Archive for February, 2009

Sheela

February 27, 2009

Hi all, Today I went to a place called Sheela Village. This Village is something like 7 kms. down from Dharamsala.

What I did is do a walk-down from Dharamsala to this place called Sheela. I had heard about this place as it was rumored to also have a beautiful Osho Ashram. While I wouldn’t comment on the Ashram itself I would surely like to talk about this place called Sheela-Passu. One reaches sheela from Dharamsala-Dari-Sheela. While Dharamsala-Dari its preferable to go by public or private transport, from Dari to Sheela, you have a beautiful stream which gives you company till Sheela-Passu Rain Shelter bus stop (and beyond which unfortunately I didn’t go).

The local populace talk in Kangdi or Pahari as its known. The women as elsewhere you will see all around as they do all the work and they are all beautiful.

What I was stuck by is the sheer gentle nature of the stream, the greenery all around and the Dauladhar mountains sometimes on the side, sometimes on the back.

What was also interesting to note is that while the whole of Dharamsala is run by red-bottomed langurs, dari and beyond seems to be the domain of lizards. I have never seen so many lizards up-close and so fearless of human company. I’m sure an ethologist would have a field day studying the various animal patterns.

In fact, that reminds me, the langurs that are observed here seem more controlled or restrained then the ones found in Delhi. I’m sure somebody may have researched on the subject as well.

One slightly interesting thing which I also observed while on the walk/trek/trail/whatever is that in Dari most of the houses/shops showed a mixture of Rajasthani/Marwari/Gujrati architecture, old places, maybe 50-100 years.

Almost all the bridges connecting Dari – Sheela which are on opposite banks are pretty recent, the one I went through was only done in 2005.

I also found a mention of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana with a placard showing an arrow pointing to the road. Whether or not it was done or something which already existed before the scheme came perhaps would have been answered by the local people.

All in all, it was a nice walk. I’m sure Himachal Pradesh has hundreds of such hidden beautiful places which even if I spend my whole lifetime would not be able to cover.

Here’s saying adieu to another day 😉

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Mcleodganj-Memories

February 26, 2009

Hi all,

This is going to be a long long post as I went up to Mcleodganj and Bhagsu after full 5 years.

First things first, the first thing I saw yesterday and today were people wearing long kurtas (like salwars) and having a beaten face (of hardwork and difficult times) . One of the things they held were rope-like things. Talking to one of them came to know that they are ‘Coolies’ who come down from Jammu when there isn’t much work there. This is understood as Jammu is only 2.5 hours from Pathankot (while Dharamsala is 5 hours)

Another interesting thing which I came to know is the hetrogenous mix of people in Dharamsala. I’m living in a guest house called Milap guest house just opposite the Dharamsala bus stand. I’m living with a Punjabi family, see they also have tibetians as their guests as well as others. There are people from himachal, tibet, punjabis, westerners, jammu people and all types.

Even then Dharamsala exudes an indian flavor.

Mcleodganj on the other hand, is a different beast altogether.

The distance between Dharamsala and Dharamsala is 9 kms. by bus. The last time it took 30 odd mins. with just one stop at Dharamsala Cantonment area. This time though it stopped atleast 5 more places and hence it took something like 45-60 mins.

Finally reached Mcleodganj, the first thing I wanted to check out were the theaters. While I’m not a big movie buff but have always enjoyed the movies which were screened at these mini-theaters there. There used to be 3 ones and intense competition among them with all of them screening a mix of movies which the others could. A kind of multiplex if you get my drift.

The kind of movies one could see were like Monster’s Ball , Sanskara or Australia , movies which would be complex, moving and do make a point. One of the movies which I very much loved is ‘The Himalaya’ . All I remember are bits and pieces of a movie I saw 5 years back.

Anyway coming back to the present. Loafed around a bit and then went to Bhagsu. Lots of eatries have come up which were not there. I remember a guy who was at a flute shop who use to romance every pretty little thing which used to come across with some beautiful melodies on his flute. Very flirty and one could have some good moments watching the chemistry. The shop is there, but the young guy is replaced by an elderly gentleman.

Came down to Bhagsu near the temple, again full of places to eat but the old places had gone . All except one. The wonderful part was the owner recognized me as well, of course was way thinner then.

Anyways had a nice meal there, hopped around bhagsu a bit and then came down.

Also checked around bhagsu for a room, came across a place called Savita Guest House (name changed for privacy purpose) . I had heard the story from a friend about this woman whose husband had left her and she was left fending for her children with the rooms she had to let. I always envisioned her to be a tough lady (not just in nature and spirit but in physical too) . To much my surprise, she turned out to be a beautiful lady. She has the looks many would take fancy for. The way things happen 😦

The old memories go and new memories come. Needless to say, prices have gone quite a bit from before, but then can’t expect them to be on the same keel, although competition has made some changes.

All in all, a good day to spend walking about 😉

Dharamshala

February 25, 2009

Hi all,

What a tangled web do we weave 😉

After almost a week in Delhi (being in freed.in and wordcamp) finally made the move to Dharamshala. The last couple of days before moving to Dharamshala had a bit of cough and cold hence changed plans from Delhi-Pathankot-Dharamshala to Delhi-Pathankot-Kangra-Dharamshala. This route adds about 3 hours more to the overall journey but lessens the distance one has to travel by bus. I reached Pathankot from Delhi via (4033) Jammu Mail. The train started from Old Delhi Station at 21:50 instead of the appointed time of 21:30 and reached Pathankot at 8:00 instead of 7:30 . Then there is a narrow guage line from Pathankot to Kangra Valley. The train started at 10:20 and reached Kangra at 15:15 (3:15 p.m.) in the afternoon. If I wasn’t suffering from cold and cough then would have been a beautiful journey. There were many beautiful sights to see especially after a place called NadhurBar (the place is actually called that, I’m not making this up). Anyways after reaching Kangra, one has to hop down to the main Road and take one of the many buses which take you to the bus-stand. From the main bus stand you take one of the buses to Dharamshala or Lower Dharamshala as its known. The bus took around an hour taking the Kangra-Duggal-Dharamshala route. There were many interesting things I saw :-

a. Railways :- The older token system where actually a person gives a big round wheel as token for next section still exists. This was something I didn’t expect. In most of the places where broad guage has come up and electrification has taken this is all but obsolete.

b. Schools :- The amount of schools I saw between Pathankot and Kangra have to be seen in believed. The boys and schools in their school uniforms looked mighty smart. How good or bad the schooling is perhaps a different deal altogether. In fact, one of the schools was on the way down from Kangra Station to the main Road. This school, in particular was a product of the Sarva Shikshan Abhiyaan done by Congress. Couple of marks to them for the same.

c. Beauty :- Beauty whether people, nature was all around. No words to express the same.

Expenses one can expect :-

a. Delhi -Pathankot Railway ticket :- Rs. 202/- (source Indian Railways)

b. Pathankot – Kangra Station railway ticket :- Rs. 20/-

c. Kangra Station to the Bus Stand :- Rs. 04/-

d. Kangra Bus Stand to Dharamshala :- Rs. 20/-

e. Staying at Lower Dharamshala (Guest House) :- Rs. 150-2000/- (depending on where you stay)

f. Laundry :- It now costs Rs. 20/- per pair of clothes

What makes it all worthwhile though is the view of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountains. Its going to take me a week but would go upstream to Mcleodganj and then Bhagsu.

Till l8er from Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh