Summers in India can be exhausting. Even in a city like Bangalore! Every day, you keep thinking of ditching work and taking a holiday to a chilly hill-station, enjoying the misty blindness everywhere, wrapped in a warm pullover, sipping a hot chai at a small dingy eatery!
So last summer, thinking of places I can visit, I thought of visiting Manali. Manali has been on my bucket-list since a long time. But maybe the idea had something to do with an Amazon prime flick I watched at around same time in which Ranbeer and Deepika seemed to be having a really good time in Manali snow. Hmm, I thought, this is the perfect place to offer me some summer relief. I’d been dying to take a vacation for too long. So, I proposed the idea to The Wife.
“No way in hell … its the most abused “main-stream” honeymoon place there is. And this isn’t even a honeymoon. Not that it’d be on my list even for that.” The Wife remarks.
Well, indeed it is one of those places to which people, especially couples, throng in hordes. That, to celebrate their most intimate moments! Ah the irony!
So The Wife no like Manali. Bummer!
“But we haven’t been there even once. What could possibly be so bad? Its at least better than sweating out the entire summer here!”
After a bit of haggling, we decided to give it a shot. And here’s just a few things that we weren’t expecting.
Get ready to bear lot of heat
This is the first time I got a taste of the real summer of the North. From the moment we landed in Chandigarh, it felt like you’re sitting in a hot tandoor. All through the day. And night! While walking on the road. And travelling in the auto. This was while we were in the city just for a day! And this was in June!
Manali can be hot too! Yes, that’s right. It snows heavily in the winter but summers may not give you as much relief as you expected. And to top it off, our last leg of the trip, Palampur was sweltering hot!
The drive is exhausting
We had charted our course from Chandigarh to Manali to Palampur. The whole drive right from Chandigarh to Manali can really exhaust you. The drive can vary between 8-12 hours depending on the traffic. We got unlucky with the traffic and it took us 15 long hours to reach Manali! Starting at 7 in the morning and reaching at 10pm at night. At around 10 am itself it started getting hot.
“Bhaiya AC on kar do!”
Sweating profusely sitting in the backseat, we timidly requested to the cab driver. The cab driver then made some addition to my general knowledge by informing me that AC cost is not included in the trip fare and that would cost another Rs. 500/- separately. I bet that in that moment you’d pay even 2000 extra for some cold relief.
“Haan thik hai. On kar do. Warna Manali tak hamara sizzler ban jayega”
There’s also a good chance that you’ll get stuck in traffic for at least for 4-5 hours since that road sees these kind of jams everyday. When stuck in such jams, the drivers are reluctant to turn on the AC, despite of you having paid extra for the AC. That pretty much ruins half of your trip for you.
If you’re travelling from Chandigarh, you can book your cab to Manali here.
You’ll miss the snow!
In the summer, there is very little snow in Manali. Just a few white stretches scattered across in the Rohtang. As you’d expect everyone lines up to get their hands on those patches. Result? traffic jams lasting upto 4-5 hours! A couple in our hotel who went to Rohtang pass at 10 am had not yet returned by 6pm. And yet, the travel agent in the hotel lobby was expecting that we’ll pay him right away to visit Rohtang the next day.
“Saab, aap Rohtang nahi jayenge? Yaha to sab barf dekhne hi aate hai.”
“Oh Acha? Sorry yar! Hum to bas chillax karne aye hai (Sorry face)”
We decided to make the most of the excellent family suite which was allotted to us in the hotel, just taking in the breathtaking view from the room. That turned out to be quite a wise decision.
Thankfully our trip wasn’t all too bad. We thoroughly enjoyed the river rafting in Kullu. We booked a separate cab to drive us within Manali and to Kullu. If you want to try your luck you can book a cab for Rohtang pass using this link.
We also got an amazing hotel room, an entire family suite actually, with a breathtaking view. It was simply mesmerising
So if you’re looking to visit a cold place in summer, unless you think you can get any luckier, I’d say something like Munnar would be a much wiser choice than Manali. Else just visit Manali in Winter and enjoy the stunning view of snow clad mountains to your heart’s content. You’re welcome.