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Archive for the tag “Hill Stations”

McLeodganj, Dharamshala (Kangra-Himachal)

TibetFlag McLeodganj, named after David McLeod, teh governor general of Punjab (British-India), is house of the exiled Tibetan Government and is blessed by the presence of H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (See my post on Dalai Lama’s Residence). This place is also sometimes called Little Lhasa.

This place is so peaceful and energizing, that you will never feel like leaving it. There are lot of Tibetans and Europeans (mostly Israelis) in here. Nearby Villages are populated with Europeans. I have heard that there are villages nearby McLeodganj, where lot of Drugs and illegal stuff is available. I don’t know if it is true or a rumor.

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I like this place so much that I have been there so many times. Luckily, my father designed couple of shops and restaurants at this place. This helped me make dozens of trips to McLeodganj in past 5-6 years.

It is situated near Dharamshala. Infact, sometimes, it is also called Upper Dharamshala. There is a small road, from where, McLeodganj is only 2 Km from main Dharamshala market. This road is very steep and reaches the Dalai Lama Temple. The other way is lot Stjohnswildernesslonger, but safer. This road reaches the other end of McLeodganj.

But this route, the longer one, is much better as you get a chance to see more scenic views. A very nice place on way is the St. John’s Church. This church, located in Forsythganj, popularly called Church of St. John in the Wilderness, is the final resting place of Lord Elgin, a British viceroy of India (19th Century).

This church is in a really peaceful place hidden under trees. Its view from road is so magical that you can’t resist visiting it.

McLeodganj_Street2The main street of McLeodganj is crowded and loaded with Tibetan shops. You will find Monkalmost every Tibetan handicraft item and Tibetan/Buddhist souvenirs. Besides, everywhere you will see people in traditional maroon dress of Buddhists everywhere.

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McLeodganj_Street4One must visit this place for peace of mind. There are lot other places to visit nearby. If you read this blog, you will find that most of my posts are from Dharamshala, and McLeodganj.

Do check out…

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Dalai Lama Temple, McLeodganj

HH_DalaiLamaIt was my pleasure, that I got a chance to visit His Holiness Dalai Lama’s temple at McLeodganj. I have been to Dharamshal and McLeodganj many times. But I went to temple only twice. I hope to see His Holiness some day as well.

When I went there in 2007 with my friend Vinay, we decided to stop for a cup of coffee outside the temple. When we finished our coffee, we saw hundreds of  Buddhist monks coming out of the temple. We felt so sorry because we had missed a chance to see the ceremony and wasted 30 minutes. We could have probably seen Dalai Lama as well.

Here are some pictures from that mighty place…

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There is this nice museum outside the temple. This museum contains many artifacts and literature from Tibet. The walls of this museum are covered with banners telling the sad story of how China attacked on Tibet and conquered the land.

Tibet was having very small force. These peace loving people were forced to fight against huge army of china. Then the Tibetan government, including Dalai Lama, were forced to leave their homeland. Indian government then gave them place in Dharamshala, and today, this place is as peaceful as heaven.

A Must Visit Place…

Ekasham Shailkritya Mandir Samooh, Masroor

Ekasham Shailkritya Mandir Samooh, or the Rock Cut Temples of Masroor, Kangra are one of the most magnificent temples I ever visited. It is an outstanding example of monolithic temples in Himalyan region. The entire complex comprises of more than 15 temple shikhars and a large water pond. The beauty of this place is that everything here has been craved out of sand stone rocks. There was a huge hill, and people of 8th or 9th Century, beautifully carved that hill into a series of temples.

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Unfortunately, this entire complex was destroyed in a very major earthquake, that almost devastated entire Kangra valley in 1905. Archeological Survey of India has tried its best to save this place. In 1914, this place was declared as a national monument.

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You can find debris of this majestic Temple all around the complex. One can image, how beautiful this place might be around 1200 years ago, when people were not advance enough to work on such huge projects. This could have been the wonder of that time.

It is a real sad thing to see this nice place destroyed due to earthquake .

Masroor-Temple-Thakurdwara In the center of the complex, stands the principal and the most elaborately carved shrine, the thakurdwara, enshrining the black stone image of lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, facing east. I must mention that at this place, I saw the largest lizard in my life. I first thought it to be a small Comodo Dragon, but later realized that it is just a large himalyan species from lizard family.

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This place is few Km away from the main Kangra City. It lies in a village called Masroor. It took us around 2-3 hours to reach there from McLeodganj (Dharamshala) by car. We passed the Main Kangra Bus Stop and Kangra Airport on way to this place.

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Brentwood Sanctuary, Mussourrie

Moving from Mussourrie towards Kempty Fall, half way down you will find a road diverting to Lake Myst. Far on that road, go about 2 Km on this narrow rough path, and you will see a nice lonely building surrounded by high hills on 3 sides. If you check this nice place on Google earth, you will find that it is surrounded by famous places on all sides. On its east, is he Mussourrie Hill Station, On the north, is the Kempty Fall, towards west is Jwala Devi’s temple and to its south, is the house of famous Sir George Everest, the surveyor general of India, after whom, Mt. Everest was named.

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This plot has road on two sides, and fresh water stream on other two sides. This water stream becomes Kempty fall after 3 Km.

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Brentwood-Sanctuary-4 The water stream is covered totally with trees and greenery, thus giving a feel of amazon. You can spend hours and hours at this place and no one will ever disturb you thus making this place lonely and peaceful. Guys who own this place also arrange for various activities at their premise. Usually companies and tour groups hire this sanctuary for outdoor camping and picnics. Scenic views out here are outstanding.

