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Amazing winter trip in Shimla Kullu Manali

Before writing anything here I want to say one thing, this was our first tour after my marriage. So our full tour was planned by us only, and we made our trip plan very budget friendly way and everything I had booked well ahead (4 months) before of our journey date.

Tour itinerary

Tour Duration: - 06 Nights 07 Days

Day 01: Kolkata Delhi to Shimla on 11st Nov 2012

Day 02: Shimla - Kufri - Shimla on 12nd Nov 2012

Day 03: Shimla to Manali via Kullu on 13rd Nov 2012

Day 04: Manali Sightseeing 14th Nov 2012

Day 05: Manali - Solang Valley (Snow Point) 15th Nov 2012

Day 06: Manali to Chandigarh 16th Nov 2012

Day 07: Chandigarh to Delhi Kolkata 17th Nov 2012

Shimla is well connected through road, train and air. So you can choose any one alternative for travel there. We choose train Howrah-Kalka mail and booked ac 3A for our journey. And 21st Nov 2012  we started our journey by Kalka mail at 8:40pm from Howrah. Although train was late for 15 mins. But still it was very comfortable journey.  And we have reached in Kalka station at morning 4:50 am after spending 32:55 hrs journey and almost 1632 km path. As we reached 15 mins late though the SHIVALIK Deluxe express was waiting for 15 mins patiently for us.

And then Shivalik started from Kalka at 05:00 am. And it was 4:50 hrs memorable journey in toy train. As its a deluxe train, pantry facility was there, morning breakfast was served in the train menu was cake, biscuits and a cup of coffee etc. And then train going through hill area, and sight scene was awesome. It halt at Barong station for 30 mins, and we enjoyed the scenic beauty and captured lots of photograph over there. It was the only one halt before reaching to Shimla.

We reached in Shimla at around 9:50 am. As we did not book any car in advance so after reach to Shimla lots of drivers approaching us to book for hotel. At last we choose one car for our first staying destination.

Our first destination was Shimla Kali Bari. Its the highest staying place in Shimla, and as I already told you, we already book Shimla Kali Bari room almost 6 months before by manual post office letter. Because there is no online facility available for booking and other hotels are stated in very lower area compare to Shimla Kali Bari. Only Hotel Taj having there branch in same high altitude.

So the car took Rs. 300 only for travelling 1 km and then another 1 km we walked with our heavy luggage as car can't go there.Although It was very difficult for us but still we managed to carry all our luggage's to Shimla Kali Bari. After reaching to Kali Bari, we met with caretaker in reception and then he allocate one room for us. And that room was quite amazing. You can see the whole Shimla including Jhaku from the window of that room.

So after taking all the luggage's to the room. We went for lunch. And we were completely happy with the menu rice, dal, sabji with aloo and fish it was completely Bengali menu. After having heavy lunch we went to Shimla mall and enjoyed ice cream in the tremendous cold but weather was very bright and sunny. And then suddenly we planed for Jakhu as it was visible from Shimla mall. And we thought it will be very near to our stay at the same time it will very adventurous . But after 1 hrs of walking we fill its going to be long journey and people passing us with car saying its another 1 hrs of journey. And the road was completely hill area and very difficult to walk at a glance for 10-15 mins. Some foreigners was walking with sticks. But we walked in empty hand, we walking for few minutes and then taking rest and then again start walking.  After walking 1 hr and 30 mins of path then the second scary thing we faced in that hill area.  And that was nothing but monkeys. They are suddenly coming in front of travelers and block the road. But we some how escape from that fear and at last reach to the Jakhu temple. And then we found another difficulties and that was we need to cross another 160 stairs to reach that Huge Hanuman statue and the main temple. 
And when we finally reached there, its feel like we are top of the world, and then visit that temple, statue and after taking prasad when we are just planning to coming back to Kali Bari, in that same moment some monkeys stuck our path and local peoples are shouting throw the prasad to them then only they will release us. Somehow we manage to escape from that situation too. And lastly we reached Shimla mall at 6 pm. It was not that difficult to come down on the same path. It took less time as we are coming down from the hill area. And we enjoyed hot soup in the Shimla mall. And we return back to temple at around 7 pm as the closing time of the temple was 8 pm. Took dinner and overnight we stay in that room. And the most interesting part was in our first day Rs.100 rented room lunch and dinner in Rs.30. Walking 2-3 km unknowingly in the hill area, enjoyed ice cream and hot soup at the temperature of 10 degree. Here our 1st day tour ended.

Day 2 : This day we experienced an unforgettable snowfall morning from our room. And after 1 hr of snowfall its stopped and its suddenly became a sunny morning. And we left the room for Kufri.

In the way to Kufri we again faced snowfall and a complete haven experience. The road was completely covered by snow. and we took couple of amazing shots.

And in Kufri we visited Kufri fun world and enjoyed Horse ridding in Mahasu peak. And had a lunch in a restaurant with fried rice and warm soup.

And lastly again came back to Shimla mall. And enjoyed hot soup and papri chat.

We spent some good time in Kali Temple at aarati and had our dinner with full Bengali menu at 9:30 pm and overnight stay in that Kali Bari temple room. So here our day 2 trip got ended.

