Hello friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. I am leaving for a 6-day trip to Manali, Himachal Pradesh. There are a number of Volvo buses plying from Delhi to Manali, in the evening. One of my friends referred me to Royal Travels. So, I’ve booked myself a round trip to Manali from the same travel agency. Manali is 535kms away from Delhi. That makes for a 12-14 hour bus journey. Our driver has stopped the bus at Chokhi Dhaani restaurant for dinner on the way. Our night journey passed away comfortably. Morning tea!…. …Excitement of being away from Delhi heat… So, here we are in Manali at 9.30 am next day, after making a few stops on the way. After a few hours of relaxation at the hotel room, here we are at the famous Mall Road. This place is always full of hustle and bustle. I’ve come to Manali at least four times in the past 15 years. I thought of renting a bike everytime I came here. This time I am finally going to do that! Host: “What is the name?” Man: “Black Sheep Motor Adventures!” Host: “Black Sheep!” Host: “How much rent for Enfield?” Man: “We have 500cc Enfield to rent for Rs 1500/- per day.” Host: “500 cc, Rs. 1500/- per day?” Host: “Which one is this?” Man: “This is Avengers.” Host: “Hmmm! Avengers. How much for this?” Man: “This one is for Rs. 1000/- per day.” Host: “Rs 1000/- per day?” Host: “I want the Enfield.” Host: “Aright. So, today we will be going to Solang.” Host: “Tomorrow’s plan we will tell you tomorrow.” Host: “And if our trip is over today, we will return the bike in the eveningh.” Right now, I am at the Vashisht Chowk. The Google Maps is showing me a distance of approximately 10kms. It is a 20min ride. It was good to rent this bike. We are traveling at a slow pace, while enjoying the scenic view. It took us an hour to travel from Vashisht Chowk to Solang Valley. You can do skiing during winters and paragliding in summer here. I am really excited about my first attempt at paragliding. Paragliding charges are between Rs. 1000/- to Rs. 3200/-… …depending upon the height from which you want to paraglide. The flight time of a short flight is between 2 to 2 and a half minutes. And if you fly from a greater height, the time duration is 10-12 minutes. I was super excited about paragliding but my pilot just told me…. ….that since my weight is 81 kgs,,,, …so I cannot go for paragliding because the air pressure is low. Right now, people with the weight range of 65-70 kgs, only can attempt paragliding. Pilot: “I can take your companion for paragliding.” Host: “OK.” Host: “Okay, that is good!” Pilot: “Don’t worry, next time!” I believe the quality of stand of my pilot is praiseworthy. He had to choose between an income opportunity and taking a right decision. By the way, you can do paragliding in Rohtang Valley as well as in Kullu. There you may be the only one doing it. However, in Solang, you will have 10-15 people doing paragliding at any given time along with you. It is 5pm as we leave Solang Valley. Now, I am going to Vashisht Temple. The place from where I rented this bike is called Vashisht Chowk. I will have to ride about 2 to 2 and a half kms further up from there. According to Hindu mythology, Rishi (saint) Vashisht is one of the Saptrishis (seven saints). This village is named after Rishi Vashisht only, Vashisht village. Right now, I am inside the ancient temple dedicated to Rishi Vashisht. It is believed that this temple is at least 4,000 years old. There is a hot spring to take bath here. These springs are filled with sulfur water. It is believed that a bath in this sulfur water can cure all types of skin ailments. People come here with this belief. and they take a bath. I just had a bath in the hot spring and…. …believe me, all my tiredness is gone and I am totally fresh now. A local referred me to this place, for a homely food experience. This is Nirvana restaurant close to the Vashisht Temple. One can come here for a thali. So, today’s dinner will be had there only. This thali is for Rs. 100/-. There are 3 dishes – kadhi, paneer and dal. He told me that the combination of dishes is changed almost on a daily basis. The best part is you can ask for a refill. I’ve had my breakfast. Now we are leaving for Manikaran and Kasol, It will take us about two and a half hours to reach there. It is a distance of 80kms from Manali Mall Road to…. …. Manikaran. And the distance between Manikaran and Kasol is 4kms. We have retained the bike for our journey to Manikaran. By the way, you can also travel from Manali to Manikaran on the buses run by Himachal Roadways. I felt that on bike, we can be flexible about the time that we may want to spend in Manikaran. The road to Manikaran passes through the Kullu Bypass road. The road till Kullu is absolutely fine. Beyond that, the road is narrow…. …and the turns are very sharp. There is mountain on one side and on the other side, a deep gorge. It would be sensible to drive slow. I will be exploring the Kasol village during my next Manali trip. Many travellers prefer to begin their trekking journey from this village. If you come to Manali, you should definitely visit Manikaran. The Parvati river flows robustly right outside the Gurudwara. This view is worth watching a thousand times. You can enjoy the spiritual experience of listening to paath (holy recital) inside the Gurudwara. Take a bath in the hot spring. In