‘Travelling, it leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller.’Ibn Battuta said it right and with perfect words. It does leave you speechless at the start and by the end of it, all you’re left with is an amazing story to share of the once in a lifetime trip you had.
So, what exactly do you need to plan a trip of a lifetime?Three things- a subsidiary period, a little bit of luck and one amazing class teacher.
It all started back in the month of November 2014. We were sitting in the library room with our class coordinator reminiscing bygone days when suddenly the idea popped out for an excursion trip and a month later we sat in the classroom discussing and finalizing places we would like to visit. We were given a lot of options and everyone unanimously agreed to KULLU MANALI, the enchanted realm of hazy trails, spectacular scenery-the closest you can get to heaven on earth. So six months to the trip and we were already very very excited.
So It Begins -It was the term, ‘adventure-cum educational trip’ that bounced out from the circular and caught our eyes as for adventure aficionados like us, it held out the promise of an unhurried hiatus. And on 23rd June 2015, a group of 12 students escorted by two teachers boarded a bus to the Mohanbari Airport at 9:30 in the morning to catch a flight to New Delhi. We reached New Delhi at 7 o’clock in the evening where we were received by our instructor and we immediately left for our camp in a 15 seater luxurious Traveller Tempo. On our way, we stopped by at The Haveli in Murthal for a lavish dinner. We were back on the road at around 11 o’clock.
Please don’t rain on our parade!The next afternoon, vistas of sublime beauty awaited us as we arrived at Sarsai’s Exotica Camp. A 26km downhill ride from the town of Manali. Sarsai’s Exotica Camp is engulfed by mist-capped mountains whose proximity nearly startles one. Apart from its spectacular landscape and natural beauty, it is the warmth and 'happiness quotient' of the people that draw more and more tourists to this place. We were allotted our respective tents and cottages, then we cleaned ourselves up we had our lunch and trekked to the Historical Mahadeva Temple nearby when it started raining incessantly, but it could not mar our spirit of fun and adventure. By the time we got back to the camp, we were all completely drenched. We freshened up and went to have snacks and played team games later in the evening.
The next morning when we woke up the whole scenery was still a gloomy affair as the clouds had not bid us goodbye and it was still drizzling. After breakfast, to pass the time we played a team game called “The Egg and the Rope” and were waiting for the sky to clear. Much to our relief, the sun shone brightly in the afternoon and we were all set to go Valley crossing. After having had the amazing experience of valley crossing we trekked furthermore and sat down near the banks of Beas River. While hearing the stream bickering down the valley one could only think how perfectly Alfred Lord Tennyson had described it in his creation, “The Brook”.
And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
Need us some “town time”Programs as these throw up an array of breath-taking trails, ranging from ‘even-the kiddies can manage’ routes to hard-core professional ones. So early in the morning, we were given a task to find the Haripur Post-office. And with one efficient leader from our group, we accomplished it. A while later at around 10 o’clock, we set out for another exciting activity, that was Rock climbing. After coming back, we had our lunch and got ready to visit the Hidimba Temple in Manali, Abode of the demon goddess. After being mesmerized by the beauty that surrounded the temple, it was now time for a shopping spree! Manali’s market is more or less similar to that of Shimla’s Mall Road, laced with a complete line of shops on either side of the road traversing a long distance without any intervals. Having bought souvenirs for all our loved ones and helped ourselves to the local delicacies we reached the camp back at around 9 o’clock by our Traveller Tempo.
Raindrops on roses, and snow everywhere else.On the following day we geared up to leave for Rothang Pass by half-past six in the morning. Rohtang Pass is situated at a height of 13500 ft and is at a distance of around 71 kilometres from Sarsai. On the way, we stopped to get snowsuits and had our breakfast. As we headed towards Rothang, the road became more topsy-turvy and our vehicle moved like a serpent's. Nature had much more to reveal here. For us, it was another enticing experience altogether. On reaching Rothang we could not believe our eyes as the transformation of the landscape was magical. All nature seemed to be awakened, as it were, by a magician’s touch. Being on the snow we only had two mottos, the first one being: Pick, Clutch and throw and the second being: Climb and slide. We played in the snow for a good few hours and then on our way back we stopped at Solang Valley to enjoy the famous ‘Solang wali Maggie’. And then we headed back to the camp and enjoyed the bonfire.
…and the rest is historyMartin Luther King Jr. once said “we are not makers of history. We are made by history”. It is very important for us to know about our rich historical background. So, the next day we boarded the local bus from Sarsai to Naggar, a 4 km ride downhill to visit the Naggar Castle, a magnificent historical edifice. Steeped in history, the Naggar Castle boasts of stupendous architectural features starting from the truly majestic façade to extraordinary artworks in the interiors. We boarded another local and went back to the camp and played many invigorating games for the rest of the day. If one really wants to stay connected with Mother Nature, he or she must walk through the forest and feel the breeze on his or her face, trudge to unspoiled domains and explore the outdoors through own self. And that’s what we did that night, we went night trekking.
“Bhaiya bas neeche mat utarna. Please”They say you need to run before you fly but sometimes all you need to do is jump and those are the days when you go paragliding. After a Bolero Camper ride of 30 minutes and another 45 minutes of trekking there we stood at a place called Halan at a height of 3000ft. We were accompanied by our instructor. We could almost hear the adrenaline rush through our body because this was the most exciting experience of all, we were about to glide through the air. We buckled up our seatbelts and launched with our pilots. Suspended by nothing but a canopy and a harness, we were floating above the earth and it was feeling of pure joy and ecstasy.
But alas! It was time for us to leave the unrestrained realm as we had a flight to catch the next morning. Our journey ended on the 30th of June as we bid goodbye to our friends and escort teachers.
Your shoes better know how to survive the rain and have the best grip possible.
School trips, in nostalgia, have the most uncomplicated memories of all time.
And most importantly, “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
More Memories From The Trip:
This Travelogue is submitted by Harshita Agarwal.