One year after the journey, the reason for writing a travelogue like this is to go back to the most unforgettable days in life. Although I love trekking and bike riding, I have never traveled more than 400 km alone. Even after 26 years of birth, I had never taken a train. I did not have to speak any language other than Malayalam. A month does not go by without 15K including the EMI of house rental bike and not even 1 rupee in the account. This is the main reason why friends say no when they invite you to a dream they saw together. But my mind kept telling me that I will not get another chance other than this. But has no intention of leaving best friends. When all their wishes were fulfilled, they booked the train ticket 1 month in advance. Then problems came one by one. All 5 of us work in the same company and do not get leave together. So all 4 of them decided to resign, and I take leave. Finally resigned from the job. But the notice period is over. I decided to leave the office and come back and resign. It was 4 o’clock. I did not make any preparations to go as it was not decided that I would go. Reach the railway station within 8 hours. It takes 2.30 hours to reach the station. In five and a half hours after leaving, we collected the necessary things, went home, convinced my family, packed things, and left.
The dream journey started on October 30, 2021, at 2:10 am. Actually, we don’t know where was our destination or where to stay. Nothing booked. As soon as she boarded the train, she lay down and fell asleep. I woke up when you called me into the office in the morning. He said that a person from the main office came to visit him and said that since everyone had taken leave together, he was going to take action. They blocked the salary as a setback for us who thought that the salary would increase before reaching Delhi. Then I decided to enjoy the trip thinking that I will see you at the place where I am coming. The next thing to do.. In the morning I ate some food while sitting. Bhayya came to take the order in the afternoon and asked what he wanted after mentioning the names of a lot of items that did not fit his mouth. That too in Hindi. When I look at my friends to see if they said the name of the food or some other food, they are looking at me. I also learned the truth with pain.
I am the only one who knows at least some Hindi in the group. Seeing our sadness, bhayya ordered chicken biryani for them and veg thali for me. (I used to not eat any meat at all.) Curious to know what this veg thali was, I called a friend who works in UP. After some teasing, she told me what happened. (I didn’t like her teasing her. 3 months ago you tied her up. Then she makes fun of the food she cooks. ). We bought tickets for Delhi, but we had the desire to go down to Agra and see the Taj Mahal. When we looked, all the other trains except the one we boarded were going via AGRA. So we got down at Madurai station which is 52 KM from Agra. When he came out, he was surrounded by the taxi driver. They said 3000 rupees to go 52 KM. You agreed because mid night had no other option. And so came AGRA. Then the next problem was that they paid the TOLL and said that they have to pay 800 rupees more. Even though he argued about the known room in Hindi, he paid 500 more. 3500 RS for 52 KM. In Agra, I got a tip from the travel group that I should go early in the morning to see the Taj Mahal. So went out and ate food. They made good food almost Kerala style.
The Taj Mahal.
Left to see the Taj Mahal at 6 am. As I had booked online the previous day, I went inside immediately. Although there are some differences of opinion between me and Shah Jahan (the hand of the sculptor who built the Taj Mahal was cut off and after Mumtaz’s death he went back and tied it to a piece of cloth, I didn’t catch anything.) Looking at it, my sir. It has to be seen in person to enjoy its beauty. When we enter it, even our speech sounds like an Arabic chant. It was amazing.
He got down and went to a hotel with a house to eat some food… He got food. Good poori and curry and a nice tea. Bought tea twice. And their special sweets. As Agra to Delhi train is not available at that time, bus has been booked and Delhi to Manali bus has been booked for 5:30. Booked according to the bus leaving Agra and arriving in Delhi at 4 PM. But when the bus arrived in Delhi it was 5:50. The bus we booked left by then. From the point where we were dropped off, it is about 8 km to reach Manali bus station. When the bus got off, one of them picked up the phone and talked to the bus driver. Then he said that if you pay 1500 rupees at the bus block, you can reach the next stop before the bus and board the bus that he booked. They agreed because there is no time and if another bus goes, the booked 5500 will go. But they took our bus to Kashmiri gate where it was leaving and then said the other bus left. You take the next bus to Pokola. I realized that they were clingy and I became hot to him, and there were many auto cars there. I forgave you, remembering why you were beating the Hindi people. When he paid the money, he said that it was not enough and he wanted 1800 with some tax added. Unable to take their beating, he gave it to himself. The bus and the cash in Kittila’s hand are gone. Then I talked to the bus driver who had booked first, put 700 to the person and paid 3500 and boarded the next bus. In the Manali Keria bus, half of my life was gone by the time I got half a seat from a fat guy who was sleeping next to me and didn’t even fit in the two-person seat.
