In a far far away country someone created a virus in the lab to gain economic supremacy in this war of worlds or someone just thought of trying a new bat cuisine and Corona happened. I have no idea and I dont think any one knows except XI jinping that why the earth stood still only not for a day but for months.
Flights stopped, traffic vanished, dolphins came to shore and I became FAT and Single both. Yeah, butterfly effect. I still curse to whomsoever is responsible for this.
Damn, it is September 2020 already and I haven’t gone for a single trek yet, haven’t seen the ice on mountains and haven’t slept a day without electricity in nature with a cellular blackout.
And now I think , my trips are calling me mentally. I am having this intermittent urge to fly somewhere. Be it in between of the office meetings or while I am wasting my time on instagram and boing , a wild thought will struck to my mind and say”lets go somewhere”.
You know what just the other day I went out for some daily chores outside and suddenly I realized how we used to take everything for granted like kick starting our motorbikes and zoommmming it on the highway. Now my bike has become a showpiece for now . I miss its sound ,the vibration you feel in the hands ( yeah I have a thunderbird and it has a vibration issue).
Nowadays I am lapsing in the memories of places I have been to in last 4-5 years. Be it looking at nanda parbat from Chandrashila top in tungnath or watching the beautiful sunset in Goa or roaming in kaas region to check the wildflowers or riding from manali to leh on rented bikes. All those memories are jumping in the blank space which used to be occupied with future trip plannings and all.
Nevertheless ,World has started opening up. If not in world, then at least in India for sure. IPL has started. Offices have started calling their employee back. Even I just went out for a quick bike ride and I saw nothing related to corona except mask. Bikes,cars, momo shops, bhelpuri shops,gym everything is open and beaming with customers faces. People are eating in groups along roadside. May be by Dec , people even forget it that there was a corona.
Even YHAI(Youth Hostel association of India) group called me one day to inform me that their treks are on now and I can start booking.
Wish I would see book one soon and hope on a flight to see such sunset soon
We as humans have a habit of adjusting with everything and may be we will adjust with corona as well. Though don’t forget to adjust with nature once you are back with them.
Who remembers the road when lock-down started. It was like the post-apocalyptic world where the world has been eradicated from the most dangerous virus it has even seen, the humans.
I hope it is the karma of nature against us.
lets hope for a better day, a better life for everyone. Keep Spreading positivities.
It all started from here , me loitering around in a business suit ,
and ended there , hanging like a happy monkey out in the open.
Every new year all vagabond souls stuck in offices like I am, guess what do we do?!
We sit with our calenders figuring out long weekends and those days we could fit in to make our weekends long!
So that you can see our transition from that dull boy in an office suit to the happy monkey..
Thus, Shivratri holiday was taken for granted and Saturday and Sunday luxury was mixed into it for a long weekend ( who knows in 2020 all these planning will be futile)
That’s why I jump into the idea of a road trip to god knows where with my brother and his sister in law when they just asked casually “kal kahin chalen?” and I said ” chalo ” . There wasn’t any destination. It was just us enjoying in our I20 and taking a drive out on the expressway. We hoped on and pressed the peddle on the metal and out we were on the tarmac.
Where to go in this weather that’s what was going in our mind. Till pune we discussed where we can go in this trip. We took a pit-stop on Mumbai pune expressway , checked our petrol and air and munched on some snacks. Food gave us thought and we turned our steering wheels towards Wai in Satara District.
Wai is a small beautiful town situated on the banks of Krishna River famous for its Dholya Ganapati temple and also called as Dakshin Kashi because of more than 100 temples in this city.
This quaint city is also famous for shooting locations of more than 300 Bollywood movies including Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain, Gangaajal, Omkara, Dabangg 1, Dabangg 2, Swades, Ishqiya, Singham, Deool, Bol Bachchan, Zila Ghaziabad, Gulaab Gang, R Rajkumar, and Chennai Express. Remember the climax fight scene of Gangajal when ajay devgun hits the villains in a pond.
