After hiring a taxi from New Delhi for our destination, we followed the curvy roads among the greenery of tall trees, crossing the hills and finally reaching Dharamsala in the evening.
The high and snow clad mighty Dhauladhar Ranges form a beautiful backdrop to the hill resort of Dharamsala. Around 397 km from New Delhi, Dharamsala is also known as ‘Little Lhasa in India’ after it became the temporary headquarter of his holiness The Dalai Lama. It was a day’s ride on the road but worth taking as you discover and observe much more this way. We reached Dharamsala in the evening and decided to rest for the day in the guest-house so that we could start afresh the next morning. The following day we visited the main market and the Bhagsunath temple and waterfall. In the evening I took a stroll to the nearby local market.
|Photo by Travelling Slacker.|
When you visit a hill station, you find yourself mesmerized with the beauty of nature around you (this happens especially with us ‘city people’). Smelling and feeling the pure and cool breeze, gazing at the sunrise and the sunset behind the mountain ranges, doing a lil' bit of hill climbing or taking a simple walk around the area is something that fills your heart with contentment. Oh yes! I did all this while I was in the hills; small walks around and up and down the roads, stopping by local tea stalls, drinking the flavourfull tea with a bun and biscuits, enjoying a chat with the locals and knowing more about their lifestyles. Not to mention the weather was awesome too and it complemented my zest to explore more.
The people here are very jovial and helpful. They are all ears to give directions and tell stories about their life on hills. I had a great time yapping at a small local tea stall.
Bhagsunath Temple & waterfalls-The temple is a medieval Shiva temple situated 3 km from Mcleodganj and is built in a huge compound with pools that are considered sacred among Hindu devotees. After doing my Puja I looked around for the famous Bhagsu waterfall which was at a walking distance from the temple. The path to the waterfall was interesting, with fresh water springs and slate quarries. A narrow walking/climbing path through the hills, it was a good twenty minute walk to the waterfall.
|The Bhagsunath waterfall|
That evening I came back to the rest house and decided to leave for Mcleodganj next morning. I could not sleep much that night because of the constant jumping and walking sounds of monkeys on the roof! Yes, there were plenty of monkeys there. Most of the houses are wooden and roofs are slanting so the top structure of the house is such that monkeys find it a great place to turn in for the night.
|A Tibetan building at Mcleodganj|
Mcleodganj- Mcleodganj is 9 km from Dharamshala and is a well known centre for the Buddhist community. The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered here. The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso was given refuge at Dharamshala in 1959. Since then, Mcleodganj is the official residence and is home to Buddhist monasteries and Tibetan refugees alike. Because of a large number of exiled Tibetans living here, this place has the influence and style of the culture. The lanes on both sides of the road leading to Dalai Lama’s temple (also known as Tsuglag Khang temple) has small cafes all over. The smaller shops sell handmade shawls and local handicrafts. I did not have the time to sit in any of the cafes though, and I could n't stop imagining myself sitting there with my laptop and writing away while sipping a hot cup J
|The beautiful Dhauladhar range|
Apart from the purpose of tourism many people come here to learn and study Tibetan Buddhism, culture and art. Looking at lots of Thangka painting, handcrafted bags, lamp shades, wooden statues, and jewelry, one is tempted to buy more than just one souvenir. After buying a small sling bag with’Om’ written on it, I walked slowly towards the parking area, soaking in the lively and buzzing atmosphere of the surroundings.
Author Bio: Shweta is an HR professional and a blogger from New Delhi. Her interests include writing, travel and photography. More of her travel stories and other snippets can be seen at her blog - www.unforgettableroads.