Himachal: Virgin Beauty, Not to forget the overcrowded Tourist Destinations

#16 Nov 23rd, 2017, 00:06
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  • jaydeepy is offline
#16
Day 11: Oct 24 2017
In the morning we woke up early & joined the morning walkers on their round of the chowgan.
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The weather was chilly & the walk was really enjoyable. Chamba was surprisingly very cold & the weather really suited us. We walked back to our hotel & were surprised to see my wife’s friend from the previous night waiting for us. My wife started chatting with her over a warm cup of tea. I meanwhile walked back to our room & enjoyed the view of the chowgan from the balcony. I could see many parrots frolicking amongst the tall trees.
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All of us decided to go out for breakfast. The woman whom my wife had been acquainted with was a social worker & was also actively involved in politics. She took us to the excellent Hari Rai temple near the Chamba fire station. The ‘Panchdhatu’ idol of Vishnu is a must see. We then visited the ashram of Bhagwan Shree Chandji, the elder son of Shri Guru Nanak Dev. We had a light breakfast of butter toast & tea. After the customary goodbyes we checked out of our hotel & started our journey towards Khajjiar. We had excellent views of the snow covered Pir Panjal range. The huge Shiva statue in the Durga temple against the backdrop of the snow mountains was nice to watch.
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Khajjiar was overcrowded. Hundreds of tempo travelers were parked by the side of the road. Our driver somehow managed to find a parking place in the melee. My son enjoyed a horse ride & zorbing.
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The HPTDC Khajji cottage enjoyed a very strategic location at one corner of the huge meadow
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I saw this sheep basking in the warm sun unmindful of the crowd
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The HPTDC Hotel Deodar was located near the Khajjinag temple.
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Myself & wife visited the Khajjinag temple. The ancient idol in the temple is simply wonderful.
#17 Nov 23rd, 2017, 00:27
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#17
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An hour later we started off towards Dainkund. Dainkund was a relief after Khajjiar. The Dainkund top offered excellent views of the Manimahesh peak. It was pure bliss & solitude. We visited the Pohlani mata mandir at the top. I particularly liked the idol of Goddess Kali in the temple.
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We enjoyed hot maggi & a bhel like concoction in a shop nearby. The hot coffee in the cool weather tasted absolutely wonderful. The snow mountains continued to tease us from amidst the clouds.
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After the short Dainkund trek we started our journey towards Dalhousie. We had some hot pakoras & lemon tea at a roadside dhaba just before entering Dalhousie. I had booked a bungalow at Rs. 10300/- for two nights on airbnb. The bungalow had two bedrooms, a living room, & a verandah in front. It turned out to be an excellent choice. This homestay was located close to the Gandhi chowk. It was clean, very well furbished & the rooms were huge. It was a heritage property with the caretaker residing just behind the main bungalow. The caretaker was courteous & he welcomed us warmly with hot cups of tea & coffee. We unloaded our luggage, refreshed ourselves & went to the Gandhi chowk on foot to get a feel of the popular hill station. The main mall road or the walking mall was full of tourists. All the shops & restaurants were overcrowded. We entered the Tibetan market but it did not interest us one bit. We strolled through the melee, tried to amuse ourselves among the revelers but soon entered a restaurant for an early dinner. The food was ok & after the run of the mill Punjabi fare, we returned to our homestay.
#18 Nov 23rd, 2017, 00:31
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#18
The excellent Hari Rai temple at Chamba
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This was the main gate of Chamba in the old days
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I was particularly impressed by the Panchdhatu idol of Lord Vishnu in the picturesque Hari Rai temple
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#19 Nov 23rd, 2017, 14:49
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  • Hochwieskopf is offline
#19
Jaydeepy,
thanks for sharing your experiences on your family tour through southern Himachal.

A pity that the hot springs at Tattapani as well as some other sights, like a formerly holy guha/cave nearby, now are submerged under the murky floods of poor Sutlej river. The quest for ever new power plants keeps raiding its nature from its tributaries high up down to the plains. With the silt and sediments filling up the barrages this makes for problems unknown. Beware of earthquakes!

The reptile you spotted in fact is a lizard, more specific a Rock Agama, not a chameleon; Very common all over.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudakia_tuberculata

