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Day 28 of The Candid Odyssey

The first thing we do today is to come out to the balcony. We don't get balcony views every day, so let's make use of it. And it's worth it. Hundreds of coniferous trees, the morning sun, and the calm market - it's very different from what we saw yesterday night. Feels like we woke up in some other place. As it should be. That's what Manali is. A resort town that's meant to mesmerize visitors with its natural beauty and touristic adventures. The perfect honeymoon destination. Oh, then what are we doing here alone? We are also on a honeymoon. With our new selves :)

Anyway, it's time to get out and explore nature. Solang Valley is the best place for that. A half-hour bus trip from Manali takes us to Solang. There are so many adventurous activities over here and it feels so confusing what to go for. Paragliding, ziplining, rafting, ropeway, ATV rides, and whatnot. The list keeps increasing in the winter with activities like skiing and tube slides. All these will be suitable for the target segment - new weds. In our case, it's a bit different. Our partner - which is our new self - prefers someplace quieter and private :) That's why we will keep walking along the quiet road away from the touristy spots. The green conifer trees are everywhere now and it makes the mountains more beautiful. To add to that beauty, there is the Beas River. How can we get near to that? There is no proper way to reach the river banks. Time to take some risks, huh? Yes. We are trying to go to the river bank by encroaching on the headquarters of a government construction chief engineer. Instead of security restrictions, the challenge was different. Street dogs! Tens of them. All are silent but are approaching us step by step. Can't walk forwards or backward. The dogs surround us. They are ready to strike. We are in trouble. Big trouble. As we prepared ourselves to defend and run with our lives, a resident came out of nowhere and controlled the dogs instantly. Thanks to him, we are fine now. The resident went back to his home without even asking anything. Anyway, since we took risks to come up here so far, let's walk down a bit more to get to the river bank. And the efforts we took are much worth it. The Beas River is flowing at its best hitting the rocks forming grayish water and a cool atmosphere. The Blue Whistling Thrush birds are hopping across the boulder rocks back and forth. The view of the unending river is complemented by the stunning green mountains. And moreover, no humans anywhere in sight. It's just us and nature. Pure goosebumps! That's the feeling that we get. Dipping our feet in that flowing river and sitting on top of large boulder rocks, we could just sit there forever. Just enjoying nature. I am having a sense of happiness that I never had. Something truly magical! See, we never had any actual plan to come and sit on this river bank to make us feel happier. It was unintentional. That's when I realized that it's unintentional happiness that positively influences us more than intentional happiness. The more we try to create happiness, the less we enjoy the actual happy moments. It's true. Remember when we were a small child, we didn't have much intentions, right? Life took us the way it wanted to. But we were very happy. We were there fully present in those moments, not worrying about anything else. Somehow, as we got older, we started to idealize and relate happiness to so-called “success”. And that changed our thought process. We started chasing happiness and missed out on the actual moments of happiness. I realized that I was always living for the future, not for the present. I have been doing it all wrong so far. You?

As we relax beside the Beas River thinking about happiness, hours have passed by. Still don't want to leave, but we have to. As a souvenir for this awesome experience we just had, I took 3 small beautiful stones from the river bank. That's the only souvenir I have from the 56-day long trip all across India! Anyway, time to leave. While we had to deal with street dogs on the way down, we have got something new to deal with on the way up - a snake! A long one lying in the center of our way. We can try to get the snake to move away with stones, tree trunks, and everything else that comes into sight. Luckily, it went away after a few attempts. Street dogs are also gone. Let's get out of here. But there comes another catch! No bus to go back to the town. That's why we spend time exploring the flora of the mountains! We keep walking, checking out the variety of plants, flowers, and trees, until the bus comes. Back to Manali. There is a Hadimba Devi Temple that we can give a quick visit to. 15th-century pagoda-style temple made of wood set in a deodar cedar forest. As you can imagine, the path to the temple itself is like a small trek. But the architecture and the religious practices make sure that it stays relevant. As it's already evening, we can't see clearly. It's getting fogged. Before we make ourselves get stranded in the forest, let's go down. The Manali Bazaar is still busy. With vendors, photographers, locals, and obviously, the honeymoon couples. The way these couples pose for photos always puts a smile on our faces. I hope you enjoyed our honeymoon in Manali. It was a bit different, purposefully :)

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