Sunday, September 25, 2016

Dharamsala and McLeodganj Part-3

This is in continued from day 2

After not so good experience at Dal Lake and Naddi, our cab took us to “Church of St. John in the wilderness” which is located in Dharamsala on the way to McLeodganj. The establishment is more than 100 years old and was built by the widow of Lord lgin (British Viceroy of India) who died in 1863.  The crunch is located in the arms of nature with a much maintained garden and a small graveyard. It is also the last resting ground of Lord lgin.

The Church survived a massive earthquake in 1905 and suffered extensive damage which destroyed the upper portion completely. In 1915 the Church was renovated and a new bell was built by Whitechapel Bell Foundry and was shipped to India. But the weight of the bell was so much that they could fix it on the top and had to fix on the ground near to the Church. The bell was so huge that the attempt to steal it failed. As soon as I walked inside the Church premises I saw the history with very old colourful glasses and the statue of Jesus. There was a small water bowl with holy water at the entrance of the church. I did not take any picture of the interiors of Church because I think it is disrespectful. But again some very intelligent Indian travellers don’t have any respect and do everything to destroy the peace of the place. The Church was also funded by late Bollywood actress Priya Rajvanshi.

As soon as we walked out – nature struck with heavy rains which caused traffic jam for more than two hours. We reached Mcleodganj by lunch time.

Mcleodganj is the home of Dalai Lama and the houses of one of the biggest monasteries. The roads were very narrow and full of traffic, cars are everywhere even on those roads which can only allow one car at a time. There chaos because of the traffic.

The city is famous for its night life but due to time constraint we could not witness it. After lunch we went to the monastery. The monastery also symbolizes the struggle for freedom of Tibet from Chinese.  We can see the pictures of those freedom fighters who were killed by the Chinese military while doing peaceful protests. I have never seen such a big monastery. The monastery was two storied which serves for different purpose. The 1st floor is basically to do prayers and the second was the home to the Idol of Gautam Buddha. The gates of the Monastery are open to everyone who is looking for inner peace. After rotating the prayer bells we continued our journey to our last destination Khanyara.

Khanyara is famous for a huge Shiva temple with a small river in the backyard. The temple premises have many small temples with idols of different Gods. The river was the main attraction; we saw huge rocks inscribed with “OM” and “Ram”. The little cave was also a big attraction of the place. The refreshing cold water felt rejuvenating! We dipped our feet in the river and soaked in the beauty.
Even though it was a temple premises, nothing stopped our Punjabi tourists from drinking beer. It feels very disappointing. Anyway, it was the last stop of our journey and we headed back to our hotel because our bus departure timing was at night.

Even they knows where to go"

I almost forgot that I also had some good meat momos in Dharamsala. In conclusion I want to say that the trip was not that good as expected. But I have to say this to Indian Travellers that please be little responsible while travelling and respect the place.

Yummy Momos

Trust me the way was not easy

Dharamsala amrket at night

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dharamsala and McLeodganj Part-2

It was a wonderful experience visiting the tea estate in Dharamsala. But we had to cover couple of more destinations before we could end our day and there was no way we could  walk to those places. Fortunately we found a cab on our way back and got a good bargain for war memorial and cricket stadium.

Both the destinations are only 2 Km apart. So we decided to visit the cricket stadium first.
This stadium is unique because of its altitude. The stadium is situated at 4,780 Ft above the sea level and second highest cricket stadium in the world. Established in 2003 by the Himachal Pradesh cricket association, the stadium had witnessed many international one days and test matches. From the 1st ODI between India and England to the latest match between Australia vs New Zealand this stadium has covered many milestones. The location offers a very beautiful view of snow-capped Himalaya Mountains in the background.

The road to the stadium was very narrow and cars are allowed to a certain distance. But as it happens in India almost all the time our friends from Punjab will always try to take their SUV’s anywhere causing major traffic jam. Anyway, we asked our driver to wait and decided to cover the last 5 minute distance by foot. We were lucky because there was a match going on and the best part is that it was an all-girls match. The stadium is not as huge but still very spacious. The sitting area for public is painted in yellow, blue and green. The two buildings (may be observation area)  are in red colour, perhaps because one of the buildings serve as a dressing room and commentary station. The day was hot and we left after 15-20 minutes heading to the war memorial.

War memorial is situated around two KM from the cricket stadium. The memorial pays tribute to those fallen soldiers who laid down their lives in the service of our mother land. Dharamsala is also the land of the undefeated and brave Gorkha regiments. For the Gorkhas, loosing is not an option and the whole world praises their bravery in war. Adolf Hitler once said that if “I could have only one regiment of Gurkhas than no one can stop my army”. The war memorial pays tribute to all the wars India had fought starting from the 1947 J&K operation to 1999 operation Vijay.

The place is huge and well maintained with lots of trees and plants. In between the place there are two stones with the name of the fallen soldiers. There is a GNAT and a field artillery situated at the entry point. Also in a distance there is a captured Pakistani tank. The place is like a temple but again some very insensitive people from neighbouring states have no sense and even take selfies with the memorial stones. Well can’t do anything about it. It hurts!

The next day our target was Naddi, Dal Lake, and St. John in the wilderness, Dalai Lama Temple in Mc Laudganj and Khanyara.

Naddi is a village situated 2000 meters above sea level. This place is situated in Kangra valley and offers a very good view of nearby Dhauladhar Mountains. The landscape is very green but on the same time crawling with tourists. There is a spot where you can try to view the mountains using some pre-installed telescope. Personally I found the place no so great.

Dal lake was nothing special. I was very disappointed how some people and website over rated this place with Photoshop Pics.