It was the third and the last day in Manali. In the two days we had been there the temperature had dropped and we felt it while having our breakfast. However it only heightened our hope to witness a snowfall. Since there was nothing much planned for the day we went back to the Mall Road in Manali. It had started coming to life by the time we reached there. Bright sun had added some warmth to what was a very chilling morning to begin with, so people had now started venturing out. So what do you do in such a setting, quite obviously for teaholics like us it was a hot cup of tea.We went to one of the restaurants which was already operated in full steam and satiated our desire. Topped it up with somes Jalebis too.
We strolled up and down the road for sometime. The crowd had already started swelling up, another busy day on the Mall road in Manali had well and truly begun. The shops had opened up, enticing with their glittering and colourful displays. After the slumber of a chilly winter morning the energy and chatter was back, fuelled by warmth of the bright sun. Since we were here we thought of getting some souvenirs for the folks back home, so we entered a local hosiery where we bought a few jackets and shawls. In another shop I got myself a thick sweater to add to an inadequate set of woolens which I had brought along with me. We also got ourselves some woolen socks which proved to be a great buy for the remaining part of the trip. This short visit to mall road was rounded off with another visit to the German Bakery which had become our favourite on our first day’s visit. Finally we bid adieu to the milling crowd and decided to go to Naggar Castle which was also highlighted as one of the places to go to in most of the itineraries which we had researched on Manali.
We drove back on the Naggar – Manali road and went past our resort on the way, from where it took us about half an hour to reach Naggar. At what was probably the only square in this small hamlet we got off the main road and climbed up a narrow meandering lane which ultimately took us to the castle. The moment you got out you realised why Raja Sidh Singh would have chosen this spot for his place of residence. Perched on a hill top it was relatively secure but the beautiful and panoramic view of the valley with Beas river flowing through must definitely have been the deal clincher for this piece of real estate.
The castle itself was very ornate built using the traditional Kathkuni style which only uses stones and wood in alternate layers. There are three shrines in the courtyard on the ground floor. On the first floor there is another courtyard surrounded by an array of rooms with beautifully carved wooden architecture. From the edge of this courtyard you can keep gazing at the the wonderful sight of the valley, the mountains and the river flowing through.
Just outside the castle a tapri was where we had our “lunch”. It comprised of Maggi, tea and Siddu – a local dish. Siddu was like Himachali version of a Bao. On the corner there was a little bakery, so cute and charming it was that we had to go in. And bakeries on any hill station almost never disappoint.
Our excursion for the day was over. It had started getting chilly and it was time to get back to the comforts of our heated room in La Ri Sa.