Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Say Yes To Travel

What do we have in mind when we think of hills and hill stations? I am sure around 7 in 10 people will say something on the lines of ‘serenity’, ‘calmness’, ‘joy’ and the like. However, reality can be shattering sometimes and can wash away all the notions we often have of distant places. Most of the times, movies, literature and stories make up our notions but travel can bring real knowledge into our lives. I mean to say travel is not only uplifting but can be immensely educative at times like it happened in my case.

Many years back, I went to a famous hill station named Manali. It is a small hill station in Himachal Pradesh and is located in the Beas river valley. All through the way we were looking forward to exploration, greenery and freshness. I also traveled to Rohtang Pass but came upon some shocking truths

The place is green and breezy indeed but there are many things that demand urgent attention like the issue of plastic waste. Numerous hotels and mini resorts have mushroomed in the place churning out plastic waste at an accelerated pace. The amount of waste generated is worrisome can be seen prominently in a small place like Manali. The snow at Rohtang pass was dirty and semi-melted as well, much to my disappointment.

The second issue is of lack of good schools and colleges. There were no good government schools and most children aided their parents in shops around the city. Many times I notice school kids trying to sell local fruits to passing tourists instead of being in classrooms. Illiteracy is prominent and worrisome.

Most of the roads are unpaved and some are very steep, too steep for the safety of lives. The huge number of Israeli tourists enjoying their small stay on their Military stipend had led to too many Israeli food joints to open up. The factories and the poor waste disposal systems were already polluting the place. Isolated clusters of habitation and poor electricity supply and connectivity make it tough to manage during times of flood and emergency.

I am not focusing and ranting upon the negatives only. After all Manali is place to visit and enjoy but I mean to say that it was only after travel that I came to know that hills demand attention and care. Things we read in books and watch in movies and TV many not be all rosy. Only one thing can make us see the both sides of the coin and that is travel.

The locals were cheerful and hospitable, the waterfalls are breath taking, and the Hidimba Temple was lovely. Overall I must say that the place has its own slow pace that cannot be rushed and its own rustic beauty that is charming despite being wrinkled by swelling population and uncared for natural resources.

This visit is etched in my memory because I said Yes To The World!

You too can explore, observe the real picture, become open minded and discern both sides of the coin! Just connect with Lufthansa by #SayYesToTheWorld.

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