Manali and Mcleodganj Trip - December 2015

By Thursday, December 24, 2015 ,

Now I don't usually do travel blogs here even though I travel a lot and that is because I am lazy. Also, because I am not really a picture person. When I like a place a lot, I just like to stare at it and take a mental picture instead of an actual one.

Anyways, moving over to Manali, I had actually hated this town when we crossed it in June last year. We were descending back from Ladakh and as compared to the former, Manali is way too mainstream and touristy. But since December means snowfall and less crowd, I decided to give it a go.

We took a bus from Delhi that took about 12 hours to reach Manali. If you are planning to go during winters then you should know the flights often get cancelled and there are only semi-sleeper buses on this route which can get a little uncomfortable. Train is also an option but the last train station to Manali is Joginder Nagar which is about 3 hours from Manali. So, I would recommend buses only.

View from our hotel

Right when we were checking into our hotel, it started snowing which, I swear to god, felt magical. Now, this was not my first snowfall but there is something really different about the snowfall here in.

And as you might have guessed, it was seriously cold in Manali, even at 12pm the temperature was still below zero degrees. But, we still found a way to dress up and move to Solang Valley.

A little cottage on the Solang Valley

The Solang Valley is on the same road as the Rohtang Pass but its on a lower altitude. And this was our only option since Rohtang Pass was already closed.

With the cloudy sky and snow filled valley, the view looked absolutely stunning and for a moment I did forget about my freezing toes. There is rope way that you can take to ski down but I don't know how to ski, so I opted to enjoy the view.

I might or might not know the guy trying to sledge his way down

By 5pm, we were losing light and freezing, so we decided to descend. We did grab a coffee at the famous Johnson's Cafe on the Circuit House Road. The ambience was amazingly cozy and they had some fun board games that you could play but I was definitely disappointed with the less vegetarian options on the menu.

The next day, the sky cleared up and it was beautifully sunny.

I don't remember where I took this picture from

We grabbed a late lunch at a Tibetan restaurant called Chopsticks on the Mall road, which I have to say is my new favourite restaurant. Everything we tried there was pretty good and you should definitely go to this place if you are in Manali. Also, try their local Apple Cider. It was tasty and tipsy at the same time.

Must be tried !

The rest of the day was spent in some normal sight seeing that included temples and Hot springs.

The next day, we were on our way to Mcleodganj. For the next two hours, Beas River followed us around and the views were absolutely stunning. It was pathetically cold outside otherwise I would have definitely got out of the car for a better picture.

My phone said this was some dam over Beas, but all I know is that it looked surreal

The Beas River continued to follow us
We crossed the famous Baijnath temple on our way which was filled with monkeys and beautiful views. I could not take a good picture of the temple because I was too scared a monkey would snatch it :/

But the best part of our journey were the gorgeous tea gardens in the Kangra Valley. The green shrubs with snow clad mountains in the back drop told a story no words can ever define.

I don't know what was more beautiful, the tea garden or the white backdrop 

It took a good 7 hours to reach Mcleodganj but before checking into our hotel, we paid a visit to the famous HPCA Cricket Stadium in Dharamshala. It had the same view of the snow filled mountains that had been following us since Manali. Though, I am not really a cricket fan and I really don't understand the fascination with this stadium, the place looked pretty darn good.

I am guessing Dalai Lama has the best seats here

It was already dark by the time we checked into our hotel which was about 1 km from the town's main square. The distance was not the problem, the hike was. The entire Mcleodganj is based on a hill and the main square is on its top. So you have to constantly walk uphill and downhill. There are no autos available here like in Manali. I would definitely suggest picking a hotel more closer to the top.

While going to Mcleodganj, we crossed a church called St. Johns in the Wilderness, and staying true to its name the church was completely set in the middle of dense pine trees. We couldn't really explore the church from the inside because there was Christmas cleaning going on, so we decided to take a stroll around it. The church was nothing less of spooky, a Bollywood horror movie could be easily shot here. I found graves of British officers from the 1870s here.

Spooky does not even start to define this place

Coming to Mcleodganj, I have to mention there are some amazing cafes and restaurants here. There were just so many varieties of cakes, I wish I could try each one of them. There is also a restuarant completely dedicated to pancakes! We were pretty tired with our hike and decided to eat at the famous McLlo's.

The next morning we were woken up by a warm winter sun and it felt so much more better than the snow in Manali. We started our day with a visit to the Bhagsu Temple and Waterfall. And I have to say this - Do not go there.

I have seen better waterfalls than this in the Mumbai Rains

There is a big hike to the waterfall which feels like you are climbing the Great Wall of China and at the end you get a really small and disappointing waterfall. The only thing more disappointing than that was me eating Yippee Noodles instead of Maggi.

Tibet Museum

Next we headed over to the Tibet Museum and the famous Dalai Lama Temple complex, which was a treat to the eyes. The temple has some great Buddhist sculptures as well as the original writings by Gautham Buddha.

Apparently, Buddhists offer Choco pies to their deities. I am jealous.

All in all, it was great trip planned at the perfect time. I would definitely want to go back to Mcleodganj to just chill and sit in a new cafe every time, but Manali still hasn't impressed me much.

What do you think ?

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  1. beauty beyond imagination,I have visited manali but didnt get chance to see dharmshala

    1. Its absolutely the opposite of Manali. You should definitely give it a visit !

  2. LOL! "I don't remember where I took this picture from" and ".. couldn't take a good picture of the temple because I was too scared a monkey would snatch it".

    Absolute gems!