Dalhousie – a little Britain inside India. That was my first impression of it. I have never been to the UK, so my impression was based on the books, movies, and stories about England and the English culture.
But whatever it may be, I fell in love with Dalhousie instantly. This place is somewhere I would like to come again and again, or maybe settle down. You can see plant pots on both sides of the road, and they give me the hanging garden feels.
Summer Vacation in Dalhousie
I know I have been raving about my hotel rooms throughout this long summer road trip, but Dalhousie tops them all.
Lucky me, I got the view, the room, the staff and the food – all the boxes ticked. I got a place to rest, where I could finally feel like home.
Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh
On our first day, I gave every detail to my appearance. I thought we will just be doing some local sightseeing so I dressed well. But damn my luck!
We came across a point where we could do paragliding. And I wasn’t dressed for this adventure as I had my bellies on not sports shoes. I had paragliding on the bucket list for so long, and when I got the chance I jumped at the opportunity, damn the shoes.
Well and let me say that nobody in my group was up for it, so I had to go for it alone. Lucky me! That is what it thought until I had to raid the mountain range and its caveman ways to get to the peak of the mountain.
I have zero experience whatsoever in hiking, so when I had to do it I felt so out of breath, and my blocked nose and cold-stricken lungs didn’t help either.
Half the way through I thought I was going to die, I could feel the blood in my throat from all the coughing I was doing. I don’t want to go philosophical on it or anything, but that moment I realized I either go up or keep sitting here because no one is going to pick me up.
I scaled to the tip and finally got there. Water up there is gold, and you will definitely need a bottle after the strenuous hike.
As I had no experience of paragliding so I got myself a cool pilot. He buckled all the necessary straps, pulled some ropes, and let the parachute open. I had to run from the peak and jump off the cliff, and pray that I don’t fall.
Khajjiar Lake, Himachal Pradesh
I had never been so excited in my life. All my previous complaints and bodily ailments vanished. And even though I have acrophobia, I wasn’t feeling it. I ran as if I was running for my life and jumped straight off.
And whoa! It was exhilarating. I could see the trees below, the river, the tiny dots called houses and the field where my gang was waiting for me to be done flying and come to them.
It was all good till my pilot adjusted the sails (in sailor’s tongue) and we were gliding. I wasn’t just going forward, I was twisting and turning along with the wind. That is the thrill of paragliding. And this too, I would definitely want to do again.
We flew for about ten minutes and made it towards the land. Just when we were about to land my pilot commanded “Legs up!”, and in that way, I landed like a pro. I hadn’t expected that I thought I would get stuck somewhere in the bushes, and tear my pants.
The strenuous hike and the aerial changes made my body feel sick, I got a serious headache. And did not want to do anything but sleep. So I thought I could skip the zoo/sanctuary while my friends go and visit.
I have been to my fair share of zoos and seen many species, so it did not interest me. While I took the power nap in the car I thought maybe I will miss out on the exotic species they are going to see, but as it seems this sanctuary had very few animals.
It is just a stretch of a jungle on the mountains where you see bears if you travel at night.
Credit: Pushyamitra Navare
St. Francis Church
Getting back to my hotel room was all the comfort I needed. And my power nap turned into a powerful sleep. I woke up reinvigorated and wanted to check out the St. Francis Church which was near my hotel.
I dressed up for the cold and visited St. Francis church. It has got a lovely entrance, there was various station along the stone paved way to the church depicting the crucifixion of Jesus.
I adored all the sculptures here. There is a myth that you can ask three wishes the first time you visit a church. I don’t believe in it, but there is no problem in giving it a try.
Once I returned to my room, I just sat in the balcony and had a drink looking over the sight of sleeping Dalhousie.
Early in the morning, we started loading our car with the luggage. We were done with the mountains now, and it was time to head out into the summer sun. I really wanted to stay back and enjoy Dalhousie some more, but that did not happen.
Driving up the mountains was good because many of us slept through it, but descending made it difficult.
Image Credit: Piyush Tripathi
Two of my friends got sick, and one of my friend being a true gentleman, picked up mangoes from a tree on our way and asked everyone to take bites of the mango.
We continued our journey to Amritsar via Chamba (the hilly mountainous terrain) and Pathankot. Continue reading my travel diary in the next chapter “Dalhousie to Amritsar Roadtrip via Chamba.”
Cover Photo Credit: Piyush Tripathi