The long journey has taken a toll on my body when I reached Manali. But I am happy that the climate was fresh and it soon filtered all the negativity and tiredness out of my body. Time was half past five when I rung the hotel after reaching Mall Road. After a long wait, the hotel owner was relieved to hear my call. I followed the route as per the instructions given by the hotel guy to reach Hotel Shrinkar, just 300 meter from the Mall Road.
The hotel room looked exceedingly well considering the rate at which I booked. It had a single room, attached bathroom, tv, geaser etc. The beautiful black drawing on the walls seemed custom made for me. It was so abstract and I liked it. After putting down the bag and drinking some water, I threw myself to the bed. It was finally a great relief for me when I streched the spinal cord. But I have to refix the schedules and I can’t compromise on the places to be visited. So I got back to feet, took a quick refreshment and left out for exploring Manali.
New Culture, New People
The first thing I did was to buy a Himachal cap. All through the journey after entering Himachal, I frequently witnessed these caps being worn by people and I had instantly fallen in love with it. For me, it was about embracing a new culture and associating with people. I envied the people and their fate for being able to live in such a place where nature has been so fascinating. The cap looks quite similar in shape to the traditional cap worn by Muslims during namaaz. But it is available in different textures and materials. After buying the cap and wearing it, I advanced straight through Mall Road for my first destination.
Hadimba Temple is located at around 2 km from Mall Road. I slowly walked through the narrow road viewing all the greeneries. The road is slightly steep and handful of shops and hotels are seen on both sides. After some time the road will merge to the wood￼s filled with deodar trees.
There are small ladders made through the woods and after travelling through them for a while, we will be able to spot the Hadimba Temple. We can see local ladies sitting on the sides of the path which leads to the temple with lovely big and bushy haired rabbits. They will try to convince us and take pictures along with these rabbits. Though the pictures with these beautiful rabbits looked adoring, these ladies tried to loot more money from me. It’s ideal to bargain and fix the prices before taking photographs.
The magic of Nature
The temple is surrounded by murmering deodar trees, cedar trees and beautiful flowers. Visitors can sit all around the temple premise. The cave temple is dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, wife of Bhima. The temple has carved wooden doors, three roofs and topped by a cone shaped brass structure.
Devotees can touch the feet like structured stone work inside the temple and collect prasad (offering). Foreigners were seen meditating in the premises, which only rhymed with the voice of rickets, if we avoid the human clutter. A yak was also spotted nearby with a guide for interested visitors to have them clicked on camera.
The time was nearing 7 in the dusk and the nature has begun the preparations to sleep. Cold had slightly notched up. Since I was walking all the way, I felt it less bothering. Before I go back to the hotel room, I decided to have food. A handful of shops was seen on the sides of Mall Road with different boards displayed outside. Some hotels had Punjabi food, some had featured the traditional local food. All these shops were crowded and I was reluctant to enter the hassle. It just didn’t suited with the calm surroundings and my eyes went on looking for a perfect place to dine.
It was then I spotted Hotel Yak & Restaurant which I don’t know why people have least spotted for having food. When I climbed the stairs and reached the hotel, the chef alone was sitting in the hotel watching TV. I thought for a while whether to have food from the hotel. But then my hunger had rooted more onto my brains and I decided to no longer wander and have food from the hotel.
I ordered an Onion Uthappam and since there was no hustles, I didn’t need to wait longer for the food to arrive. When I sat with the spoon to have my food, I didn’t thought it would be so delicious and satisfactory. At that moment I made up my mind to have food for the rest of the trip from there itself. After the dinner, I decided to wind up the day and go back to the room. I bought myself a Carlsberg Elephant Tin Beer, toasted it with nature and slept while listening to melodious songs.