Tour of Kullu-Manali-Naggar-April2004

Monday, May 10, 2004

Tour of Kullu-Manali-Naggar-April2004

Ho guys, we can be aptly called nomads, as we found that back packing is a truly fantastic mind fresher. This time our orbit is around the himalayas, that is Kullu, Manali, Naggar trail.

Caught bus to manali from Chandigarh Sector 17 Bus stand. This bus stand is traveller-friendly, so leaving the bike and helmet at the bike stand is a quiet safe and economical parking idea. The 8.30 pm delux bus with truly 70 degree angle seats gave us good sleep till we got up at the rush of cold winds biting our cheeks, the permeating sound of meandering beas river bending, churning, splashing around the innumerable egg shaped stones, which are covered with a white scale due to the iciness of the river. It was early morning 6.30 am.

Suddenly I remembered Jawaharlal Nehru's "Glimpses of World History", which my father told me to read when I was a child, in which Nehru talks of this Himalayan River, this egg shaped pebbles and rock stones, this shallow cold water river, in which he took bath boldly during his youth. These Himalayan water worn pebbles become a natural LINGAM -the celebrated Hindu God Shiva's motif. Kanchi Sankaracharya had collected lot of LINGAMs during his tour of Gangotri with Chennai Saravana Bhavan Hotel Owner. That travelogue published in Anadha Vikatan too.

Yes that kind of "Tryst with Destiny" indeed was happening to us two families. We got down at the Manali Bus Stand, looked around us as if a we woken up to a new world.

The Tibetan Tea House was a different style of Tea Drinking experience, which promptly turned out to be an eye opener for good Lodge, good Conveyance links.

We got the rooms as cheap as Rs.200 per day, well furnished, guisered, cable TVed just opposite the bus stand itself. That's a nice deal, thanks to Tibetan Chaiwala!.

From manali we went to Marhi near Rohtang Pass. The R. Pass is closed due to avalanche. It is open only 4 months a year, due to thick snow fall and avalanche conditions. It is the gateway to Lahul - Spiti Valley which takes us to LEH - KARGIL road. It is a National Highway of utmost importance. After Kargil, that sentence is well understood. It is the world's highest motorable road ever built by humans. India is always a land of mysteries. Yes, these roads are built by poorly paid "Border Roads Organisation" and the GREF -General Road Engineering Force. But still they are highly dependable, state of the art roads. Long live our soldiers. This road takes us to Leh, Ladakh. Which is the base for the world's highest battlefield.

So our Mahindra Scorpio (India's costliest 4 wheeler) took us up to Marhi, where snow was already 4 feet deep. All around whiteness, to the point of an "white-out". We played in snow, like Skiing, Snow balling, etc. We can never forget that place.

While coming back from Marhi, we stopped at a bridge above river Beas
where lot of shops are opened amidst the whiteness of snow,
where you can sit in a colorful plastic chairs by the side of gurgling river,
where we can take photos sitting on a "YAK" (a kind of Himalayan Buffalo),
where we can take photos sitting on an ICE BUILT CAVES called LOVER'S SEATS
where we can take photos near the water falls of melting ice hills
that sums up that truly picturesque ice valley.

Yes, the ice valley has that Beas River as a Wedge between two mammoth ice walls of hills. The wedge narrowing and widening at different places along the tar road for motors till it travels towards the Bakhra Nangal Dam (again Worlds' Highest Dam)

Ice can be irritating if you live long with it. But water can't be so. We saw so many small rivers formed due to the melting of Himalayan Ice Glaciers form a pool, then a stream, then a rivulet, finally a river till it reaches a Dam or an Ocean. Parvati, Pin are some of the famous rivulets which join the Beas.

While coming further down we witnessed a himachali marriage ceremony with rhythmic stepping to a tribal song. The music generated by himachali kind of Trampolines, Shenai and some percussion. The bride, groom and the in laws are specially attractive with Indian Currency Note mala's.

