Weather and climate
The Himalayas are cold in winter. There can be heavy snowfall which takes out the main roads and isolates houses. If you’re stuck up the mountains you may not even be able to make it to the outside bathroom.
Snow, if it comes, is usually in January and February. By the end of March spring begins to work its way in and the very first guesthouses and restaurants open up again. May and June are full season and then monsoon hits by July. The Himalayas are a good place to pass the monsoon as the rains drain away and don’t build up in contaminated pools like in the cities. Still, there can be days on end without any sunshine and the persistent beat of rain on your tin roof can drive you insane.
The monsoon drops off into September and once there are ten days on continuous sunshine the charas harvest begins high up. More travellers tend to arrive then and the cold begins at night once more. There can be beautiful days right into December but you’ll need warm gear for the nights.
Either way you’ll want to have good, waterproof boots and warm clothing though this can be bought locally.
To and From
Almost all travel in the Himalayas is by bus. Himachal Tourism is best with slightly more expensive buses but faster and safer. The roads here are a nightmare and are covered with the shrines of bus-plunge tragedies. The locals cover themselves with a kind of travel insurance by placing marigolds at these shrines or by bribing the local gods.
Delhi to Manali = 14 to 22 hours depending on the gods
Delhi to Parvati = 18 hours
Delhi to Dharamsala = 12 hours
Dharamsala to Manali = 12 hours