A day at Dharamshala—beautiful Himachal
It was not a planned trip. My friend announced the evening before, “Tomorrow I have to visit Dharamshala. Would you like to come? We’d be back by evening.” No question of not agreeing. As usual start from Jammu was comfortably in the morning at about eight thirty. With three of us, the small red car rolled again.
I came to understand that my friend’s house under the shadows of Dhauladhar being nearly complete this would be a site inspection visit. A few things he needed to take care of—naturally—building a new house is not a small matter. Regular attention needed and it was only about 200 kms away along mostly fast road. A quick occasional visit was in order.
The road went through Pathankot. Nothing much to see—we had already traveled this way. The rise to the hills was gradual with no steep rides. Only at the last stretch I had to sit up suddenly with snow peaks showing on the right. “That is the Dhauladhar range,” informed my friend, “We would move nearer.”
Dhauladhar Himalayan range
I didn’t expect the elevation of the snow range to be so high. “It seems to be very near,” I expressed my surprise. “Yes it is quite near. Though altitude of Dharamshala is not high, pegged at about 5000 feet, it snows during winter here. If you come to visit us next year winter you would see snow.” Already he had offered me anytime room in his house. If everything went well, the house would be completed by another one year.
Though Dhauladhar range looked impressive, I couldn’t appreciate the scene—it was green but not green enough. I recognized the flaw—only low shrubs around—no tall trees.
We moved again. A little ahead my disappointment vanished as the road stretched ahead between green hillsides and snow peaks peeped over the trees. Dark clouds moved overhead. Rains might come.
Snowpeaks peeping over the trees
“City is near now,” told my friend. It was a hint that the natural view would be no more. I wanted to get the maximum that I could get from this stretch. We stopped the car shortly at a vantage point.
This was the last green topped snow view and quickly the road turned smoothly into lower Dharamshala town. Nice clean roads—absently I noted—my mind was still on the scene we left behind.
“Dharamshala is expanding and has many of the large city facilities now,” my friend said. I could see but not quite attach my mind. I didn’t expect a city, I guess.
In a short while he rode up, turned and stopped, “Here is my palace,” he announced. We got down, looked around. No multitude of multi-storied buildings jostling each other. All single storied houses in well separated plots with a cultivated stretch of land on one side and Dhauladhar on the other. Quite open all around. “You have chosen your spot well,” I complimented my friend, “Not easily this area will get crowded.” I knew too well how all empty spaces that we see get filled up gradually with time and progress.
My friend proudly showed each of the attractions of his house. It was certainly an achievement. I gave vent to my thoughts, “It’s great. I myself couldn’t have done it at all.” He looked visibly happy. “Only a few finishing touches are left. I expect it to be over by early next year latest. Next year winter or summer you can come,” He looked at me smiling. Yes, I told myself, it is a grand offer. Away from the concrete jungle of Kolkata, below Dhauladhar—I could imagine myself walking leisurely towards Dhauladhar.
While Tukai went up to the roof to have a completely open view and my friend talked to his work people I was attracted towards the cultivated stretch of land away from the cluster of houses. I walked quite far. From here I could hide the houses and Dhauladhar looked more appealing.
An away view of Dhauladhar
In time we rejoined at the rooftop of his house while my friend pointed out the various attractions of Dharamshala. The cute International Cricket Stadium far to the right was a point of pride for every Dharamshalaite. Later when I watched an important IPL match going on in that stadium it reminded me of us standing together on the open rooftop and my friend pointing towards the cute stadium.
His work nearly finished, as also our time. I took a short stroll towards Dhauladhar. One more hillside and then the snow face rose. It seemed so near. I looked closer.
Gigantic Dhauladhar rising
The gigantic snow covered mountainside rose steeply with beautiful cute buildings dotting the green vale on the foreground. I couldn’t comprehend how those people can live so near to that massive winter snow cliff.