From the Punjabi Dhaba where the bus stopped at night, I drank 300 rupees worth of fried rice with chili powder and 60 rupees worth of poor tea that the cow did not even drink. An unknown river flows below. At 7:30, when I reached Manali and went out, I realized how cold it really is. Rahul, who came without even a jacket, said that the cold was not a problem and started shivering. Snow-covered mountains can be seen all around. I doubted if the bus alighted at Manali because it is not the Manali seen in the photo. When I asked a guy there, he signaled me to leave that way. Our first goal is to take a room. As soon as I got off the bus, I realized that it is not cold in the country. I took a room in the first hotel I saw. (Don’t do that). Stepping into the room without shoes is like stepping on a block of ice. My lips were dry in no time. One is so cold that you can’t even touch the water to wash your face. If you open the hot water tap, boiling water will come out, but if you open the cold water tap, if you turn off the heater, after 15 minutes, cold water will come out. Anyway, I took a shower and went out to eat food and have a walk around. Food is very expensive. Maggi is 10 rupees and it is 50 rupees if you put it in hot water.. That is the cheapest item here. The first thing I saw was Mall road which is the main street of Manali. A mall road is a market where you can get almost everything from different food, clothes, and handicrafts.
Saffron, Hashish, Malana Cream, and Ganja, each agent comes and goes asking if they want it. Since Chunks who was with him didn’t know Hindi and since he had come to Madurai station, the vendors were wrapping him up, we taught Chunks a dialog like Gafoorkka Dosth taught Dasanem Vijayanem in that movie. No matter what anyone asks, you should say “Nahi Chahiye”. On the way, he asked his grandfather the time and said Nahi Chahiye. He struggled to contain his laughter when he saw Chunk’s eyes and mouth shining as he walked away. People from all over the country could be seen on Mall road. The next attempt was to see Hadimba Devi Temple which is only two km from there. Even when I reached the temple by walking, I was a bit annoyed by the harassment of the vendors… Hadimba Devi Temple is different from the temples I have seen before. It feels more like a tourist place than a temple. Some sisters were standing there promising to dress me in Kashmiri style. Then one mother brought a baby rabbit to me and said 50 rupees. At that moment, I remembered, oh my god, all this is 50 rupees for a rabbit. That too a fat rabbit. I said no as I am veg and can’t afford to take him too.
After a while, I got the hang of it. Ammachi 50 told me to take a photo with that rabbit in my hand. If I wasn’t lucky, my mother would have made me soup. The temple is in the middle of a pine forest and is always very busy. More traders than tourists. One more turn and walked down. I wanted to spend some time in the Mall road, but I was not familiar with it.. The plan was to take the bike rental and ride around as it says. If you go beyond there are many bike rental shops. You can get it at a low rate. Aprilia m80 te power.
Beautiful roads, mountain ranges bathed in snow, and river flowing through white stones made the journey very beautiful. No jacket was enough to keep out the cold. When we reached Solang Valley, there was no snow even for a huge sorrow.. Some guides gathered around. Paragliding is one of the things that came along with the dream of the North. Even when planning the trip to Manali, the dream of paragliding was dusted off. I came there knowing that there is a facility for paragliding in Solang Valley, but when I got there, I saw that the parachute does not float more than 10 meters… from the hill slope to the bottom… 30 seconds at most… This is not the paragliding we have seen. When it was time to go back, one of the guides told me that if I pay 5000 rupees, I can fly for 20 minutes. It is also at a good height. He said no because of the economic recession. So they reached 3500. Me and Vattakalam (justin) have to go up. Rahul half agreed. Cherian (Akhil Cherian), the Durandho Express in the group, is trying to repel Rahul. There is no need to ask Amal, whose head spins when he hears his main thing is to say tragedy in anything.. height. Friends who had gone before had sent a video of paragliding for 1200 rupees. If you had expected that, the men’s knife rate.. had to leave that dream halfway and return.
Solang valley was disappointing but with high hopes, we left for the next point, Jogini waterfalls. There is a scene in the ’96’ movie where Vijay Sethupathi is sitting behind a waterfall. There is doubt when you reach the place shown by Google Maps. The journey started along the path shown by an old lady who went with a basket. An alley where only one person can walk. Apple trees on both sides. But because the apple season was over, there were a couple of small apples here and there, small houses… small box stores. So he went to a pine forest. Everything went up and walked along the way.. the way is very beautiful. Finally, we reached a small shop. There were a number of tourists there and people were coming along the other way. Nice steep climb winding up again. On the way, there are women vendors from villages selling cold drinks and other things.
After going up for about one and a half kilometers.. that’s when you can see our waterfall… it’s very beautiful. As it falls from a great height, a rainbow can also be seen below. The beauty of Jogini cannot be described. You have to see it and know it. Let’s stand behind the waterfall.. After enjoying the beauty of Jogini for some time, Pai started going down. There is 2.5 km to walk, but if you look around, you don’t know where you will reach the bottom… After walking for a while, the body got warm… The plan is to come back to the room and enjoy the nightlife in the mall road after getting fresh. On the way back, I saw a hot air balloon flying by the river. There, the balloon is tied on all four sides with a rope. If you go anywhere, you can’t tell where you will land.. When Cherian started telling his usual tragic story, we slowly went down to the river bank. The river is rich in white smooth stones. As it was the beginning of winter, the rivers were low in water… and left when the cold began to take hold again. Amal took off his helmet when his enjoyment got interrupted. But when he crossed the next bridge, he surrendered to the Himachal Police. He and Justin came together. Both of them don’t know anything except Nahi Chahi.. Anyway, we bargained with the policeman who said 100 and paid 1000 rupees.. Pulli told us that it was 2000. By then, Justin had a cold and a headache. Amal also started getting work… the cold started becoming unbearable.
