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Monday, July 22, 2013

Zipping through the Himalayas



Still, yet vibrant; mountains fascinate almost every one. My love affair with hill stations dates back to the time when I first saw beautiful landscapes captured in the movies. It mesmerizes me and thrills me. My perfect road trip was, where I drove through various towns and had a perfect weekend in Manali. My road trip was from Ambala, my hometown, to Manali - one of the most beautiful places in Himachal Pradesh.

The Perfect Trip Idea: Have a fun trip with family - Plan to cover important places and embrace the unexpected adventures, while spending enough time at each spot.
Route: Ambala - Kiratpur Sahib - Anandpur Sahib - Swarghat - Bilaspur - Sundernagar - Mandi - Bhuntar - Kullu - Naggar - Manali 
Car: Tata Safari
Companions: My family
Time of the Year: August
Duration: 4 Days

Take a look at this video that I created to take you through the journey I planned...


Day Zero
  1. Pack the clothes, don't forget the woolens.
  2. Keep blanket, torch, emergency supplies and toiletries.
  3. Some packed snacks, paper plates and water.
  4. Ensure the car is washed and is fully ready for the trip (double check first-aid-kit).
  5. Prepare for a perfect environment in the car, with music and fragrance.

Day One - Ambala to Sundernagar (approx. 241 kms for my route)

Started the journey early morning and tried to reach Kiratpur Sahib around 9 AM. There were many famous Gurudwaras in this town and I wanted to visit Gurudwara Patalpuri, which is quite significant in Sikh religion. Most of us can recall it from the movie Veer-Zaara. After that, we headed towards Anandpur Sahib, the holy city of Sikhs for darshan at Gurudwara Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, seeked the blessings of Almighty, before scaling the mountains.

chai, himachal, road side, trip
Things one should do on road trips
Sip chai at road side, bliss!

We started the ascent uphill and reached Swarghat, a small town just 22 kms from Anandpur Sahib around noon. We had lunch in this small town. After lunch, we continued to explore the small towns and places along the Highways, stopped at scenic places, creating memories and clicking pictures. I wanted to see Guru Gobind Sagar Lake in Bilaspur, which is around 45 kms from Swarghat. Because of ACC Cement factory in Barmana, we faced huge truck traffic in this belt, so by the end of day, we reached Sundernagar. We never wanted to search for accommodation, hence we booked rooms beforehand. We spent the night at Sundernagar soaked in the view of Shivalik Range and woke up to a great view of Sundernagar Lake.

Day Two - Sundernagar to Naggar (approx. 170 kms)

Began the day to head towards Lake Prashar, near Mandi, 86 kms from Sundernagar. Lake Prashar has both spiritual and scenic significance. There is a temple like structure, Pagoda, by the side of the lake and this place is of mythological importance too. The Pagoda was built in the 13th century and is named after Sage Prashar, who meditated here. It's a serene place surrounded by hills. We always wished to spend some time there, absorbing the beauty of this place.

shimla, hills, road trip, himachal pradesh
Drive through the mystic, wish could do it once more

After Lake Prashar, we drove 50 kms and reached Bhuntar and since it was the apple season, we spoted fruit laden trees, clicked some pictures and savored some fresh fruits there. I love water bodies and we spent some time by the side of river Beas. Nothing beats zipping through the picturesque roads. Kullu is just 15 mins from Bhuntar and was our next stop. We passed by this town and did some woolen shopping...Kullu shawls made perfect souvenir to take back home.

We ended the day at Naggar, at just half an hour drive from Kullu. We spent the night at Hotel - The Castle, had dinner at the balcony of the hotel restaurant which has an amazing view of hills and river Beas. Since it is one of the most popular tourist stay in this region, we booked the hotel in advance. 

Day Three - Naggar and Manali (approx. 55 kms)

Started with breakfast at the hotel, we visited the Nicolas Roerich Art Gallery, which is at a walking distance from the hotel. This gallery showcases the work of famous Russian Artist dating back to Independence era. We visited Jagatsukh temple, which is on route to Manali. We reached our final destination - Manali.

