Friday, July 1, 2016

Breathtaking Dharamsala!


The world seemed to be on vacation while I sulked and toiled at work, attempting to maintain a work life balance in the hot sultry weather of Delhi in June. Just because I don't have kids, does not mean I cant go on  vacation, yeah? Looking for a hill station for vacation close to Delhi is equal to looking for a needle in a hay stack. Post several rounds of rejections, evaluations, and observations, husband and I were yet to choose a destination between Shimla and Nainital. Thanks to our friends, who saved us from nightmare. Both these hill stations due to their proximity to Delhi were full to their capacity. Massive traffic snarls on the routes caused a delay of 4-5 hours even in the short journeys. Ultimately we chose Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh for a short trip. Though far from Delhi and less time to spend there, the destination got husband excited and me nostalgic as I had visited once in April 2014.

Transport- 
Distance from Delhi is 480 km. Driving would be tiring. Since there are no direct trains, one can reach Pathakot Railway or Bus stand and resume jouney to Dharamsala in taxi or bus.
We prefer overnight volvo from Delhi to Dharamsala directly. The best place to book your Volvo is from http://www.hrtc.gov.in/hrtctickets/Availability.aspx
The URL also shows lot of other destination in Himachal which you can explore. Chamba, Palampur, Bir Billing are few of them.

Accomodation- 
There is no dearth of hotels in Dharamsala. However, you should always book hotels in advance to avoid last minute surprises. We booked ours from http://hptdc.nic.in/ and got an accommodation in The Kashmir House, at quite an economical price.
Hotel Kashmir House


The Kashmir House is a government owned property in Lower Dharamshala. Nested in the arms of Dhauladhar Range, this hotel was home to the king of Kashmir a century ago. Post independence the palace was was converted into a hotel.


The aesthetics speak a volume on the history! The rustic look and designs have been maintained from his time. Be it the entrance gateways or wooden work, Our room on the first floor offered great view of lower Dharamsala with colorful rooftops and misty sky. Its one of the dreamy places where I can spend my entire life !


Dharamsala being less than 500 km away from Delhi, made a good destination for short trip. The natural beauty and pleasant weather of Himachal would never fail to awe you. However, commercialization and encroachment in hills have started showing negative impact already. As stated by locals there, Himachal will lose its sheen in next few years and nothing would be left. Tourism brings its own share of negatives and authorities should get serious about it. For all travelers, here is an earnest request- Please be responsible tourists. The sight of beer bottles and plastic waste trashed at the picnic sites is such a big turn off and a reason to worry. We are educated right. Let’s put our education to best use and do something for the environment. 

Our two days stay comprised tour of Lower Dharamsala on Day one and Upper Dharamsala or McLodganj on Day two.

The most memorable ones in lower Dharamsala on Day One which we visited are-

Tea Garden- We had no information on the presence of tea gardens in Dharamsala until we browsed the map. The Tea estate spread over a huge area of lower Dharamsala makes a nice place to relax, soak in the lush greenery and unwind. Greenery is associated with positive vibes, and we experienced it. Though a little tiring and tough to reach, we preferred to walk over a ride in taxi and ended up walking about three kilometers searching for the tea gardens. The green velvety stretch is a visual treat.





To reach- Cross the narrow roads till you reach the BSNL office. Take the lane adjacent to the BSNL towers and open your arms to the luscious tea garden in sight!

Cricket Stadium- Practically there nothing to do or see at the stadium, apart from watching cricket match or taking pictures. Yet the place attracts tourists because this is the only stadium in Himachal and mind you at the highest altitude. A practice match of girls’ cricket team was happening during our visit, which audience was least interested in. The stadium seemed smaller than the usual ones but the blue mountains in the backdrop add scenic beauty to the stadium.





War Memorial- Barely a kilometer from the stadium, stands the war memorial as a symbol of respect to the fallen heroes. The memorial park has Steep and curvy pathways inside the park lead to the Amar Jyoti and the memorial wall.

Entry Fee- Rs 10



This Fighter Jet named GNAT was first flown in 1955 and served Indian Airforce from 1958-1978. The max speed of this super jet was 1120km/hour! 

        


The memorial wall 


Kotwali Bazaar- The lively local market is full of shops with fancy clothes, accessories and eating
joints. The apple chutney and ginger chukh are must have things in the bazar. Watch out for the bakery stores there with freshly prepared cakes, biscuits and pastries. Do try the locally made coconut cookies. The blissful cookies smell great and melt in your mouth. 

Advisable to indulge gorging on big juicy momos at stalls which serve the best momos you might have ever tasted. The non veg momos are stuffed with mutton, instead of chicken. 

We spent the rest of the day with long walks, imbibing the beauty of the place and window shopping. The colorful chaotic town falls dead alseep in the arms of the dark night, with twinkling stars and lights from little houses. 


The colorful town at day time
Twinkling lights at night- Same place where I clicked the Day picture


Stay tuned for Day 2









4 comments:

  1. Great post and lovely pics! Thank you Shilpi:)

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  2. Kashmir house looks like an amazing place to stay. Well captured. Someday, when I go there, hopefully I will get to stay here.

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    1. Yeah Ami, The Kashmir House is a Govt Owned property and is beautiful. You can make your booking online in the website mentioned in my blog. Govt owned hotels are safer, more economical and they pump in money for tourism to the Govt. I prefer staying in these properties. Thanks for reading.

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