The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.Saint Augustine
What comes to your mind when you hear or see the word ‘Himalayas’? I guess it is snow-capped mountains, alpine and lush pine forests, pristine lakes, pearl white snow, the gentle sunlight, the bone chilling cold……yeah even I imagine and adore that. Just as Ruskin Bond says, “It is always the same with mountains. Once you have lived with them for any length of time, you belong to them. There is no escape.” Believe it or not, it is true. This ten-day escapade of mine in the month of April in Manali changed my life forever. It gave me one of my best travel experiences.
To begin with, the undulating hills, the fierce deodar trees, the mist and cloud covered valleys, the voice of snow crunching under the feet was everything one could ask for. Even though, during the first two days of the camp, we were accompanied by the beautiful mountain drizzle. It began as a whisper in the air. We could hear the loud wails of the wind, swishing pass us through our tents. A tinkling sound came to our ears as the first pearls of rain dropped onto the leaves. The sound was like the glassy clinking of a champagne flute, lilting and clear. A sheet of rain passed over us and the sound intensified. The noise on the tent was like the phut-phut-phut that ripened nuts make when they hit the ground. We could also hear another occasional sound. It was caused by the rainwater gathered on the tent falling on the ground in a great swash of release. The rain finally stopped on the third morning of our sejour. Since, it was an adventure camp, a big line of activities followed up after the pitter-patter stopped. We were to trek the Pha Konda peak, considered to be one of the most beautiful trekking routes in India. The journey was a tedious one, but what we saw after scaling 8000 feet was worth all the hardships. The beautiful landscape surrounded by tall pine trees, cutting through them came the magnificent rays of sunshine, blotching the milk white snow in hues of yellow, orange and gold. I tried to click as much photos as I could, but of course who could capture all this beauty in a tiny box.
We started descending even though no one had the heart to leave this alpine heaven, but with an assurance in our heart that even greater quests were yet to be triumphed, we got ready to start our journey down with nothing more than wonderful memories of the trek.
Three days had been utilised in accomplishing the Pha Konda trek. Now, it was time to cross out the remaining things in our bucket list.
The next three days, we busied ourselves with the exciting adventure sports such as net climbing, rappelling, ziplining etc. And, the most exciting and personally preferred and loved part of the trip came when we went white water rafting in the Baes river. The thunder of the water gushing beside us was a music to my ears and gave a faint satisfaction to the adventurous heart.
Next up was the cultural part of this fabulous trip. Not only did we interact with the locals each and every day, but also had the opportunity to stay with them, eat their food, celebrate their festivals and try to live the local life by stepping in their shoes.
I was living my dream during those ten days, but as all things come to an end, this trip was not an exception. Even though, there was a tad bit of disappointment, as we had to leave this heaven, I had a room full of memories, a camera full of photos and a never forgettable experience of visiting one of the most beautiful places on earth.