Himachal Pradesh was all drenched in the monsoon of August 2021 and that was not a good time I decided to travel. People asked me to avoid traveling in rainy weather as it was not just risky but a life threat. It was the time when I was coming across several landside news and videos on social media. However, I had reached there safely though there was a roadblock near Mandi which took nearly two hours to clear. I was stuck in Shangarh due to rain and ended up extending my stay. From Shangarh I went to Naggar for the next four or five days. During my unplanned stay at Naggar, I even moved to Manali for a day and returned the next day. For the rest of the days, I was just roaming in Naggar without any itinerary.
I was enjoying my slow travel in Naggar. That was the time when I had nothing in mind. It was like I was a local there and not a traveler. I plucked apples from the trees by the roadside while I was roaming in Naggar and that was a nostalgic experience that bought back some sweet memories of childhood. A part of Naggar felt like home. The market, the bus stop, and the place I stayed; everything seemed familiar, and leaving the place was not a good feeling. I have been traveling unplanned for a long time however these days I have started booking bus tickets before my departure. I didn’t make any itinerary for Naggar. I just wanted to embrace whatever this small hamlet had to offer me.
Things I Experienced while Roaming in Naggar
I usually avoid myself from crowd and chaos. However, that doesn’t mean I hate it. I had been living in Delhi NCR for over a decade so you can understand. So during my four days in Naggar, I spent two nights in a hotel which I got at a very affordable price. For the next two nights, I booked a room in a homestay kind of accommodation where the owner lady prepared delicious home-cooked food. During my stay, I visited Naggar Castle. Next, I spent some time at Tripura Sundari Temple. And that’s when it started to rain. I took shelter at a food stall where I had maggi. After visiting Roerich Art Gallery and Museum¸ I ran out of options and had no idea if there were more places to visit in Naggar. Yes, there are more places you can visit in Naggar beyond these three. But I wasn’t looking for any places with a crowd.
While I was roaming in Naggar, I came across this sacred procession that the villagers were carrying out. It was vibrant, it was colorful and it was musical. People were celebrating, thumping the drums, and dancing to the tunes of the trumpet. People there have great faith in their local deities and honor them from time to time. Watching this procession was a unique experience. You won’t find it everywhere. This type of custom is limited to this state only. Naggar has a bustling market that caters to the daily requirements of the place. Restaurants, cafes, groceries stores, sweet shops, garments shops electronic stores, and everything that can make your stay hassle-free here.
I chose Naggar over Manali since Naggar is somewhat more peaceful than Manali. However, slowly this town is also transforming itself into a massive touristy attraction like other hotspots. I was never into Manali, I was never into Shimla. Again, I don’t hate these places however; I prefer other places over them. While I was roaming in Naggar on one of the days, I left the town and continued walking on the road. And I reached a place I don’t know the name of. It was damn peaceful and enchanting. Birds, butterflies, clear sky, giant pine trees, land covered with grass, and I just slept there on the ground for a while. That was the highlight of the whole Naggar trip. I don’t have GPS coordinates and there’s nothing I can tell you about that place if you ask me. The butterflies there were big, bigger than I have ever seen before.
That’s how I travel. I mean whatever and wherever I have traveled so far; I love traveling like this. Sometimes, you don’t have to document everything on your journey. Just leave a few things for yourself and cherish them yourself. I remember this incident from one of my favorite travel movies, Secret Life of Walter Mitty where Walter takes a trip to the Afghan Himalayas to meet Sean who is sitting there with his camera pointed at a snow leopard but he doesn’t click it. It was a rare sighting and wasn’t meant to be captured.