Manali beyond the obvious

Have you ever been soul stirred by a place? Beyond the glittering nights in Old Manali, the hustle bustle of mall road, there lies an unexplored oasis of peace- Naggar. It’s not for its ancient temples, the carved pillars, the quaint abodes that I say so, but  for its unrestricted wild winds, the cheerful aura, the stories that this place hums of.

Just a quick drive of an hour from Manali mall road can  open a world so different from where we belong. Riding amidst apple orchards, Deodar forest and fleeting by quaint hamlet of Sajla you will plunge into the beauty of Himachal countryside.

It’s time to get off the grid and explore beyond the obvious! I’ll let the pictures do the talking now:

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Gauri Shankar Temple, Naggar. Created between Eleventh to Twelfth century

A ten minutes uphill hike from the Naggar market to this temple is just the beginning of a day long adventure! Don’t miss on the intricate pillar carvings of this ancient one!

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Besides the point: A traditional Kath- ki- Kunni house right beside the temple!

If only eyes could click photographs and preserve them in some memory memoir! This is what I wished for when I captured what the view from the temple looks like. Leaving it for your imagination to picture…

Another 10 minutes walk further ahead, leads to Naggar castle. Constructed  by Raja Sidh in 1460 A.D, it was converted into a heritage hotel in 1978. Now it stands, in all its glory still intact, fancied by thousands of tourists every year.

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Welcome to Castle Naggar!
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Yes I mean it! Welcome to Castle Naggar!

The castle is a wonder created with wood and stone, built in local architecture called Kathkooni. Certain sections of the hotel can only be visited by residents, however the restaurant and the museum welcomes all. Steal some more glances to fall in love with this one:

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A Courtyard of Romantic Escapades!
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The castle rewards all its visitors with an overwhelming view of Kully Valley

I’ve always felt that tea cups and mountains have an inseparable bond! The Naggar castle boasts of a restaurant  where you just can’t resist a cup of  tea!

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Chai?
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Pahadi by design!

Though it’ll be tempting to stay at the castle beyond experiencing the chai, you must head on for adventures ahead!

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Shopping? Try the local market!

The local market welcomes all with a vibrant cheerfulness: embrace it! From apparel to desi wines to just a stroll, its worth it all!

For lunch one should head straight to Pizzeria for an “oh-just-can’t-get-enough Pizza”! If you haven’t tried the brick oven pizza, you must be up for this one!

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Brick oven pizza a real synonym for heaven!
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This is how they make it!

After this pizza of a lifetime, if you are up for a short trek, then don’t miss on this beautiful Himalayan tail that leads to the  Krishan temple in the middle of a forest! Adjacent to Pizzeria, goes a tiny trail which can turn into an unexpected wonder!

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A tiny trail may lead to great exploration!

 

 An easy hike with a few uphill patches in between leads to the temple.
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Hike easy! Enjoy the view!
The peacefully wrinkled face of an old priest will welcome you to narrate the interesting legend of this temple.
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Krishan temple and the ancient priest!
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Krishan Temple, Naggar
 While descending you may choose to visit the fascinating Roerich memorial, just 1 km walk from from the Castle. Nicholas Roerich was a Russian painter, writer and philosopher. He settled in Naggar in 1928 and stayed until his death in 1947.
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Not just another tree!
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It’s this guy’s place!
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Don’t even think about it! It’s safely guarded and your escape plan will fail.

I wish I could add some more photographs from Roerich estate, however, the house is locked and you can only peep in their lives through closed glass windows!

The last bus from Naggar bus stop is at around 7 P.M, catch it if you can or else the taxi drivers of Manali always have great stories to tell!

All in all, Naggar is full of happy surprises! While strolling across its ancient temples, classic castle, colourful alleys, amazing restaurants, and overwhelming mountains… you will find yourself smiling at the simplicity of being peaceful!

 

Photo Credit: GIO Adventures (Ankush Rawat and Ayushi Singh)

 

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