At Naggar Castle

We covered these places while in Manali:
  1. Hadimba Temple: Temple dedicated to Hidimbi devi, a character from Mahabharata, this place was built in 1553 and is surrounded by Cedar forest adding beauty to the structure.
  2. Vashist Temple and Hot Springs: Dedicated to saint Vashista, this temple has natural sulphur springs. Many take bath in here to get medicinal benefits from this natural source.
  3. Jogini Falls: This is close to Vashist and exploring this natural cascade would be real fun.
  4. Monasteries: Inside the city, they provide a glimpse of Buddhist culture. 
  5. Nehru Kund: Another natural water spring, it is named after Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  6. Manali City, preferably on foot and enjoy the night view of the city before retiring to our hotel.

And, that's how our weekend trip to Manali approached its end.

View from Hotel Piccadily, Manali

Day Four - Dashal and Back to Ambala (approx 345 kms)

Before heading back home, we planned to visit Gauri Shankar Temple at Dashal, which is on the main left bank of Kullu-Manali Highway. It is a 12th century protected monument and is surrounded by apple orchids and water stream running nearby. A stop at this temple was perfect to complete our road trip. 

riverside, riverbed, beas, water
Things one should do on road trips
Spend some time at the riverside

So, this is how I spent four days in the beautiful part of the country, exploring some of the famous places I have heard of and visiting one of the most beautiful states of our country. 


Video Image Source - Here

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72 comments:

  1. संकलित कर ली..काम आयेगी..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, do visit Himachal. You'll love it.

      Delete
  2. Dear Saru I agree to what u have just expressed so well. From the planning- to the packing- to the itinerary - the must haves for a pleasant journey. A road trip to the mountains is an amazing experience. Stopping at the dhabas on the roadside and enjoying the panorama...aah! I could go on and on.
    Ur itinerary at Manali is missing one like how I missed it because of not having enough time and me choosing to visit Manikaran instead.
    Nicholas Roerich Art Galllery.
    Missed also eating the local food...something called siddu...
    Haha once a foodie always a foodie...can't consider any perfect road trip to be complete without that.
    Lovely pictures, good write up I am re-visiting through yours.:)))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, eating at dhabas is a must and now we know we both are foodies...

      I didn't miss the Gallery, it is planned for Day 3. Thanks for reading, glad you like the pictures and it refreshed your memories.

      Delete
  3. reminds me of my Manali trip, did u visit the Rohtang Pass? One can spot Mt. Everest from there. Himachal is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This trip is just a plan. Though I want to visit Rohtang Pass but I don't like long trips especially when our parents are with us. Beyond 3-4 days, you are so tired that enjoyment escapes.

      Himachal is indeed amazing.

      Delete
  4. great! Now even I am thinking of heading straight to some awesome destination :) All the best Saru :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You came back from J&K few months back. But, yes a trip never hurts.

      Thanks for your wishes Saurabh.

      Delete
  5. Good luck, Saru! Hope you get to make this trip soon!

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  6. Oh, I would so love to do this trip. Looks fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. You must visit Himalayas once.

      Delete
  7. one of my top "yet to visit" destinations :P

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  8. Ha Ha Saru, had done pretty much the same many years ago but all the way to Rohtang pass so a whole lot of memories came rushing in! Best wishes for the contest!BTW the video was a cute idea:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To cover Rohtang pass, I have another trip idea. And Sir again I am saying, please preserve all your itineraries for me.

      Glad you liked the video.

      Delete
    2. All itineraries are preserved for you Saru:)

      Delete
  9. Lovely images...It seems a wonderful trip!:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope, it will make a wonderful trip.

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  10. Such an exciting and a perfect planned trip! :-)
    Wish you all the very best.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's a lovely trip, Saru! If you have the time and if the rains do not play spoilsport I would recommend the drive from Manali to Leh as well - absolutely out of the world views.

    But, yes, I need to warn you that you need a very strong back too. Absolutely horrendous road - unless something has been done since the time I went on that trek in the Zanskar Valley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have another trip planned for Manali-Leh. I agree, roads are not in a good state there. Also, with your parents it's always better to have a shorter trip.

