. But then I had come so long only for this, so it was like dream coming true.

Entering Manali town was not less than a dramatic change in my journey. The town was little crowded with tourists and vehicles moving in all possible direction. Snow on roads had added more fun to the whole story with making almost every vehicle prone for accidents. Being rider of two wheeler I had to be extra cautious of the fact that I needed to ride with solid grip on snow.

 After taking some break at Hotel, I headed out to explore new attire of Manali under Snow. The drizzling had started with clear symptoms of snowfall anytime. Almost every corner of the town was covered under thick blanket of snow and roads were slippery with melting snow.

Less explored road towards Rohtang was the main attraction for me. Despite the fact that it was drizzling, I decided to explore the scenic beauty of this less explored corner in winters. Almost no people and very less vehicles moving on this road, I found this as the most attractive part of my trip. The spectacular view of snow covered landscapes in solitude felt soothing to soul.

Near dawn, I had to trek back to Manali. So reached at Mall Road in late evening. The street lights throwing orange reflection on snow was beautiful view to witness. The day felt too short to enjoy the beautiful attire of Manali.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Holy Manikaran - Endless resource of Natural Hot Water Springs

Manikaran has been an attraction for Hindu and Sikh pilgrims. Throughout the year people travel from various places to Manikaran. I am one among those who believes in divine powers of God. 

After 7 hours continuous bike ride, I was tired enough to sleep in a while. So to avoid that I just dumped my bag in hotel and ran towards Lord Shiva Temple. I could see smoking water in Air all over and warmth of hot water in Air.

As I was moving through the town, I noticed that almost every house has hot water supply from this endless source of natural springs.

The temple campus was decorated with colored papers over it which was making entire valley full of colors and soothing for eyes. I spent lot of time inside temple watching various formation of evaporation out of Hot springs. The floor near Hot Water sources was hot enough to stand on it in cold weather and take the warmth in.

There are number of hot water pools for pilgrims to take holy dip into natural hot water. One can see the immense faith in pilgrims eyes for divine powers of God.

After spending few hours, I turned towards Hotel. Before I could reach hotel, one narrow link road attracted me towards it. Without giving a thought to it, I started walking towards it. Few steps on the road, the town Manikaran disappeared, as I had reached on the other side of the landscape.

Far fledged there snow capped mountain pulled me towards it. Instead of walking on road, I chose some shortcuts by climbing on hills as I wanted to reach near those snow covered mountain before the dawn. I crossed through some very small and ancient villages.

After 3 kilometers trek, I reached somewhere near my destination, where a village fully covered under Snow was exactly in front of me. The view looked breathtaking with darkness slowly covering the landscape and calling off the day.

The solitude of this place fascinated me to spend a night a this village but I had to walk another 6 to 7 kilometers on snow to reach there. It was not prudent to get into that without any lighting arrangement, so I decided to go back to Hotel at Manikaran with a plan to visit that village when I come to Maninkaran next.

The day had gone as per the plan. Now the time was to pamper stomach with lots of food. Rather than making a limited order in Hotel room, I decided to hit a near by Dhaba. Trust me the food was amazingly delicious.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First Ride of 2012 Nangal to Manikaran (Day 1)

It was almost two months when I last made a long bike trip and whole credit for this inaction goes to Winters of Northern India. In my three days holidays, I thought of opening up the biking season for 2012. I had never been to Manikaran so my spirituality instincts encouraged me to thump my bullet in the valley of holy Manikaran.

Started late in morning at 09:00 PM, I rode from Nangal towards Kiratpur Sahib where I had to divert towards Manali highway. Freezing cold and fog on the way made my job difficult, though I had no choice than to pull the throttle and ignore cold wind.

During those 80 kilometer run from Kiratpur Sahib to Barmana, the ride became almost hell with truckers everywhere on road. This is the most scary stretch to ride as you feel helpless and are on the mercy of those adventurous truckers who are either overloaded and have almost no control on speed or driving on wrong sides. It took me almost 3 hours to complete this hell stretch wherein I could ride hardly at a speed of 40kmph.

Ride after Barmana became quite fascinating but the job was still not done as I had to ride another 170 kilometer to reach my destination Manikaran.

Roads were quite empty because of very less number of tourists in winters. By this time the day had become little warmer. I had opened the throttle to quite a large extent to cover up the balance distance.

The last leg of ride from Bhuntar to Manikaran (35 kilometer) was fascinating with broken roads, blind curves, steep uphill ride and above that very narrow roads. I managed to cover this distance in an hour time and landed at Manikaran at 02:00 PM.

The ride was too hectic with lesser number of stops to cover distance of 270 kilometer. The tiredness of entire day went away with the simplicity of Manikaran.

The first thing I did was to search a hotel to spend a night, so inquired one hotel which charged me Rs 400 per night with natural hot water for bath and TV without remote. The simplicity of room situated exactly in front of calmly flowing river convinced me to spend a night there.


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