Vidur’s Travel Diary – 11 : Manali


DEORIA – UTTAR PRADESH – INDIA           JUNE 19 , 2012           11.45 P.M.

It is much delayed blog . I wanted to write and post it immediately after my return from Manali on April 10 , 2012 but couldn’t do it because of my eye operation . Then there were other works like ; training actors and writing my book on acting and this particular blog got postponed and delayed . I decided to complete it and post it today , while sitting in the office cum study of my Deoria house .

One day while I was in my class in Mumbai , I got a call from Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions . They wanted me to train the stars of their new film which stars Ranbir Kapoor , Deepika Padukone , Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapoor . And for that they wanted me to travel to Manali for a month . I jumped at the idea because Himachal Pradesh , along with the Union Territory of Chandigarh , are the only provinces of North India , which I have not visited yet . And my second temptation was that I would be able to meet Ranbir Kapoor after a long time , whom I have trained for ” Saawariya “ . In addition to that I would get an opportunity to work with Deepika Padukone and Kalki Koechlin also .

Map of India showing location of Himachal Pradesh

Map of India showing location of Himachal Pradesh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Mumbai , I took early morning flight for Chandigarh on March 18 , 2012 . I reached Chandigarh and proceeded for Manali by car , I saw this Union Territory for the first time . Chandigarh is the first planned city of independent India . I was simply amazed . Swanky airport , 4 / 6 lane roads , gigantic traffic islands and neatly maintained colonies ; Chandigarh is pride of India .

Chandigarh Airport

Chandigarh Airport

A Traffic Island of Chandigarh

A Traffic Island of Chandigarh

I could not watch much because I was put in a car and immediately proceeded for 310 km. long road journey to Manali . My impression of Chandigarh is what I could see through the window of a speeding car .

Travelling time to Manali from Chandigarh is 11 hours . As soon as I entered  Himachal Pradesh , hills started. Snow capped mountains and rocky landscape is beautiful and breathtaking . As per Hindu legends Manali is associated with Manu , who started procreation on the pious land of Manali after the great deluge , MAHAPRALAY , the end of the world . It happened in SATYUGA . Manali is also associated with Maharshi Shringi , who performed PUTRESHTI YAGYA for King Dhasharath and thus the king got 4 sons ; Rama , Bharat , Lakshman and Shatrughna . It happened in TRETAYUGA . In DWAPARYUGA , Arjun worshipped Shiva in a cage near Manali and got PASHUPATASTRA . His elder brother Bheem married Hidimba here and had a son Ghatotkach . Thus from SATYUGA to TRETEYUG to DWAPARYUG , Manali is closely associated with our history , culture and ethos .

Known as Queen of Hill Stations , Manali is situated at an altitude of 2050 metres and is 40 km. away from Kullu , the district headquarters . One can reach Manali by road via Chandigarh or you can take a flight to Kullu and then proceed for Manali by car .

Sunset - On Way to Manali

Sunset – On Way to Manali

A Road Side Restaurant - On Way To Manali

A Road Side Restaurant – On Way To Manali

After 11 hour-long car journey from Chandigarh , I reached Manali and was put at Hotel Quality Inn River Country Resort . Chilli winds greeted me at the arrival . I was forced to take out my woollen jacket . I was amazed at the difference of weather condition in India . When I left Mumbai , its temperature was 35 degree celsius . In Manali inside the room heater was on .

Hotel Quality Inn River Country is a fabulous hotel . It’s only drawback is that it is 2/3 km. away from the Mall Road , main market of Manali .

Quality Inn River Country Resort - Manali

Quality Inn River Country Resort – Manali

My Room in Quality Inn River Country Resort - Manali

My Room in Quality Inn River Country Resort – Manali

Manali city is evenly divided in two parts by Bias river . I could see the streams of Bias through the window of my hotel room .

River Bias Which Flows & Devides Manali In 2 Parts

River Bias Which Flows & Divides Manali In 2 Parts

River Bias - Another View

River Bias – Another View

Way To Mall Road - Manali

Way To Mall Road – Manali

It is not easy to get autos in Manali and that too for a short distance . So next day I gathered courage and walked to The Mall . And I was hooked . A small but beautiful market welcomed me . One can buy woolen clothes from various shops . It is made of pure wool and cheaper also .

Mall Road - Manali

Mall Road – Manali

Mall Road - Manali

Mall Road – Manali

Mall Road - Manali

Mall Road – Manali

Mall Road - Manali

Mall Road – Manali

Rain Washed Mall Road

Rain Washed Mall Road

Due to some prior booking at the Quality Inn River Country Resort , I had to shift to another place , Hotel Piccadilly , after a week . It is again a beautiful hotel with some minus points . It’s main plus point is that it is situated at the Mall . So shopping and even strolling is easy and convenient .

Hotel Piccadily - Manali

Hotel Piccadilly – Manali

Hotel Manu Allaya is another fabulous hotel where I used to go to train Kalki Koechlin .

Hotel Many Allaya - Manali

Hotel Many Allaya – Manali

A Corridor of Hotel Many Allaya - Manali

A Corridor of Hotel Many Allaya – Manali

Reception Hotel Manu Allaya - Manali

Reception Hotel Manu Allaya – Manali

At Hotel Manu Allaya - Manali

At Hotel Manu Allaya – Manali

As I have stated earlier , Manali city is divided in two parts by river Bias . City is situated on both the banks of Bias and beyond that there is snow – capped mountains on both sides . Weather is simply heavenly and salubrious .

Manali - East of the River Bias

Manali – East of the River Bias

A Bridge on Bias - Connecting East & West Manali

A Bridge on Bias – Connecting East & West Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic Views of Manali

Panoramic View of Manali

Panoramic View of Manali

Sun Sets on Manali

Sun Sets on Manali

River Bias in Manali

River Bias in Manali

Jungal Near Mall - Manali

Jungal Near Mall – Manali

Colourful Tibetan monastery is another landmark place . It is situated near the Mall .

