Manali Mafias!

In search of Peace! Wanderlust! Keeps Exploring! Logical! Outgoing! Capricious! Travel is life! Fitness! Pluviophile! Pet love!

Dhiva Haran is an avid trekker, a valued member of the Junoon family. On our website here, we are posting a highly engaging, entertaining, thrilling account of Dhiva’s travels with Junoon Adventure, in his own words. We give him full credit for writing this blog. – Team Junoon

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” Himalayas would be in everyone’s bucket list who would love to travel and explore, so that’s how it all started and Coimbatore Adventure Club fuelled it well along with Junoon Adventure. It was a second time for few of us and we had an idea of the preparations to be done before the trek and for the first timers Junoon monitors their activity levels even a month before the trek. After lots of shopping and expectations we boarded to Delhi from multiple locations. CAC has done lots of ground work to make our journey smooth and assemble in a single place without any hustles. Delhi was not as hot as we expected and reached Vidhan Sabha where our bus starts to Manali. Lot of new faces and not much interactions as we started our journey and when it gets late past the night everyone was hungry and at last stopped for dinner around 10.30 at haveli in Ambala where our hunger needs were satisfied ?
Our Journey continued after dinner and we stopped at a place around 6AM to refresh ourselves somewhere in the mid of the hills from where Manali was around 70Kms. It started raining and I remembered the people who kept on sending the weather updates in the groups 😛 . It was pouring heavily and we reached Manali around 8 and were transferring our bags to the vehicles and started to the hotel. It was a beautiful view behind the hotel and even before getting ready multiple photo shoots were happening with the snow-capped mountains. We started for the rafting and it was a freezing experience to raft in Manali, now I got to know that we should never sit in the front for rafting. Guys on the front were totally drenched in the waters of beas river and it was a good ride. It was not Junoon’s hospitality that day so we were hungry again and stopped by a river side restaurant. I had a list of things to eat n buy and trout fish was one of that so the first thing we asked was trout fish and as expected it was an Amazingg fish ?. After chasing the puppies over there we started back to hotel and few went for shopping. Manali is a nice place where you get nice momo’s, Jamoons, Rasgullas, after trying all of it and little shopping we were back to the rooms where we were told to be ready the next day to start to the base camp.

We started to the base camp with packed bags and CAC tags and after an hour of drive we reached close by base camp where we were welcomed by Yog sir, Rupanjali mam, Ranu mam, Mishi mam. We had a briefing about the do’s and don’ts as the camp is inside an apple orchid. We reached the camp after a short walk and it was literally a camp inside apple orchids surrounded by a chain of mountain views and valleys. Then we went to the nearby Nag temple after a short trek and played the Junoon’s number game and there was no fight this time ?. The temple had many restrictions like outsiders were not allowed and no one is allowed to carry any form of leather products according to the customs of the people who live there. We were back to the base camp where team Junoon is always ready to fill our tummy’s with unexpected cuisines. Then we started the CAC’s own Mafia game, it was getting better and better after multiple rounds and can say we were addicted to it and the spectators had a laughter of their life. It was always Besant who was conducting it and Sandy for few times. As it gets late the temperature began to dip and dip and we were playing Mafia outside our tents even in 5degrees of temperature. I was wondering how would be the climate in the top when its already freezing in the base camp.
The next day we started for the acclimatization trek after a scrumptious breakfast. We had multiple photo sessions with the beautiful backdrops of the mountains and Yog sir was watching everyone for their pace for the next day’s trek. We settled down in a place to get some instructions on the trek to top camp by Yog sir in a pine tree forest and under the sun to acclimatize to the top camp. We proceeded to the base camp and went for the rope activity after lunch. It was monkey crawling, looked easy in the beginning, but required lot of stamina to complete it. It was even easy crawling for me than getting up and down on the rope. It was a nice experience and almost everyone tried attempting. Mafia continues again after reaching the base camp and especially the kids were very much interested, hope they are playing even now with their friends. We had a big fun on the game with our hindi teachers, singers and Mafia’s ?