Manikaran, you should definitely partake the langar (community kitchen) meals. Someone told me that there are rooms available too if you want to go for a night stay here. The langar is open for 24 hours. There is a Shiv temple right outside the Gurudwara. At a hot spring in this temple, one can cook rice and chana (chickpeas) within 10 minutes. The prasad (food) for langar is prepared in this hot spring. Let us learn some more about the history of this hot spring. This temple dates back to Dwaapar Yug, even before the Kurukshetra battle. Lord Shankar and Goddess Parvati did tapasya (penance) here for 11,000 years. The hot water available here is due to the presence of Sheshnag. According to the lore, Sheshnag once stole an earring of Goddess Parvati…. ….so Lord Shankar played his Damru (a musical instrument)…. …and performed the cosmic dance to scare the Sheshnag. As a result, Sheshnag threw back the earring from under the water. I returned Enfield bike last night and hired another one instead. Today, I am going to Bijli Mahadev Temple. There are two ways to this temple. One is to take a one-hour trek from Kullu….. ….and the other route is an off-road track via Jana waterfall. You can travel there either on a motorbike or in a Gypsy car. I preferred the bike. If you take the off-road track to Bijli Mahadev, …. …you can enjoy Himachali food at the roadside dhaba of Maniram ji. This dhaba is located right opposite to the Jana waterfall. This waterfall is located 35kms from Manali. From there, Bijli Mahadev temple is another 24kms, on a completely off-road track. This temple is named thus because every few years…. …lightening strikes the Shiv lingam installed inside the temple complex,.. …and leads to cracks in it. The lingam is then brought back to its original form. If you are absolutely confident about your driving skills on an off-road track… …only then should you explore this route. Otherwise, this journey is very tough. If you come to Manali, it would be my strong recommendation to visit Bijli Mahadev. You will enjoy this visit very much. Today is fourth day of Manali trip. Today, I am visiting Jogini waterfall. To reach here, you need to undertake a 30-40 minute trek from Vashisht Temple. The Jana waterfall, which come son way to Bijli Mahadev, is a man-made waterfall. Jogini waterfall is a natural waterfall Look at the speed at which the water is flowing down from such a great height! I’ve just come back from Jogini waterfall. Now I am going for ziplining on a zipline that is 200m long. It is 100m above the ground. I can see all trees and foliage below me. It is beautiful to look at. Rest, I will know how interesting it is once I attempt it. (shouts with joy) Too good! Too good! It was immensely satisfying to watch the trees zipping past below me while I went along. If you come to Manali and visit Jogini waterfall… … this zipline is located between Vashishth Temple and Jogini waterfall. Details are in the video descriiption. Please check that. And do come here. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too. The rest of Day 4 I’ve kept for temple visits. Right now, I’m going to Manu Temple. It is located in Old Manali. Old Manali is just 3kms from Manali. But it takes 20-24 minutes to cover the distance…. …because the road is very steep. This is my first time in Old Manali. A few observations – ….. Old Manali is at a height. If you want to enjoy a good scenic view…. ….you can explore hotels and guest house options in Old Manali. Plus I can notice many cafes around. It is 2 pm. Time to have lunch. The Hidimba Devi Temple is located 2kms from Mall Road. There is a cave inside this temple complex where… …Devi Hidimba offered penance. Hidimba Devi was the wife of Bheema, one of the five Pandavas, during the Mahabharat era. Hidimba Devi and Bheem had a son together, whose name is Ghatotkach. Ghatotkach had played a significant role in the victory of Pandavas during the Mahabharat war. Mr. Rohit Sharma is the head pujari (priest) the Hidimba Temple. Let us meet him and know some more about this historic temple. This pagoda-style temple of Hidimba Mata was built during 1553, by King Bahadur Singh of Kullu. Inside this temple, you can see the foot impression of Mata Hidimba engraved on stone… ….and there is a statue of Devi Mahishasurmardini. And there is a very large stone in the form of a divine representation. People perform puja here. If not trekking, let us go for camping at least. We were drenched in 2 hour long torrential rains by the time we reached the camping site. I’ve come to this camp for night stay. This location is 7kms from Manali. It is 10.30 pm right now. We need to get up at 5 am tomorrow to leave for Rohtang Pass. Good night for now. In the morning, I’ll show you the morning view outside. The cost of night stay in this camp is Rs. 1000/- per person, including dinner. I have left the camp now, to reach Rohtang Pass. First of all, I need to return my bike. And we will have to hire a taxi from Mall Road to reach Rohtang Pass. Rohtang is 50kms from Manali. It is approximately a 3 hour journey. Our taxi driver says that we will get to see some snow in Rohtang Pass. I cannot believe I’ll see snow in mid-July. We could not get a bike permit otherwise we would have done this journey on a bike. I’m planning to go to Leh-Ladakh on bike next year. But I can see people