Tibetan Monastery

Tibetan Monastery

I never knew that Hidimba of MAHABHARAT belonged to Manali . There is a pagoda like temple dedicated to Hidimba , known as Devi Hadimba in popular parlance . King Bhadur Shah built this temple in 1553 . This four tiered pagoda shaped temple is made of wood . Front door is carved with figures and symbols and is also made of wood . King Bhadur Shah was very happy to see the temple when it was completed . As per local tradition , king ordered to cut off the hand of the person who made this temple , so that he can not replicate this temple elsewhere . Undaunted by this misfortune , the artiste trained his left hand and made even better version of this temple at Trilokinath in Chamba district . It is so unfortunate that local people thought that this masterpiece should not be made anywhere , so they chopped off the head of that artiste . That poor nameless fellow lost his hand first and his life later on , for creating two masterpieces .

Hadimba Temple - Manali

Hadimba Temple – Manali

At Hadimba Temple - Manali

At Hadimba Temple – Manali

Wooden Main Gate of Hadimba Temple - Manali

Wooden Main Gate of Hadimba Temple – Manali

Deodar Lined Path of Hadimba Temple

Deodar Lined Path of Hadimba Temple

In the compound and vicinity of Hadimba temple , one can see yaks in abundance . I myself saw a yak for the first time in the compound of Hadimba temple .

Yak at Hadimba Temple - Manali

Yak at Hadimba Temple – Manali

Span Spa & Resort is a marvellous property , which is though modern but still steeped in tradition . It is situated few km. away from Manali on the banks of Bias .

Span Resort - Manali

Span Resort – Manali

Span Resort - Manali

Span Resort – Manali

Span Resort - Manali

Span Resort – Manali

Span Resort - Manali

Span Resort – Manali

How come someone complete any travelogue of Manali without going to Rohtang Pass . At an altitude of 3980 metres , Rohtang Pass is situated 51 km. away from Manali . This pass connects Manali to Leh in Ladakh . It is open for public from June to September every year . So when I was there , it was closed . Road was cleared till Gulaba only . So I did not get the opportunity to visit Rohtang Pass . I went up to Gulaba only . Despite inclement weather , I enjoyed my 5 day consecutive visits to the place . 4/5 layers of woollen clothes were not sufficient even in the month of April .

On The Way - From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way – From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way - From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way – From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way - From Manali to Rohtang Pass

On The Way – From Manali to Rohtang Pass

Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

At Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

At Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

At Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

At Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

Sun Sers At Gulaba - Inbetween Manali & Rohtang Pass

Sun Sets At Gulaba – in-between Manali & Rohtang Pass

Manali - Leh Highway via Rohtang Pass

Manali – Leh Highway via Rohtang Pass

I reached Manali in the night of March 18 , 2012 . Stayed there for 21 days . It was a different experience . I thoroughly enjoyed my paid holiday , courtesy Dharma Productions .

After every visit I remember Hindi poet Agyeya’s lines . In the case of Manali , these oft – repeated lines are more pertinent and relevent .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 7 : Datia


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 18 , 2012           03.15 P.M.

I flew to Gwalior on February 27th , 2012 by afternoon Air India flight . I have lost count of my visits to Dabra and Gwalior . It is place of my in – laws  , so I have to visit it again and again for some function or the other .

This time I went for the house – warming party of my youngest brother – in – law Shri Ashok Tiwari . Party was on March 1st , 1012 . But I went 2 days earlier because this time I wanted to visit Datia , Orchha and several places in Gwalior city also .

I landed at Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia airport at Gwalior in the evening . It is new airport and is quite small compared to other known and older airports . But it is very convenient for me because it connects Mumbai and Gwalior directly . I landed and immediately proceeded to Datia by car .

Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Airport , Gwalior

Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Airport , Gwalior

Datia is a small district , sandwiched between Gwalior of Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi of Uttar Pradesh .

Map showing location of district in Madhya Pra...

Map showing location of Datia district in Madhya Pradesh in India

Highway connecting Gwalior to Jhansi is being re-done. After completion it is going to be a boon for travellers . Few km. of the road which is complete , is testimony to this fact .

A Portion of Gwalior - Jhansi Highway

A Portion of Gwalior - Jhansi Highway

Datia has nothing much to offer . It is very old district but it is still a small town . It has only 445 villages and just 3 towns ; Datia , Seondha and Bhander . It comes under Gwalior Division and could be approached through rail and / or road . Datia railway station lies in between Jhansi and Gwalior .

Rugged Terrain of Datia

Rugged Terrain of Datia

There is nothing much in Datia for a wanderer like me . But it has world-famous temple of Durga Mata . In popular parlance this temple is known as Peetambara Peeth .

My Wife at the Main Entrance of Peetambara Peeth , Datia

My Wife at the Main Entrance of Peetambara Peeth , Datia

Near the Temple Gate

Near the Temple Gate

My Wife Near the Temple Gate

My Wife Near the Temple Gate

Coming Out of Peetambara Peeth

Coming Out of Peetambara Peeth

Apart from Peetambara Peeth , Datia has Hanuman Garhi and a palaces known as Purana Mahal . It was built for Mughal Emperor Jahangir, though he never visited Datia . This palace is visible from the train and road , when you travel from Jhansi to Gwalior .

I paid obeisance to Peetambara Peeth and immediately returned to Dabra in the night . I am not sure when I would be visiting Datia again . May be I will go there , when I visit Dabra again for some function .

As usual I remembered these famous lines of Agyeya , a renowned Hindi poet , while returning :

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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