Next to that driver stopped his bus near a shawl – sweater factory. We went inside to see that factory. Five six handlooms were kept there. There were two half knitted shawls on two handlooms and only one man was sat on a handloom showing how to knit the shawls. There was their store for selling shawls, sweater etc. nearby. In remaining part, there were no other workers were seen working there and the huge material for keeping in the store was certainly not manufactured by only those five handlooms. In short here the material was sold in the name of a factory. The real factory must be somewhere else. Then we went into the store. The prizes of materials in the store were same as that of in Mumbai. In fact there must be some low prize, when we purchase the material directly from factory, but even in market of Shimla prizes were low than the factory. At last we went out in despair with empty hands. The scenery of mountain tops looking from outside was very beautiful. We took our evening tea there and went ahead.
Now we were going by the bank of river Vyas though Kullu. In way driver stopped his bus in front of Vaishnavi devi temple. Here duplicate model of original Vaishnavi devi from Kashmir is built up. Beautiful stream of river Vyas was flowing in front of temple. We first did our photo session there, then only we came into the temple. This four floored temple is beautifully built. When we went ahead from there, we saw a wedding procession of a Himachali boy in the way. All the men and women in wedding procession were wearing the Himachali caps and shawls decorated specially for wedding. After going ahead, there looked a table and five chairs arranged in stream of river Vyas. Some distance ahead a crate of soft drinks was kept there. The hotel owner had kept it there purposely to attract the travelers. Driver stopped the bus here also. We descended down into that stream one behind one. It was not possible to stand there for much time, because the water was as cold as snow. But still we sat there in chairs, took photographs with enthusiasm and went ahead.
The next journey was very beautiful. There were apple orchards on both sides of the road. The small green apples were hanging on apple trees. The coloured tents for summer camps were erected in those orchards. At some places children were playing. In between small beautiful houses were looking around, in the way. In the garden of each house, rose plants were seeming to be planted. On every rose plant roses were looking bloomed in bunches. The scene was unprecedented as so many roses were bloomed in bunches having different colours, and were kept as it is on plants without cutting them. Some rose plants were appearing like that of a rose bouquet. The scene of differently coloured roses bloomed in bunches on the background of clear blue sky and snowy mountain tops was only unforgettable. Catching that view in our eyes, we went in the direction of Manali.
The number of snowy mountain tops started increasing, as Manali came near. Here hotels of both our groups were near. Our hotel was situated on a small hill top. Driver got his bus upside on that narrow way, but it was difficult to take out other vehicles after our bus was parked there. It was also difficult to bring that bus down. So driver decided to park his bus in the ground of nearby big hotel situated downside from next day. We came into our rooms. The snowy mountain tops were looking in front from the windows of our rooms. Here the hotel service was quick but neat. Here there was no rule about washing the clothes in bathroom, but the facility of laundry was available. There was also a discotheque near the dining room, situated below. Here also meals were self served. Though the list of both veg. and nonveg. type of dishes was given in the menu card, only veg. dishes were arranged on the table. Those who wanted dish other than that had to give different order for it. We took our dinner early. We had to go for Rohtang pass on six o’ clock morning on the next day. The hotel service was to give us packed sandwiches for the breakfast.
All of us were ready to depart at six o’ clock morning the next day. Keeping in mind the experience of the day before, I had taken a tablet to avoid travel sickness. Packed breakfast was also ready. But the time was six fifteen, when the driver took down his bus from that narrow road with some difficulty. We went taking along our fellow travelers from nearby hotel. When our bus just started for the road of Rohtang pass, the vendors from both sides were chasing us saying, “Take the protective dress from us.” After passing some distance, driver stopped his bus in front of a store and told us to take only one peace dress to avoid catching cold in chest without wasting much time. The rent was decided to be two hundred rupees for each dress. Everyone was checking that whether the dress given by store keeper fits well or not. First I got the tightly fitting dress, the next orange dress was quite big but warm. So I took that orange dress to not to be too late.
After dress we took sox and boots. Here it has to be carefully observed whether the bottom of boot is well or not. Otherwise there is a possibility of snow penetrating inside boots while walking causing trouble to foots. After taking all this, they gave us the hand gloves as free (we have to return it to them afterwards). They don’t give hand gloves on rent now, because while playing in snow the hand gloves are slipping away and lost sometimes. After completing all this we purchased goggles from a vendor. (These goggles were very useful later in Delhi.) In this way when all were ready, driver took his bus farthest. There is a base camp of Indian military after going ahead from this way. The food and other provisions for this base camp are supplied from the same way. After snowfall in days of winter this road of Rohtang pass is closed for some months. So the food and other supplies for the base camp, sufficient for this period are sent earlier.
The driver was taking our bus ahead from the zigzag mountain pass hilly road. Probably the air also might have became thin. So half of us started feeling sick due to travel. Fortunately I had taken a tablet, so I was not having any trouble. Driver stopped his bus in front of a stall. There those who wanted to take tea, took tea. Those who were hungry, ate sandwiches. Those who were feeling sick, sat calmly without eating anything. There also we did our photo session till the tea came. After taking tea we went from there. Bus was going upside and suddenly we saw half melted ice on soil at one side. For us it was the first sight of ice so close to us. Then we started to see if there is more snow, and on both sides snow was started to look in more or less amount. After some time sides of mountain were started looking completely snowy. At one place we saw people breaking the ice from mountain.
Driver took his bus ahead as near as possible to the snow point. Still we had to go away walking next one and half kilometer. We were now became wise due to Kufri’s experience and started walking instead of going there by horse or by motor bike and reached in the snow. There we took rented sticks for walking into the snow. We were getting good support from those sticks while climbing up and getting down in snow. At start we only sat down in snow and took photographs. Here there was also a facility of taking photographs wearing Himachali dress and sitting on a white yak. Some of us went for rubber tube sliding and skiing and some others went for strolling in sledge vehicle because the vendors were chasing much. All were scattered afar. In that time a paraglider vendor caught us. (At start his rate was thousand rupees which came down to five hundred rupees after about two hours.) I wanted to do paragliding. But those who were with me, were feeling sick, so they didn’t wanted to do paragliding. I was thinking to do rubber tube sliding instead of spending so much money on paragliding. But one of us became ready for paragliding, so I was ready to go for paragliding.
Note - All photos of the trip can be viewed here.