Thursday, July 15, 2010
The rugged and the highly located area, is nature's ever changing canvas. Known as the Land of Lamas, Lahaul and Spiti are the passes stretching straight into the cold desert of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. Closed for more than six months during the year due to heavy snow, the land sheds its colours and goes for a complete turnover in spring and summers. Brown barren slopes with icy rivers and cold winds are the common feature of Lahaul and Spiti. The sole access to the this land is the Rohatang pass near Manali., which according to legend was created by Lord Shiva for the people of Lahaul and Spiti to visit the valley of Gods beyond the pass.
There are very few patches of fertile land in this area, where the people live and have formed few villages, most are tribes. These tribesmen, despite the tough weather conditions which makes them fight hard for their livelihood, retain the inner warmth and are always smiling and inviting. The place has been mentioned in the old Buddhist scriptures and was probably inhabited by the Khasa who came from central Asia and settled here. Lahaul and Spiti were ruled by the Ladakh and the Kullu rulers in turns. Eventually this rugged land came under the reigns of the ruler of Kullu; Ranjit Singh who ruled till the British came in and overtook the whole area.Mostly the people of this place are followers of Buddhism. There are beautiful and ancient monasteries and Gompas here where they follow their daily rituals and worship the lord.
With a varied topography, that is suitable for a hiker or adventure seekers. The rough terrain and absence of heavy rains, makes it suitable for mountaineering. The Gushing Rivers twisting and turning etching the hard rock’s of the area provide good rafting adventure. The grandeur of these terrains and magnificence comes as a surprise at every nook and corner and is definitely awe inspiring, that can make anyone bow down to nature.Due to the prominence of Buddhism in the area one can witness flags fluttering in prayer to the almighty. These colourful flags only add beauty to the barren terrains of the magnificent mountains.
Location: The largest district in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul and Spiti is known as the barren splendour of the Himachal. Bounded by Ladakh to the north, Tibet to the east, and the Kullu valley to the south, Lahaul and Spiti is the gateway to the Leh and Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir. Although the district is one made out of two subdivisions of Lahaul and Spiti, these two areas differ highly in their altitudes. The rugged region receives a scanty rainfall and therefore is favourite spot with the trekkers during the time when the monsoon lashes throughout the country. It also has many passes for the adventure seeker to try on.
Languages Spoken: Himachali and local dialects
Long Distance Code: +91-1906
Importance: The barren gatewy to Tibet
Area: 55673 sqkm
Best Time To Visit: May To July
Lahaul and Spiti Attractions:
Situated about 51 km from Manali town at an altitude of 4,111 meters (13,400 ft.) on the highway to Keylong, is the Rohatang Pass. This is the pass which separates the picturesque and green valley of Kullu and Manali to the stark contradiction of barren brown mountains and deep valleys of stones and rocks. Rohatang is the place where the majesty of the mountains is at its height in splendour.
Rohatang in Tibetan language means a heap of dead bodies. And true to these words, Rohatang definitely would take toll of humans and property, every year due to its harsh weather. The pass becomes hazardous due to frequent avalanches. Although there is face over to the pass in summers and spring when the pass reels under beautiful flowers and birds and rare variety of butterflies.There is a beautiful lake to the left of the pass known as Doshohar Lake. The Sonapani Glacier and the Gyephang La peaks offer a splendid view. At the height of the Rohatang pass one can see a small stone enclosure and a water spring, believed to be the source of River Beas.Being the only route to enter the arid region of Lahaul and Spiti, trekkers and hikers can often be seen on the pass. It is closed in winters due to heavy snowfall and is open from April to September.
Keylong is the district head quarters of Lahaul and Spiti. Situated at an altitude of 3156 meters Keylong is the main centre on the trade route between the Rohatang and Baralacha passes above the Bhaga River. It is an oasis in this cold desert. Being the most commercialized place it also has many facilities and a regular market. The Khardong Monastery is 4 km from here contains barrel like prayer drums, paintings, ancient weapons, musical instruments and life size statue of Lord Buddha. There are three Monasteries in the radius of few kilometer; Tayul, Khardong and Shashur which are also worth a visit.
