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Since 1st March, 1999
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White wonder
The author at Manali

This March, a couple of friends and I had gone to Manali. It had snowed just before we reached and it was beautiful. It was off-season, so rooms were easy to get and affordable as well. We found a delightful log cabin a little above the town, which was surrounded by snow. It was wonderfully cold and we warmed ourselves as well as chilled our alcohol by putting it in the snow. We tried to visit Rohtang Pass but it was frozen, so we went to Madhi, which is before Rohtang Pass. There, we had one of the best meals — a simple dish of steaming hot Maggi on the mountain slope with our chairs dug into the snow. Madhi is the last point for cars; it is pristine and gorgeous.

The off-season is a great time to go to popular hill stations, since locals are chatty and make the most of the stragglers around. We got some great deals at the Manali market where one could pick up anything from carpets to Buddha figurines.

Another place that was on our must-visit list was Malhana, where the locals are rumoured to have descended from Alexander’s army. It is also famous for its marijuana plantations that attract a large part of the hippie brigade. On our way there it started snowing and made us abort our attempt.

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