Searching for peace and new vistas as I have been and in between waiting for an audience with the spiritually might I thought I’d head up further into the hills to Manali and since I am in the vicinity. Manali is a small town in the Kullu Valleyat at an altitude of 2,050 m (6,726 ft). A popular tourist destination it is a sort of a gateway to the hills. In ancient times it was the start of a hill route for trade an commerce to Ladakh. It was a seven hour drive and I thought I’d hire a car for this leg of the journey. Got there dead tired and checked into the hotel Picadilly at Rs 2500, about US$ 40 per night. The food was passable but they seem to have no fish or lamb which I suddenly had such craving for seeing all the fishing venues here. I crashed as soon as I checked in and woke up late into the afternoon the next day. Ordered a meal of Chicken Soup and fired rice and set out by about five in the evening. The taxi driver said that only the Hidimba Devi temple would be open about now and perhaps we could look in.
We drove up through the crowded marketplace to the temple to Hidimba at Manali. I was greeted by old women selling prasad and carrying rabbits for sale it seemed. I took a picture with the huge rabbit in my hand .
I strolled up the green garden path was the Temple and followed a huge line of devotee’s waiting for darshan. The temple was built like a pagoda with Yak horns lining the walls. Near the temple was the Ghatotkach rock. Ghatotkach a huge demon giant was the son of Bheem, one of the Pandav’s from the great Hindu mythological war story Mahabharata and himself huge and a female rakshasa (demon) called Hidimbi brother of Hidimba .
During the great war Mahabharat this giant demon came to the aid of the Pandava’s (the five righteous brothers) and decimated the Kauravas (the hundred ‘not so righteous’ brothers) armies. Duryodhan the eldest born among the hundred brothers panicked and asked Karna the brave warrior to use his Brahmastra (the divine weapon aka goin’ nuclear) to kill Ghatotkach. Karna was saving the Brahamastra (the nuclear option) for Arjuna one of the Pandavas and someone he especially despised but now he had to use it to kill Ghatotkach and he could use it only once.
Bellow flowed the vibrant Beas River as the sky light’s up with snow peaked mountain’s. After taking photo’s with Yak’s i strolled into the market enjoying chat and cold drink’s. Manali was just seeping in, I think I will cancel (nay reschedule) my trip to the Rohtang Pass and enjoy some trout fish here at Manali. My dear friend Arun Wali had suggested that I should try the local baked trout and that is just what I am now looking forward to next – a small culinary adventure perhaps! I am also keen to explore the Manikaran temples here also. So here’s three cheer’s to Manali.