The last two days in Himachal got me thinking.
What has the place taught me?
You’ll most definitely have to halt at least a couple of times to let sheep pass. Or mules or goats or donkeys and the likes. But no complaints there, because that’s when you can truly admire the little things.
If I close my eyes, I can still find my way back there.
With the mountains on one side and deep valleys on the other, you’re constantly wondering how the driver manages this daredevil stunt, day in and day out.
Now, since the roads are rather narrow here, there’s enough space for just one vehicle to move. So, can you imagine what happens when a road is shut due to a landslide? Every vehicle must travel the same route, but in reverse. We had a similar experience and we had to go back to where we started, and then take an entirely different route altogether – but that builds patience.
And no matter how bad the situation, how cold the climate or how challenging the life; the people in Himachal will always smile and wave back at you. 😊 And the kids out there are way cooler than you.
Stroll to Chalal
A short, 20-minute walk from Kasol brought us to this beautiful sight!
And the journey was as beautiful as this. We crossed the glorious Parvati river over a suspended bridge.
Walking along the flowing river, there were donkeys and mountain dogs leading our way.
Chalal isn’t as popular as the remaining towns of Himachal, which makes it the perfect hideaway if you’re looking for some peace and solitude.
The stones were like blocks of ice and when I dipped my fingers in the gushing river, they turned numb within seconds. If the water wasn’t that cold, I would have soaked my feet and maybe splashed some on my face. For the timing, I placed my numb fingers on my eyes and they’ve never ever felt this relaxed.
We sat there for an hour, but it felt like eternity and I mean that in a good way. Looking up at the sky, I could see the sun and crescent moon in the same sky at the same time. It was a sight to behold.
Bowing Our Heads at Manikaran
Since we were at Kasol, Manikaran was just a stone throw’s distance of 6 kilometres, but we were really short on time! We had to get back soon though, or else we’d miss our bus back to Delhi.
Luckily Gurpreet’s friends were in town and they quickly took us to visit ‘Sri Guru Nanak Devji Gurudwara’! Now that I think about it, we were about to miss so many things, even reaching the airport to catch our flight back home was struggle. Maybe it was all a sign to stay back.
If you’ve read my first blog, you’d know just how cold Himachal was in November. So, visiting this Gurudhwara was really a blessing because of the hot springs.
These springs are believed to cure people of all kinds of illnesses, thanks to the radioactive elements, natural uranium and sulphur present. But mind you, bathing in the hot springs for more than 10 minutes won’t be such a good idea for your skin; 5 minutes is usually good enough.
You’ll see people cooking in these hot springs and the food is then served during the langar. I was surprised to know that for many months the Gurudwara hosts about 20,000 visitors a day! The dedication of the people who serve here is unparalleled.
The Parvati River flows through the village and makes for the perfect setting of this beautiful, holy town.
Needless to say, the Gurudhwara was warm and welcoming. But there was a special section that I fell in love with (no, not the langar hall or the community kitchen, though those would easily be my next favourite spots), but this particular part I’m talking about was a cave-like room. You have to enter and exit it like a cave and inside were huge hot rocks! All of us sat on these rocks that emitted heat, and guess what was on the other side? The hot springs!
Some people were lying down and others were praying. While we could all feel our cheeks once again thanks to this almost sauna-like experience. And I did not want to leave.
We paid our respects and sat calmly on the floor of the Gurudhwara, but it was time to head back, the clock was ticking. Maybe, we’ll stay longer the next time.
That’s all of us together.
I know I’ll go back to the mountains again. Build a house and a snowman.
But before that I must visit another country! And share my art and food escapades with you’ll!