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I have been there many times. This place gives me peace because I feel that I am totally away from entire world, and relaxing in the heart of nature.

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Kemty-River-1Last, I went couple of months back with my family. Trust me, this is one place that you must go and you should go there with family. Because no matter where you picnic, you are always disturbed by one or other factor. But this place guarantees total peace. When we reached there, it was very hot, but in minutes, it started raining. After one hour, when we opened the window of our room, we were surprised to see that the grass has turned white because of snowfall. But this didn’t lasted for even 30 mins. Then we went out for trekking on hills and had fun in the water stream running along the wall of this place.

If you need any information regarding Brentwood Sanctuary, feel free to ask me. I will guide you to this untouched heaven.

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Galu Devi Temple, near Dharamkot

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I went there in 2007. When you start from McLeodganj towards dharamkot, you will find a pleasant scenic view. Soon you will reach Dharamkot, which is a really nice place to be. You cross dharamkot and reach at a height of 2130 mts. and find yourself in a ridge covered with high trees and hills. A small temple of Galu Devi stands there. This is the place, where vehicles stop, and a tough journey of Triund starts. This time, we came back from Galu Devi, but I hope, that next time, I will reach Triund. Here are few pics from this nice small place…

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McLeodganj-from-Galu-DeviThis picture is of McLeodganj, as it is seen from Galu Devi Hill top

On-Way-to-Galu-Devi-TempleAh, picture I took on way to Dharamkot. The road is very narrow, but it is a different experience all together. You will surely love it.

Bhagsu Fall (McLeodganj-Dharamshala)

BhagsuFall Ah, finally I got a chance to write about this mesmerizing place. It is far from the road, but still attracts several tourists. However, most tourists stop at the beginning of journey and find themselves happy with the downstream in foots of fall. Very few try to climb to rocks and reach the heart of Bhagsu Fall.

I have made it a point that whenever I go to McLeodganj, I visit this remote place. It is roughly 2-3 KM. from the town. We easily get taxi or rikshaw to there, but I prefer walking along the road.

OnWayToBhagsu My best two visits to this place were with my friend Vinay and with my cousin Satpal. We had real fun. The trekking from McLeodganj to Bhagsu is very interesting in itself. You continuously get a view of Kangra valley as the hill is facing towards Dharamshala. When me, Vinay and one of our other friend were traveling on this lonely road, we found several nice spots to stop and click. There are very small tea stalls and snack shops after every few short while.

Bhagsu-Gate Once you cross the small market of Bhagsu Village, you will find yourself at a gate built by Army. Next to it is Lord Shiva’s Temple. When you cross the temple, you will find yourself at  a small water pond, and people bathing in the cold water.

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Once you cross this Water Pond, you will see a very beautiful scene, that will hold you there for a long time. Fall is at distance, and the way is breathtaking.

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BhagsuFall_PathWe had real fun while climbing up the rocks through that small path constructed several years back. Stones on that path keep slipping into deep trench. This path is not for weak people, or for those who fear height. But let me tell you, it is not difficult to climb it. Its just that you need a little courage and energy.

Once you reach the heart of water fall, you find crystal clear water, with green shadow from trees all around it. Water is very cold and so wonderful, that you can spend several hours in it. In-fact, the journey will make you so much tired that you will find this water to be the most precious reward you were working for.

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When you are done with the cold effect, the best thing to do is to have a bowl of maggi noodles Happy or a cup of nice coffee.

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Bhagsu Now look at this picture. The hut vinay is pointing to is actually more than 1 Km. away from this place and it is where you start you trekking.

After that point, you won’t find anything to eat or drink unless you reach the top. When you reach Bhagsu Fall, the broken path vanishes completely, and you have to climb couple of rocks to reach the top.

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But this easy climbing is more interesting then entire journey. The only problem is when you start back because you are already so tired, and after this long rest, you feel like sleeping. You are not in a position to climb back. But there is no choice, and you must walk your way back through those same rocks and cover the long path.

In a nutshell, this is an indispensable place for tourists.

Happy Voyage

Tea Garden at Dharamshala

Beside Palampur, the Tea Gardens of Dharamshala are very famous in Himachal Region. I have made several trips to McLeodganj, the residence of H.H. Dalai Lama. Consider this post to be first part of description of Dharamshala and McLeodganj.

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When you head for McLeodganj from Dharamshala through the long route (not from the shortcut that goes from within the market), you will find a very wide elbow turn. On the edge, there is a sign board of the Tea Plantation of Dharamshala. At 10 mins. walking distance, you will reach a place, covered with dense green leaves and filled with magnificent aroma of fresh tea. I have been there twice. One with my cousin, and other with one of my best friends Vinay.

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Tea gardens here are not as wide spread as Assam or other North-East states, but they surely are nice enough to keep you busy for hours. Imagine small rocks in between and slope slanting towards a nice green trench. The steps of hill will take your breath.

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TeaGarden6 I have decided that I will go there again on my next trip. When I went there last time, I was coming from Company Garden at Dharamshala, and moving towards Naddi. These two are also very mesmerizing places, that I will elaborate in my future posts. Dharamshala surely has many spots for tourists. Places around Dharamshala and McLeodganj can keep you busy for months. Several tourists are hanging out in these hills for years, and never even think of going back to their native countries.

This is one must visit place

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