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A solo trip to Manali-India

Another of my solo travel was started. Reached Delhi and took a HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) bus for McLeod Ganj. It was an overnight journey. By 8 in the morning, I reached my destination, took a taxi and reached the hostel. While having

breakfast, met a lot of people from different nationalities. Some of them were in groups and of them were as I was. That day we roamed around the place and at night had long talks, bonfires in the open sky and played carrom.

The next day everyone ran according to their plans. I had to trek to Kareri Lake so left the hostel early and took a taxi for Dharamkot from where I had to start the trek. Kareri is located at an elevation of 2950 meters situated in the majestic Dhauladhar range. Kareri lake is a fresh water lake rugged amidst mountains with greenery all around. The trek distance is 26 Km to and fro.

Since my plan was to stay there overnight, I rented tent and sleeping bag so that I could pitch it there. Being ready with the backpacks, I started advancing. I was not paying any travel agency for me to guide and give me all luxury. Because this has never been my idea of trekking. I love the uncertainty, the anxiety, fear and the rush that comes along while climbing mysterious mountains and taking up unfamiliar trails. Too much comfort beats the

whole idea of hiking. One major advantage* overall is; I do not have a lot of people to talk with, which is a bonus. Conversing with nature and oneself gets easy.

On the way I was witnessing beautiful landscape. After walking for hours, took a halt, got boosted by spicy “Maggie” and hot “Tea”. Roaming alone for hours in search of beautiful destination gives a sense of solitude which provides time for contemplation, growth in

personal spirituality and self-examination. By the evening I landed where I wanted to be. Unloaded my backpacks. Took a deep breath. Sat for hours looked at the panoramic view. Night was about to fall so I pitched the tent, for which I was trained at NCC. Some more

people were camping at that site. Having our work finished, all of us gathered, had the bonfire. One more advantage* of solo travelling is; you get chance to interact with a lot of new people. After having dinner (Rajma-Chawal), everyone went in their sleeping bags.

But I could not sleep for some reasons so came out and looked at the sky and believe me it was stunning. The sky was very clear and I counted stars for hours, felt the cold breeze hitting my body. Somehow, having a sleep for few hours. I pushed myself to woke up though, lazy as I am, but some comforts have to be sacrificed to experience the wonders of the world. The sun was about to rise and I was waiting for the sun to rise. This moment was unforgettable although I witnessed innumerable sunrises.

Now, it was time to wrap up and return back. While descending, my pace was relatively slow, the alluring landscapes made me realize Journey was even more beautiful than the destination (“safar khoobsurat hai manzil se bhi”).

Reached the hostel. Took rest for the day and got charged for the next adventure: time to fly i.e. Paragliding. Next day, left for Bir-Billing, known as paragliding capital of India. The take-off point is Billing, a popular hotspot located around 8200 feet above sea- level – a heaven for paragliders.

After buying tickets, I was taken to the take-off site by travelling about 15 Kms from the base. Having the necessary security protocols and bit of instruction from the pilot we took off. That experience of rushing through wind while soaring through the clear skies is beyond commendable. Gliding through Dhauladhar ranges offers amazing view of lush green fields, the beautiful water streams, and nature’s bounty. Reveling with the silence of nature and getting an aerial view of the ambience at a place where first-ever paragliding world cup was hosted was also hosted was special in itself. Now after 15 minutes in the air, it was time to land. As I landed, I got to tick off an item off my bucket list, which was “to fly” (obviously not by plane). The day was over and my journey too. It was time to say “Good Bye”. This is how my 5-day journey came to an end bagging a lot of memories and valuable experiences.

Still almost the globe is left to be discovered and hope my all bucket list got ticked off and a “wanderlust” in pursuit of “wonderland” gets the one.

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