Say hello to Aakanksha – a happy-go-lucky travel enthusiast, who took a trip to Manali a.k.a. the land that puts everyone in a trance, and that too during the New Year celebration time! Accompanying a group-tour to Manali – she, along with her 6 other family members – availed the package for a total of INR 35,500. The tour package was inclusive of their accommodation, all transfers, and local tours. Having had a blast, this is what she has to share from her first-ever new year celebratory tour.
Browsing through my Facebook wall, I came across a friend’s update, confirming her presence in an event called “New year celebration – Manali Hills”. This immediately caught my attention and I felt compelled to add a spark to my usual New Year revelries. With numerous activities being offered at minimal prices, the package – offered by TravelTriangle, was a hard deal to resist. So, without wasting time, I booked the tickets for my family and became a part of the elaborate group tour, which all translated into a great experience.
Manali had something for every person irrespective of age, gender or interests. The destination was soothing to the eyes on one hand and an adrenaline rush on the other. Together on the tour, we were about 120 people. The number just added to the madness! TravelTriangle made sure that all the arrangements are made efficiently, economically and all in an extremely well-organized manner.
Day 1: How the journey began
We began our journey on December 30 at about 07:30 pm from Delhi in a bus. The older lot of my family faced a bit of trouble with regard to the leg space and comfort of the seats. However, the younger lot along with my friends from office was all set for the journey. The bus ride might have been long but was incredibly enjoyable. Time was spent chit-chatting, taking selfies and relaxing. It was a great time to get to know the people I spend my every day with, a little better.
Day 2: New Year is here
After a lot of delay, we finally made it to Hotel Trishul at 01:30 in the afternoon. The rooms were well maintained and comfortable. Hunger struck, all of us devoured the delicious lunch that was laid out for us in the hotel.
Sleep deprived, but filled with excitement, we revived our energies to go on the sightseeing tour. It started with the enchanting Hadimba temple, that was built with the hills in the background.
Amidst the beautiful scenery, we found some adorable rabbits to play with. This place really made our day. We then headed to the cultural clubhouse of Manali. We got to explore the delicious Himalayan cuisine, enjoy shopping and the listen to the local music.
Our next stop was the ever famous, Mall Road. We purchased a few souvenirs, woolens and tried the local chutney filled with red spices. We also bought a cake to cut since it was my father’s birthday. On returning to the hotel, we celebrated the same.
In the evening, we had a DJ and bonfire arranged for us to bring in 2016. The trip organizers had arranged for a delicious cake to be cut at midnight as well. The music was great, it got everyone’s feet tapping. On the whole, the night was the perfect goodbye to the year 2015.
Post dinner, the night ended for all the parents, however, we were all geared up to kick-start the year with a crazy after party. We sneaked out after they went to sleep. We made friends with another group of colleagues who had traveled all the way from Kolkata for this trip. We headed to mall road for a late night walk, greeting all those who passed us by. It was then I realized how warm the local people really were. The night finally ended at 4 am playing Antakshari and Dumb Charades, back at the hotel.
Day 3: Blown away by beauty
The day began with a struggle to wake up at 7 am. After a heavy breakfast, we were taken to the Solang Valley. The place was visually breathtaking.
We rented snowsuits and boots for the activities there. On our arrival, we took the trolley to the top of the hill. Covered completely with snow, the view was stunning. The natural beauty of the region left me speechless.
My friends and I also tried the various adventure sports there, such as the tube slide, skiing, paragliding and a few others. Although scary at first, the experience was definitely an exhilarating one.
We went back to being kids again, as we played in the snow and had snowball fights. Even my parents fell prey to the entire juvenile environment. I felt privileged to be able to spend this wonderful time with my loved ones.
After the valley tour, we headed back to Mall road for some last minute shopping. More souvenirs and gifts were bought. The entire atmosphere was of joy, as we danced on the streets and hugged the policemen on the street in lieu of the New Year. Post the exhausting day, we went back to the hotel. The evening was spent playing multiple rounds of dumb charades filled with lots of laughs.
Day 4: Falling in Love
The last day of our trip, we checked out of our hotel, early morning. We then made our way to the hot water spring in Manikaran Sahib. The experience was great as we fooled around in the water and just enjoyed each other’s company. The langar lunch at the Gurudwara was just amazing. We ate till we couldn’t move anymore. After our visit to Manikaran, we got back onto the bus to make our journey back home.
Looking back, this was one of the best trips of my life. After these four days, it was impossible not to fall in love with Manali. There was a perfect balance of spending time with family and friends in my holiday. This is what made the trip all the more special.
It was great to just enjoy the holiday without having to undergo the tedious process of planning and worrying about the bookings. TravelTriangle was efficient in planning my trip. It was incredibly economical without a compromise on the luxury. My next adventure involves camping again. Although a goodbye, for now, Manali will definitely be seeing me again!
Wow Moment: The warmth of the local people and all the delicious food we enjoyed!
Low Moment: The bus ride was a bit too long and uncomfortable for my parents.
Tips: Enjoy the local culture. Don’t miss out on any part of my experience- it’s a must visit.