Leela Huts, Manali
We had decided to take a break in Manali, en route to the foreplanned trip to Leh (which I must add here, didn’t quite happen), so that we could acclimatize ourselves to the mountain air. Before I go any further, a little bit about me. I am a stickler for plans. I would not venture on a trip without my bookings in place. So as was bound to happen I forced vivek into checking out this beautiful place (ok admittedly a place which looked beautiful online) called Leela Huts. All keen to set going on this trip he promptly called the owner, a certain Mrs. Thakur (who he claims has a male-child like voice) and booked us in.
With great apprehension we headed towards Leela Huts in a rumbling auto-rickshaw. What if it was just online pfaff and what we really got was a rundown cottage? Wisely, neither of us mentioned a word about it, till we actually reached Leela Huts.
Boy! Were we bowled over or bowled over! For beginners Mr. Thakur didn’t turn out to be quite as old as I thought he would be!!
That apart, Leela Huts is a cozy dwelling of a couple of cottages far removed from the buzzing world. It is ensconced and preserved in natural beauty and right from the minute one steps on the cobblestones leading to the cottage, you are enraptured by its almost magical existence.
I had insisted on booking the cottage with the fireplace for us and lo behold we stepped into perfection. The cottage given to us at Leela Huts was straight out of a dream. The living room boasted of a majestic fireplace, which made us long for the cold evening, just so that we could enjoy its warm glory. The cottage had its own kitchen equipped with utensils et al (I did not explore further as I had no intentions of cooking whatsoever) and led to two absolutely comfortable rooms.
The cottage was surrounded by trees, shrubs and flowers. It felt like we had stepped right into some fairy tale. There I was this princess in the land of perfection, spending time with the prince of my dreams. Adding their touch to my perfect paradise were wisps of clouds which sprinkled happiness as the winds urged them into a different direction.
As the twittering birds were silenced with the onset of a beautiful evening, the two of us decided to pamper our romantic souls with the perfect walk.
And a perfect walk it was! Hand-in-hand with vivek (who looked like the complete brit gentleman, with a big black umbrella folded into a walking stick) along a bridge over gushing waters, I couldn’t have asked for more.
The walk wasn’t as aimless as I make it sound. We were walking with a purpose. The purpose of this walk was to satiate our alchoholic appetites by picking up some wine. As every wine lover would know, wine is not wine, till it is elegantly sipped out of elegant flutes. Now Leela Huts might have it all, but it did not have elegant wine flutes!
So after picking up a bottle of wine, we set out in the middle of the night, in the dead markets of the mountain, to find wine glasses! Of course, we didn’t find any! What we did find instead were oriental egg holders, which could be used as wine glasses. What can I say? When the call is for desperate measures, we so heed them!!
We returned back to the cottage to a roaring fire burning in the fireplace. It was a moment out of my mills and boon pages. I was cuddled with the love of my life, sipping one of the best wines, in front of a fireplace… all I could think of was “If this is a dream, I wish I never wake up!