Published: August 19th 2012July 26th 2012
The excitement started off with me getting a call from the HP tourism office saying that my bus had been preponed by one hour. I finished my work as fast as I could and rushed to the booking office in Central Delhi. The bus left at 6:30 in the evening.
After a rather uneventful 14 hours, I reached Manali. It has just rained and the weather was gloomy. I checked into my hotel and called up the paragliding company. I was disappointed when they told me that it was still raining at Solang valley and there was thick fog too; making paragliding not possible. Nonetheless, I decided to venture out.
I had my breakfast and boarded a local bus that took me to Solang valley, 13 kilometres from Manali. With nothing much to do, I stood at a corner and had a look around. The mountains with thick forests with clouds passing through them, made for an amazing view. It stopped raining and I called up the paragliding company once again. They told me, that with thick fog still hovering over the high mountains, they were willing to organise only the 'short time' paragliding. Something was better than nothing
and I was happy.
I trekked up the mountains with my bag. Since it had just rained, the grass was a bit slippery and the mud was wet. Once I was on the top, I took a breather. I was harnessed up with my bagpack in front of me. There was just one simple instruction: run as fast and hard as you can, without stopping.
I was just taking my time to enjoy the view, when I came to know that my turn was next. They shouted 'Go! Run, run, run !!!!' With all my adrenaline pumped up, I started running. As my chute got inflated, I could feel the resistance of the air. I put in all the force that I had, kept on running and reached the edge of the cliff. With the next step that I took, I was airborne.
I shouted in excitement as I looked down and saw tiny figures of people looking straight up towards me. I could hear people cheering me up. I looked straight ahead and could see the farthest parts of Manali, all beautiful. It was a wonderful ride that ended with a landing that was a bit
rough. I was fairly happy with the experience although it may not have been as intense as the other adventure stuff that I have done before.
I got back to my hotel and had lunch. With the entire evening to myself, I thought of visiting the Hadimba temple. Since it was just two kilometres away, I decided to walk. What I did not know was that it was an uphill stretch. It was tiring and I had to take a break in between; but eventually I reached the temple. By the time I got back, it was dark.
I had my dinner and went off to sleep. My short stint at Manali was over. The much awaited trip to Ladakh was to begin the next day.