Journey to the Himalayas
EXPLORING HIMACHAL PRADESH – A LAND OF MOUNTAINS, TEMPLES, MONASTERIES, CHURCH, MUSEUMS, ZOOS AND MUCH MORE.
So here I am relaxing myself after an amazing and overwhelming experience of trekking to Hampta Pass and Chandratal lake (check out my previous post- 14,000 ft of amazing experience). On the last day of returning to Manali from Rohtang Pass I and my friends relaxed to our hearts content and at night visited Manali market. There we did a bit of shopping and explored the market enjoying our six flavored ice cream and later we sat in a cafe in old Manali (there are many out there, do check them out) enjoying some weird combinations of drinks .
Later the next day we visited sandstone temples at Vashisht Village, Hadimba Devi Temple that is dedicated to Hidimba, wife of Bhim-one of the 5 Pandava brothers of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The temple is surrounded bt a cedar forest called Dhungri Van Vihar. It was built in 1553 AD by Maharaja Bahadur Singh. Later we visited Manu Temple- an old temple dedicated to sage Manu, followed by Tibetan monastery.
Following day we left for SHIMLA, and in between we took a halt at KULLU.
Does anyone out here know about Nicholas Roerich? He was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, philosopher, and public figure. The Nicholas Roerich art gallery was founded in1962 by Svyetoslav Roerich, son of Nicolas Roerich. The building that now houses the gallery once served as the resident to Nicholas Roerich. Various paintings of Kullu, Spiti, Lahaul made by him are housed there. A great number of his works are preserved there. After getting inspired by Nicholas Roerich work we went to visit Naggar Castle. My friends describe it as a fairy tale land and I felt the same. A medieval castle built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu in around 1460 A.D. HPTDC now runs a heritage hotel out there. It was the official seat of kings’ for centuries. Raja Sidh Singh used stones from the abandoned palace (Gardhak) of Rana Bhonsal to build the castle. It’s been said that he ordered the labourers to form a human chain over the Beas River connecting its left and right banks to transfer the stones manually. Interesting part is the castle survived the earthquake of 1905.
With a journey of around 5 hrs we finally reached SHIMLA ‘Queen of Hill Stations’.
Next day we visited kufri (a small hill station in Shimla). Kufri derives its name from ‘Kufr’ which means lake. There is a Himalayan wildlife Zoo where you get to see rare antelopes, felines, bears, leopards and birds (including the Himalayan monal, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh).
There after the famous Mall Road hit our list. It is the main street in Shimla that was constructed during the British colonial rule. The offices of Municipal Corporation, fire services, and police headquarters are located here. The best part is no automobiles are allowed her, thus no pollution of any sort, very rare to find this nowadays.
There is a beautiful Christ church, the second oldest church in North India. Built in the neo-Gothic style in 1857 and its silhouette is visible for kilometers around the
vicinity. It is one of the enduring legacies of the British Raj. Apart from all this sightseeings we were luck to attend the ongoing Shimla festival.