Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Himachal Pradesh is one of the most beautiful places in India. Bordering the great Himalayan range, its towns are picturesque. I liked Kedarnath and Manali the most. While Kedarnath is famous for its temples, the climb up is very difficult. It is extremely cold at the high altitude. Scarcity of oxygen only makes the trek tougher.
I was very young when I had gone to Manali. It's an amazing place, nestled in the lap of nature. The gurgling rivers and snow-clad peaks make the view out of the hotel window simply ethereal. Since I am a big nature buff, Manali was no less than paradise for me.
Compared to Mumbai, Manali is an extremely quiet place, populated by simple and innocent folks. It may sound unbelievable but I could actually hear the water flow in the rivers from far away.
I also went to the Rohtang pass, situated on a mountain-top and covered with snow. I love snow, so I enjoyed the climb though it was tiring. I remember there was a coffeewala on the way up who was surprised to see me making the climb at a tender age. Soon our entire family was chatting with him. The steaming coffee geared us up to brave the cold.
Though the local people there have simple food, there are good restaurants too. However, at higher altitudes, you will get only aloo parathas and yummy pickles. Manali is not exactly a shopper's paradise, but one can pick some warm clothes for very low prices there.
The Himalayas are a gift of God, we must keep the hill stations clean and preserve the nature there.