Where magic lives...

Photo of Where magic lives... 1/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 2/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 3/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 4/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 5/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 6/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 7/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 8/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 9/10 by Priyambada Nath
Photo of Where magic lives... 10/10 by Priyambada Nath

Tirthan valley - A weekend at a mystical place ensconced within Himachal,the "khol khol" sound of the river flowing from behind the cottage where we put up was like a melody playing in the background, mists came and went like in an enchanted dream, and air so fresh you start feeling energized already, stray horses peep out to look at strangers and wild flowers springs out from every corner, food so fresh I can still feel the taste in my mouth. A place which really inspires !!

But reaching this place from Delhi, was not really an easy drive through winding highways and scenic hills in the distance offering photo-op at every nook. In fact it was just the opposite taking us almost 20 hours to finally reach the guesthouse. The long weekend (independence day weekend on 15th August 2014) and the rains can definitely be blamed for the traffic jams we encountered, it was definitely tiring. But how cool is it to wake up from a comforting sleep and open the door of your cottage and take in a sight like the picture below. Hills playing hide and seek with fogs, a happy wind trying to blow away a bit of the fog - nature at play. A stream flowing right ahead, and the sound along with those of birds and insects blend together like in a melody. It was love at first sight, literally ! (We reached after 12 at night and since there were power cuts, I didn't actually see anything the day before)

Tirthan Valley, gets its name from Tirthan River- flowing through the valley- originates from the Himalayas. It is one of the virgin locations in Himachal, still untouched and non-commercialized. So unlike other locations, the air here is fresh, food organic and at times roads are non-traversable, or atleast difficult to explore. For a tourist who is always in a hurry or likes to be on the go, this is definitely not the destination to look forward to. This is an off-beat location for nature lovers who love to go on treks. During season time one can do a bit of angling and trout fishing, but for most part this is a place where one generally has no particular agenda in mind except relaxing. A place where you can just sit down with your novel or music and see how nature changes every few minutes. 

The first day was a super lazy day, the way vacations are supposed to be- you don't rush, you don't plan, but just go with the flow. We woke up late, we had a late breakfast at the super awesome cafe run by the owner of the Cottage we were put up at. The cafe is attached to the guest-house and not the cottage, but one can order in. I preferred the 1 km hike downhill. I have never see anyone as attached to nature as our owner. He has a cow who apparently gives 25 liters of milk everyday, and depending on the number of people the guesthouse is accommodating on a daily basis, the rest of the milk is made into cheese and ghee, which is then used to prepare food served in the cafe. He prefers to grow his own organic vegetables (which unfortunately due to the rains this year was destroyed by snails and slugs). He is also an heirloom seed conservator and grows everything from millet's to rice. Even the jam we had with the pancakes was prepared in their kitchen; and of course the fruits are home-grown. Tempting, isn't it?

During the latter part of the day, we did a small trek towards a waterfall near our cottage. The trail was short and it was a beautiful walk, with many pretty, wooden bridges scattered around the path towards the waterfall. The waterfall was beautiful. The water was fresh, and white - so clean. 
I have no patience writing, so I will cut this very short from here, and leave you to have a look at the pictures. 
On the second day (third actually if you count the first night) we decided on a day long trek (meaning around 6 hours of activity). It is a 5 km trek (one way) through a beautiful trek, which is not very strenuous. We took a little more than an hour and a half to reach the lake and were greeted by this (pictures on top) and a few more horses grazing in the meadow. We saw a few rabbits running around too, but they were too quick for my camera. We reached Jhalori Pass from Jibhi by our car, but the road was at times very steep. Along the trek we were greeted by birds, horses, rabbits and mists. It made me feel like I was walking through the jungles shown and described in books like "Lord of the Rings". Mists would gather suddenly and clear off as quickly giving the feel of a wizard chanting his abracadabra close by.
We came across many wild flowers and beautiful grasses too, all through the trek. Yellow, pink and purple flowers covered the meadows that we crossed on the way to the lake.
When mentioning this place I must definitely mention the place where we put up. We rented a cottage at Rana Swiss Cottage. The website link for the same is http://www.kshatra.com/ . The cottage was beautiful and had a small veranda overlooking the hills. While during the day one can look at the hills and be amazed by its sheer beauty and size, during the night one won't be able to take their eyes off the starry sky. I haven't seen so many stars in last few years together, than I have seen in the Jibhi Sky. The Jibhi river just passes ahead from our cottage, and one can hear the sound of the river flow at all times. The  cottages are constructed using eco friendly material, and all care have been taken to ensure the comfort of guests.
A view of the cottage. Could not get a frontal view, but I am sure you get the drift. There are many trees- apple, cherry and plum surrounding the cottage area. Also a little trail from below the cottage takes you to a shaded area that Mr. Rana has designed so that guests can practice yoga,meditation or martial arts according to their own choosing. 
This was definitely four awesome days of sheer pleasure and connection with nature. Traffic jams and landslides couldn't dampen either my spirit neither the beauty of this place.