So you've decided to beat the summer heat and journey up into the mighty Himalayas? Perfect. Here are 5 ways to escape the hill-station crowds of Kullu / Manali and craft your own mountains adventures:
1. Trek to Malana.
|Photo by Morisius Cosmonaut.|
Haven't we always wanted the forbidden fruit? The residents of Malana are a unique lot; they believe they are remnants of Alexander the Great's army. They consider themselves to be the purest race, and visitors to the village are fined if they touch their walls, houses, or people. Their bigger claim to fame, of course, is the pure variety of things they grow ;)
A trek to the village takes 1-2 hours from the base of the hill, and takes you through the scenic landscapes of the Himachali countryside.
2. Rent a bullet.
|Photo by Vir Nakai, via Flickr.|
Few things match the thrill of riding a bike through the precarious mountain roads of the Himalayas, discovering the fairytale countryside of Himachal and letting the cold mountain air stroke your face. At INR 700-800 a day, you can rent yourself a royal enfield and build your own trails in Himachal.
3. Watch sunset at Naggar.
The charm of a mountain sunset is hard to describe, especially up in the Himalayas. In the ancient hamlet of Naggar, on the banks of the Beas, the sun bids the day goodbye with brilliant pink, red & yellow colours that are sure to mesmerize any onlooker. Throw in a snow-capped mountain peak and a dozen pine trees, and you've got yourself the most perfectly romantic sunset.
4. Stay in a countryside heritage bungalow.
A quaint reminder of the British era, the Ramgarh heritage bungalow is set amid apple orchards & kiwi plantations on the countryside of Raison, a hillside village cluster half hour from Manali. At INR 2,500 a night, you can experience life in this bungalow with its original English architecture, high ceilings, mud walls & fireplaces. It overlooks the Beas below & the Dhauladhar Range above.
5. Raft in the River Beas.
|Photo by B Balaji, via Flickr.|
For only INR 500 per person, you can set out on a raft and manoeuvre the chilly waters of the River Beas. The rapids are not huge, but the thrill is, at least for first-timers. You can get your own raft with a guide if you aren't a fan of bigger groups. The starting point is at the base of the village cluster of Raison, a half hour drive from Manali on the Kullu-Manali national highway.