Tandi which is hardly 8 kms from Keylong is one of the most picturesque places of the valley, with abundant natural beauty and the mythological stories to go with it. It is situated on the confluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga Rivers which offer a splendid view.There are many stories about the name and the confluence of the Rivers in Tandi. The Pandav brothers along with their wife, Draupadi, started ascending to the heaven from this route. Draupadi slipped from this very place and died and could not reach heaven in the human form. Since then the place has been known as Tan Dehi, meaning in Human form and the word Tandi is the version of the same.
Another story about the confluence of the two rivers says that Chandra and Bhaga were the children Moon and Sun respectively, who wanted to get married. Both f them took their own route and reached Tandi and were eventually married. The confluence reminds one of this legendary love story thus enhancing its beauty.
Suraj Taal Chandra Taal
These two beautiful lakes are on the Baralacha la, are supposed to be the origins of the Bhaga and the Chandra rivers respectively. The Baralacha la means pass with cross roads on summit on the Spiti and Leh road. The Suraj Taal is the lake dedicated to Sun god from where the origins of Bhaga Rivers can be traced down. The crystal clear waters of the Lake freeze and is full of snow all around in winters. But in summers the deep icy blue waters of the lake reflect the magnificence of the mountains and the nature around. Situated in a natural amphitheatre, this lake presents the exuberance of natural beauty.
The Chandra Taal which is the origin of the River Chandra is also a natural lake situated at the height of 14000 feet. It is situated in a broad grassy plain which was a glacier earlier. A small little island in the middle of the lake known as the samudari tapu is supposed to be the dwelling place of a mermaid and therefore is unreachable. The Chandra Taal is favourite with the shepherds of this region as there is ample grass on which the herds can be fed on. Ducks and cranes are also found in abundance on this lake and definitely make a gorgeous sight. The icy cold water is so clean and clear that one can even see the stones underneath the water.
What Rohatang is for Lahaul, Kunzum is to Spiti, the sole passage through which one can reach Spiti is through the Kunzum Pass which is at an altitude of 4590 meters. The panoramic view of the second longest glacier in the world, the Bara-Sigri glacier can be thrilling and spell bounding from this pass. There is a temple at the top of Kunzum pass dedicated to Goddess Durga.
Monasteries of Lahaul and Spiti
Either due to the proximity to the Tibet or due to the trade route from India to Tibet, Lahaul and Spiti has many monasteries and Gompas. The people of this place ardently follow the Buddhists religion. Few of the important monasteries are as follows.
It is situated 12 kms. North of Kaza and serves the western population of Spiti. It is the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley and located at (4116 m) above Kye village. It houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Buddha. It is also a training centre for Lamas some books of high aesthetic value in its possession.
Dhankar is a big village and an erstwhile capital of central Spiti. A huge fort on atop the hills used to serve as a prison in the olden days. It is the living place of 100 lamas and has some Buddhist scriptures in the Bhoti Language. The principal statue in this monastery is that of the 4 complete figures of Buddha, seated back to back in Dhyan or meditating pose. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures.
One of the most important monasteries in the region, the Tabo monasteries also the oldest, established in 996 A.D. It has some beautiful rock paintings comparable only to the Ajanta frescoes of Maharashtra. Tabo holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in Spiti and is the brainchild of the great translator and teacher, Rinchensang Po.
Guru Ghantal monastery:
Located on the confluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga rivers, the Guru Ghantal Monastery, is probably the oldest centre of Buddhist pilgrimage. The archaeological evidences found at this site indicate that it had been a significant Buddhist as well as Hindu pilgrimage site in the distant past.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
One of the oldest towns in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, Kullu finds a mention in the scriptures written by Xuan Zhang the Chinese traveler. Founded in the 1st century A.D. by Behangamani Pal whose forefathers had migrated to Mayapuri from Tripura, Kullu was known as Kulantha Pitha which meant the end of the habitable world.
It is the most recent temples that was built in the valley but attracts equal number of tourists and devotees. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, it is a small temple and the deity is enshrined in a cave. The climb to the temple is still steep but it offers a stupendous view of the mystic Kullu valley and the River Beas running along its length like a young maiden walking a ramp!
The Bhuvaneshwari Temple of Bhekhli is built in Pahari style is also dedicated to one of the forms of Goddess Durga. The temple walls are decorated with Kangra paintings of Durga. A magnificent stone lion gives the example of the local art. The stone lion in the courtyard is a fine example of local art. This beautiful temple is situated uphill at a distance of 10 km from main Kullu town.