Lips are dry. The skin on the face became dry and started to fall off a little. My hands and feet started to go numb…I couldn’t even breathe. Justin didn’t come to go to Night Mall road.
The next day, when everyone came back, we left for Roghthang and the driver told us that it was 50 km. Turned back to Rohthang and saw the long Q after a short walk. It took some time to get the pass checked and passed.. Finally after an hour we got through the check post. As we climb up, the snow is falling everywhere.. The moment when our charge is full. It was our dream to go uphill. Roghthang pass was covered with snow so the car stopped 3 km below.. There is snow all around. Many tourists are playing in the snow. From there, there are two 4 wheel bikes available to take tourists to Rohthang laa. The charge is Rs 500 per person. It was decided to walk because the budget was low. Justin stayed there because he had a cold. As the road was winding, I took a shortcut and started climbing through the snow. We didn’t take a detour on the road, we went straight… an mini van was set up like a small shop and sold noodles. By the time everyone was exhausted. They left there.. I decided to climb the rest.
How can you come here and miss Rohthang? I started climbing again alone. The pits are all filled with snow, realizing the danger as they climb.. It is not possible to recognize them. Somehow reached the upper road. When I looked, the road again went straight for a long distance and then turned around again. There are small sheds here and there. Everything is locked. There is snow on the road too.. If you go straight, you have to go a long way. It was dark. So decided to take a shortcut. At first, there was snow up to the knee for a short distance. More and more came. Then he saw a small cave some distance away. One like an igloo. There are a couple of people standing there. Held there. It is a temple. When I talked to them, I got to know that Roghthang laa was near and sat there for 5 minutes and then went back to the snow.
After a while, there was only snow everywhere. We struggled to breathe. Hands are cold. ice got inside the boot and his leg was frozen. There is snow above the waist. Somehow I went a little further. I started getting short of breath. If you go back, you will not reach the road. He moved forward in the belief that if he went ahead, he would see the road nearby. The snow started to blow. The state of not dying just by walking. If you stand, you won’t be able to walk, and your hands and feet will be covered with snow. Face to face with death, there is no return if you fall there. All the snow on the rubber boots was blown off. He started breathing slowly. After a while, the wind died down and we saw the road. I can’t express the happiness that happened.
He got off the rock and walked forward again. Somehow he got on the road. That’s when I saw Roghthang laa in front.. finally arrived. Eyes filled. Yes, the trip was complete. There was only me and some snow. I captured some beautiful moments in my mind and my phone and walked back… The sun is starting to set. His feet were cold. Nothing touching the feet is discernible. After a while, the range came on the phone. Then they called… They all went back and said to come soon. They were also scared without seeing me.. took all their strength and walked. Seeing the sunset from the snowy mountain, my eyes filled with happiness again. I don’t know if I will come here again. But this trip will not be forgotten till death. When I went a little further, I saw my friends waiting for me below. The driver did not hide his resentment for staying. He did not come out of the room the next day. The cold and the previous day’s journey had knocked everyone down. Booked back to Delhi the next day. While boarding the bus back from Manali, I looked back. Behind the snow-covered mountain ranges. The bus was winding and twisting along the side of the steep mountains.
I open my eyes in the morning with the sight of Delhi. When I got off the bus and was hit by the heat of the sun, I was very happy. Remembering my previous experiences in Delhi, I confirmed the rate before getting into the taxi. A Punjabi was the driver. He is a gentleman. The guy stayed with him until he found a good hotel. He returned after arranging a cheap hotel near the railway station. Didn’t buy a single rupee more. Find a theatre and saw the movie. If I didn’t feel anything like that, I also agreed when asked if it wasn’t good. by Justin.
When I went to buy popcorn for the interval, popcorn + Pepsi cost was Rs 700. so expensive. On the way back after the film, I bought a cake. It was Rahul’s birthday. I reached the room and celebrated by cutting the cake. When we left, someone came out of the room. Hit the room. When Amal opened the door, he asked, “Apko Ladki Chahiye?” He said Nahi Chahiye. It was only later that he understood the matter. Anyway, after roaming around Delhi, we boarded the evening train. When the ticket is confirmed, one berth is for two people. Anyway, I was happy that I got the ticket. Because the 10th is the marriage of my friend’s sister. If you leave today, you will arrive yesterday. He has the feeling that I will not be there at the time of my wedding when he cannot go. If I won’t go it will create issues, at least the day before. We reached Etumanoor on the 9th evening, and return to our old problems and predicaments.
There were many experiences big and small throughout the journey. It cost about 14000 rupees. There is a common perception that money is the only problem for those who love to travel. But that is not the case with responsibilities stopping many people. Non-delegable Responsibilities. There are many travel friends here who have visited Manali in a better way at a lower cost than me. Reading about their travel experiences helped me a lot in my journey. Hoping that time will give me many more opportunities to travel.