Best wishes to Pune; might go there again to see a friend next year.
Regards, Eric
#20 Nov 24th, 2017, 21:25
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#20
Thanks for correcting me Eric. May you have a great trip of Pune
#21 Nov 26th, 2017, 22:58
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#21
Day 12: Oct 25 2017
In the morning we woke up a bit late. We went to the Gandhi chowk for breakfast. Gandhi chowk was less crowded than the previous evening. Most of the restaurants were empty. We decided to try out the Tandon’s Café. We ordered some cheese burgers, vegetable sandwiches & tea. The burgers were really tasty & the tea had a nice hint of ginger. After the fulfilling breakfast we decided to go to the Upper Bakrota road for a walk. Upper Bakrota is an area uphill of the main Gandhi chowk & is close to the Dalhousie Public School. We left the main tar road & started going on a dirt trail. We lost our way amidst the labyrinth of narrow dirt trails but continued on our way uphill. On the way my wife was blocked by a cow who just was not allowing her to follow us. Somehow she managed to escape & we started our climb lost in the forest. We soon came to a bungalow belonging to Lt. Col. Amar Singh which was located on the highest part of the hill. The bungalow was nice & huge & had some nice flowers growing in its garden.
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We saw the caretaker’s place just at the rear. We came to the rear of the bungalow & enjoyed a magnificent view of the snow laden Pir Panjal range. The snow peaks were shimmering in the sunlight & the scenery was breath taking.
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We saw the cute little daughter of the caretaker & my wife struck a friendship with her.
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We soon started coming down the hill & managed to find the main road. Our driver had come close to the spot where we climbed down the hill & to our luck we soon spotted him. He was searching for us & was beginning to feel worried. We soon boarded the car & asked him to drop us at the Gandhi chowk. From Gandhi chowk we started on foot towards Subhash chowk. After a walk of around 11/2 kms., we entered the St. Francis church located on a small hillock.
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I enjoyed the quaint little church & felt peace inside the quiet interiors.
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#22 Nov 26th, 2017, 22:59
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#22
We came down to the Subhash chowk & entered the Old Sher-e-Punjab restaurant for lunch. We had a simple meal of mushroom soup & pulao. But it was delicious. The food in this restaurant was much superior than the one in the other Old Sher-e-Punjab restaurant located in the Gandhi chowk. We had a nice softy ice cream on our way back to the mall road. We walked back to our hotel & decided to rest through the evening. We enjoyed a lovely sunset over the hills from the garden of our homestay.
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At about 7:30 pm we went to the Gandhi chowk for dinner. We had French fries, followed by veg. pizza & chilli toast. This sinful food was followed by a cup of hot espresso coffee. We enjoyed the food in the cold weather & returned to our homestay later.
#23 Dec 3rd, 2017, 21:18
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#23
Day 13: Oct 26 2017
In the morning we started off early at 7:30. We had a simple breakfast of aloo paranthas & curd at a roadside dhaba & continued on our way to Amritsar. As soon as we entered Punjab we could see green fields on both sides of the road interspersed with dusty towns. We had lunch in a nice restaurant on the way. We reached the Atari border at 2:00 pm. The ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony was to start at 5:00 pm. But already thousands of people had started gathering at the place where the ceremony was to take place. Soon the semi-stadium was jam packed with people. There was hardly a seat available.
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The ceremony failed to impress me. Maybe it was due to the huge crowd or due to the harsh sun. Maybe it was too well rehearsed & not very instinctive. After the ceremony we reached Amritsar at 7:00. We checked into the Hotel Hongkong inn. I had booked two super deluxe rooms at Rs. 2300/night. We freshened up & decided to take an auto to the Golden Temple. Our driver deserved a good rest. Golden temple was sparkling in the night lights. It was immaculately clean. The road leading to the temple was developed as a walking plaza & was clean & very well paved.
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We took ‘darshan’ at the Harmandir Sahib. We also had the langar at the temple which was a simple meal of a dal of black lentils, rotis & a very tasty, sweet halwa. My son could not resist a second helping of the sweet concoction. We returned to our hotel to rest & nurse our tired & aching limbs.
#24 Dec 3rd, 2017, 21:19
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#24
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#25 Dec 3rd, 2017, 21:23
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#25
Day 14: Oct 27 2017

In the morning we took breakfast at a nearby bakery cum restaurant & embarked on our sightseeing trip. We first visited the Durgiana temple. This temple of the Goddess Durga is designed on the lines of the golden temple. This temple is also kept very clean & is a must see.
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Later we again went to the Golden temple for a second visit. We saw the historically famous Jalianwala Baug. Golden temple appeared very different in sunlight than it appeared during the night. There was a huge queue of devotees inside & we were certainly glad of our decision to visit the temple during the night.
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We then decided to try the fruit cream at Guru Di Hatti. This inconspicuous shop is located very close to the Lohar gate. The fruit cream was really very nice & had just the right amount of sweetness. I could not help but have a second helping. We then decided to do some shopping for family & friends. We went to the Katra Jaimal Singh market for shopping for some Amritsari specialities. My wife indulged herself in buying the famous phulkari dupattas & dresses for herself. Myself & son were just mere spectators in the whole shopping experience.

It was 4:00 pm & the whole shopping experience left us tired & drained. We walked to the famous Kesar da dhaba for lunch. We ordered an aloo parantha, mooli paranta accompanied by a dish of paneer kadai. I also ate the round & fluffy gulab jamuns for desert. I somehow liked the paranthas at kake di hatti in delhi very much than their amritsari counterparts. After a hearty lunch we took a cycle rickshaw to the parking lot where our driver was waiting for us. We came back to our hotel & soon started packing our bags to get ready for our return journey. Our driver dropped us at the Amritsar railway station at 8:30 pm. It had been an excellent trip & we had enjoyed our every moment with Bhumi. After the goodbyes & clearance of our dues we waited for our train to arrive. The 12904 Golden temple Mail departed right on time at 9:30 pm. It was a pretty uneventful journey with us having to make do with the tasteless meals on offer by the onboard catering service. The train reached Mumbai by 5:30 am on the 29th morning. We boarded the 12127 Intercity Express from Dadar & reached Pune at 11:00 am to end our long visit to the Himalayan state.
#26 Dec 19th, 2017, 10:40
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  • yogesh_d is offline
#26
Hi Jaydeepy,

planning a similar trip like yours. Planning for Bir,Barot,Gushaini,Kursog in January last week end. How will be the climate and will these places scenic during that time.
Also how will be the public transport during January end considering the snow fall?
#27 Dec 24th, 2017, 00:48
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#27
Hi Yogesh,
January end would be very cold. I am sure the scenery would be very beautiful though in a different kind of way. Not familiar with the public transport though.

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