Himachal Pradesh Journals

Hobbling through Himachal and Punjab

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An August 2005 trip to Himachal Pradesh by phileasfogg

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Quote: This was meant to have been the tale of a trip through Punjab and picture-pretty Himachal. As it was, a broken ankle wrecked it.

Glenmoor Cottages

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Okay, I’m going to try to be particularly objective about this one. Difficult, since I fractured my ankle just after I checked in- but there’s no harm in trying. The busy hill town of Dharamshala was once an important outpost for the British; they had an army camp here (the Indian army’s Yol Cantonment still is an imposing one, complete with a World War II Memorial and an area that housed Italian POWs during WWII) and Lord Elgin is buried here, at the church of St John in the Woods, near Forsythganj. In more contemporary terms too Dharamshala is important, as the home of the Tibetan government in exile. The Dalai Lama lives in Upper Dharamshala, in the area known as MacLeodganj. Just short o...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 18, 2005

The Judge’s Court

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Hotel

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The Judge’s Court is a property belonging to the WelcomHeritage group of hotels, and is located in one of northern India’s most interesting villages, Pragpur, close to Himachal’s border with the neighbouring state of Punjab. India’s first certified heritage village, Pragpur lies in the Kangra Valley and is almost exactly the same as it was three hundred years ago, when a clan known as the Kuthiala Soods established it. The village was named for a princess named Prag (`Pollen’), and along with the nearby village of Garli (also declared a heritage village a couple of years back), is a well-preserved complex of mud-daubed walls, slate-tiled roofs, and more. The Judge’s Court is also part of the Kuthia...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 18, 2005

The Piccadily

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The Piccadily was simply a name picked out of a list of hotels mentioned on a Chandigarh city website. My husband, who spent some years in Chandigarh when he was a kid, couldn’t recall much about the hotel, except the fact that it was considered pretty good. From the outside, this place is unprepossessing; a large and badly maintained parking lot stretches in front, and the façade- dark green marble with the letters Piccadily mounted on it- has a slightly dingy look to it. Anyway, since we didn’t have reservations anywhere in Chandigarh, and we needed accommodation, we decided to go have a look at the Piccadily. It’s really quite a nice hotel. Not terribly large, not terrib...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 18, 2005

Visco Resorts

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Hotel

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Mandi isn’t much of a destination, at least by Himachal standards. Subsequently, it’s also low on places to stay. The town’s location, however, makes it a convenient stopover if you’re driving from Delhi to higher up in Himachal- as we were. We’d not had the time to make bookings in Mandi, so coming across Visco Resorts was a little bit of good luck. Visco Resorts spreads out, in a series of red-roofed buildings, across the hillside, just about 2km short of Mandi, on the Bilaspur-Mandi Highway. There are fruit trees- especially apple trees, one of which, still heavy with late fruit, stood right below our room. And there’s a wide stream, tripping over a rocky bed, separating the resort from the hill...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 18, 2005

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Himachal Pradesh lies in the Himalayas- beginning in the foothills and extending to a few thousand metres above sea level, to cold desert regions. It's a land of woods- pine, cedar, oak and red-flowering rhododendron; ice-cold rivers; lakes, slate-roofed village houses, apple orchards, and medieval temples. Our itinerary would take us to Himachal's lovely Kangra Valley. The Valley lies against the backdrop of the mighty Dhauladhar ranges, and swarms with old ruins, tea estates, Tibetan monasteries and more. Our itinerary was: Day 1: Delhi-Chandigarh, 238km This stretch is the longest, but also, in proportion to the distance, the one covered the quickest (about 6 hours). That’s beca...Read More
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My fondest memories of childhood centre on travelling. My family loved going places, and I spent most holidays in the back of the car (I was an angelic child: not a single “Are we there yet?!”). I adored roadtrips, and our journeys through India- from Madhya Pradesh through Delhi to Kashmir, from Bihar to Punjab- were always fun. Which wasn't surprising because those trips were mostly along the famous Grand Trunk Road. The Grand Trunk Road is a monument in itself- the oldest and largest highway in the Indian subcontinent. It stretches 2,500km from Sonargaon (Bangladesh) to Peshawar (Pakistan), with the bulk of the road within India. In India the road extends from Kolkata to Amritsar. The highway, s...Read More

A touch of Pahari compassion

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Pahari (literally, "of the mountain") is a term used to apply to virtually anything, everything, and everybody from the hills, especially from the Himalayas. Just as the Punjabis are renowned for their generosity and the Marwaris for their business sense, the Paharis are generally acknowledged to be sweet, helpful souls. That isn’t always true, of course--it can’t possibly be. But this trip made me wonder.Scene 1: I’ve just slipped on a mountain path and twisted my ankle. It’s hurting like hell and plunging it into cold water hasn’t helped. The doctor’s come, prodded at my foot, and given me a jab in my butt.Doc: “It doesn’t look like a fracture, more likely to be a to...Read More