Mountain Walking

Quick Retreat from Manali

13-05-2018, 0800 hours, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India:

I am now heading back home to Shimla – it’s the weekend and plenty of tourists have come to visit the hill station. Yesterday it took us more than an hour just to enter the city as more and more people reached here. The Mall Road was completely jam-packed with tourists enjoying the pleasant mountain weather with families or friends. It also meant that the local businesses were in boom with every shop full of prospective buyers.

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The Mall Road in Manali teeming with tourists; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal.

We made our way through the crowd and decided to go to Old Manali to stay for the night as most of the hotels in the city were packed. The weather had started to change from sunny skies to cloudy, eluding the tourists from getting a peek at the beautiful snow clad mountain-tops that surround Manali. By the time we checked-in, it had started to rain. As we couldn’t go out of the hotel, we had our dinner and sat around till midnight chatting and playing board games.

We decided to leave as soon as we woke up as it gets difficult and more time consuming to get out of Manali during the day-time. Most of the tourists who come from nearby states head back home as the day progresses, causing traffic jams at regular intervals. The rain has stopped now and the clouds have started to move out, finally revealing the jagged peaks with some fresh snow that fell last night. Everything seems to appear greener and cleaner as the dust has settled due to the rain. The forest with the Manalsu Nala coming down the mountain at old Manali gives a totally refreshing feel to the setting.

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Out comes the sun but we won’t wait to see how the day turns out; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal.

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The Manalsu Nala flowing down the well-preserved thick forest around Manali ; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal.

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Tourist buses parked at Aloo Ground are a good indicator of the amount of tourists thronging Manali; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal.

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The condition of the road due to the ongoing construction of the four-lane highway to Manali; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal.

As we moved out, the sun had just started to show on the valley floor when suddenly, it started raining heavily again, with the sun still visible and blue skies with scattered clouds far away from us. This is the kind of weather that one can expect while venturing into the mountains in mid-summer.

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The morning view as we head back from Manali; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal.

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Heavy rain out of the blue; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal.

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Enjoying the greens with the ever-changing mountain weather; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal.

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