Girl At The Window Seat

To the many firsts! My First Snowfall Experience in Manali

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Have you ever felt that longing for that feeling to be sufficient? That longing for “skipped a heartbeat” moment? or That one moment where a trickle from your eyes makes everything blur yet so real?
That one moment was when I experienced snowfall for the first time! I know it sounds too dramatic for a snowfall experience. But hear me out when I say that it is going to be 26 years of my life, some 16 years of traveling (of course with parents in the initial ones). Visited all kinds of landscapes, – from beaches in the South to Deserts of Rajasthan, to Mountains and cityscapes. But never snowfall! My heart was all pumped up to experience my first snowfall. 
The reason for me being too extra for the snowfall is because I had pictured it so much that they want, the craving was nowhere dying. I know sometimes social media kills everything. Each moment or emotion you would want to experience gets smashed from the regular Instagram stories and overdone reels! But my emotions towards certain things are unshaken. Thence the first experience was pure like an untouched crystal.
I had planned of visiting mountains – post lockdown lifting. Well, the time I thought of it snowfall wasn’t in the picture, I just wanted to travel and be back to my senses!
“We have three destination options and we can choose two of them for this trip”, said my delightful and most passionate co-traveler Utkarsh.
“Shimla, Manali, and Bir. And I really want to visit Manali. So you can choose the other.”
“Hmmph… let’s do Bir then! Bir, Dharamshala, and Mcleodganj, sounds like a plan?” stated me.
“Yup…we can do that.”
“Also, we can decide this when in Manali…”
So, in a way except for knowing the three options we had nothing planned. Which was the perfect thing to happen. Unplanned trips come out with the best stories!
Remember that spider story? The spider trying to climb up the wall and failing again and again. Something on those lines, things happened with us. The day we thought will reach Solang and cross Atal Tunnel and be in Keelong – it took ages to reach Solang.
Squeezing all our patients and spending hours in the jam just to hear, “Atal Tunnel will be closed for 3 days!”

At this point, I was disheartened. But traveling has taught me one thing and that not to react all of a sudden, think for a while and you will have the picture much clearer. So, we knew that there are 100% chances of experiencing snowfall – that’s what the weather report told us. So, we went all the way down to Manali – spending yet another 2 hours in the traffic jam. 

The Other Day

All three of us knew that there would be snowfall soon. So, each time anyone of us woke up at night checked the balcony. Funny! But there was not a single snowflake. So, slowly we were doing our morning chores and then decided to go up again to Solang Valley.

Spending yet another 2hours in the traffic, we also got ourselves some jumpsuits and boots to cover ourselves up. Also, special mention – when going to Solang, if you need to buy yourselves coverups – do go at Shop no. 777. There is a short story related to it – you can listen to that on my vlog up on my Youtube Channel.

So, as soon as we reached the parking space – to the top – the rainfall changed to snowfall! Woah! Wasn’t that the smoothest transition? It was indeed. The snowfall falling from the sky, the chills you feel, the beauty of nature you realize! The beauty of nature is incomparable, and however straightforward it may sound – no lens except for your eyes can do no justice to the scenic beauty. The moment I experienced the snowfall – I had trickles in my eyes, a huge smile on my face, and a weird ultrasonic shrill came out of my mouth!

Look up in the sky, you see snowfall, 
the cotton-y texture with cold vibe falling your face – 
unable to open your eyes, 
you have that bright smile welcoming the beautiful flake!

The snowfall became thick and dense in some 10 to 15 minutes. Little did I know that snowfall and all is nice and sweet, but when it comes to you being away from your hotel during a continuous snowfall – you aren’t much in command. As they say, “While driving in snowfall, you don’t drive the car, the mountains drive it, rather the snow.”

Well, we did our part of the work to return to our car but it was too late. Contemplating and enjoying the snow for like 8 hours or so, we decided to move our feet to somewhere safe. The snowfall was not going to stop. We left our car in the parking itself, and went ahead and booked ourselves a room “Solang Valley Resort” – pass….too pricey but need of the hour!

While on our way to the resort – walking – we made a lot of life decisions, discussed a lot of universal facts! Ha! Wish you could hear them all. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our snowfall. Nature changes its color so smoothly, so effortlessly! The browns changes to whites, the luscious green tree was all cladded with white fresh, cotton-y snow. The strong and huge mountain was looking no less than a black forest pastry! Ah! how magnificent the view was.

(Ah! My laptop’s blurry! No Aanya! That’s your eyes missing the mountains way too much! Anyway…..)

The moment we woke up all our eyes were yet again on the windows to our balcony. Hahaha! I think that’s a one-of-a-kind vicious circle! Well, the view from the balcony was soooo beautiful and such a beauty! I can not explain in my photographs, neither the words will do justice. 

After some delicious breakfast and a stomach full of food, we decided to move ahead towards our car. Now! stepping down isn’t a task, but climbing upwards is! We all took that lesson in our 3rd grade. Fortunately, a gypsy driver stopped us and asked if we needed the gypsy to take us up to the car-parking. Well, he charged us Rs. 500 INR and also, advised us to take a driver with us who can help us reach us to Manali. Well, this is yet another lesson – take a driver with you if you get stuck in snow on the mountains! They know the roads, they know the place, they know the car! Leave it to them.

Our driver said a very nice thing, “Car need not be 4-wheel drive, the driver should be!” (“Gaadi bhale hi 4-wheel drive nhi hai, banda hona chahiye!”)

On that note, finding our car was yet another task for us, why? Everything was white! Our eyes could see no other color – not exaggerating at all. But I must tell you this was all so wonderful, now that I think of it. I have a freaking”Snowfall” story.

We found our car and with the help of the driver bhaiya we were able to move our car on the road and then to Manali!

What an amazing experience it was! The memories I made are irreplaceable. Each moment counts and every time I look back to these pictures, it gives me satisfaction, a smile, inner peace like none!

Well, if you would like to read more about my travel journeys, my travel stories, and more first time experiences – click here!

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