As soon as we reached, we saw this quiet town bustling with lots of devotees, flocking from nearby places to worship on the occasion of shivratri.
We also took the blessing in this beautiful Shri Kashi Vishweshwar Mandir, Wai. It is an ancient temple built around 400 years ago. It has a huge nandi bull statue inside temple and nicely decorated shivling ( extra decorated on shivratri) .
Temples built in the Wai area tend to be built in Hemādpanti-style architecture. Use of huge stone slabs is the major characteristic of Hemādpanti architecture.
This beautiful city has various ghats ( a place near the river made with stairs for ablution purpose)
Like Brahmanshahi , Govardhan Sanstha ghat, Ramdoh ghat , Gangapuri ghat, Ganpati Aali ghat ( famous for Dholya Ganpati, 10 feet high lord ganesh Idol and Kashi Vishveshvar temples), Dharma Puri and Menavali ghat ( famous for Gangajal and Swades movie scene ) .
From here, we booked our place of stay in the starting of panchghani/Mahabaleshwar and starting hustling with GPS and no network to reach there. But I will tell that in next post. Till then let it be continued…
when every detail of our life is planned and regulated,and every fraction of time determined before hand, then the last trace of our boundless and timeless being, in which the freedom of our soul exists , will be suffocated.
The Nature of the Highlands-Lama Anagarika Govinda
Before you start reading this one, I would request you to take a read on the first part of my journey here. and If you are lazy enough to not read that then
Till now :- we have reached from delhi to manali and after visiting the local market, maa hidimba temple, sage vashisht ashram and the very relaxing hot springs; we went to solang valley to see the snow next morning. That afternoon, after returning we boarded a bus from manali via bhuntar to reach kasol and after that.
From Manali,we catched a bus via bhuntar to reach kasol. The crowd was going crazy at bhuntar bus stop. So many people were waiting for buses but somehow the frequency was less. After standing for half an hour, a bus came and it was get attacked as if some monkeys are attacking a devotee having banana as offering. A bit of push, some elbow kick and finally we got a seat with our luggage where only half of my bum was allocated the comfort of a cushion. Bus was heavily crowded with locals who were going back to their home. The locals made fun of us and sometimes get angry with us for creating this “tourist” crowd in that small us . Nevertheless, it helped me in enjoying the journey till I reached to Drishyawali Home Stay(9857302933) .
which was before kasol around in evening and as I was tired so much and didn’t want to roam and check different hotel so we decided to stay in this one and pass the night over here only.
The view from the guest house was breathtaking and they had such nice cozy rooms overlooking parvati river and kasol valley. There was a little bit of leftover snow residing near to parvati river waiting to get melted and be one with the flowing water and the sound of it was heavenly.
It was quite cold that night. We had to consult the wise monk to fight that dropping mercury level and eventually we asked for a room heater. Next morning I woke up early around 7:30 am and I tried capturing the beautiful valley, smoke rising from small houses and sunlight reaching the depth of valley slowly slowly. I tried recording through my go pro and it didn’t work. Somehow i think, i got a bad batch of go pro hero 6. It records and then it gets stuck and when i play it in computer , it just plays my voice back to me with no video.
Anyway, thanks to our generous host at drishtawali, we had sumptuous breakfast and then we packed up and left for our next stay in old kasol. and why he as generous, well he gave us a free drop and good knowledge about kasol and near by village with a background music of famous pahadi songs to our next stay.
So here is the thing , from manali , you get a bus to bhuntar and from Bhuntar, the private bus drops you at makeshift bus stop in kasol market just after Kasol bridge which separates old and new kasol.
and There are multiple hotels,hostels and homestays available in Kasol and some of them are situated on the side of parvati valley. A cup of tea and good company of friends are perfect to create a moment. And don’t forget to taste the sweetness out of those german bakery from the local market. They are delicious, at least some of those.
