As a an avid travel enthusiast, I ensure that I set aside at least 2-3 weeks every year to live my travel fantasies. As an Indian, I truly believe that the natural riches offered by this single country encompasses all that nature has to offer. From expansive desert lands, verdant forests, a large coastline with sparkling sea-faces and numerous beaches, freshwater lakes, rivers, hills and mountain ranges of gigantic proportions, India offers the traveler, whether international or domestic, a whole spoil of choices.
At a personal level, one of my all-time favourite tourist destinations in India is Manali, a beautiful hill station tucked away in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh. Not only does this destination offer tourists a wide range of activities such as adventure sports (skiing, white water rafting, para-gliding, etc.), trekking, cycling, angling, it also encourages numerous leisure activities such as shopping, pubs suited to all budgets, clubs, local festivals and quite importantly (for foodies like myself), an array of mouth-watering international cuisines. The fresh trout sourced from the waters of the Beas, a mighty northern Indian glacial river, tastes delectable when grilled and braised with butter, and is on the bucket list of most travelers who enjoy freshwater fish. But then, that’s me and don’t worry if your culinary tastes differ from mine, because there is food to cater to all palates. Whether you like Chinese, Tibetian, Lebanese, Continental, Japanese, Indian, German, French or Italian, you are sure to discover the restaurant of your choice here.
There are a large number of tourist attractions in and around Manali, and you would be best advised to carry an extra pair of batteries for your camera. The mystical Asura temple, whose resident deity, the mythical Devi Hadimba draws a large number of tourists, it is primarily and regularly visited by the locals whose reverence for the temple and its resident deity is unshakeable. The quaint bylanes of Old Manali is a treat for the shopper looking for exotic buys at great bargains, lined by a large number of eateries and bars. Additionally, one must also remember to indulge in a morning shower at the natural hot springs geysers of Vashisht, a therapeutic stream of mineral rich natural spring water, known to refresh and rejuvenate both the mind and the body. The perennially snow draped Rohtang Pass, about 50km north of Manali, is a big draw by itself, along with similar points such as the Beas Nallah, Solang Valley, Manikaran, Kasol and Malana, all a drive away from Manali. The beautiful Kullu valley close to Manali, is characterized by large green meadows carpeted by flowers of numerous hues and shapes. The flora and fauna of this region is unparalleled, worldwide. There is a whole list of other attractions to look out for and it makes sense to be in hospitable company while visiting here, so that you may make the most of this trip.
While I have stayed at and enjoyed the hospitality of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) on my previous trips to Manali, I decided to try this new place called Kalpna by the RC Hospitality Group this time around. A reliable source assured me that not only is Kalpna great value for money, it was also a budget hotel with a difference. Eventually, it exceeded my expectations substantially. The staff was warm, hospitable and courteous. Every aspect of good service was well taken care of and the room itself looked out into a backyard replete with apple and peer orchards. The refreshing view further opened up to expose beautiful green hillsides topped with an icing of snow. The other side revealed a part of the Hadimba Temple complex and the overall ambiance was one of tranquil serenity and had a calming effect on my mind. The staff had everything ready at a moment’s notice and even though I knew my way around the town, I was happy to consult the manager for tips, since his friendly and hospitable nature by itself was a big plus. The well appointed dining area was spacious and the food, even though I mostly ate outside, was to my taste. Overall, I would recommend Kalpna highly with over 4 stars. I hope to be back here soon.
For more details, visit: http://www.kalpanamanali.com/
Radhika Mohan Singh Roy
Radhika Mohan Singh Roy is a Digital Marketing professional and an avid traveler.He has traveled extensively across India and when he is not busy with his corporate calling, he loves to travel, explore and meet new people and know about their cultures.