I still remember the silence up there, the sight of an eagle soaring above its kingdom, how the white horse I met and I stood in front of each other on the mountainside, holding close eye contact for god knows how long. I remember the sweet mangoes, the smell of pine, the lovely people with softness in their eyes and the conversations we had using solely body language and face expressions. I would return to the Himalayas in a heartbeat.
Our 3 week trip started in Mumbai, where we got the night train to Goa. I quickly realised that May was not the ideal time to be traveling in the more southern parts of India since the heat was overwhelming and everything was closing in preparation for rain season. So we decided to head to the north-east, towards the Himalayas. Now, this is not the easiest task. We got the train back to Mumbai, flew to New Delhi, and then got on a 12 hour bus ride. It was a slightly tormenting journey, but beautiful in its own way.
We finally arrived in Manali, a small town surrounded by valleys and mountains in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It was high season in this part of India, with a perfect temperature of about 25 degrees celsius.
Manali is vibrant, full of markets, people and little restaurants. I remember eating the sweetest mangoes I’ve ever tasted, and some great indian food too.
Since Manali has a pretty touristy vibe, we hopped on a rickshaw and went to Jagatsukh, a tiny mountain village surrounded by temples, pine trees and rivers flowing in every direction. I got a sense of stillness and moodiness in Jakatsukh, that I wouldn’t have expected to find in India.
We stayed at The Lost Tribe, a backpacker hostel that very much reminded me of Peter Pan and his lost boys. During our days there, I specifically remember our little hikes up the mountain, and getting momos (Indian dumplings) regularly from an old local man. He was lovely and so was the chili sauce. You’ve probably heard it before, but I really believe that trying local, hole-in-the-wall-type places are a must when it comes to food.
Last but not least (and probably the best part of our trip) was our three day trek in the mountains. Sadly I don’t remember the name of the trekking route we did. But don’t despair - there are countless beautiful routes around this area. We went through pine tree forests, over green hills, stones and streams, across slippery slopes and finally up the snowy mountain tops. Over 4000 m above sea level. It was surreal.
Something that sticks out to me during these three days, were all the peculiar and beautiful animals I encountered along the way. The horses that ran free, the goats and deer and the massive birds that soared high above. And of course the very friendly people we met who live simple and quiet lives up in the mountains.
I’d return to this place in a heartbeat, for the incredible nature, the food and the people.