We started the day off to my sister having a stomach infection. She blamed the lunch yesterday, but the rest of us were fine. She could unfortunately not enjoy the heavenly breakfast that was prepared for us!
After breakfast, we left my sister to rest in the cottage, and headed to the town of Vashisht, a 20 min drive from Manali. Our driver was somewhat on time today and drove us there. He dropped us at the bottom of a hill at a parking lot, and pointed us in the direction of the temple, and waterfall trail.
After a 5 min uphill walk, we were at a small, old-ish looking temple for the sage Vashisht. The temple claims to have hot springs that you could bathe in, but one look at the bathing area and we decided it was best to not get into it. There were separate bathing areas for men and women, but it could have been maintained better. The entire women’s bath area was slippery, with several women using soap in the baths, and washing clothes. I suppose it serves a local purpose as opposed to a tourist one.
After spending a few minutes in the small temple, we walked in the direction of the waterfall hike. The walk led us through the village, giving us a glimpse of the local lifestyle. After walking for half an hour, we came upon the start of the waterfall hike.
Most of the hike was somewhat paved, though the rains had made the trail muddy. We passed through several types of environments as we hiked up the moderate trail, from village, forest, pine trees, and finally misty mountains!
After climbing for about an hour, we were finally close to the waterfall. The last climb was steep and involved some scrambling, but the tall Jogini waterfall, dropping from green misty mountains was other-wordly!
We spent about half an hour sitting on the rocks nearby, enjoying the scenery. The water coming from the falls was cold, but we were able to dip our feet into it, and walk along the gurgling stream. Finally, it was time to return, and the hike back was easy and uneventful. In all, it look us a total of 2-3 hours to do the entire hike and back from Vashisht.
We drove back to Manali to check on my sister, and she was feeling better and ready for lunch. We headed back to downtown Manali to another restaurant to try our luck – Balaji. The food was very heavy in butter, and tasted mediocre (but atleast we didn’t get sick after). Though given there are very few vegetarian restaurants, this is a decent choice.
After lunch, we walked a bit around mall road when it started raining again. We asked our driver to take us back to the cottage. Once the rain died down, we walked over to Hidimba Devi temple, a 5 min walk from the cottage. Since it was near closing time, there weren’t many people here, but I’ve heard this is a popular attraction in Manali.
We spent around 15 minutes at the temple, and walked back to our cottage. We were once again served with a yummy dinner of soft rotis, dal, vegetable curry, and rice.
My parents join us tomorrow in Manali, and the plan is to do some day trips in the area like Rohtang pass!