This ancient temple, built in the 8th century is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is also known as the Bishweswar temple. It is one of the most beautiful temples of the Kullu valley which is around 15kms from Kullu and is worth a visit.
Great Himalayan National Park
Situated in the Kullu valley, the Great Himalayan National Park makes a good visit. Situated in the vast area of 620 sq km, the park is full of coniferous forests, with alpine pastures and glaciers forming a beautiful background. Some of the rare species found in here are the Musk deer, Brown bear, Goral, Snow Leopard, Monal and many more. The visit to this park gives an unforgettable experience.
Naggar, 26 km from Kullu was the erstwhile capital of the place for nearly 1400 years. The Naggar castle which stands the mute testimony to its glorious past has been converted in to a hotel today. It was founded by Raja Visudhpal and continued as a headquarters of the State until the capital was transferred to Sultanpur (Kullu) by Jagat Singh. The beautiful castle here was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu around 1460 A.D. and commands an extensive view of the valley and the River Beas. There are many temples situated in the vicinity notably amongst which are the temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna.
Manikaran is a small village at the distance of around 45 km from Kullu. The place is full of hot water springs which are believed to have curative properties. Hence daily thousands of devotees take the holy dip in these hot waters. The water is so hot that Rice, Lentils and vegetables get boiled and cooked in the water. The legend goes that once Shiva and his wife Parvati were wandering through this place where her ear ring dropped. This gives the name to the place Manikaran meaning ear ring. The search of the rings was futile and Shiva got annoyed. It was Shesh Nag; the serpent, which came forward to pacify the lord by hissing and boiling the water. Thus the jewel that lay under the water came up and Lord Shiva was pacified. Since then the water is hot.
This square shaped lake resting on a mountain surrounded by deep vegetation is a sacred spot for Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists alike. According to a legend, the great teacher Padmasambhava used his powers to take a flight from this place directly to Tibet. The waters at the Rewalsar Lake is therefore precious and people throng here to take blessings and honour the water of the lake.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Chail was built as the summer capital of the erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala in Punjab. It has an interesting story behind it. In 1891, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh incurred the wrath of the British and was banned an entry to the summer capital of Shimla. This enraged the Maharaja and he vowed to build a better summer capital in the vicinity of Shimla for himself. And indeed! Chail, a little village close to Shimla, was a slice of heaven. It was perfect surrounded by magnificent deodar forests and also in close vicinity of Shimla. Moreover the hill of Chail at 2226 meters was somewhat higher than British-controlled Shimla, this definitely satisfied the ego of the King and he started developing Chail according to his needs. Chail is built on three hills. The palace is on Rajgarh Hill, the Residency Snow View, once occupied by the British, is on Pandhewa Hill and the town of Chail is situated on the third hill Sadh Tiba. This small village also boasts of the world's highest Cricket ground built by the Maharaja himself who was great patron of the game.
Nature is at her exuberant best in Chail. The majestic snow capped Shivalik peaks, the beautiful orchards and sylvan pine valleys surrounded by Deodar forests and crisp air… Chail surely casts a spell. The River Sutlej which takes twists and turns and the valley beneath offers a stupendous view form the hills of Chail. Chail is enchanting and the views are mesmerizing.
Chail is a small hamlet where the nature has showered with all its beauties, where time stands still and romance is in air. Truly a paradise for all.
Location: Nearly 45kms from Shimla, this small town is cushioned between the Shivalik hills and is hardly seven to eight hours distance from the national capital of Delhi. The virgin mountainous heaven is truly a honeymooner's paradise.
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Himachali, Garhawali
Long Distance Code: +91-1792
Importance: Honeymooner's paradise
Best Time To Visit: March To November & December to Februay to enjoy the winter sports.
Mostly Chail should be enjoyed for its natural beauty with its beautiful scented forests and the scenic beauty of the valleys of pine forests. Chail receives snowfall in winters and the snow gives way to marvellous flowers those blossom on the trees and the whole valley changes its colour.
One of the few important sites that need special visits is the Palace of the Maharaja. Built in 1891 on the hills of Rajgarh, it was devastated in fire and was rebuilt in 1951. Today it has been converted in to a heritage hotel property, but still holds the charm of the bygone era.
The Sidh Baba Ka Mandir was supposed to be the actual site of the palace that was built in 1891. But the legend goes that after the work of building the palace on the site was initiated, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh dreamt of a saint who said it used to be his place for meditation. Thus the Maharaja stopped the work of palace over here and instead built a temple dedicated to the saint and named it Sidh Baba ka Mandir.
