October 20, 2006

Manali and Rohtang Pass

Dhillon was here a few days back, and after drinking three pitchers of beer at three different pubs, we decided to loiter around the whole night. Five minutes later, after the doors at home were closed on us, we realized that it wasn't such a good idea. So we spend the next six hours driving around endlessly, having super expensive coffee at the Taj and sleeping in the car parking. Somewhere in there, we planned to go upto Rohtang Pass after Diwali.

The last time I had been to Rohtang Pass, I was one and a half years old and a teetotaller. Now I'm twenty four and haven't been sober for the last many years. So I reckon the trip ought to be different.

While doing some research, I found that one thing that Manali, the biggest town closest to Rohtang Pass, is famous for quite an interesting thing... charas. Yes, that is what it's famous for, they say it makes the place a lot more beautiful than it really is. Maybe it will be on our menu someplace.

Another interesting thing was that the people who stay near Kulu and Manali, were called 'rakshas'!!! Why? Not because they make fascinating Charas, but because way back in history, the people here were hunters, not agriculturists like the rest of the north Indian population.

The very fact speaks volumes about the fertility of the land, and about how the cities would die without tourism. Interestingly, the uncles and aunties and their bacchas, who come down to Manali, and all the other hill stations in the north, destroy a little bit of the place everytime they come here, with scraps of crap, they leave all over the place. In other words, it's the tourism which is killing the cities too. So we are not sure, what kills them more, or is it something else which is destroying it?

Anyways, we'll think about those after we've had enough charas. Right now, we need help, no not donations, just little ideas about what we can do there. Click here to drop me a mail with your delicious ideas.

In case, you're out of ideas, here is a compendium of posts about Manali...

A nice pic just to get you started (link)
Now that you're interested, here is the flickr tag called 'Manali' (link)
Then here are photographs by TrekEarth (link)

The first one is this guy from Canada who trekked across North India (link).
If you don't really want to hear about firangs, here is this guy from xBHP, who ravelled to Manali on his Enfield, and has really interesting observations. (link).
I would have loved to crush him under my truck, but good for him, he got back alive (link).
Here are some highway tips, if you need any (link).
This firang's been pissing on Indian soil... but he had an amazing trip too (link)
Okay, this one is to see if you're really reading the posts (link)

This is what we ought to be doing sometime soon.. Chilling in Manali (link)
This is what it feels to leave Manali (link)
And this is how to get there cycling (link), along with this (link)
If you'd like to have your honeymoon there, get this (link) and this (link)

Here is some information about Trekking and Sking (link)
Also the Directorate of Mountaineering webstie (link), whatever that is...

Now about staying there... here is the stat tourism website (link)
Here is Manali on MakyMyTrip.com (link)
Here's Manali on Wikitravel (link) and on Wikipedia (link)
Here are facts by Outlook (link)
And some fast facts by World Room (link)

Finally, this is somebody who wrote a poem about Manali...... (link)