On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads

Tripoto
1st Jul 2024
Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma
Day 1

I was sure that it was going to be another big trip of the year. We embarked on this journey in the month of April. We had a time of  twelve days flexibly in our hands. So we tried to have most of it and decided to take a drive towards the western side of Himachal Pradesh . As this side offers insignia of history and culture blatantly. So it was more like an opportunity to learn how mankind and the present world came into existence. A drive of eleven hours and covering a distance of 347.6 Km made us enter the Dalhousie town of district Chamba. It was quite a drive to remember right from witnessing the sunrise and ending the day with a captivating sunset on Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake , a reservoir located in the Kangra district playing an important role in the survival of various migratory birds species like bar-headed goose (Anser indicus), northern lapwing, ruddy shelduck, northern pintail, common teal, Indian spot-billed duck, Eurasian coot, red-necked grebe, black-headed gulls, plovers, black stork, terns, water-fowl and egrets. After reaching Dalhousie it was time to call it a day and get prepared for our next long drive along to collect new experiences.

The next day started with glistening views of Pir Panjal ranges in the front of our eyes, enough to send a shiver of gratefulness down to our spines. After wrapping up with breakfast, we started driving towards Khajiyar , popularly stated as the Mini Switzerland of India in various texts. It is at a distance of 24 km from Dalhousie and the curves of the roads feel passing beautifully through small hills. It can be a good option to soak into the sun in the Khajiyar Meadow, quiet enough to make you feel your proximity to nature. A big stretch of green meadow surrounded with cedar trees as far as eyes can see. We hopped on our Jeep and drove towards Chamba main town. It took another hour to reach the town and it was time to roam around the streets of Chamba. We got our car parked in a parking lot close to Bhuri Singh Museum and we went into the museum to start with the history to understand the geography of the place better. Laxmi Nath Temple in the middle of the town , right after you take a left diversion from the famous Chamba Chaugan which is a sight for the popular Minjar Fair. Laxmi nath temple is one of the insignia from the past built in the 10th century by Raja Sahil Varman. It is the main shrine of Chamba town with temples made in Shikara style and wooden chatris as roofs.

Our next destination was Bharmour village. The place was on a pretty good distance to be accessed before it gets dark, distance is not what I'm talking about here, I am pointing towards the condition of the road , as well established National Highway it required  challenging driving skills to be on the same without making any mistake. It was sleek and full of blind curves and if another vehicle seems coming from the front, that too on the wrong point, passing by the same vehicle became a challenge. One I can show here in the picture.

A huge water tanker coming from the front while coming back from Bharmour

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Khajiyar Meadow - me and a little friend I made there

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Old shoes preserved in Bhuri Singh Museum, Chamba (* A camera ticket is mandatory to click pictures inside the museum, video camera is not allowed)

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

But at the end the whole exertion came to a serene end, once the bright snowy peaks of Manimahesh Kailash range came into view, it was a view worth soaking into, the snowy peaks shining with the rays of sunset falling on it, giving it a sunset yellow tone. We ended our day in Bharmour and it was quite chilling at night.

The next morning the first thing in mind was to pay a visit to 84- the temple in the middle of the town of Bharmour. 84 Temple is considered as the only temple of lord Dharamraj or lord Yamraj in the world. In Hindu mythology Dharamraj decides the fate of souls whether they should go to heaven or hell. There is also the seat of Chitragupta in front of the temple and one empty room which is considered the room of Chitragupta. Chitragupta keeps complete record of actions of human beings and help Dharamraj in deciding who goes to heaven and who to hell. of Dharamraj, There are temples of Lord Chitragupta at few other places in India but record of temple of Lord Dharamraj has not been found at any other place in the world. Archeologically, it is believed to be constructed by Raja Sahil Verman in honour of the 84 Yogis who had arrived from Kurukshetra and meditated there while passing through Bharmour on their way to Manimahesh Lake can be seen in the temples in the entire complex . There are 5-6 schools in its premises, also with one open auditorium also being called Kala Manch where students from all the surrounding schools celebrate big important days together. Bharmour is a place with kind of piercing vibes, the aura of the place keeps you pricking with its serenity and tranquility all around, even after being a complete town, augmented with basic survival necessities like transportation facilities, banking and ATM facilities with all other modern facilities. It is a place worth visiting and worth letting its vibes in. We had a plan to go to Tissa but due to the snow and bad road conditions we decided to keep it saved for our next visit along with Manimahesh Kailash.

So we turned back towards Dalhousie and started driving towards Dharamshala and we planned to stay in Mcleodganj. Next morning we decided to drive towards Mcleodganj, a quite popular tourist attraction in the world. The town shows the influence of Buddhist culture. And the streets often remain full with brimming tourists all across the globe. After visiting the Namgyal Monastery , the residence monastery of His Holiness Dalai Lama, we ended our day in the bustling Town of Mcleodganj.

