Manikaran and Manali

Trip Start Sep 21, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Day 189 Tue 16th May 2006
Manikaran and Manali
We were up at 6.30am this morning inn order to make an early start for the trip to Manikaran. We left our stuff in the hotel as we were going to come back through Bhuntar in the afternoon, before heading off to Manali. We left Bhuntar at 7.15am and went up into the mountains towards Manikaran. The roads were pretty bad and only wide enough for one vehicle at a time in most places. The road surface was also in a very bad way, to add to that the fact that there was live stock in the road didn't help!! There was a straight drop to one side of the road and it was long way down so we were taking it easy. We met a guy from Israel along the way, he was also on a bullet but looking very lost, I guess it's easy to get lost out here, there are no signs and not that many people you can ask for help. He was looking for Manali but going in the opposite direction, we put him right and continued on our route.
Manikaran is a Gurdawara built in the mountains at a place where the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji meditated during his journey around India. They have a hot spring there, which is used to cook some of the food for the Langar and also in the Sarovar. We did our Matha Tekh and had a look around, but me being the Larry I am left my spare battery in my bag at the hotel so I had to use my phone for pictures, that's why they didn't come out too good! There is a market there and a mountain village behind the temple,
We made our way back to Bhuntar and after collecting our bags we made the trip up to Manali, we passed Kulu on the way, but to be honest it just looked like a big market place, we all agreed it was not really worth stopping for. We got into Manali around 2.30pm, but then we spent 1 whole hour trying to find a place to stop the night, it wasn't due to lack of availability, just a couple of overly fussy Larries , no need to mention names! In the end we got a couple of rooms in a hotel near where we first started to look (after we spent the hour looking all over Manli), typical. Anyway, there was a very noticeable drop in the temperature in Manali so after we dropped our bags I went out to the market and picket up a nice warm fleece jacket for the princely sum of 100RS, that about 1.20!!!
There was a forest right next to the hotel we were staying at in the evening we saw loads of people walking in that direction, so we followed suit. There was a temple in the forest and a Mela 'festival' of some sort was going on. There were hundreds of people there (see pics). There were a lot of men dressed in traditional outfits performing a dance in the middle of the festivities, there were also these statues of a goddess on a type of stretcher being carried around everywhere. There was live music playing, and a really nice atmosphere. They had a few fairground rides there too, the Ferris wheel was being operated by a guy standing in the middle of it!!! he was just using his own body weight to move the thing around, funny!
After the Mela we went across the river to grab a bite to eat, we found this really nice little restaurant ran by an old couple, the food was delicious! I got talking to the old man who ran the place and doubled up as the waiter, he said he was running the place with his wife as head chef, that's why they had the whole 'home cooked' taste going on, it was just like being at home. There was a guy walking along the road with this hairy cow (sorry I can't think what else to call it), when I asked if I could take a picture of it he said yes, for a price, for course, he insisted I sit on the thing to have a picture taken and took 20RS for the privilege, thanks mate!
Temper's were a bit frayed today, the general indecisiveness of the rest of the group is kind of getting to me, they just don't have any sense of direction or motivation...but the place itself is really nice and I like it here, there is a cable that goes across the river, they tie you up to it with a harness and then go across the river on it, it looks like fun and I want to go on that in the morning, I think Soma will join me but the other two....well, you know they aren't going anywhere near the water!!!
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