Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Chandra Taal – Rohtang Pass – Manali – Chandigarh

DAY 9 - CHANDRATAAL- BATAL- CHATRU- GRAMPHOO- ROHTANG PASS- MANALI

It was time for the final leg of our trip. We all got up really early in the morning. Wore our socks, shoes, caps, jacket - packed our bags and were out of the tents.

I was greeted by a bright morning today. The early morning view of the mighty mountain tops with the gold tinged blue sky was overwhelming. I felt the cold wind just as I stepped out of the tent.

Tents at Chandrataal - Our stay
Tents at Chandrataal - Our stay
The water was freezing cold; I had a tough time brushing my teeth. We had hot tea and some biscuits while our luggage was getting loaded in our car. We clicked few pics and drunk in the mesmerizing view.. oh it was so BEAUTIFUL!!!



Once in the car we headed to Manali. Manali was our last stop on this trip. We have been to Manali before.. when we did our road trip to Ladakh in 2011.

Today we were going to cross Rohtang Pass to reach Manali and few nallas (water streams on the roads) that are interspersed with small rocks. One of the reason we started early was that it is easy to cross these nallas in the morning as the ice doesn’t start melting and hence water flowing is less. As the day progresses, the glaciers melts and the flow of water increases, thus the chances of the car getting stuck increases.



Today for the entire drive from Chandrataal to Manali there were no road at all, it was an adventurous drive. We had to get off a couple of times so that it is easier for our driver (better ground clearance of the car) to cross the nallah. Trust me you have to be ready good on the wheels in order to cross this.

Chandrataal to Manali
Chandrataal to Manali
Enroute there are few amazing views of snow top mountain peaks with clouds hovering at the top of the peaks. It look so awesome.

As we approach Rohtang Pass, greenery starts to appear and the dry mountains disappear gradually. You could see loads of waterfalls in mountains on the opposite side. In fact, it became a game for us.. who will spot the waterfall first!!

Enroute Manali
Enroute Manali
Btw another game that we have played during our entire trip was spot the hot-wheels cars.. During our entire trip there were few cars we had seen.. so if we ever saw any cars at a distant mountain we will show the other people in the car.. “see there is a hot-wheel car” and we all will be busy try to spot the next one first.. Gosh what all we do on trips..

So, just when we crossed Gramphu the climb to Rohtang Pass starts.. The road which goes to Leh joins us after a while.


When we were approaching Rohtang Pass, the first thing we saw was the number of cars parked there.. it was astounding… there were so many cars and so many tourists.. it looked like Dadar station at peak hours. After spending so many days in serenity total deprived of people Rohtang Pass was a nightmare.

None of us wanted to stop at Rohtang and therefore we headed straight to Manali. The road from Rohtang Pass to Manali is a very smooth ride, full of greenery. It felt good to the eyes – seeing greenery after so many days..

Towards Rohtang Pass, Manali
Towards Rohtang Pass
We saw few people trying their hands at paragliding.. Our hotel was in Old Manali and was a treat to the eyes. After so many days of bare minimum existence we were staying at a hotel which seemed like luxury at the moment.

Paragliding near Rohtang Pass, Manali
Paragliding near Rohtang Pass, Manali
Old Manali has a very hippy feel.. you will feel as if you have come to Goa. After taking a nice long hot water bath, watching some TV (after so many days), we headed out for a late lunch.

After a very delicious lunch we walked towards Hadimba Temple. It was a nice long walk where we passed through a forest area filled with long pine trees.

Hadimba Temple is an ancient cave temple and is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba who was a sister of demon Hadimb who ruled these mountains and was feared by all. The temple does not have any idol, just a foot print on a stone. Bhima (one of the Pandavas) married Hadimba and had a son named Ghatotkachh.

Hadimba Temple, Manali
Hadimba Temple, Manali
There was a small queue and after a visit to the temple we headed to Mall Road of Manali. Again after walking for a while (actually walking for a very long time) we reached the Mall Road. We wanted to do some shopping but the entire Mall Road was packed with people. After all it was the tourist season. We strolled for a while and then hailed a rick and headed back to our hotel.

Hadimba Temple, Manali
All of us at Hadimba Temple, Manali
We called for food in our room and had a simple dinner. We decided to call it an early night as all of us were tired after travelling for long hours on mountainous roads.

DAY 10 - MANALI- KULLU- MANDI- CHANDIGARH- MUMBAI

Today was the last day of our trip.. and with that we will complete our circuit. We had to catch a 7:00 pm flight for Mumbai from Chandigarh Airport. We had thought that we could start for Chandigarh around 9:00 am after a scrumptious breakfast. But our driver had insisted that we leave early as the route from Manali to Chandigarh tends to have lot of traffic and we can get stuck in traffic jams for hours.