bicycling toward Leh-Ladakh on this road. Very high energy level! Man: “Sir see, this is Rehala waterfall. We’ve travelled 28kms from Manali till now.” Man: “Touch the water with your hands, you’ll love the experience!” There was a landslide on the way. Thankfully, no passenger was hurt. Looking at this view, one can realize how dangerous is the road to Rohtang Pass. Totally unpredictable! I’ve reached Rohtang Pass. At a height of 13,050 feet above sea level. We had left Manali at 9.30 am this morning… …and we reached here at 4.10 pm, delayed due to a landslide on our way. I can see snow back there. Let us go and enjoy the snow. (shouts of joy!) Terrific! (laughter) After spending 2 hours in Rohtang Pass, we are now going back to Manali. We didn’t encounter any traffic jam on our way back. And we’ve reached Mall Road for dinner. Look at the hustle-bustle on the Mall Road even so late at night. Let us have something different for dinner today. Host: “I’ll have one chicken Kief and one burger, chicken burger” I have a good choice for dinner today. In chicken, I think this is the best piece, very good, continental food. Flavors are completely balanced. In the burger… …I can see multiple layers of… …fresh vegetables, including chicken. The burger is very yummy. Waiter: “Good evening Sir. How is your food?” Host: “Very nice! Waiter: “Thank you Sir. Thank you!” Waiter: “The owner of this place is a chef himself and he likes to experiment with new dishes.” Waiter: “And we are happy that you liked our food.” Host: “Thanks!” Waiter: “Thank you Sir!” I returned the bike last night. I left for Naggar Castle at 7 am this morning. Today is going to be hectic. After this, I will be going to Hampta Pass. Actually, I should have visited Naggar Castle on Day 3 itself… …while returning from Bijli Mahadev Temple. I am at Naggar Castle. This place is 25kms from Manali. In the bygone era, this place used to be the residence of the royal family. The specialty of this castle’s building is that there is no use of iron beam. The whole construction has been done on the basis of wooden beam and stone. There are beautiful wood carvings done on the beams. As of now, the Himachal Pradesh Tourism runs a hotel and a restaurant in this castle. It takes 1 hr to reach here from Manali. Right now, I am on my way to Hampta pass. Today is special because of two reasons. First reason – In the past four days, I must have asked at least 15-20 locals… …whether they had been to Hampta Pass. Not a single man or woman said yes, they had visited the pass. I tried to search on the internet and locate videos too. I did not see a single video showing a motorable road to the pass. Second reason – Today is my last day in Manali. And the last day should be memorable in a special way. Hampta Pass is located at a distance of 20kms from Manali. There is a barrier point at the 4kms distance. And the distance from the barrier to the dam is 16kms. Most of the road is motorable. Some part of the road is in bad shape but a heavy motorbike or a 4×4 vehicle can easily travel there. From here, we can enjoy the whole scenic view of Manali. Right now, we are the mid-point. We have completed 7kms of bike journey. We stopped for a cold drink at a small restaurant here. Now let us move on. I am riding the bike in the first gear. It is 2 o’clock in the afternoon. We have a return bus to catch at 5.30 pm. We need to reach Hampta Pass, spend some time there… …I am afraid that I might miss my bus. We’ve reached the dam after covering a distance of 16kms from the barrier. Look at the background, you can see trees, mountains, A whole lot of greenery! And in front of me, such tall, magnificent Himalayan mountain ranger is worth watching. The dam is almost 200meters from here but no photography is allowed there. So, we cannot show you the view from there. One more thing that you need to remember…. ….is that if you want to go further than the dam… …you will have to undertake 3-day trek till Chhatru village. You can go further with the help of professional trekking companies or professional guides. But this is where the motorable road ends. One more important information regarding Hampta Pass…. …to come here… …you need to get a permit from the SDM office in Manali. So, obviously, you will have to physically go to the SDM office,…. …you cannot get a permit online. Let me show you the scenery here, enjoy the Hampta Pass. A local told me that when I would travel 3-4kms on my way back from Hampta pass…. …on your left side, you will see the Pandu Gufa (cave). When the Pandavas were exiled, they lived in this cave for a while. Although, there is no authentic information about the history of this place…. …but since I am here, I think I will go and visit this cave. It has been 5 days since we came to Manali…. …we enjoyed the trip a lot. I had come here to return the bike. We returned it. Now we are going to board our return bus to Delhi, which leaves at 5.30 pm. Today, we completed our Manali trip. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this video. My personal view is that you should not visit Manali during the rainy season. Although we came in July month, we were lucky that we did not encounter rains. We enjoyed Manali thoroughly. If you haven’t subscribed Visa2explore channel yet…. ….please click on the red button to subscribe. Thanks for your time!