Breathtaking Himachal Pradesh is often called “Land of Gods” or “Dev Bhumi”. The pristine valleys, lush green hills, meandering rivers, sparkling brooks and bubbling springs, snow-clad mountains kissed by the brilliant sunsets and sunrises, medieval temples, excellent food, colorful attires and warm-hearted locals are any nature tourist’s first choice.
We decided to do a little net exploring before setting off to some exotic new locale. Delhi-Dalhousie – Khajjiar – Chamba – Dharamshala – Delhi seemed a great idea. We had ample time and driving down the serpentine roads in the mountains is something that we all enjoy.
Dalhousie is an old-fashioned colonial town which was established in 1854, by Lord Dalhousie, the former governor-general of pre-independent India. The place still retains some of its old glorious past. The town is known for its serene and breathtaking alpine surroundings.
Khajjiar is an enchanting, tranquil, saucer-shaped tourist destination near the famous Dalhousie.
Chamba is a picturesque valley that lies between the Zanskar and Dhauladhar range. It is dotted with temples, lakes, and wild life sanctuaries. It is also a hub for adventure sports. The pristine beauty of this enchanting place set is ancient heritage is breathtaking. The place is also known for its paintings and Himalayan art. Ravi River thunders throughout the verdant valley.
Dharamshala on the other hand is a popular tourist hub and apart from the scenic beauty one can also enjoy its Tibetan influence, the monasteries and tea gardens. McLeodganj near Dharamshala is the home of the ‘Dalai Lama’.
At daybreak when the sky turned a shade of baby pink we loaded our bags, a few rum bottles and snacks to begin a whole new adventure on the highway. The kids were ecstatic as it was their first trip together by road.
After a long journey of 446 km we reached Dalhousie. The weather was marvelous. The snow peaks were visible even though it was late in the evening. We knew that it was going to be a great vacation.
Next morning the pitter-patter of the rain crushed all our hopes of viewing some remarkable sights and the crowd, dumped garbage, and dirt added to our woes. We decided to take a brief look at the major attractions of the city and then head to a much quieter Khajjiar. We did not go to any memorial buildings and just paid a brief visit to the old churches before driving down to Khajhiar- our dream destination.
. The picturesque surroundings make it an absolute must for all visitors. Nestled in the foothills of Dauladhar ranges this beautiful town is situated at 6,5oo meters above the sea level. A two-hour drive of 24km. through the dense forest is mind-boggling. The Kalatope Wild Life Sanctuary is situated at the altitude of 7950 ft., the Kalatope town nearby offers a panoramic view of the valleys around.
The sweet-smelling pines and dense Deodar trees greeted us the moment we left the noise of the city. It is a remarkable drive through the enchanting beauty and silence and we were awestruck by the sublime lush green forest. The forest is home to some exotic flora and fauna and many endangered species of animals and birds like bears, leopards, barking Deer, Marten, Goral, Jackal, Langur, giant flying Squirrel and other wild animals. The thick foliage makes is a little difficult to catch a glimpse of the animals but it’s a heaven for the ornithologists. It also has beautiful strolling paths which attract many nature enthusiasts.
We drove through the shaded serpentine road guarded by magnificent pines, Deodars and Oaks. Slight drizzle added to the beauty of the place. There was kind of meditative music in the silence that wrapped the entire forest area. Occasionally we could hear bird calls or see some exotic bird take a flight from the depths of the forests into the vast sky. The only constant sound was that of the crickets and the drizzle.
Next morning we visited Panch Pula which means five bridges. It is a scenic place where the bubbling brook flowing from Dayan Kund falls down into a quaint abyss and then calmly settles in the waterworks situated there.
Another quaint and enchanting spot is the Satdhara or the Seven Springs situated at an average height of 2040 meter. Its picturesque beauty and unruffled surroundings really make it a place worth visiting. A perfect picnic spot too. The place has seven beautiful brooks which are famous for their therapeutic healing powers. The springs have Mica which is supposed to heal some ailments.
The enthralling scenery was already having its magical effect on us and we silently drove toward Dayan Kund which is the highest mount in Dalhousie. The place is located at 2,755 meters. It is often called the singing hill and I knew exactly why. The mountain winds blowing through the forest at Dayan kund produced a series of wind effects – depending on the velocity – ranging from a gentle humming to an eerie wail which resembled the wailing of a witch or Dayan as referred to by the locals. The magical serenade captivated us as the gentle cool breeze brushed against the trees.
The sweet fragrance of the pine was intoxicating and we drove as if in a state of trance, completely immersed in the magnificent terrain. We surrendered to the nature and watched the beauty unfold scene after scene.
It was an awe inspiring sight that greeted us at the Vintage point of Dayan Kund, and The Valley of Flowers. The green hill slops were covered with millions of wild daisies which fluttered and danced with the strong cool breeze. It was the most alluring and stunning sight I had ever witnessed. We stood in rapt silence gazing at the rolling hills, meandering roads, the Air Force radars on a distant hill, the deep blue sky dotted with soft fluffy cotton clouds and millions of those beauties around us.
Lying back leisurely on the soft grass I spotted a solitary golden eagle gliding along with the breeze, the queen of the skies above and the land below. It was an experience of a life time. The boys went berserk at seeing such a joyous sight and ran among the flowers completely one with the nature around them.
It is one of the most serene places I have come across in this region. Stunning valleys, glittering giggling crisscrossing rivers, verdant green and high majestic peaks make it one of the most wondrous spectacles of nature.
The place also has the gorgeous bird’s eye view of the verdant valleys of the Beas, Ravi and Chenab Rivers. Flooded with the deep red rhododendrons, soul calming greens and pristine beauty, this entire region of Dhauladhar mountain range is worth a visit.
Khajiar is called “Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh” and even Mini Switzerland of India. The sprawling green meadows, beautiful lake and thick Cedar forests fill the tourists with an inner peace and serenity. The Bakrota hills are exotic and the sunsets on the snow-clad peaks of Pir Panjal range turn this forest glade into a magical wonderland. Fringed by mighty dark and deep Deodar trees, Khajjiar is one of the best destinations in Himachal. During winter the temperatures are near zero and the entire valley gets wrapped in a blanket of soft fluffy snow. No other place except Kashmir experiences such large volumes of snow. The forests have hiking paths and some exotic virgin places tucked away in the interiors which one can discover while exploring the area.
After three days of living in the most awe-inspiring place in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh we headed for Chamba.
It was heartbreaking to leave the tranquility and peace of this lovely paradise on earth but the time had come to bid adieu.
We filled our lungs with the pure sweet air of the alpine forests for one last time and took off to our new destination.
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