Saturday 19 December 2009

Rajgarh: Pretty as a Peach?

In October this year I decided to spend Diwali time away from the noise and pollution that accompanies this Indian festival in Delhi. So I decided to head to Rajgarh, an unknown town as far as the tourists circuits go.

Rajgarh Town from Higher Up

Rajgarh is a small town in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh at an average elevation of 1555 meters (5102 feet ). Rajgarh is about 350 kms from Delhi, 100 kms from Chandigarh and 39 kms from Solan. One has to leave the Chandigarh - Shimla national highway 22 at Solan and take a State Highway road for Rajgarh via Ochhghat and Giripul.

A really old house (abandoned) in Rajgarh

Peach Cultivation

The main income sources for the people here are the sale of peaches, other stone fruits and vegetables and wood and wood byproduct like turpentine oil etc.

Resin being extracted from Pine

Dish Dish Everywhere
Himachal, including Sirmour, is comparatively a more affluent state and one can find homes even away from the towns having access to modern means of communication and entertainment

Trekkers Hotel, Rajgarh

The board in the above photo though says Rest House (pointing to the right) as the PWD rest house is next to the Trekkers Hostel.

Initially when I went to Rajgarh I had pre-booked to stay in the Himachal Tourism's accommodation called the Trekkers Hostel. The accommodation is fine but I was in a for a shock as when I reached there they told me that they have no cooks (and therefore no meals) as this is Diwali time and the cook has gone on leave. Rajgarh does not have much to boast of as far as eating joints are concerned. How can you do this to a customer who has paid in advance for your services. Nowhere on the site of Himachal Tourism is it mentioned that this facility is not available. So after two days of staying there I checked out and stayed in a local hotel which had a good cook who served excellent food.

Monday 16 November 2009

Sky Ablaze at Sunset

These are the photos that I took at Sunset at a place near Sohna on the 11th November 2009 and the sky was absolutely stunning -

Sunset Photo 1

Sunset Photo 2

Sunset Photo 3

The third photo above is also of the same place but taken approximately couple of weeks prior to the first two photos.

Saturday 3 October 2009

Rewalsar- An Important Buddhist Centre

A Monastry at Rewalsar

Rewalsar is a very small town near Mandi is Himachal Pradesh but still has three Buddhist Monasteries. One can see lot of very young Buddhist students/scholars who stay in the hostels run by these monasteries here in Rewalsar. After Mcleodganj this probably is the second most important Buddhist centre in Himachal.

View of Rewalsar Lake

When I had gone there I could see very few 'Indian' tourist. Most of the tourist were either Tibetan Buddhist or foreigners from America and Europe.
Another Monastery at Rewalsar

The colours used for painting the monasteries are always bright and cheerful as is evident from the two monasteries above.

Saturday 19 September 2009

Rewalsar Lake, Himachal Pradesh, India

I had gone to two lake sites in winters, Prashar and Rewalsar, both in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh in India. Prashar was snow bound as it is located at a higher altitude but Rewalsar is comparatively only at 1360 m above the sea level. Rewalsar is a very small town located about 24 km from the Mandi town.

View of Rewalsar Lake from High Up

The town is considered sacred by Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus alike.

The Statue of Bodhisatva at Rewalsar

The first view of the town is the huge statue of Bodhisatva (it was still partly under construction when I had gone there). Rewalsar has three Buddhist monasteries and has several Buddhist scholars and students studying here. Besides these there is one Sikh Gurudwara as well as three Hindu temples as well.

One of the three Buddhist Monasteries at Rewalsar

If one is fond of Tibetan food then there is no dearth of restaurants offering the same at Rewalsar at very reasonable prices.

Another View of the Rewalsar Lake

The Rewalsar Lake amidst flowers & flags

I had stayed in the Himachal Tourism Rest House though there are other options also available for staying here.

Fish in the Rewalsar Lake

Since the Buddhist consider the place and the lake sacred they take the circle of the lake chanting slogans and also feed the fish in the lake.

Saturday 5 September 2009

Sunset on Waterbody, Himachal, India

The two images are of the same river but with contrasting results. Both are around sunset time. In the first one it seems as if the river (and the sky) is on fire whereas the second one gives the impression as if it is a frozen river

Sunset on river

See the small boat in the picture above. Of course the view was even more magnificent to the naked eye.

The sunset view of the river as if frozen

Both the pictures were taken in 2008 on the way to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. I had gone to Mcleodganj via Una. The river is somewhere between Una and Dharamshala.

Saturday 22 August 2009

Suraj Tal Lake, Himachal

Suraj Tal Lake in Lahaul, Himachal, India

Amongst some of the most beautiful lakes that I have visited in India the Suraj Tal High Altitude Lake is one that I have visited/trekked several times.

Suraj Tal lies just 3 km short of Bara-Lacha-La pass (4890m) and 65 km from Keylong in the Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh. The lake is the source of river Bhaga which merges with river Chandra at Tandi to form Chandrabhaga River (also known as Chenab River).

Saturday 1 August 2009

Prashar Lake in December, Himachal, India

Prashar Lake on Fire!

Among one of the most beautiful lakes I was fortunate to visit Prashar Lake in December of 2007 and what a memorable visit it was. I drove in my car from Delhi in the morning and halted at the town of Mandi and stayed in the Himachal Tourism Guest House there. The next morning I started for the lake and halted in the Mandi Forest Office to check on my status of reservation of the Guest House at Prashar Lake. They told me it is all done but I still took their phone numbers.

I checked on the status of the road till Prashar and I got various conflicting responses from ones that it is all motorable till the very end to one saying that I will not be able to reach even Bagi (the point till where there is a regular local bus service). I thought of trying my luck out. At Bagi had some light snacks at one of the Dhaba’s and re-enquired about the status of the road and still there was confusion so I moved on.

Beyond Bagi one could hardly call it a road or even a kutcha (unmettled) road. I was somehow about to go 12 km beyond Bagi when I encountered ice as well as huge piles of snow on the road and my Suzuki car could not go any further that that. Also I got a flat tyre due to the bad road. So I decided to dump my car at that point (Shogi), took out all important stuff and trekked all the way till Prashar (at places in deep snow). We reached in the evening and the caretaker at the Guest House had no information and therefore first refused to give accommodation and after lot of persuasion and making him talk to the forest officials at Mandi via my mobile phone he reluctantly gave a room. The Rest House had no water as the taps had frozen and the caretaker told as that for all purposes we have to go out in the open for the call of nature. There was no tea for food available except for the one dhaba which is close to the lake (half a km from the Rest House).

After dumping our stuff in the room we walked towards the lake and the first view we got of the lake wiped away all these small irritants as the sight was beautiful to behold.

After staying there by the lake we filled the water canteens and went to the dhaba and had dinner and returned back to the Rest House.

The Forest Rest House at Prashar

The whole of next day we loitered around the lake area and circled it several times and it was the best photography session that I have had in some years. Though the water is ice cold (half the lake was frozen early in the mornings) but in the sun even in December I felt quite warm and comfortable. Nights of course were chilly but then I love the cold weather.

View of Prashar Lake and and Temple from High Up

Another Long Shot View of the Prashar Lake and the Temple

On way to Prashar Lake from Shogi

Another Rest House (PWD) coming up near the Forest Rest House

The trip came to an end too soon for me as the third day we had to return back. I started the trek early so that I can reach the car and change the tyre and reached another lake town Rewalsar late in the evening. I will write about Rewalsar in another post!

Saturday 25 July 2009

Brahamaputra Magic

The Brahamaputra river is so wide that it gives the impression of being at sea instead of a river. This video is of Guwahati in Assam, India.