From The Hills Of Dharamshala

So I recently embarked on a little vacation with a friend of mine – well, after almost 2 years of ‘hey! Let’s plan a trip’ and probably touring the entire world over Skype chats. While we didn’t go all that far, we did visit a beautiful place called Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.

Here’s a stupid account of the same.

If you ask our fellow Indians, they’re going to say – ‘What? In this weather? It’s going to be raining there!’

And rain, it did. Every day. The moment the clock struck 3 pm.

But the beauty of it all, had us cribbing less and enjoying more.

All the preparation 

We hadn’t been to Dharamshala before and way too many of our friends mentioned way too many places that we ‘must visit’. That’s when we decided ‘dude, let’s do some of our research’ and then the endless Skype chats started all over again.

Just in case you were thinking how planned we are, we had a list of places to visit and eat at only a day prior. Because we’re serial chatters and forgot all about it.

 

Going to a place that is definitely going to be cooler than where I stay (Delhi) and where the rains are said to be non-stop, I shammed out packing. I practically (and literally) stuffed everything I needed in one bag.

Oh yes, talk about preparedness.

If it wasn’t for my mother, I would have only carried a half full bag because I am like that! Some call it functional and some call it ‘stupid for not being prepared’. Either ways, my excuse is that I don’t like tugging along too much stuff and I really don’t like asking anyone for favours.

With a notebook full of scribbles and doodles, and one bag full of things I would probably need – basically lower and another lower, and a few t-shirts – jeans, I decided to wear. Because, pockets.

Up, up and away 

Like a total pro traveller, I charged my kindle, downloaded the book I assumed I would finish during the trip (I did not) and set off.

A morning flight that got delayed because of the weather, and knowing me, you would know that I reached way before I should. So I settled down at an airport cafe with a cup of tea and a sandwich, and took out my kindle to ‘start reading’.

Of course, after I clicked this photo as a record for the person who gave me the kindle! Like, ‘look! I’m using it! Now stop cribbing!’

 

After hours of waiting at the airport and listening to someone talk in a different language – at the same time, chatting with my friend who was boarding a plane to the same place from a different terminal – bah! destiny – there came the plane.

wait at airport
I made this because I was way too bored. Yes, I asked her to send me her shoes too. Red ones are mine.

A toy plane. Literally the kinds I probably forgot even existed. The one where you’re instructed to board ‘one at a time’ because the stairs won’t support..hehe.

But the wings of the plane and the fans definitely did make for a beautiful Instagram picture!

 

Fun fact: During the entire duration of the flight, I was literally thinking of Final Destination. Remembering how a similar plane’s fan caught fire. Yes, that’s me. I spent the entire trip checking up on the fan (I had a window seat) and clicking clouds. 

And there we are! 

I was supposed to reach one hour earlier than my friend – but thanks to the delays, I practically landed just 15 minutes before her.

My first reaction on landing – Wow! The airport looks right out of a scenic picture!

My first reaction on seeing her – Damn! What the fuck? Nawww..more like, ‘She looks the bloody same, let’s get going!’

And that’s the plane in case you were wondering:

small plane dharamshala

My uncle (mausaji is what we call him here), was kind enough to arrange for our accommodation at Yol, India as well as local travel. So there they were to pick us up right from the airport and take us up, up, up again.

No, this time no scary planes. Just going up the mountains!

Reaching there and not believing it! 

Okay, so while planning our trip we had gone through a number of hotels. 5 stars, 4 stars, 3 stars, you name it. But every time, we sent each other one little message – ‘Isn’t this a bit dingy?’

Thank God that the stay was arranged – of course, at an Army set up. Yes, perks of being from an Army background! 🙂

While I don’t really have great pictures of the accommodation because we were literally busy rolling on the floor – and those pictures are just not worth sharing, here’s the view we had like bang in front of our room:

 

Here’s another..

 

And another..

 

Now, hate me all you want! 😉

Let’s start being touristy! 

We reached Dharamshala around noon so we decided to not waste half a day that we had in hand and get going to explore the places near by! Of course, having some people to ferry us around and guide us in the right direction was a BIG BIG BIG BIG help.

HPCA STADIUM 

The stadium is home to Himachal Pradesh cricket team for Ranji Trophy matches and other limited overs matches. The stadium also hosted IPL matches as a home stadium for Kings XI Punjab. You can read more about it here.

But here’s my take – OH MY GOD! IS THE BACKGROUND PHOTOSHOPPED?

The place literally took our breath away, so I’m going to let some pictures do the talking here..

 

Here are a few more shots I took on my iPhone, but decided to not bug my Instagram followers with:

hpca gate
I actually took this picture so that I could remember the places we went to.

 

hpca friend
That’s the friend I went with. Say hello to Asavari!
Also, some monkeys in the background.

 

hpca

MARTYRS MEMORIAL 

The very next place we visited was the war memorial. Not just because it was a place we wanted to check off the list. No smart ass comments here because you should read about its history once. You can find it all here.

war memorial gate

war memorial 1

war memorial 2
The golden work you see on the stones are actually names of those this memorial is made for.

war memorial 3

CHURCH OF ST. JOHN IN THE WILDERNESS 

St. John in the Wilderness is an Anglican church that is dedicated to John the Baptist. It was built in 1852 and is located on the way to McLeodGanj. Set amidst the deodar forest, the neo-Gothic architecture and Belgian stained glass windows are certainly awe-worthy. Read more here.

