The Himalayas have a lot to offer and there's no way you're going to be satisfied with just one visit. Each trip demands for another one. Every direction in the Himalayas take you on an endless path; all so mesmerizingly beautiful. My trip was no less. The sound of river Parvati echoes in my ears, imagining my feet in the chilled water, I tremble and the vision of snow clad mountains make me hallucinate. Taking ten days out of my methodical routine, I was ready for a one of its kind trip. A journey to Kasol-Manikaran-Tosh-Pulga-Kullu and Manali. This journey was special..all the more because it was planned with my best friends. Three girls on a trip to the mountains with endless energy and thoughts full of adventure, the trip was ought to have it all!
However, leaving aside everything (that was my MO anyways), I'm going to go ahead describing why this place needs your immediate attention! One of the destinations on my list...Pulga, a village situated at a height of 9498 feet above sea level; also known as "Fairy Forest" because of the dense deodar jungle located right next to the village is a heaven untouched, raw and not experienced by many. The journey to Pulga starts with taking a local HRTC bus to Barsheni which is the last stop in Parvati Valley. Thereafter, you can either walk downhill for another hour or take a cab for INR 150 to reach Pulga trek start point. The trek to Pulga is of beginners level unless you don't mind hopping rocks on narrow trails, crossing bridges and natural water fountains, losing count of numerous huge trees and playing touch me not with the unlimited horse poop on your way.
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The first thing you notice on entering the village are the uniquely built wooden houses with a stock of wooden logs used as firewood throughout the year. The village has open pastures and tree plantation which is the main source of income for the residents of Pulga. There are a few general stores which sell all type of basic stuffs along with weed, YES, you read it right!!
A walk through the village gives you an insight on the low population of the village and how only a few tourists visit this place; which indeed, is the best part! It is surprising to see how seamlessly you settle to the local traditions and lifestyle. Another common site is Pahadi children giggling and having a gala time is worth staring at! The village has a couple of restaurants, all majorly catering to global travelers. Nevertheless, you can expect some homely food items like dal, paneer, and simple potato dishes to those who crave for desi khana.
I chose to stay at High Mountain View, an accommodation for INR 100 per night. Yeah, that reasonable! The room was a small cozy one with single bulb and Lord Shiva's picture covering the entire wall. A typical set up leading into tranquility. The temperature here even during the summers is 15 to 20 degree; nice and pleasant. The menu card was decently priced and the food served was better than my expectations! I didn't enquire around but the accommodation rates should be similar throughout the village. I became friends with Bhaijee- the property owner who was very helpful, welcoming and sweet. He lives in the mountains for six months, goes to city for living and comes back. He gave me some crazy insights on this secluded party that was happening deep inside the forest, about a haunted part of the village and several other stories. We spent the night star gazing. Bhaijee had a telescope and there it all started...The space scientist in us evolved! Apparently, we also saw a planet. It was Pluto, Bhaijee insisted.
Sadly I just had one night at Pulga. The following day demanded a visit to Kullu. But, I was lucky... Lucky because it was a full moon night and Pahadis celebrate full moon nights in high spirits. It's the best time to be atop hills like Pulga where such nights are lit! You're no way close to civilization; rather are closest to the nature. The village witnesses a number of parties and is a great place for people who like to socialise. Travelers often converse over a campfire taking back innumerable tales.
Past the dawn, I decided to get some rest. Just as I slipped inside the heated blanket, I noticed how nights here are so slow. No car horns, no sparkling lights and no rush of time. Silent surroundings and pitch dark view. All you may hear is music playing in background of your mind from the remotest distance. This indeed is the best feeling, the best time to be yourself! I realised how important it is for all of us to visit places like Pulga. Places that push you out of your comfort zone, teach you to make adjustments and help you recognise your strengths. Places that help you attain peace which we often miss out in our city lives...
Thoughts flooded with no intentions of an end and a line from a poem struck my mind...
Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?