Once upon a time Shimla-Manali were the go to destinations for all hill lovers. It offered serenity of mountain, small town charm, wonderful weather and lot of souvenirs to take home. Today there are too many places we know of, some are more commercialized and some are so secluded that reaching there itself is a task. But if I have to pick a place that has replaced Shimla/Manali of olden times that would be Dharmshala/Mcleodganj. I don’t know many people who has been to Himalaya in recent times and hasn’t been to Dharamshala ever. And so for me it was more of a tick box item to go there and see what the fuss is.
I planned my trip in March, when it was still cold enough to chill and not too cold either, and decided to stay at McleodGanj, which is also referred to as upper Dharamshala. I reached McleodGanj on a Tuesday noon and settled there for next few days exploring nearby attractions and devouring food. If you love hills for its raw beauty, Mcleodganj might not be your choice of destination. The place is very touristy with its sightseeing list, souvenir shops and fancy restaurants. And it probably represent a Tibetan town more than a hill station. During my stay I tried doing the regular sightseeing as per my lazy mind would permit, which means I missed out a few… maybe I missed out more than a few. But I definitely tried a lot of restaurants and found many great options. I will talk about both in this blog.complete article
Kasol village had come and gone with little to no impression. The narrow streets crowded with tourists, cafes and souvenir shops lining the road, numerous hotels standing upright between the road and the river – it could have been any hill station. But we were heading towards a different destination. So we went ahead on the meandering road enjoying the tall pine trees and the soothing river down below.
Then came Manikaran. A small pilgrim village famous for its hot water springs. The water is used for pious bath and apparently for boiling rice for the temple as well. For a small patch, the river was lined with houses and hotels on both sides surrounding the Gurudwara. We passed by quickly and stopped a little ahead where the road goes lower and crosses the river by a bridge. The water was cold and the landscape was charming. But we had farther to go.complete article