After an 8 hour train journey from Delhi, we finally reached Chamba – for a 4-day trip – a district in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayas. The highest mountains in the world, the Himalayas are spread over 2400 kilometres with 14 peaks over 8000 metres high.
We are in Dalhousie, a small hill station at about 2000m altitude and it is here that we will be staying in the Aamod Resort hotel. It’s almost noon and the air had become cooler. In early spring, the night temperatures can descend to around 2 degrees Celsius, a sharp contrast from 40 degrees in Delhi, where we had begun our journey… So Dont forget to take some warm clothes with you !
We start our small escapade and discover the beautiful landscapes. We are not in Delhi anymore, where the traffic, population and pollution are dense. Here, we can breathe fresh air.
At Khajjiar – another hill station that has a lake in its centre, I see the Himalayan ranges at a distance. The contrast between the green and the white, this mystic nature and the cold coming from the snow, is particularly impressive. Finally, these landscapes remind a little of France, somewhere between the Alps mountains and Normandy country side, notably with these small half-timbered houses around. Only the ambience is different with its Indian touch and colours.
The next day, we go on a 5-hour trek, soon I lose myself in the pristine nature. Suddenly coming from nowhere, sounds of drums break the silence. This is followed by a cacophony of trumpets, guitars and other musical instruments, unknown to me. I follow the music to finally reach a Hindu temple, standing here alone on the top of hill overlooking a valley. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Pholani – an avatar of Kali, the goddess of destruction. A wedding ceremony is happening here. People laugh, the kids play and dance while other pray in silence… I am struck by the beauty of the women, wearing their shiny jewellery and traditional and colourful dresses.
After this immersion in the local culture, we take a road that leads us down to a small village. It seems like the time has stopped here, the locals are peacefully sitting around, enjoying the sun and smiling at the tourists that we are.
We finally reach our hotel for a much needed rest. As I observe one more time the beautiful landscape and the sun set from my room, a peaceful feeling surrounds me, a beetle appears. I make a wish, she fly away.
Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
Ras Al Khaimah