You know, It is like you never miss parvati river when you are in kasol. Every building has parvati river in line of sight and it makes a person like me ecstatic because I love water bodies. Anyway we reached to our next cozy stay ” Thakur Cottage Homestay” and there we were greeted by this cute owner named TIGER. Tiger was a good boy. This good boy was furry , cute and huge. We got bonded very soon as you can see in the pic( how well he is ignoring me). Though I treated him in night with chicken biryani which he cherished for sure. He was like a shadow that night accompanying me till my toilet breaks
Anyway, coming back to the time when we reached this stay, we freshened up and started our walk for manikaran. Manikaran is around 3-4 km away from Kasol and it is a good beautiful a bit uphill walk. Although you will find this breathtaking view also at two place in this stretch.
It was kind of heart-wrenching to see such pile of trash in this beautiful valley. This place is even tagged as the dumping ground in google maps. Anyway I heard that they take this trash back to manali for processing. Nevertheless, I hope state government someday will do something about this in more permanent way and I hoped it doesn’t become a trash mountain.
“Chaiiiii“, and with this sound my thought chain broke from that pile of trash to this small shanty tea point which made Netra ( my trip partner) elated. Although the tea wasn’t that great so she had nothing except sheer disappointment and with that disappointment we moved forward. Sometimes it hurts more than breakup to be a tea person
Though her disappointment didn’t stayed with her for much long. Mountains dogs came to her rescue and healed her back to normal. There are two things constant to mountains at any place in India which are maggi and dogs.
Anyway tiptoeing , we finally reached to manikaran and there it was, the famous lord shiva statue covered under vapors from the hot water springs and blessing us. Truth to be told , this sight was coming in my dreams since last one month and when I saw this , i felt like it was a calling to me.
This place is a piligrimage for both hindu and sikh religion. Both religion have their own originating stories. Sikh religion followers believe that Guru nanak dev ( their first guru) came here and when one of his disciple , Mardana, couldn’t find fire to cook bread from the grains given by fellow villagers, guru nanak dev asked him to lift a stone and from their hot water springs came up.
Those hot springs have continued till date and the langar ( some part of this holy food) served in Manikaran sahab gurudwara is cooked in this hot water only. They have two hot water kunds also in there which they say is good for your body ache. and guess what even we took the dip in hot water springs and felt quite refreshed.
Legend has it that once Lord Shiva and his divine consort Parvati were wandering in this sublime environment. Shiva liked the place and started meditating. Meanwhile, Parvati started taking a bath in the blue waters. While she was playing in the water she lost a jewel from her ear ring her earring. Shiva was enraged when he could not get find the jewel in the water and started doing Tandav, his dance of destruction. The atmosphere grew tense and Shiva threatened a large serpent swimming in the swirling waters as he figured he had stolen the beautiful jewel from Parvati’s ear ring. (As you may know serpents and dragons are often depicted in Tibetan art holding a jewel in their mouth.) However the serpent gladly fished the jewel out from the waters. Thus the river came to be known as Parvati and the place was called Mani (jewel) Karan (ear )
It was such a divine feeling to roam around in Manikaran. Initially we had further plans to go up till tosh but time wasn’t in our favor so after having that sumptuous langar and enjoying the beautiful manikarn , we started our return journey back to our home-stay. We came back to kasol bus stop and had our dinner in local restaurants . Netra had hot chocolate from this nearby shop from bus stand who told us that we can get an early morning bus of 8 o’clock who will directly drop us to manali.
Kasol has some beautiful cafes and that coffee which Netra had earlier evening, was blessing in disguise for that freezing cold next morning when we came to bus stop to board the bus.
We hopped on the private bus and it was a comfortable ride as we avoided the rush of customers because of morning hour. They charged us some 70 bus to reach manali from kasol from where we awaited to board our private volvo. The wait of 3-4 hours could have been pretty boring if I wouldn’t have this view at my disposal
This was my second trip to himachal pradesh so far. Though it was quite short but It was beautiful , I had fun. I was at peace for some moments. I was happy.
Here is a short vlog of my journey . Let me know how do you find it. Share it if you like it and comment if you want to know anything