Himdati Temple ☻
This is the temple of wife of Bima, one of the pancha pandavas. It is built on a big rectangular platform amidst the sky soaring Deva Dharu Trees (Deodar Tree). The temple looked like a buddist pagoda, most like Tiananmen Square of China. But it is a Hill area so some basic cultural affinity is but natural. Around the temple walls are animated with the horns of different types of dears, bulls, yaks etc. It is declared National Protected Monument by GOI. I give a symbol for those places like the above.

Vashisht Temple & Hot Spring ☻
All temples of Himalayas follow the same structure. The wood + stone architecture to withstand the vagaries of nature, a Buddhist style gopura's (pagoda) with slanting roofs, and a central spindle like tip spearing the skies. The front walls of the temple covered with carved wooden panels, varnished clean. This varnishing of the woodwork reeks of some sandal oil, so some people mistake the wood for sandal, which is not true. And due to the efforts of successive governments, the temples are always looking new at least from the front, which creates a stereotyped hype of temples and boredom of seeing them, while you hop from one temple to another. Nevertheless, each temple has its own glory to say and each temple shines at the sanctum sanctorum, where you get to know of the rich Indian past parables.

Here the Vashisht Rishi did his Yagna, which was attended by Pandavas. A Sulphur rich Hot spring inside the temple heals many of their skin diseases. These kinds of hot springs are a novelty in Himalayan ranges as the mountains are raging inside with hot magma. The water erupting from this magma is so hot that it can even make the rice boil. At Kullu -25kms down and at Manikaran -82 kms East from manali also these are found.

National Park
It is just near by the Manali Bus Stand, covered with lot of Dev Dar Trees. Entry fee Rs.5, it has paddle boating, swings, slopes for children.

The Mall Road, Tibetan Monastry, Tibetan Market
All are nearby each other. Good shopping experience, prices are little higher than the plains. But the dry fruits like Akroot, Badam, Cashewnut are relatively cheaper. Other special fruits are cherry and strawberry. Rs. 15 per 250 grams (paiyya). Tibetan market is full of chinese goods. Original sports shoes cost very little here. Bargaining advised. Tibetan monastry says the poor state of this stateless tibetans. They live out of business. They study little. So the monsatry also not so much soul stirring, it is just a postcard perfect monasstry, streotyped version.

Lakshmi Narayan Mandhir -normal temple.

Manu Mandhir ☻
This is the only temple built for manu, the hindu law giver, and the father of human race. He is supposed to be a Dravidian I think so. Because he is the one who survived the "great piralayam" -the earth was inundated by water. I surmise that means the end of the Indus Valley Civilisation, which is Dravidian. Manu was the lonely survivor. It is also a national monument.

Gayatri Devi Mandhir ☻
The Gayatri Mantra is spoken, sung, but nobody might have seen the lady of the parable. ..this is it. Great old temple -a must visit. A suyambhu linga temple with a small somnath style gopura is a beautiful sight behind this temple. Made of black stone.

The kullu means "the end of habitable world". That sums up the end of the plains and start of the himalayan inclines. District headquarters, market, river Beas are its main attractions.

Vaishno Devi Temple -Kullu
This is the most breathtaking temple. It shrines the local vaishno devi formed inside a cave -(gufa). Also another cave on top of this cave is a Suyambu Shiva Linga Cave. This temple is richly decorated and embellished now. Everyday 3 times langar also laid out.
We took langar lunch.

Apple Juice Factory -Kullu
Apple is every where in Himalayas. 1 litre apple juice costs Rs.25 at the factory outlet.

Naggar Fort
A small "Fort" -bulit by a Himalayan King. A temple also inside, made of stone. "Jagati Patti" Temple. And a pathetic museum.

Nicholai Konstantin Roerich Family Art Gallry -Naggar ☻
This World Renowned Painter was very close to Nehru Family as he was the chosen one to draw many portraits of Nehru Family. He was married to the Russian Field Marshal Kutuzov's (who conquered Napolean Bonaparte) grand daughter. The son of Roerich is married to Rabinderanath Tagore's Grand daughter, Devika Rani, and settled at Bangalore.The Roeriches own a lot of wealth in India. From bangalore to manali.
Posted by pasuG at 12:49 PM 1 comments


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