I had an official work at Sundernagar for one day. The place is 110 km from Shimla, on Chandigarh-Manali Highway.I decided to make the trip memorable! I discussed my plan with my wife and she accepted readily.
We had planned to start our journey early morning on thursday. But, due to heavy rains at Shimla, we
finally started at 12:30 PM.By the time we reached Sundernagar,it was 5:20 PM. The weather was hot and humid.I liked the beautiful lake there.
After attending to my work on friday, I was free at 5:00 PM.We decided to explore Rewalsar, 25 km away.When we reached there it was 6 PM.It has a beautiful lake full of fishes(fishing is prohibited). Hundreds of fishes would come near if you offer food.It has a famous buddhist monastery, a hindu temple and a sikh Gurudwara- all three on the bank of the lake.
There is a narrow road encircling the lake,with shops on the outer side. Almost all shops got closed at dusk,the people were happy and carefree. The area looked like a place from nineteenth century. People moved about their work at a relaxed pace - no rush, no tension.
By feeling the peace there I wondered why are we running after so called fast-paced, advanced lifestyle of today's world , which brings so many added burdens for us?
We returned to our rest-house, had dinner and slept, with plans to start early morning for manali.We started at 7:00 AM on saturday. Scenic beauty of the hills, the beas river by the side of highway, small natural waterfalls-all of these made our day. We took a detour to Manikaran Sahib,a pilgrim place for sikhs. There we saw hot water spring and hot cave inside Gurudwara.We also had food at langar there and ate plum fruit from roadside trees.Our next stoppage was naggar.It has a 500 year old fort made of wood and stones. We also saw the beautiful Roerich Art Gallery there. Its campus was full of lovely flowers.The natural beauty of naggar is hard to describe, it can only be felt.
We reached Manali at around 7:00 PM, kept our luggage at hotel and went for a walk to Mall road.
The next day we started early morning for the mighty Rohtang Pass.There we saw snow even at this time of the year.We then went ahead to Koksar,22 km away in Lahaul dist. Koksar was a barren place, loud howling wind,no greenery and surrounded by mountains and a river by the side.It looked beautiful and intimidating at the same time.
I got block while saying my mobile number at police check-post Koksar. The policeman told my wife-"Agar inko apna no. yaad nahi hai to aap apna no. bata dijiye". I finally completed my phone no. Just when my mind was criticizing me for failing to use the techniques,I remembered Sachin Sir's statement and told to my mind- "Chup raho ,Hakla nahi haklayega to aur kaun haklayega!"
After having food at a local "dhaba", we took the road to the beautiful Chandertaal lake, which was 50 km away. We could hardly travel 10 km on that "road". It was full of gravel, stones, big rocks. We were mesmerized by 20 feet high snow walls at the side of this road.We crossed four small rivulets on this road with great difficulty.They were full of large stones and my wife had to push the bike at these water crossings!
We gave up at fifth crossing , as the water current was so strong that we thought our bike would be swept away downhill!We were just 40 km away from the mesmerizing Chandertaal lake.We returned towards manali with a heavy heart.
We reached Rohtang Pass at 7:00 PM and were literally terrified. It was covered with dense fog and the wind was howling.There was not a single person there and it was so gloomy. So its my advice - never visit Rohtang Pass in the evening. All tourists leave that place by 5:00 PM. Also the meaning of Rohtang in local language is "pile of corpses"! We finally reached our hotel in Manali at 9:00 PM.
The next couple of days, we went for local sight-seeing in and around Manali. I liked the Beas river- fast currents and crystal clear water.We started back for Shimla at 7:00 AM on Wednesday. We enjoyed the myriad changes of landscape the whole day and reached Shimla at 6:00 PM.It was one of the
most memorable experiences of my life.