North India’s Paradise that is Manali
Thing about Manali was that it was more than just a paradise of sorts. First off, the meals were spectacular and refined. If memory serves me right, most of the time spent there involved appreciating meals. Warm tasty flavoured sampling of soups ,vegetables, chapatis and some roasted food. The kind your grandmother made.
How we were fortunate to land the right accommodation and food areas still baffles me. The trip was easily decided on last minute. 19 year old me wanted to go to the golden temple and then hiking. A couple good friends decided we would rendezvous in northern India with the goal of hiking and horse-riding. A couple of flights and bumpy car rides later I found myself near Jammu and Kashmir reuniting with my people. Next day we took bus together to the valley.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Navigation kinda works itself out
It is pretty easy to find transport in all these areas. Most of the trip was showing up and randomly asking for directions/ means. Everyone was pretty helpful. It was a nice long car ride. Just the type you need to have every once in a while in life, with your friends, exploring a new destination together.Just catching up. We spoke about work, politics, travel,social issues, love and food.Our one big adventure was happening and the beauty of our surrounding had us pleasantly grinning that day.
You couldn’t get over all the lush green scenic hills in the valley. They truly provided for dramatic scenery.
And Then We Got into Trouble.
The next day we got up early for a morning hike through the hills. The rest of the group turned back home less than an hour into our hike. No way I was ready for that and luckily Vik stayed with me. It was quiet, serene and absolutely beautiful. I felt like I was walking through a disney movie.
Until we heard some guy shouting about from a distance. We looked back and realized he was coming towards us so we waited. In the little English he spoke, he made it clear that unmarried people could not be doing what we were doing. Exerting ‘authority’ he immediately inquired of our marital status. It wasn’t until then that I realized that Vik and I were actually holding hands. In the middle of nowhere. We hadn’t even realized what it looked like. I was gonna say it was not a big deal but Vik decided to tell him we were together and it was ok. It was with great difficulty that I stifled laughter.
They Brought Us Ponies!
The next day a horse riding trek was arranged for us at a fairly good deal. We got up excited and on full adventure mode!
After breakfast we met our riding guide right outside. Only he had ponies with him. Baffled, we asked where the ‘real’ horses were and he insisted the smaller ones were better for going up the hills but we could always go back to his place to get bigger ones. Yeah right! After a quick debate on what was best to do it was Vik and I willing to let it go and get on with our day. After all we had already paid. And this guy was already talking penalty nonsense to the rest of our friends. We got on with our day and decided to make the best of it. After all , it was summer, the weather was great and we were only in North India once. Or so we thought.
I couldn’t help but take this shot of Vik making friends with this adorable calf.
Vik chilling with the calves
post riding feels
random dude wanted a shot. conversed in different languages.
Told ya they were ponies!