Ladakh trip Day 2: 11th July – (Delhi – Solang Valley)

Thanks to the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department’s Volvo bus, we managed to reach by Manali by 9am. Solang is about 12 kms from Manali and is a better place to rest and unwind if you want to stay away from the crowd of Manali. The good thing about Solang is that – while it has a very decent scenic view, it also offers you actvities like horse riding and adventure sports like paragliding, zorbing, etc. We checked into our hotel and spent nearly an hour gazing and wondering at the view from our balcony – lush green grasslands inhabited by very few houses with horses and cows grazing peacefully amidst the tall deodar trees that appeared to be short and stocky in comparison to the gigantic snow clad mountain peaks behind them. Total awesomeness! When your mind is clogged up with images of city traffic and polluted streets, this kind of experience is indeed therapeutic.

My energy levels has always surprised me during holidays. In spite of spending some 14 odd hours in a bus, I had no qualms in surrendering myself to the idea of trekking to a lesser known picturesque spot. Must say that it was worth the effort. Since we intentionally didn’t want to keep track of time, we ended up spending some quality good time here just listening to the steady sound of the stream. Thankfully our guide was kind enough to wake us up from this temporary moment of bliss. On our way down we managed to take the help of a horse. The caretaker of the horses was kind enough to answer our silly questions pertaining to the existence of everything in Solang Valley. He told us about the dwindling scope of agriculture in the valley and how increasingly youngsters are shaping themselves to exploit the various opportunities offered by the tourism sector. Being a man from the old school of thought, he confessed to us that heavily relying on tourism can be dangerous; for he believed that youngsters ought to learn agriculture and treat it with respect. His own son who has completed M.A. is not keen on taking up agriculture seriously. His concerns about his son reminded me about the complex relationships between fathers and sons. Every father, whether he is an ordinary farmer or a business tycoon, wants his son to excel in greater measures than him. And this one tiny aspect of fatherhood keeps redefining the relationship between a father and a son across generations. Leave aside the constant battle between modern and traditional forms of thinking.

Bidding adieu to the old man, we found ourselves 3200 feet above Solang valley in a rope train. This has been the latest addition to the varied offerings in Solang. A ride costs about Rs.300 and it lasts for 20 minutes. Since we had never been on one before, this was a new experience for us. Good stuff. On our way back to hotel, we even managed to see a white Himalayan Rabbit. Needless to say, the lucky rabbit was a big hit with the ladies. We managed to reach our hotel by evening and tomorrow we are supposed to cross Rohtang Pass. After freshening up and having dinner we declare ourselves as tired. Surprisingly, I still have some stamina left to gaze at the stars. The valley looks equally enchanting at night. It seems as if the tall deodar trees have worn a velvety black gown and are slowly dancing to the slow rhythm of the mighty stream. I key in some lines on my iPhone and patiently wait for it to take shape of a new poem. But the mind is too distracted. The body is cosily adapting itself to these serene surroundings while the mind is still stuck at work, deadlines, unfinished  projects, etc. I guess this is the drawback of being passionate about one’s work. After a quick mail to my boss, I still find myself struggling to finish a line. Screw it. It’s time to sleep. I reach my cosy room and spread the curtains in opposite directions. Nothing should come between me and the mountains tonight. I look at the snow clad peaks and sleep. Forget the curtains, even the world cup finals couldn’t manage to be a hindrance tonight. Looking at the mountains, I managed to say a modest prayer for Spain and David Villa. This is a good night.

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~ by rb on July 26, 2010.

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