For me, there was not just one travel that proved exotic. On the contrary, every single travel created a fantastic effect. It’s been 5 months since visited Ajmer Shariff. So one rainy day I & my sister were sitting at home & decided to utilize the coming long holidays starting from 15th August (Friday) to 18th August (Janmashtami). As always, the first thought that came to our mind was making our weekend getaway plan. We selected Dalhousie & Dharamshala since we had not visited that valley or mountain before. After the selection of the location, what remained to be decided was the mode of transport which we preferred a car because of Mom. She again started her emotional dialogue to come with us. So I decided to hire a car to make mom comfortable. As decided we talked to a travel company & they charged money to fulfil all arrangements and we prepared for our Chiller Chilling Summer Trip – Dharamshala, Khajjiar and Dalhousie
On 15th August we started our journey around 4 am with a Swift D Zire car sent by the tour operator. We stopped for breakfast at a run-down place in Jalandhar, the famous restaurant Haveli.
Had our tea break in an excellent location with Pure Punjabi culture. After breakfast, we moved on and passed Jalandhar and Ludhiana on our way to Punjab. The road was pretty good which is blessed with enchanting beauty, certain tranquillity of its ambience and the serenity and sacredness of its culture.
On our way towards Dharamsala, the surrounding landscape was breathtakingly beautiful! We found so many cascading waterfalls and now the view was very scrumptious. I especially became so impatient about when would we reach Dharamshala, that finally I asked the driver how long would it take to reach beautiful Dharamshala, and he said two hours more. And we just started to enjoy the view. Our hotel was just 100 meters from Mcleodganj.
Dharamshala:- After reaching Dharamshala the atmosphere suddenly falls down. We realized cold & we found clouds everywhere. The road was one-way & there was a huge crowd (I thought a total of Punjab & Chandigarh came to visit Dharamsala with us). By the time we reached Mcleodganj, it had already started to grow a little dark and people were switching on the lights, and Mcleodganj was looking beautiful. On the way to Macleodganj, we already visited St.John s church in the evening & trust me it looked like the oldest church in the world with lots of graveyards. 8 km from Dharamsala, situated between Forsythganj and Mcleodganj the charming church of St. John in the Wilderness. Under the shade of deodar branches, a memorial has been erected over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamsala in 1863. There is a well-tended old graveyard on these grassy sloped.
But after seeing the scenic view of the Land of God we forgot every problem which we faced on the way & we felt happy.
The next morning we kept ourselves busy with the Bhagsunag Temple and the oldest temple of Lord Shiva which surrounds by Bhagsunag falls, cascading falls that come here to the long way of her journey. But it was really an awesome feeling when you found a beautiful small market which attracted all your attention in its own way, named Mcleodganj. I have seen foreigners around every corner, interspersed with men and women robed in red & orange, lending a tranquil vibe to the chaos on the narrow streets. I am fascinated by the small stalls & shops selling various Tibetan goods even you can find them in Delhi hut also but still, every place has its own unique thing. This has to be the only hill station in India where no shop owners are shouting to sell their goods, nor touting foreign travellers; Tibetan silver jewellery, ‘Free Tibet’ t-shirts, thangkas, mini prayer wheels and colourful Tibetan flags. While the high prices may put you off initially, put your bargaining skills to the test for a better deal.
I can feel a spirit of acceptance among the people, or maybe a perfect radiance. My mind was distracted to see the scenic beauty or visualize the typically-Tibetan handicrafts, and also the cafe culture that has housed itself in Mcleodganj. There are rooftop gardens, Tibetan dhabas & a food café. We found the café chain CCD over there but only the banner and no outlet were open till then.
Explored the Outskirts of the City:- If you want to explore the outskirts of the city, well, there are many that are offered. Anyone who has visited the Kangra Art Museum always spoke very highly of it. Tourists from all over do not visit here. Civil Lines have to War Memorial which tankers and fighters used in the war. Great place to sit down in the evening or go for a walk late at night! Enjoy the fountain has a screen while you are there. If you are religious then I would suggest you visit Kunal Pathri.
Kunal Pathri Temple is located in the Dhauladhar Ranges in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The temple is consecrated to Kapaleshwari. It possesses exquisite carvings of gods and goddesses. It is believed that the skull of Devi Sati, wife to Lord Shiva, had fallen here in the Kunal Pathri temple spot, after Sati`s corpse was cut off into 51 pieces by the Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu, to cease the dance, Tandava Nritya of Shiva shouldering the lifeless body of Sati. The main thing that attracted me was that at the temple there was no roaring of the Pandit to collect more money from the traveller.
The way to Dalhousie:- The roadside was covered with heavy pine forests once we hit the hills & there was dark surrounding on our way. It was really an adventurous journey because of the dense woods & the sounds of silence.
“In restless dreams, I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.”
We reached Dalhousie in the late evening when everyone can way to their home. Our Destination was Subhas Chowk to our hotel Dalhousie Palace. Dalhousie stretched forever around the mountains and most of the hotels were perched on the edge which meant lots of steps to go up and down. Eventually, we found a room that did have a great view of the snow-capped mountains from the common lobby cum balcony, however, we liked the hotel as well as the staff as they were quite polite. After an early breakfast (on the second consecutive day) we went out to have a look around the town.
On the Way to Khajjiar:- The route was full of Danger & natural beauty. It is the most exotic and scenic beautiful place around 22 Km from Dalhousie. Khajjiar is officially proclaimed the mini-Switzerland of India. At an altitude of 6450 ft, this saucer-shaped green meadow, ringed by Devadar Trees has a lake in the middle complete with a floating island. I liked horseback riding and strolling. It’s the best place to spend more time as compared to the other places. We spent around 2 hrs & enjoyed Horse riding there. We saw something that interested us. People were getting inside a big plastic ball, and being rolled to the lake. That was very interesting, something we haven’t seen before, and never done before as well. We left in the late afternoon bidding goodbye to the charming glade of Khajjiar and our next destination was the town of Dalhousie.
Dalhousie:- Our driver first took us to Satadhara, an artificial waterfall that looks like tap water made by the government. Then we visited Panchpula, where we found five springs or waterfalls and a picnic spot. However, it did not seem to be very attractive due to the lack of water. What attracted us more especially mom was a Kashmir handloom store and the invitations from its salesmen to have a look at their “Pashmina” blanket which actually not made by animals far. Not only that, but they would also offer us six more free gifts along with the blanket at no extra cost. The funny way in which the salesman kept repeating “not only these, we will offer you yet another gift” and showed us the gift (ranging from blankets made of rabbit wool to shawls and bed-covers) We left the shop buying not the “Chingu” blankets but some shawls as gift items.
Then we decided to explore the Gandhi Chowk market. Maximum items you can find anywhere in metro cities. Still, you love to walk the clean market. But I did not find any toilet or washroom there. As a traveller you need to go washroom, the restaurants even not having the facilities of washroom.
In the evening we walked around the road. Our hotel was near Subash Chowk & we decided to visit the St. Francis Church at Subhash Chowk that evening. One will love the architectural beauty of the church. it’s a very old church built by English men early 19th century.
If you ever need a break from the heat, Himachal Pradesh is your perfect getaway from all the stress in your life! Escapists dream of some other paradise. Escape from the hustle-bustle of city life and enjoy the mountains. Watch and observe and be one with nature. Beautiful pine trees and lush green deodar woods are eye-openers of our natural heritage! A cool breeze that brushes your cheek makes you feel like you’re in heaven. Small streams and snow-kissed mountains are something that you simply cannot afford to miss when away!.
“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy