Nestled among the majestic mountains that are the Himalayas, about 60km from the popular hill station of Shimla is a small place called Narkanda. It is known as a Ski resort and also for its apple orchards but I must confess that I had not even heard of this place when my dad chose it for a family trip in Oct 2011.
I have been on many hastily planned trips, but this was one of the best. We booked tickets on the Kalka Shatabdi and reached Narkanda in the evening after a gruelling run through winding roads and hairpin bends. And one of the first sights that greeted me en- route was a beautiful sunset.
It was freezing there at nearly 10,000 ft above m.s.l. and try as we might, we could not get warm. We spent the first night shivering in our hotel room at the beautiful HPTDC hotel The Hatu. The next morning, we were greeted by a spectacular view of the sun rising above the peaks, bathing them in a soft golden light.
That day we went to see the Hatu peak, which boasted of an old temple and a view of snow peaks. It is a 7km uphill trek, but we opted for a shorter (but more frightening) trip by car. In places, the road was barely wide enough for us to pass through, but when we reached, we realised that we had made a wonderful decision to come here. It felt like I’d left the world far behind and come all the way here to find both peace, and the excitement which comes from living life on the edge.
The peak also featured a beautiful wooden temple with distinct Tibetan influence. Sadly, the temple was under renovation so we couldn’t see it in its full glory.
Then we went to see the Tanu Jubbar Lake, which was very small. But the water was crystal clear, and the scene so picturesque that the pictures can hardly do justice to it.
This entire excursion lasted just a few hours, and by lunch we were free. So we requested the driver to take us to see the Sutlej river. That meant going another 50km to a place called Anantpur, where a hydro project is under way.
But it was worth the effort we put in. The sight of the river rushing along at full speed was strangely refreshing. It was full of quiet strength, and I just loved it. Thus, the trip to Narkanda came to an end. And it fulfilled its purpose, rejuvenating us so that we could go back and face our humdrum city life with a little more courage and good humour.