The day began to trek to the top, packed our bags with Junoon tags and mule bags and started our off-road ride. It was a ride through multiple hair pin bends and few took an open jeep ride. We were dropped by a river side and started trekking from there after clicking the views. It was a dense forest with full of walnut and chest nut trees. As yog sir said we started collecting walnuts enroute the top camp. After posing with the skulls in the forests and trekking uphill we reached the big rock. Though we had many rocks our guide Sanjeev bhai finally showed us the first resting point – The big rock. More and more of walnut trees as we progress and we near the Duhangan river which is a restricted place as the power plant constructions are going on. After everyone reached the spot, we started to trek again crossing a broken metal bridge where the water gushes down beneath the bridge. The landscape totally changed from walnut to Maple trees. I had never seen Maple trees anywhere other the flags and dint knew India has it too. It was a beautiful valley of Maple trees with different shades of greenery. We had to gain 600mts to reach to the top and after crossing the glacier one by one we had our packed poori’s alongside the glacier. We reached the top camp around 3pm and it was a beautiful campsite tucked down by mountains from all sides. The top camp had a 360 view of the snow peaks along a river. Team Junoon welcomed us with rooh afza near the top camp and lunch was ready by the time we reached. It started raining heavily as we reached and we rushed to our tents, Besant had a tough time allotting tents in the rain. Many didn’t come for the lunch as it was pouring heavily. One can see the dense clouds passing from the valley which we crossed and it was raining continuously. We had a soup in the evening and it was the tastiest ever as were already frozen in the cold and rain. Rain slowed down and we had a camp fire to beat the cold, one could even place the hands on fire and it dint hurt us, it was freezing cold due to rains and managed to have dinner also in the rains. As it started raining heavily again we were back to our tents and sleeping bags were provided to sleep.
Around 3AM the next day we felt like something is falling on our tents, it was continuously falling on our tents and I can feel the tent is shrinking and I am not able to stretch my legs completely which I could do when I slept. We came to know it was a snow fall and it started to shrink our tents, team Junoon had removed the snows from our tents around 3am and we never knew it till next day. Around 5am when we got some light outside, I just peeped outside, it was like a white carpet on our campsite. The whole area is covered by snow and we were awestruck for a moment watching the campsite and mountains with dense snow. Experiencing the snow fall in a camp site is very rare and we were lucky to have it. The game begins there with snow, everyone woke up to this beautiful view and started playing with the snow. We started hitting on others, taking endless photos of the snow and the temperature had dipped to -7degress and we removed the snow out of tents. We made a snow man and waiting for the sun rise to make us warm. We had multiple activities as the day progressed, we could see the snow melting for the light slowly and it was clear by the noon. We had dancing sessions, salsa classes, and much more. We went for a short trek and took groupies. We had an awesome Chinese feast that night for dinner and Junoon never fails to surprise us on foods. Camp fire was put and antakshari was on, everyone knows one person managed a team whatever the song it is ?. That was an unforgettable day where we witnessed snow fall and blessed to see the fresh snow falling on us.

Next day after breakfast and group photos we descended down where Yog sir who always has a bundle of information about the place told us about the Nag chathri’s which grows on these mountains sold to foreign countries at a very high price, Maple leaves and woods, Tibetian tea leaves in the mountains, about the geological importance of the place, Cross pollination, grafting, poisonous mushrooms growing on the dead trees, Bara bangla ranges, the triangular Hanuman tibba, and many other plants used for cosmetics from the Himalayas. And also about the formation of mountains, molten rocks, carbon dating and it keeps going. Overall it was a learning experience and we are yet to find answers to his questions. We reached the base camp and first thing I showed to Mishi mam was the snow-capped campsite and they are literally jealous of us who were so lucky to see a fresh snow fall. We also had Ajith sir and Bharthi mam who hosted the Dishkiyom game and we played Mafia till late night, actually till some Mafia’s slept in the game ?
The last day…we started missing the place, fun, people around us, food by Junoon. Started back to Manali for shopping and ended up spending time in café 1947. It was a nice place to hang out in Manali and boarded bus to Delhi after doing some pass time saffron business in bus stand ?
Thanks to CAC for the pain staking preparations right from booking tickets for the trip and bringing us back to our homes safe and making everyone feel to come back again and again to meet such wonderful people in exotic locations.

Yes! we are the Mafia’s who stormed into Himalayas for the quench of wanderlust!! ”


Thank you, Dhiva, for such an amazing blogpost! – Team Junoon