Early in the morning we got ready by 7 and started hiking towards Bhagsu Nag Waterfall, it is a beautiful trail to walk on, a mixture of concrete paths and stairs till the waterfall.  After seeing the waterfall, we went to visit the Cricket Stadium in Dharamshala. A cinematic stadium right in the lap of Dhauladhar. And the experience of playing in the pitch among Dhauladhar is being liked by the players who got to play here, as per recent articles. After a while, we drove towards Bir. Bir is another hour from Dharamshala, passing through Palampur tea gardens with mighty Dhauladhar standing aside. It is a popular sight of adventure freaks as it provides the safest paragliding experience in the whole country. Also it has some strenuous and demanding trekking routes for mountain lovers.  Bir Billing, like pronounced together works in a harmony,  the Bir town is an area where the population resides and  Billing serves as a launching site for the paragliders. One who loves to see the world from a birdeye view and seeks to feel the power of air and control, keeps the streets of Bir filled, seasonally. Bir town is a beautiful plain area where one can see gliders flying up in the air while sipping on a well prepared coffee. It has beautiful cafes and savoury wine shops throughout the market. The town throws a beautiful influence of Buddhist culture living in a harmony with tourism, making the place more charismatic. Basic and cost effective stay options are available in the town ( You can check out Rigveda 2 and Q star).

In the evening we drove towards Sherbalinga Monastery, which is 7-8 km away from Bir. While going towards the monastery I got to witness the mesmerizing sunset at the Landing site in Bir. It was a moment to witness, the humans who had put on their wings to fly high were packing up to go back to their stay and other gliders were also swiveling down, making it quite an unforgettable moment. The decision to visit the monastery became a reason for being grateful for this journey called life. We got to witness the monks chanting and adorning the whole complex of the monastery with those charismatic chants. It was a rhythm that made my jaw drop till the moment I was there and soul filled with an incomparable sense of calmness. As if it was some kind of detoxification going on there. After letting us soak into the vibes completely we came back and called it a day.

After Bir we drove towards Jibhi, a small town in Tirthan Valley. It is a small village, on the verge of becoming a big town, because of increasing tourism day by day. Jibhi is situated on the bank of a stream forming the tributary of the Tirthan river. After making one stay in Jibhi we decided on our next destination for the upcoming day.

Manali was the next destination we planned to access from Jibhi. We visited Jalori pass in the morning, a motorable pass connecting Shimla to Tirthan Valley. On that day the HRTC bus was on the trail to open the route for traffic after an interval of 50 days. Then we drove towards Manali. We reached in the day time and relaxed our bones out a little in the town of Old Manali with good coffee and light hearted music. We took a walk towards Hadimba Mata Temple and ended our day in the quaint vibes of Manali. The next day we decided to drive towards Lahaul, after crossing the Atal Tunnel working as a good connectivity between two geographically distant places. Sissu falls in the Lahaul part of Lahaul & Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. The area was full of snow and it felt like entering some other dimension after crossing the tunnel. Approximately ten feet high walls were there through which a drivable passage had been made. Sissu is a spot that remains filled with adventure lovers, offering them snow activities like skiing, tube sliding etc. If you are aware enough, you can witness any particular group of skiers ascending towards the slope and then skiing down with fierce energy.

After returning from Sissu, we visited Jogini Falls in Vashishth town that has captivating vibes and requires a hike of an hour to go close to the magically flowing waterfall. After having free time at Manali Mall road and strolling among the streets of the town, the day ended among the hustling vibe of manali town.

The next morning we planned to drive towards Sethan. It is a spot getting enough fame for glamping and can be a great option for staying for leisure travellers. Sethan is an alternative land given to the residents of spiti valley for survival in the winter months due to excessive snow fall and no availability of supplying  methods back in the time. Sethan is a point for Skiing and many skiers across the globe come here to conquer the ultimate slopes. Various ski & snowboarding competitions take place here yearly. After visiting Sethan, we planned to drive towards Jana Village to have the ultimate Pahari Thali in the lunch served by locals. Made with locally grown crops the thali serves a portion of red rice( lal chawal), local Hari sabzi, siddu, makki ki roti, Pahari Rajma ( Balri) along with pure pahari cow ghee poured on the top.

Being on this trip felt like a dream to start from somewhere and reach somewhere. Everyday changing the place of your sleeping. Developing more flexibility and awareness day by day about travelling and knowing and learning more and more about the habitat of the people and other beings out there.

84 Temple Complex, Bharmour

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Mcleodganj market, Dharamshala

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Bir , District Kangra

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Namgyal Monastery complex, Mcleodganj

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

A beautiful wall painting clicked on the way to Jogini Falls, Vashisht

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Healthy Pahari Thali, served at Jana Village

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Purple Haze Cafe, Old Manali

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Hadimba Mata Temple, Manali

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Sherbalinga Monastery, Bir

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Jalori Pass, 3120m ( A motorable pass connecting Shimla to Tirthan Valley )

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Buildings in Bir

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Landing site, Bir

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Mighty Dhauladhar at the back

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Big snow walls in Sissu

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma

Solang Nala

Photo of On the roads : covering Western Himachal on roads by Rachna Sharma