Therefore, we started really early, around 6:00 am from our hotel to Chandigarh. At that time Manali was still sleeping; there were hardly any soul on the road when we were exiting.

Manali to Chandigarh
Biding BYE to the Hills
Everyone in the car was silent today – may be from lack of sleep or from the tiredness of the entire trip.

After an hour’s drive we stopped over for breakfast at a small dhaba. After some food went in the tummy we all started waking up so maybe we all were just plain hungry and that’s why quiet.

Well nothing much to describe the route from Manali to Chandigarh except that it was a comparatively smooth ride. Driving alongside the Beas River, with total greenery around, it was a different variation from the scene we have been seeing till now.

Beas River - Manali
Beas River - Manali
The Beas River had clear water and was flowing in full force. With green mountains on one side and Beas River on the other side, it was a very serene and relaxing drive.

On our drive we drove through a tunnel… and what an amazing experience it was. I have never been through a tunnel this long.. it was never ending.. we must have crossed few mountains through the tunnel.

Beas River - Manali
Beas River - Giving us company on the drive
When we hit the plains we realized that it’s the month of July and its summers.. It was HOT!! After ten days we were feeling hot, we had to switch on the AC, for the first time in our 10 day trip. It was so nice in the hills – absolutely perfect.

This was the day when we did not take out the camera at all and very few clicks were taken from our cell phones.

I think either we were thoroughly exhausted or we had seen much more beautiful scenery in this trip that what we were seeing today was pretty ordinary. 

On our way we had lunch where the definition of Dal Makhani was ¾ Butter and ¼ Dal.. Same goes for chapattis.. After all it is PUNJAB

We were at the airport really early.. we had around 4 hours to kill at the airport. After freshening, relaxing, chit chatting we decided to play our very favourite UNO.

Trust me, we were a sight at the airport. Everyone was staring at us… Boss we were just playing cards..

Finally, it was it was time for us to board.. I think ours was the last flight for the day because when we were taxing we saw the lights of the airport being switched off..

After two and a half hour flight, when we landed at the Mumbai airport we thought we have entered a fish market. There were so many people..  I must have not seen so many people in totality in the entire ten day trip..

With that I realized that we are back.. our vacation is over.. and we are back in the mad rush.. in the rat race..

As I sit in the car to head home I already had frown lines on my face.. so much crowd.. so much rush.. honking.. pushing.. oh God!!!

I have just stepped out of the airport and I feel I need a vacation already…

This was a trip which have made my love for Himalayas stronger.. I will for sure be going back in few years.. I will definitely be planning a short trip to Narkanda very soon in winters to enjoy the snow topped pine trees..

On my way home, I thought that the views which we saw in this trip to Kinnaur and Spiti were mesmerizing.. and at some point make you speechless.

The views were beautiful, spectacular, fascinating, mesmerizing, magical, mind blogging.. any other adjective left??? It was a life time experience because the journey and the destination both were magical. They just cast a spell on you.

But I realized that apart from the journey and the destination, which were both just out of the world.. I had the best company!! So the advice that I can give to fellow travelers is no matter where you go… to the Himalayas or to the turquoise blue water at Lakshadweep.. the best Company will always make you feel the best..

After all that’s what the vacations are for… to feel on top of the world!!!!

Points to Note:


  • Book an Innova or a Xylo for a comfortable travel. As the roads are bad travel in Sumo or Maxx can be cumbersome.
    Although the distance between places (at times) is not far because of the rough terrain it takes a considerable time to go from one place to another. So plan accordingly.
  • It is advised to start your day early and reach your destination while it is daylight. Please avoid driving once the sun sets. Driving in dark can be very dangerous.
  • Please carry warm clothes including sweater, jacket, cap, mufflers, socks and gloves. Wear shoes and not sandals or chappals.
  • Be easy on steps and while walking. Avoid brisk walk or running at high altitudes as the oxygen level is low.
  • If you are feeling mountain sickness have chocolate or popcorn. It helps. Make it a point of sipping in water regularly.
  • Please don’t litter and maintain the beauty of nature.
  • Do stop enroute to appreciate the view and take the blessings from the stupas and temple there.
  • At Chandrataal, we stayed at Parasol Camps. The tents are comfortable and warm. Bathrooms are not attached and the water is chilly.
  • It is very windy and cold at Chandrataal camps specially after sun set. Do carry windsheeters and warm clothes. Pls cover your ears.
  • In Manali, we stayed at Dragon Guesthouse, Old Manali. Its a beautiful hotel with big rooms, hot water and good food. 
  • Don't forget to stop over and appreciate the views. After all the journey is as important as the destination.