Today’s plan was to visit Kullu and Manikaran. We had plans of shopping for our families in Kullu as our driver had informed us that the shawls and other woolen materials we get in Kullu are genuine compared to other places. We started at 9.00 AM from ABC. On the way, driver told us about our today’s plan. He told us about rafting in Beas River in Kullu. We did not get excited as we were scared of the price that they might ask for rafting.
Initially we went to one garment shop for shopping. The driver told us that it was a government shop and the price would be reasonable. Though we did not trust the driver completely after yesterday’s experience, we decided to take a look at the materials. The collection was good. So, we bought Kullu shawls for our families and returned from there. We could see many rafting operators on the way. The driver stopped at one of the rafting operators and when we asked the price, he told it would cost 3000 Rs. We did not even try to argue with him. We had made up our mind to go for rafting only for 1500 Rs or less. The driver stopped at one more operator, which was the last rafting spot there. Initially he asked 3000 Rs for two of us, but our bargaining expert Thilak argued and made him agree for 1500 Rs. We had to wait for some time for the boat to come back. The place was not that crowded. I was getting bit scared because the water was fast flowing and in some places it was deep too. More than that, Thilak was not assuring me that there was no risk involved.
The only good thing was that we were not the ones who were rafting. Two guides from the rafting team were also with us and they were only taking us. We did not have to do anything. Thilak did not like this as he wanted to raft himself, but I was bit relaxed. After waiting for 10-15 minutes, our boat came. We got into the boat and the rafting started. The water was too cold. Rafting lasted for about half an hour. The guides were doing the rafting nicely. We had great fun and felt worth paying 1500 Rs. There were well set rooms to change our clothes at the end point. We changed our clothes and went back to our car.
After we got ready for our next destination, the driver gave us two options: One was to visit Manikaran which was bit far from Kullu and second option was to visit 3-4 places in Kullu which was nearby. He told us that Manikaran would be around 45 km from Kullu and there won’t be anything great to see except the hot spring and Gurudwara. We chose to visit Manikaran as we wanted to see both Gurudwara and the hot spring. The driver looked slightly unhappy with our decision. Though Manikaran was only 45 kms from Kullu, it took us 2-2.5 hrs to reach Manikaran. The road condition was too scary. We could see huge mountains and the Beas River flowing throughout our journey. The scene was too beautiful and also dangerous. We kept taking photos and videos. The road was too curvy, very narrow, and badly maintained. This was the reason for our driver to be in not so good mood. We enjoyed the ride.
On the way, we stopped for lunch at a hotel called “The Himalayan Village”. This was the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen. The location and the hotel were heavenly. It was in between a forest and was just awesome. As expected, the food was very costly. We had an authentic soup of Himachal Pradesh called Jhool. The food was good. When we were having food, it started to rain. The weather, the location, everything became too romantic.
After finishing our lunch, we left to Manikaran. We reached Manikaran at around 2 PM. We saw the famous hotspring and Gurudwara there. We were surprised to see the boiling water spring in such a cold weather. We wanted to see the source of the hot spring. So, we started exploring the place. We went inside Gurudwara. The place was not that clean. But, when we went near the main pooja place in Gurudwara, we felt happy.
The place was too silent. Many Sikhs were praying there. We did not know what to do. We simply sat there for some time and watched them pray. After 10 minutes, we decided to leave. At that time, one Guruji called us and offered us Prasadam. We felt happy and returned from there. We started searching for the source of the hot spring. We could not get it so easily. There was cave-like structure inside Gurudwara. After some time, we could see the source. We went near the place and amazed to see the hot spring. We visited the nearby temple. There were shops also near the temple. We did some window shopping. The price was reasonable. The wooden items were too good and were cheap also. We bought a beautiful key chain holder and returned from there.
We enjoyed our return journey and came back to Kullu in 1-1.5 hrs. In Kullu, we visited Vaishnodevi temple. The temple was beautiful. The pooja style was very different from our culture. We spent around 20 minutes exploring the temple. We returned to our hotel at around 5.30 PM.
Tonight was our last night in Manali. As per the package, we were supposed to have one candle light dinner during our stay. We had earlier decided to have it on the last day (i.e today). But, we were tired and the temperature was around 5°C. We were not at all in a mood to go up and have dinner. So, we told Giri Singh not to prepare for candle light dinner. But, Giri Singh felt very bad. He told us that he would bring the candle to our room and we can have the candle light dinner at our room itself. We were surprised and felt so good about him and we agreed for that arrangement.
After sometime, he brought the lunch along with the candle. We had assumed that the candle would be a normal simple candle. But, we were wrong. The candle which Giri Singh brought was big and was too good. He switched off all the lights of the room and arranged the candle and the dinner on the table. When he lit the candle, the room was looking wonderful. After he left, we took some photos and had our romantic dinner J. The dinner was too good. A big thanks to Giri Singh. If not him, we would have missed such a wonderful dinner.
The day was very beautiful. The river rafting experience, the scary road to Manikaran, the hot spring, Gurudwara, everything was amazing. Finally, the hospitality shown by Giri Singh made us feel so good about the place and the people.
- Route Travelled: Apple Bud Cottage > Kullu Garment Shop > Kullu Rafting Spot > Manikaran > Kullu (Vaishno Devi Temple) > ABC.
- Photos: Kullu and Manikkaran Darshan Photos