Travelling to places that take you to places like these. My goals for the next few years. ⛪️ St. John in the Wilderness is an Anglican Church dedicated to John the Baptist built in 1852, located near Dharamshala. It is set amidst the deodar forest and built in neo-Gothic architecture. The Church is known for its Belgian stained glass windows donated by Lady Elgin, wife of Lord Elgin. The bell tower (spire) of this church was destroyed in the 1905 Kangra earthquake. _______________________________________________________ #iphonephotography#iphonography#iphone6photography#photography#picoftheday#photooftheday#naturephotography#travel#traveldiaries#hills#travelgram#travelblogger#blogger#indianblogger#delhibloggers#skypictures#potd#traveling#travelphotography#travelbug#travellife#travelogue#travelgirl#travelmore#travelporn#travelblog#wanderlust#church

A post shared by Vanhishikha (@vanhishikhab) on

 

And a few more captures that I’m yet to share on Instagram:

stained glass window 1
Belgian stained-glass window donated by Lady Elgin (Mary Louisa Lambton), wife of Lord Elgin.

 

stained glass window 2
Belgian stained-glass window donated by Lady Elgin (Mary Louisa Lambton), wife of Lord Elgin.
church
Because you will always look up to HIM.

church backside

THE DALAI LAMA TEMPLE 

Known as the office of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, this place will certainly restore your faith in all things serene and beautiful. And take it from someone who works day in, day out, you need this kind of feeling sometimes.

 

Here are some that didn’t go up on Instagram:

dalai lama temple 1

dalai lama temple 2

GYUTO MONASTERY 

The Gyuto monks practice the major Tantric texts such as Guhyasamaja at the monastery. The monastery by itself is truly a place for someone seeking peace in beautiful little details. Know more about this place here.

Don’t believe me? Take a look:

gyuto-1 gyuto-2 gyuto-3

gyuto-4
In case the picture isn’t clear enough, those are Buddha sculptures – all the same sizes, arranged in perfect rows.

gyuto-5 gyuto-6

gyuto-7
That’s right outside the Gyuto Monatery Library.

NORBULINGKA INSTITUTE

Norbulingka Institute, founded in 1988 by Kelsang and Kim Yeshi at Sidhpur, near Dharamshala, India, is dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan culture in its literary and artistic forms. You can read more about it here.

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The art work that is actually made and sold here. Don't miss out on the different techniques and the intricate work that the artists look into here.
The art work that is actually made and sold here. Don’t miss out on the different techniques and the intricate work that the artists look into here.

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The best part about the Institute is that there is a guide to walk you through every little thing. So you don’t really have to fend for yourself, trying to understand what means what.

And here’s a picture of us before we left:

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I have way too many pictures of the Institute, so I’m going to stop right here and move on to the next place we visited.

Oh, but you need to see what we ate so here goes!

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The burger was double the size of all the burgers I have ever had.
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And well, so was the sandwich.

BHAGSUNAG FALLS 

Okay, believe it or not – this is the day we literally walked a hell lot and I thanked my shoes for being so comfortable every 10 minutes. In case you’re wondering, we walked total 10 km this day – that’s a hell lot for someone who works from home. We literally walked up 5 km to see these falls and I’ll say, it was worth it! Read more about the place here.
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DAL LAKE 

Dal Lake is a small mid-altitude lake (1,775 m above sea level) near the village of Tota Rani in Kangra district (Himachal Pradesh) in northern India. The name ‘Dal Lake’ is taken from Kashmir’s Dal Lake. Read more here.

When we reached, the clouds just seemed to be hovering the trees around the lake.
When we reached, the clouds just seemed to be hovering the trees around the lake.
The walk around the lake - because we decided to do some cardio for compensating on the burger we had.
The walk around the lake – because we decided to do some cardio for compensating on the burger we had.
As we moved around the lake, the clouds just seemed to keep coming down.
As we moved around the lake, the clouds just seemed to keep coming down.
And gone! No more trees.
And gone! No more trees.

DHARAMSHALA TEA GARDEN

For all the tea lovers (including me) out there, thank me later! 😛

tea garden 1 tea garden 2

And this one here, that’s going to be my tea one day:

 

KANGRA FORT

The Kangra Fort was built by the royal Rajput family of Kangra State (the Katoch dynasty), which traces its origins to the ancient Trigarta Kingdom, mentioned in the Mahabharata epic. It is the largest fort in the Himalayas and probably the oldest dated fort in India. Read more here.

 

 

Let's step into a different world altogether.
Let’s step into a different world altogether.
Walking in or walking out?
Walking in or walking out?
From one gate to another to yet another.
From one gate to another to yet another.

img_7079

Yes, a little overdramatic. But the place called for a few effects and that's exactly what I did!
Yes, a little overdramatic. But the place called for a few effects and that’s exactly what I did!
Yes, a little overdramatic. But the place called for a few effects and that's exactly what I did!
Yes, a little overdramatic. But the place called for a few effects and that’s exactly what I did!
Customary picture at the awesome places you visit. Probably one of our favourites.
Customary picture at the awesome places you visit. Probably one of our favourites.

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The fort also has a museum that you can visit, along with an audio guide that walks you through the story and life of those times.

We visited a temple as well on our last day, but thanks to rains, I couldn’t really capture pictures to share! 😦

Well, I am not going to bug you anymore. Until, next time!

I should get back to work now. 😐

Ps. All the pictures here are clicked on my iPhone 6 and of course edited using some of my secret weapons. 

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