Day 3: Our day 3 started with a nice breakfast at Kali bari and we checkout from there at 8:30 am. Before checkout they assigned us one coolie, who helped us to take volvo bus for Manali. And within few minutes our journey got started. The specialty of Himachal is the good transport service.

Travelers can easily book deluxe or super deluxe buses for Manali journey from Shimla. In our case the bus was normal deluxe bus. And the price was per head Rs. 300. And After boarding to the bus we found those foreigner couple also travelling in the same bus, we already met with them on the way to Jakhu temple with sticks as I mentioned earlier. Also before this writing I already mentioned, that we choose budget trip so we always avail public transport for this tour. But if anyone wants they can book private car as well from the Himachal tourism office.

So the total distance was From Shimla to Manali was approx. 256 Km. And it took approx 10 hrs to reach the destination. I was little scared the way our bus was going through the hill area toward to the Manali. As I remember our bus halt for half an hour in the Kullu valley. Kullu is famous for its market. If you want you can buy some memorable things from there. Kullu market surrounded by the hills. We took couple of nice shot and relaxed our muscles.

And at last we reached Manali at 5 o'clock. After reach to Manali we have faced cloudy weather and it was completely raining and very dark. I remember we took one auto for travel 1 km to reach our hotel and he took rs. 200. When we reached in that hotel we were completely wet and we checked in hotel after completing the formalities. The hotel boy was very young and he carry all our luggage's single handed. I was completely stunt by seen his stamina, our room was in the first floor. In the way to our room that boy told us, you guys are lucky. Tomorrow snowfall may happen as today is raining.

I still remember after reaching to the room first thing I did, I took a shower when Manali temperature was two degree. Now this time that hotel boy knocked our room and by watching me this time he got shocked and warned us for the cool climate. Hotel room was completely wooden small room and it was a decent kind of room. We ordered for dinner and our day 3 journey completed by staying overnight in that hotel.

Day 4: This was my one of the most memorable day in my life. When my wife wake me up at 8:30am. And she told me look at out side. And when we saw outside , its look like haven. As we reached Manali in complete dark . So very next day when it was completely white. After seen this beauty we quickly dressed up after doing morning staff and ready for going out side.

And Manali mall was very near to our hotel. It was 500 meter from our hotel. In the way we had our breakfast with sandwich and tea. Then we reached Manali mall and it was like festive season in there, road also covered by snow. I'm uploading couple of shot which I took that day.

And we spent 2-3 hrs in the Manali mall and had our lunch from the Sa-Ba restaurant. And we ordered fried rice then we contacted with couple of travel agency for planning our next day trip. At the same day we booked auto van for visit couple of nearest places, and we went to Hidimba temple.

After that we came back to hotel with local wine bottle which cost me Rs. 200 :)
One more indecent I want to mention, that day I went to a local saloon for shaving my beard, and occasionally it was the day of world cup final India vs Pakistan Kabdi tournament, So in between tour I enjoyed victory of India with those local guys in the saloon and at the time of come back Ito hotel I buyed roti and sabji from some road side dhaba. And at 9:30 pm we completed our dinner and enjoyed sleeping at minus 2 degree temperature.

Day 5 : This day was quite normal as we are now habituated in the cold environment of Manali. And as usual after taking breakfast we went for Manali sightseeing and visited Manu temple , Manali Sanctuary, Museum of Himachal Culture and Gurudwara Shri Manikaran SahibVashisht hot water temple, We booked this sightseeing from Himachal Tourism office. This tour was very comfortable as they arranged small travel bus for the tour and it cost us Rs.70/head. The most amazing place was Vashisht hot water temple because of underground Hot water source, here you can buy Rs.10 rice and if you put this rice in hot water, it became ready in 20 mins. And the second amazing place was Gurudwara Shri Manikaran Sahib and here we have completed our lunch as well. And it was most peaceful lunch I ever had in my life.

Here I'm uploading couple of snaps of those sightseeing.

After this tour again we back to our hotel after buying dinner from road side dhaba.

Day 6: This full day we spent in Manali snow point by enjoying snow ride and capturing photos. And again this tour was managed by Himachal Tourism office. And it was comfortable to. We skipped Rohtang as that road was closed after April. And we went there in the winter season of November.
But still we enjoyed same amount of ice everywhere in Manali. I end up this day of tour by having wine with chicken tandoori :)

This is the pic of co-travelers

Day 7: This was our last day of tour. And we checkout from our hotel and went to Chandigarh by deluxe bus. It was little hectic journey as we all are exhausted and the distance between Manali to Chandigarh was 290 km and it tooks almost 9 hrs. We reached Chandigarh at 7 pm but our train was 8:30 pm , then we suddenly meet with one of my old friend his name is Sourav Bhargav. We enjoyed dinner together and he booked auto for us from bus stand to station. And it was our bad luck that day train was late for 4 hrs. At last 12 pm our train arrived in the station and leave the station at 12:15 pm. Our return journey was booked in Duronoto express.

At last we reached Howrah after 28 hrs of journey and then took a cab and finally reached home. That time only one word was in my mind and that was "Home Sweet Home" :)

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