Have you heard of a beauty named Khajjiar in Himachal?
|View from my hotel|
Early in the morning, I stood outside on the terrace of my hotel and I could see the sun lighting up the Blue Mountains and the mighty snow-clad Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas. I threw a blazer on me and thought of taking a stroll. As I walked up to the lanes of early morning Dalhousie, I could see children of Guru Nanak Public school getting ready for exams in their respective classes. On moving forward I could see the locals setting out for their work. The air seemed enchanting and filled with happiness. What a refreshing start of the day!
I was staying at Hotel Bombay Palace, one of the nicest budget hotels in Dalhousie, Himachal.
|Beautiful sunny morning at Dalhousie|
After having our routine ginger tea and breakfast, we were all decked to enjoy the day. I just prayed – No more rain. And, as the Universe heard me, the sun shone like the hellfire. As I was in the lobby trying to connect my Wi-Fi, I saw beautiful pictures of snow-laden Dalhousie on the walls. It seemed some sort of Magical realm quite striking similarity to ‘Narnia’, the fantasy land. Another bucket list decided, visit Dalhousie in winter. The roads are mostly in the shape of 8, which is the case all across Himachal. Besides the roads, you can find flower poles painted in the colour of school emblems. Many inspiring quotes on success, hard work and morality were painted on the walls of those boarding schools can be seen as we drove past by them one by one towards my first pit stop “ Khajjiar”.
|Curvy roads on way to Khajjiar Valley|
Stopping by the schools and checking them out in full is difficult as the tourists flock Dalhousie roads during daytime and there is so much congestion and traffic on the narrow roads and finding appropriate parking space is such an issue.
|Wild Dalhousie Flowers by side of Dalhousie Public school|
On the way up, the roadsides were covered with patches of snow, and somewhere water seeping on the road from the melting snow. You can take few snaps against the white fluffy snow backdrop. The hills were loaded with big pine trees mostly cedar. There were hoardings that showed you may be lucky to sight bears and many wild birds.
|Snow trails on road|
So following the twirls and swirls of roads we reached the mini Switzerland of India, Khajjiar, in about 2 hours. You can witness vast green meadows stretched to many miles, standing amidst the dense cedar trees, which looked like a picture straight from the dream. The undulating hills bordered the meadow patch that offers soul searching in peace and tranquillity. Small children’s paradise, it is indeed. You can find cows and sheep grazing on the pasture. There are many professional photographers that offer to take snaps in Himachali or Kashmiri attire, so if you are game for it, go for it. There many people carrying big beautiful baskets with coloured flowers and endearing rabbits. They charge you to take pics holding them for a small amount of money. Sometimes you feel for them that the only means they earn money is through the tourism – four to five months in a year and I never back down paying them a little extra
|Playing with some cuties|
You can also bring out the adventurer inside you for there are options to get you thrilled. You can carry out many adventure sports like Zorbing, paragliding, and horse riding that will keep you in high spirits. I decided on some zorbing here – quite a unique experience.
|Zorbing at Khajjiar|
|Paragliding above the meadows|
I saw some sheep grazing who look alike pushminas and decided to click some pics and play around them and then go for a little stroll into the cedar forests nearby. I sat down on one of the cut trees and started day dreaming – is this for real, Himachal, you beauty.
|India’s own mini Switzerland|
Though I have been to Switzerland, and have experienced all the meadows and snows and what not, this place is no copy of Switzerland, it is India’s most underrated tourist place in Swiss style.
|The tall standing cedar woods of Khajjiar|
|Girl in the woods – Himachali dream|
On our return journey, we stopped for Kalatop plateau. We were too excited for Khajjiar, so decided to visit Kalatop on return. You need to stop your cars and hire cars parked at the bottom of the plateau. But we decided on a trek and found it was a wise decision as the roads were quite narrow and one experience a lot more when trekking. The cap of the hill is a huge spread out comprising of too thick foliage and probably it gives the black shade for being named as Kalatop. The jungle is quite thick and with the grey clouds approaching, I thought it was best to leave early. There are claims for seeing different animals and birds like Pheasants, Monal, leopard, black bear, Himalayan black bulbul, Great Barbet, etc. But we did not get the chance to see any.
|Clouds begin to hover above the thick Kalatop forest|
It was almost 4 pm, so we decided to visit Panchpula to end our day tripping. On our way to Panchpula, we saw Satdhara waterfall with very less water falling down – the glacier on top has just started to melt. The water cascaded on the slopes babbling and rippling. The water is believed to have medicinal and therapeutic properties. After 15-20 min drive, we reached Panchpula. Weather begin to open up with the sun playing hide and seek all throughout the journey. We got the info that it is the primary water supply for entire Dalhousie. There is a beautiful monument erected where several streams meet. Our driver said there are many hiking trails that boast of soothing environment, varying wildflowers and the joy of a marvellous beauty that is irresistible to eyes. But due to lack of time, we had to drop the plan. I wish we had planned this as our first stop. So guys if you want to hike please start early from your hotel and make this as your first stop. If you have another day you can entirely dedicate it to hiking.
We reached the market in Panchpula where the shops tried hard to sell a traditional Ladakhi blanket called Khotulu. It is beautiful and the shopkeepers make tall claims on it. But we did not have space to carry it. So, I kept it for my next Himachal trip. I even saw some people trying out the zip line but I was more interested in sipping my hot tea and crunching little hearts as I was damn hungry and cold. So I just sat in the Tapri and peacefully had my tea before we started for the return journey to the hotel.
|Cute little Panchpula market|
|Chai is such a bliss when you are exhausted on the mountains|
On our way back, the entire road was fringed with different lovely trees and flowers that are an absolute treat to eyes. I was completely exhausted, so bought a souvenir quickly in Gandhi market and retreated back to my hotel.
|My souvenir from Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh|
The next day I was supposed to leave Himachal very early in the morning for yet another ticking off my bucket list – the Golden Amritsar.