As mentioned in my previous post, we reached Manali on the 20th July. Our trek start date was 22nd July and we had 2 days in hand. The first day was spent researching on all the possible transport modes available for our trek. We needed transport up to Jorba to begin the Hampta pass trek, then from Chatru to Batal/ Chandrataal lake and then lastly from Baralacha La to Leh. While we inquired we a lot of people, there were only a few people who were falling in our budget. We spent an entire afternoon doing the research and realized that transport is easily available upto Jorba, but there is minimal transportation available from Chatru. There is only one bus which passes through the area and all taxi guys will charge the entire fare from Manali to Batal/ Chandrataal. Lastly, pick up from Baralacha La is available, but again we would end up paying the entire fare from Manali to Leh. After returning back to the hotel, i spoke with the owner of the hotel to see if he has any contacts with any taxi drivers. In the mean time, our spirits were also lifted when Saurav called and mentioned he would be joining us for the trek. But now instead of starting on the 22nd,we would be starting on the 23rd. But the delay was something which we were all willing to accept.
The second day we decided to do local sight seeing and went to Van Vihar and enjoyed walking on the forest trail which led to the Beas river bank. I have never seen the river so closely and with such force. Apparently, it rains heavily during June-Aug and with the snow melting up on the mountains, it only added to the more to the river current.
After spending sometime at the Van Vihar, we went to the Tibetan monastery which is across the street. I had come to the monastery a couple of years ago, but the main temple was closed and i wasn’t able to go inside and see the temple. This time around we had reached during the afternoon tea time and the temple was open. I found the temple to be very peaceful and even though the priests were saying their prayers, it was very serene. We spent some time at the temple and then decided to head back to the hotel.
In the evening i decided to go and see the Hadimba temple. The climb to the temple was quite steep, but I felt it was worth it. Again, the temple surroundings have been very well maintained and are neat and clean. After offering my prayers to the Goddess, I walked out and had one of the best tea’s in Manali. The guy is right outside the Manali temple and is the last shop if you are coming from the temple.
Saurav joined us on the morning of the 22nd and the remaining day was spent buying last minute items for the trek. Our bags were packed, the transport to drop point arranged, all last minute items brought and packs, finally we were ready at last to begin the adventire.adventure.