      Will keep your suggestions in mind Sir, thank you!

      Delete
  12. Wonderful captures Saru :) It seems to be an exciting trip !
    I love and wish to visit such places. Especially I feel that one shouldn't miss a place like Manali and the entire Himalayas.
    All the best for the contest :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so true...Thanks for your wishes Sushmitha.

      Delete
  13. lovely post ....very informative ...!!loved the vedeo ...

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  14. informative post .. nice video !

    ReplyDelete
  15. oh ho ho.. i loved it.. and hope and pray that you very soon have this wonderful trip ♥
    all the best with the contest :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Himachal is nice, isn't it? I hope you get to do this wonderful trip very soon. :)

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  17. Oops..I forgot to mention, I love the video. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pooja. Glad you liked the video. :)

      Delete
  18. Lovely pictures planning and packing...wonderful trip


    Best wishes!!
    @ Sanjay bhaskar

    ReplyDelete
  19. One of my favourite destinations too...
    My best wishes! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Manali is such an amazing place and thank you Rekha for your wishes.

      Delete
  20. Best of luck with the trip.
    I belong to these hills, yet the familiarity has not bred boredom. I feel enchanted every time I see them, some rocky, others green with vegetation.

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This place has so much beauty to offer that we can never have enough of it. Thanks for reading and for your wishes Anshul.

      Delete
  21. Love to join you for this trip . Himchal is always enchanting especially during Monsoon.

    ReplyDelete
  22. AHA.. what an elaborate description and plan perfect for the trip...
    I am sure you had great fun writing about it all...

    I have tried a poem for this theme.. waiting to hear from you... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had so much fun. Though I must say there is not enough information on the net. I asked few of my friends. I read your poem, it was lovely with so much wisdom in it.

      Delete
  23. Loved the video. You know what, as I was seeing the video, it felt like seeing a video on Discovery Channel...beautifully summarised and hats off to your creative skills...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the best compliment I could get. This is my first attempt at making a video. I am thrilled to know your reaction. Thank you so much! :)

      Delete
  24. Ohh! Road trips are awesome! And with the pics you have shared, it feels surreal :) I have had one such trip to Lonavala and this postr reminded me of that trip :) Great Saru..

    All the best :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Road trips are fun, we can stop anywhere and explore much more. Share your Lonavala trip with us. Thanks for your wishes, Binu.

      Delete
  25. Excellent Saru. The description,pictures and also the video.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hope this materializes. Nothing, absolutely nothing compares to spending time in the mountains !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. Nothing can beat that. Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  27. No doubt road trip is wonderful- eapecially with Thunderbird :)
    BTW they way you described the trip you s hould be travel advisor to some reputed company or you should be owning your own!
    Should I expect another blog of your by the name www.travelwithsaru.com ?
    My most memorable trip is Noida to Haridwar with my Thunderbird, It was my first time ride on highway with adverse condition- having fog all around us, I stopped thrice on road, just to have chai chuski with aloo ka paratha (though I don't take tea) .
    Overall it was nice & lovely experience!
    BTW All the Best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can give it a thought. I think I plan well, with the help of internet and some guidance, you never know I might open my own travel agency, lol!

      Yeah, road trip on thunderbird can be real fun. Have seen your pictures on Fb. Next time, sip some chai too.

      Thanks for reading and for your wishes.

      Delete
  28. Loved the video. Very well planned. Wish you good luck with the weather and the contest.

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  29. Loved the video, Saru and You chose my favorite places. Please can I drop in a request... if and when you indeed plan to go there, please take me along as well :)

    Good Luck :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be my pleasure, sorry, good luck to have your company. Glad you liked the video.

      Good luck to you too. :)

      Delete
  30. Beautiful tips! Oh! n i too love Roadside chai ^_^... All the best to u too :)

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  31. Wonderful choice and thanks for letting me know about these places. All the best for the contest.

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  32. Mountains will always be mysterious to us..its a bliss taking a road trip thru magninficent mountains.

    ReplyDelete

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