Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Day well spent in Palampur


This was the previous of the day that I visited the Triund Dhaar(Ridge). Before I write my own story, let me introduce you with few of the famous spots in Palampur.

Brief About Palampur and its attractions: 

 Palampur is a beautiful green hill station located in the Kangra valley. It is bordered by the Dhauladhar ranges on the north eastern side from where the Kangra valley starts itself.
Dhauladhar Mountains, snow loaded in winter, and many ice capped peaks are are visible from the town even in the summer. Along with that, the evergreen tea gardens and pine trees, which surround this town everywhere, makes it a wonderful holiday destination. 

It is known as the tea capital of the north western India,  but the presence of the nearby ice peaks, which are the water source for the streams running around the town, add to a mild climate of the city, and therefore a perfect leisure spot. One can take a day long walk along the tea gardens or hike up along the nearby steep trails, such as from Neuggal to Vindhya Vasini temple, to Latti Jhakhni Devi's temple, or up to Birni Devi's temple. There are many other temples on the elevated mountain tops and ridges, but you need days to visit all of them.

Trail to Waru pass also passes through the Birni Devi's temple. This makes the visit more thrilling and delightful. Enchanting view of the cascading waterfalls can be experienced along the Neauggal Khad(Stream). The easy choices among the various attractions are the following:
1.      Tea Gardens
2.      St. John’s Church
3.      Neuggal Café and,
4.      Sardar Sobha Singh Art Gallery,
Nearest to reach from bus station are the tea gardens and the St. John's Church.

Tea Gardens: 

They are scattered in and around the town to almost a distances of 2 to 4 kms.  Where the buildings and roads are not, the land is filled with the tea gardens and pine trees, so you don’t have to search for them, they are almost everywhere in the around the town buildings.

They look almost alluring and seductive while you go on the road to the Neuggal. Pine trees themselves seem to enjoy being surrounded by the comparatively kids like plants around them. Any tourist or commuter is lured to merge with them for a while, therefore the rectangular alleys become a perfect spot for many to have a click with them.

St. John’s Church:

Being one of the few and historical churches in Himachal Pradesh, this church attracts the curious ones. The outer appearances of the church walls and roofs make it look quite old and unprepossessing, but being located on a hill top from where the adjacent valley and mountains are beautifully visible, justifies its name.
The inside of the church looks quite good, benches in two rows, a big cross in the front with enough space to pray and preach with almost 50 persons be seated, for a town of size Palampur, it feeds the requirement for carrying the Sunday prayers etc. 

Neuggal Café:

Neuggal is the name of a nearby water stream, from which the name of this state government restaurant and hotel comes. The presence water stream makes the hotela lively and unforgettable experience. There is a children park, and another open lawn, where people take the food and chilled bears. Rooms are available at somewhat higher rates, and so are the other facilities like food and drinks.

Sardar Sobha Singh Art Gallery:

Andreta is famous for being the home village to the very famous painter late Sardar Sobha Singh.
What I learned after visiting the gallery is not fully accurate in my memory, so the details I write are entitled to be checked before you believe them truly. 
The reason being that, photography is prohibited in the art gallery, it is not easy to print the pictures and stories directly into our brain memory. Anyway! 
He was born on 29th November 1901 in a Sikh family in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. He started his painting studio in Amirtsar in early 30s, then Delhi and then Shifted to Lahore. At the time of partition he shifted to Andreta, made his home and started his painting work here. More than 2000 paintings are credited to his name, some got left in Pakistan at the time of partition and some are hanging there in the walls of the president’s house in Delhi.

The paintings which are exhibited in the art gallery of Andreta could not be more than few hundred, but each one of them is sufficient to mesmerize anyone to wonder whether it was a real photograph clicked with high quality colour camera or really a painting. The painting of Sohni-Mahiwal, which always captured my eyes before, was hung on the wall there, and it was the first time that I came to know about the creator.
The famous painting of Sohni -Mahiwal
by Sardar Sobha Singh (source- wikipedia)

There are the paintings of the Sikh Gurus, and the one which I had seen earlier on numerous walls including one at my childhood home was of the Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It was really a amazing feeling to visit such a wonderful place. Paintings of the lord Ram and Jesus were as lively as the paintings of the real life people, such as the actor Shri Prithvi Raj Chauhan and our former Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shashtri. He also painted Mahatama Gandhi. 

His photographs with our former prime ministers and then with the actors, who visited his home at Andreta tells about the fame that he had at the time. He was awarded with Padma Shri by the Govt. of India, in the year 1983, just before three years of his death. This art gallery is run by his offspring.  Photography is strictly prohibited inside the art gallery, so you have to visit the place to see the paintings for yourself. 
River Beas, Sujanpur, Himachal Pradesh

My Story:

My bike journey started from NIT Hamirpur, I reached Palampur and met my friends Poonam and Ashish at the Agriculture university. After having a brief lunch with them, I parted to reach Andreta, where I spend the next half one hour.
St. John's Church, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh
The inclement weather forced me to be in a hurry, so while it already was sprinkling, my motor-cycle wheeled towards the St. John's church and then to the Neugal Cafe. 
St. John's Church, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh

Tea Garden, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh

Children's park, Neuggal Cafe, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh

Neuggal Cafe, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh

Neuggal stream, Neugal cafe, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh
 I reached church at around 5 PM, an unexpected time for the caretaker of the church to see a visitor, but generously she opened the gate for me. This was the second church that I ever visited in my life, the first I visited was at Sunder Nagar.  It is a quite different experience to see the grave-yard, because one can not resist to imagine about the corpses laid down there.

I clicked few shots here and there around the Church and while the sprinkling of the rain-drops was still on, shortly I reached the Neuggal cafe. The view of the tea gardens spread along the palne, gentle and at some places the steep slopes across the road was really captivating. 

They were most beautiful along this single lane road. I parked my bike at the right edge of the cafe, a spot sheltered by the pine trees, from where the nearby khad and the the mountain peaks were most visible. Entry ticket of INR 10 is to be paid, to visit the inside of the hotel. I saw parents with their kids in the park, and some other young men seated on chairs on somewhat elevated ground to the right of the hotel building. The water stream was running in front of the children part, the stream bed was concreted so it was silt-less.

I clicked few shots, and then hurried on the way to Baijnath, where I was to visit my brother and Baijnath Shiva temple. when I reached Baijnath, I was too much tired to visit the temple in the twilight, so I opted to visit the temple in the fresh morning light. 

Baijnath Shiva Temple, Himachal Pradesh
 Maha-Kaal temple is the another famous temple, that I visited the same morning.

Maha-Kaal temple, Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh

Maha-Kaal Temple, Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh
Thank you!