Chail boasts of world's highest cricket ground. The Maharaja was a great admirer and patron of Cricket. Therefore he developed the ground with all the amenities. The highlight of this place is not only the altitude that it is placed on but the magnificent view that it commands. The Maharaja made it a point to have all that Shimla did not have to score over the British.
Total Rooms : 12
Star Category : 0
Jungle Livinn Camps and Retreat is a splendid resort in the picturesque valley of Chail. The resort acts as an ideal gateway to the nature’s best, for the tortured city souls. It offers majestic views of the verdant valley and elevated mountains. Moreover, Jungle Livinn has all the facilities to make any stay absolutely comfortable.
Total Rooms : 22
Star Category : 2
Harmony Hotel was launched in May, 2008. The brand new hotel building has the furniture and furnishings specially selected keeping in view the current taste of the guests, gives it a fresh look. In short span of its operations, the Hotel had started getting recognition as one of the most popular hotels in the area. The Hotel has 22 spacious rooms with three types of rooms starting with the highest being Super Deluxe, followed by Deluxe and Executive. The facilities include almost all the basic amenities that a guest expects. The feedback register has recorded great interest by the guests to return to the Harmony Hotel on all their future visits to Manali. The guests included from all over India as also visiting Indian guests from overseas. Therefore, the guest base is increasing every day making the hotel one of the most sought after hotels in Manali. Harmony Hotel is also now well known among the travel agents all over India who have evinced their keen interest to sign long term agreements with us for stay of their guests. The Reservation of rooms can be done on phone, fax or online from the website of the Hotel. TheHarmony Hotel offers club membership to all its guests on their first visit to avail special discounts on the future visits by them and their relatives and friends.
Total Rooms : 50
Star Category : 3
Toshali Royal View Resort is situated 24 km from Shimla on the Kufri-Chail road, Toshali Royal Resort stands majestically in the center of the Golden Triangle of Shimla, Chail & Kufri. It is complete with all modern amenities which makes this place a favorite among the tourists.
Total Rooms : 13
Star Category : 0
Rashi Resorts nestled in the thick Himalayan pine forests of Chail in Himachal Pradesh, situated at a height 7054 ft. ( equivalent to Shimla`s ) beckons you to a unique experience of God`s beautiful creation of Nature untampered by man.The imposing mountains, the picturesque flower decked valleys, the deep and dark woods, the cool crisp air, the tangy smell of pine, the misty mornings, the golden Sunset and snowfall in the winter is sure to set your heart beating with Joy - the sheer magic of nature is sure to gladden your heart.
Monday, May 10, 2010
The gateway to the Chamba Valley, this colonial town was established in 1854 by the British Governor General Lord Dalhousie. Located on the five hills namely, Kathlog, Portreyn, Moti Tibba, Bakrota and Balun, Dalhousie has retained much of the British Raj Style. The Dhauldhar mountain ranges in the vicinity with the river Ravi flowing down, the pine covered slopes, with intersecting roads, the houses with colonial architecture, and the serene calmness; all with its own distinctive flavour, Dalhousie is one of the most picture perfect hill stations of India.
Dalhousie offers a panoramic view, from certain places one can come across the stupendous view of the confluence of the three Rivers; Ravi, Chenab and Beas. This is the place that slowly joins in the Kashmir valley. No wonder that Lord Dalhousie chose this place looking for peace and serenity after a war. His love for the place went to the extent that he leased it from the King of Chamba, and although he left soon enough, the place which had acquired his name stayed back for years to come and became one of the most beautiful and famous hill stations of India.
Location: Covering the area of 14 sq kms and situated on five hills, stands the hills station of Dalhousie. It is located on the Dhauldhar range of Himalayas and is around 210 kms from the capital of the state Shimla.
Languages Spoken: Hindi and English
Long Distance Code: +91-1899
Area: 13 sqkm
Best Time To Visit: April To November & December to Februay to enjoy the winter sports.
Like any other hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie, too, is abundant in natural beauty and that is the prime attraction of this place. The place patronized by the British Governor General Lord Dalhousie, has very less options other than being with nature. There is Jandhri Ghat, an elegant residence of the rulers of the region before Lord Dalhousie leased out the place from them. Nestled amidst the forests, the house is surrounded with mild fragrance of the pine trees and naughty streamlets flowing nearby. A beautiful site, worth a visit, with a display of many trophies and other articles owned by the rulers.
