Reminiscing those moments which do not need the burden of words to pass on the message, it just needed a smile, looking into the eyes, giving a hug or burst out laughing on absolutely nothing to show how happy we were being there. Exploring someplace new and making spontaneous choices.

That’s all it takes for a perfect holiday when you plan to un-plan a trip with your friends and that’s exactly what I did. As soon as I got to know that my friends are coming from Bombay, I started planning a trip to the mountains (because that’s where the heart lies). From how we will travel, what will be our total cost, what all places to explore and what all activities to do everything was literally prepared in excel sheets and mailed – that was my level of excitement not just about the fact that they were coming but also for the fact that I will be planning a trip on my own for the first time ever.

It had to be a backpacking trip where whoever is going to the trip has to be prepared to travel in buses, cabs, walk to find the place to stay, trek and hike with your luggage. So finally, it was four of us my best friend – Mandeep, my crazy cousin – Parth and my darling friend – Chawla. So, we headed out on the Dushhera long weekend to explore the beautiful ‘Parvati Valley’ and it is an understatement when I say that.

So as soon as we reached there all our planning – those excel sheets were thrown away as our eyes were stuck on those lush green mountains and the enchanting water of the Parvati River. Beyond that point it was all about un-planning what we had planned and just enjoy the divine beauty.

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The first stop was Manikaran – it is nature’s magic how hot water spring flows there. It has an aura about itself and you can sense the peace and tranquillity as you enter the Gurudwara. Interestingly, it has a natural sauna where you can actually feel the steam coming out and the area is nice and warm.

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After we came to Kasol, there was no place pre-booked to stay and with our backpacks we decided to walk around and explore the best place to stay, so we checked out the Kasol camping tents and a few other places but nothing settled in our minds. After enquiring a bit we were told that there is a small village about half an hour trek called ‘Chalal’ and we can check out the homestays there. The idea to trek was exciting that without even giving it a second thought we started walking towards it.

‘Chalal Village’ – known for its very famous ‘The Shiva Café’ is a small village with a couple of homestays. En-route you would also find a number of camping sites where either you can stay in one of the tents or put your own tent. On our way we found a place called ‘Oh Magic View’, two of us went to check it out and said it’s too much of a task to reach there so we let it go and started walking ahead. Little did we know that we will land up there after walking around for two hours. Thank God that we decided to stay as the place totally lives up to its name ‘Oh Magic View’. The view from our room was so beautiful that the only thing I wanted was to wake up to that beauty every single day of my life. I could see the snow-capped peaks unfolding itself between the lush green mountains of Parvati Valley, the entire town of Kasol and the parvati river. The struggle to reach our room is totally worth it and I’m ready to do that as long as I get to enjoy that view.

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I have always believed in the idea that when you are travelling explore the place on your footsteps, you might just take home some of the most beautiful memories of your trip. This trip was all about that and good food.  From banana cakes to each and every variation of nutella crepes to north indian, Italian and Chinese – clearly didn’t miss out on that. All thanks to the great cafes in Kasol – Bhoj restaurant, German Bakery, Alpine, little Italy and more….

There were times on this trip where silence said volumes and just listening to the sounds of nature and appreciating it’s astounding views. These moments help you unwind from the regularities in life, the hustle-bustle or the unnecessary noise.

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We were experiencing trekking for the first time and the excitement level was at its peak. So we headed towards ‘Tosh’ – a place from where Kheerganga trek starts and since trekking to Kheerganga takes about 6-7 hours and you have to spend a night there and come back, we couldn’t do it (lack of time!). Although, we did trek from the Barshaini Dam to Tosh and it was an amazing experience. It takes about 1-1.5 hours to reach there and then you have to manoeuvre around the village to reach up-to the cafés. It was hard for me as I had not done any physical activity in a long time so I started panting and my legs were hurting but it was totally worth it because as soon as I climbed to the ‘Pink Floyd Café’ that was it. Our eyes were stuck on the snow-capped peaks it was so beautiful. It felt like you are sitting right in the middle of the mountain and they have enveloped you from all the sides.

Indeed we have made great memories and captured them in our hearts to stay forever….

 

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