Friday, December 26, 2014

A Winter Afternoon at Maharana Pratap Sagar (Pong Reservoir) Wetlands

If you not have followed my previous post about Masroor Rock Cut Temple, then you must be knowing that this was a two days trip to the tourist places of the Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh.

 In the last post I wrote and posted photos of the story of our visit to Masroor Rock Temple visit. At around two o'clock in the afternoon, we rode to Nagrota Sooriyan, that was only at a distance of about thirteen kilometres from former.

Brief about Maharana Pratap Sagar: 

Nagrota Suriyan provides us with a perfect spot to watch the migratory birds that visit the wetlands of this large reservoir named as 'Maharana Pratap Sagar' or also known as 'Pong Reservoir'. It is an artificial lake on the Beas river that was built  by constructing a dam in 1974. Lake got famous when migratory birds started to visit it as their winter habitat. For more please visit here

Reaching Nagrota Sooriyan:

One has to be careful to take the left turn on the Hamirpur to Kangra national highway, informatory boards are available though. For us it was a short bike ride from Masroor rock cut temple to Nagrota Sooriyan. The local people were of utmost help, no matter child or an old man, everyone helps.

Deepak and I, both were new to the place, so it was natural to consult the pedestrians, but in-spite of the generous consultation that we got from everyone we asked, at Nagrota Sooriyan we took a narrow street rather than the main road with number of cross mud filled concrete ditches. It must had been painful to sit on the back seat for Deepak, but I enjoyed the bumps and jumps.

The wetlands of Maharana Pratap Sagar- Pong Dam, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

Thankfully, it was not long to catch back the main road, which lead us to a kutcha road that ends at the wetlands of the Pong reservoir. The ruts of the tractor wheels on that clayey land, were helpful to reach a spot where few other motor cycles and cycles were resting. The water surface was only about 300 metres from the spot, but it was not possible to ride anything further, because of the slippery surface, that was created due to the high water table and therefore saturated clayey soil.

Maharana Pratap Sagar- Pong Dam, Himachal Pradesh

We walked toward a blue colored boat, but the sailor was offering a 5 minutes ride for 150 rupees, which we thought to be a costly business, and also we didn't have much time, so we thought to enjoy ourselves with the camera, birds and a already hiding behind the clouds and descending Sun over the Shiwalik Hills. Dhauladhars, already snow cladded, were still shining brighter and higher then Shiwalik but on opposite side of Pong reservoir.

I was looking for the migratory birds, which make this India's one of the 25 international bird sanctuaries. These trans-himalayan visitors were not far to be spotted, and I didn't want to disturb them by making our presence to them, but it was hard to do so. For a moment they were countless in number, but were hard to be recognized or clicked, with their shined faces and bodies on other sides than ours.
Though, Sun hiding behind the clouds, and therefore the feeble sunshine, but even that would not allow us to click on the birds the way we wanted them to be captured in images.

Maharana Pratap Sagar - Pong Dam, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

No one can fight with the Sun with a camera, it outshines everything. We were at about 100 m distance and they started flying, I couldn't recognize others except the cranes, but they all together with the blue water spelled us to fix our eyes onto them until they flied far enough to be clicked or recognized. They deserted us. Anyway, water was as blue as sky, and length of the reservoir was enough to merge the water surface with the sky at some directions. 

It is a rare sight for a person from mountains, and being a resident of Himachal for a long period, it was a refreshing treat for me. Deepak was repeating some words in the admiration of the sight, partly thrilled and enjoying. He might be imagining it to be more fun if more of our batchmates were with us. 
Time was slipping fast, and it would have been a tough ride back without Sunshine, so after clicking in all directions with and without us, we stepped back towards the motor-cycle.
Wetlands, though contained total clayey soil that is sedimented over it layer by layer with each passing year, was being ploughed with the help of tractors. For sure, it would not require irrigation, moreover I anticipate waterlogging.

I would have loved to stand and investigate the process of the seeds turning into ripen plants, but somehow I have turned out to be a Civil Engineer cum writer rather than a crop scientist. Walking over the ploughed land was easier than over the rest. Riding back was easier, because the road was familiar. 
Our next spot would be Kangra, where we had to visit Kangra Fort and Vajreshwari temple. I will cover those in the subsequent posts. 

Thank you, please come visit again!