The Subhash Baoli is the landmark of Dalhousie. It is believed that the great freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose spent a lot of time at this place in 1937, meditating and reorganizing his thoughts. Although at an altituded of 2085 meters with breath taking views around it is definitely difficult for a common man to meditate here!
Dalhousie is full of little springs that one comes across at every nook and corner in Dalhousie. But the Satdhara is a different site. At an altitude of 2036 meters there are seven brooks rush down with the treasure of mica and other medicinal ingredients due to which they carry along with therapeutic values. The Bakrota Hills take the cake of the view of the surrounding hills and the snow clad peaks. This place is bit far from the heart of the city but definitely rewarding.
Panjpulla has a monument built in the memory of a great martyr Ajit Singh who was the uncle of the legendary Bhagat Singh. Hardly two kms from the centre of the city this memorial is must a visit. The Diankunt is famous for its crystal view of the three rivers which flow through the state and go down towards Punjab which are the Beas, Ravi and the Chenab.
Total Rooms : 19
Star Category : 2
Far from the maddening crowd, Alps Resort is located amidst peace and serenity.Surrounded by pine trees, the resort has a spectacular view of the valley.Sprawling lawns, splendid views, wooded walks, every evening bon-fire & bar-be-que, indoor & outdoor games and above all gracious hospitality are amongst a few facilities that we offer.
Total Rooms : 31
Star Category : 0
Dalhousie is a quiet town, with a sense of enchantment. This hill station spreads over five low-level hills at the western edge of the Dhauladhar range, just east of the Ravi river. The picturesque town is interspersed with the colonial-era buildings, low roofed stalls and hotels. The pine-covered slopes around it are intersected with paths and treks, which are ideal for short undemanding walks.
The gateway to the Chamba Valley, this colonial town was established in 1854 by the British Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, covering an area of 14 sq.km and surrounded by alpine vegetation. Dalhousie has charming architecture and panoramic views of both plains and the white capped views of the mountainous ranges.
GRAND VIEW HOTEL
Total Rooms : 30
Star Category : 2
Beautifully situated with various type of schemes for the renowned guests athroughout the year.Complimentary access tothe Movie Club with select choice of movies, late check out facility,10 videogames free at the gaming parlor in the Hotel on our package, 2 km level forest walk with hotel guide and light beverages.
Total Rooms : 16
Star Category : 0
Situated in the heart of Dalhousie, Monal offers a clean and hygienic environment. Rooms and suites are designed to cradle you in luxury with an open view of the splendid deodar forest and the virgin pine mountains and the privacy of your very own balcony will give you a feeling that you are in the middle of everything, yet away from it all. Our professional staff revels in matching your interests. You will feel the warmth and excellent services instantaneously.With its private balconies and full valley view, Hotel Monal offers the best scenic view in entire Dalhousie.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
The picturesque hill town of Manali is sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of India, as it is surrounded by mountains on the three sides and has some of the most beautiful meadows, orchards, rivers and fields in Himachal Pradesh. Though discovered by the British and Europeans in the late 19th century, Manali had always been one of the pilgrimage sites in India. It derives its name from Manvalaya or Manuwali. The legend goes like that of the Joan's ark. Long long ago the sage Manu, the divine law writer in Hindu mythology, found a fish who asked him to build a huge ship to save the world from the terrible flood that would drown the land. Manu did so and when the water receded, the place he landed was today's Manali. The life started from this place. Therefore the place was known as Manvalaya that is the abode of Manu or Manuwali meaning Manu's. But it was only in the 1970s that the government realized its potential as growing tourist destination. That gave rise to the new town of Manali, which was linked with the old by a bridge. Today, Manali still maintains its charm and beauty despite the heavy tourist traffic. Manali is a hot spot throughout the year. It is at its best in the spring when the River Beas gushes through, the streams flow at every nook and corner, the meadows are lush and green, flowers bloom everywhere and various berries, raspberries and cherries start wearing the pink colour. The winters are no less when the green turn white and people from India come to experience the snow in the crisp cold. Pine forest all around, acres of verdant landscapes, grazing herds, apple orchards and the people with their smile and folk dances and song add to the mystic romance that Manali offers.