If any Indians would like to get a feel of Tibet and a Tibetan monastery without going to that place travel to Dharmasala. If anyone would like to see the beauty of mighty Himalayas is subdued at least for a while by a man made construction in the form of a cricket stadium plan a visit to Dharmasala, if someone would like to see thousands of acres of tea gardens within the city experience Dharmasala, if any adventurous geeks wish to float on air for an hour ensure a trip to Dharmasala. Note that these are all in additions to the many temples, Churches, Army memorial etc the small city offers you which make a visit worth for all.
When spice jet put few tickets on sale with a heavy discount the automatic priority was Dharmasala without any second thoughts to visit the monastery of the Dalai Lama, a cricket stadium and if possible a paragliding. And even before the flight was landed a glance through the window was enough to fill the heart with pure happiness looking at the splendid view of Himalayas’ magnetizing beauty. Any stress and tension that carries over from the day today chore of life will get evaporated the moment you view the mighty Himalaya Mountains all around.
Dharmasala is another scenic place in the state of Himachal Pradesh around 500 kms from Delhi, which is also known as queen of Hills or Scotland of India. The headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is also here which makes it a destination for many foreign nationals too.
A snow clad mountain with fresh morning yellow light from the sun was what welcomed to the city in the early morning. The day started with a tribute to the bereaved soldiers as first halt was a war memorial in the heart of Dharmasala. The memorial is designed with a permanent raised platform with semi circular walls as the back side facing to the visitors. Soldier’s names were inscribed on it along with an art work with a caption “THIS SYMBOLISES THE EVER BURNING FLAME OF NATIONAL FREEDOM”. A map of India decorated with different colored stones in the floor of the gardens which is visible even from entrance. Large pine trees gives a shade to the whole gardens. The patriotic feelings while visiting such places are so special to the heart always.
Within a short distance from there, lies another tourist spot which is tea garden spread over 1000s of acres of land. Only cool green everywhere in every direction wherever the eyes were wandering. The huge lush green tea tress that grown in a uniform height below the normal eye level combined with the silence was a thing to watch for once. Some visitors were exploring deep inside the garden and few were already proceeding to the factory from where freshly made tea can purchased. It reminded about a discussion sometimes back regarding a chapter from travelogue by MP. Veerendra Kumar’s “Hymvatha Bhoovil” mentioning a visit to a tea factory in which it is written that costly tea at the tune of 3.2 lakhs per kilogram were available of course not to sell in India but for export.
A journey in any Indian state is incomplete without a temple visit and it was not different here too. Within the city limits around 2 Kms near to the tea garden but in a peaceful location was Kunal Pathri Temple with Goddess Duraga as main idol. According the local’s belief a rock inside temple is always wet and the moment it dries up starts raining. It is also being informed that this is the place Devi Sati’s skull had fallen while Lord Shiva was carrying her lifeless body as per the mythology and thereby an important one as Shakti peeth.
The next stop was a familiar place as it is seen many times on TV and through Print media, the Cricket stadium in Dharmasala. It didn’t seemed to be as big as to exclaim as a stadium from the experience of being in few other stadiums but it never mattered here and the relatively small size was compensated with the first look on the stadium as approached the main entrance gate. Some amazement was expected but the picturesque ambience and atmosphere with a stunning line of Himalayas in its background which was exposed like a perfect portrait, very much beyond any imagination for how such a stadium would like to be.
A green turf in circular shape, a combination of different colors in neatly arranged chairs so close to the ground, Tibetan architecture featuring in the entrances with shining background in snow Cladded Mountain on the left side and like a red hot fuming Himlayas on the right due to sunlight and all these covered with silver clouds above was nothing but a surreal feeling for a while. My camera was so inferior to capture this one of the perfect view it offered.
There was another famous temple, known as Baijnath temple quite far away from city almost 54 Kms which I made a quick visit. It was famous for its Shiva linga and water from this temple is believed to contain medicinal properties, which can cure diseases of people as it heard to be. Keeping in view of some other activities like Monastery visit, Paragliding etc, time was not handy for an elaborate visit of the temple and its complex and was just a name sake visit.
The next target was little far away and it was after lunch and a brief rest as we could return only by evening after from there. Expecting another feast for eyes as per the information received like there is lake known as Dal Lake sounding like same in Srinagar in Jammu Kashmir, a sun set point and base camp for many trekking people, but finally it was one thing which made a disappointed feeling amid the scenery of mountains and trees.
A lake was there but seems to be dirty, a temple was there but didn’t quite give any refreshing feeling, a tourist spot was there from where visitors can catch sunset with a little bit of luck of course but with no excitement. The lake was also surrounded with lush green Deodar forests which were the only thing looked good for eyes. I couldn’t wait for more wasting precious time in such a place like Dharmasala where many more things can be explored if there is time as leaving at the earliest was the best option.
And it was time to experience some local snacks and Chai before proceeding to the most important place among the visit in Dharmasala which is nationally, internationally, Politically, Diplomatically relevant Macleod Ganj, the famous Monastery of Dalai Lama among the visit in Dharmasala.