We drove down the Ghandara Mountains bidding adieu to Manali and the beautiful Beas River that glistened brightly in the morning sun, en route we stopped at an Angora Rabbit farm en route
Angora is a variety of rabbit whose wool is used to make warm clothing. These rabbits are reared specially for their premium quality soft silky wool which is cut or plucked once in 70days.
God created creatures differently some with fur, some with skin only to survive the natural habitat that they live in but alas man has evolved shedding his fur coat along with his conscience that he no longer hesitates to brutalise these harmless voices.
Watch this heartrending video to know how brutally those docile creatures are ripped off inhumanely, the shearing and moulting is mostly a myth sold to customers. Say no to Angora wool
Raghunath Temple Kullu
40kms from Manali is the Raghunath temple at Kulanthpitha or Kullu, to reach this temple you have to deviate near the Kullu market from the main road to an uphill narrow lane and drive up for a furlong, once you park your car here you have to walk amidst the tapered paths that leads you to a stretch of houses that are stacked neck to neck like matchboxes against the walls of the Pagoda temple elevation almost suffocating its otherwise serene ambience.
Raghunath temple is an ancient temple built by Raja Jagat Singh in 1660AD.
The story goes like this — King Jagat Singh once set his greedy eyes on the precious pearls possessed by a Bramin called DurgaDutta when in reality all that the Bramin possessed was pearls of knowledge, fearing the king’s wrath the helpless Bramin jumped into the fire cursing him thus __ “whatever you eat will appear as worms and whatever you drink will appear as blood”, the king was distressed and sought advice for annulling this curse. The holy men advised him to worship the lord that the lord Rama himself had used during Ashwamedha Yagnya and hence this 6inch idol (Yagnya murthy) was stolen from Ayodhya, when the devotees of Ayodhya came to retrieve the idol it became heavier as they headed towards Ayodhya and when they headed back towards Kullu it became lighter, perplexed they sought advice from the holy men who narrated the curse and its reprieve for the king, the devotees later handed the idol to the people of Kullu, the king washed away his sins by worshipping this idol, ever since then Raghunathji is the deity of Kullu.
But as the saying goes “Paapi samudrakke hodaru monakaaladi neer iralilla”… meaning when a sinner visits an ocean there is not enough water beneath his knees, when we went to the temple the idol was stolen. Disappointed we just clicked some pictures and returned.
En route we saw schools running classes under the sun to beat the cold.
At around 4pm we touched Kangra district which is home to the Baijinath temple yet another ancient Shiva temple, the inscriptions on this 12th century temple built in Nagara style reveals that a Vaidhyanatha temple existed here much before this structure was built.
From Baijinath to Dharamshala is some 50kms and this entire drive is completely mesmerising especially if you happen to touch this place before sunset. The Dhauladhar ranges overlooks the Kangra valley gleaming with her golden smile just before dusk sets in.
It was now getting dark, after being crammed for more than 7hours now the journey seemed like an endless drive finally around 6.30pm we reached our destination “Snow Hermitage” in Dharamshala.
An old man wrapped in a rustic muffler took us in, a fleet of stairs greeted us waiting for the grand ascend but we chose the lift instead which opened into a small passage that led us to a long bridge leading to an expansive colonial style reception with an array of large clocks hung on the 20ft wall ticking the times of many zones, below which stood a skinny old man who carefully perused all our booking details and insisted for a hard copy leaving us mobile geeks digging into all suspected pockets.
A spiral set of steps led us to our rooms it was a large room with colonial style furnishings and the ambience was perfect for some horror fiction, the old man seemed like a Stephen King’s character when he rang the bell a second time to hand over some additional blankets. We were thrilled to see the huge bed that could have easily accommodated even our neighbours there, it also had a small balcony that gave a splendid view of the Dhauladhar ranges
The best part in this hotel was great food it was freshly made every time, the hotel also has a TT room in case you want to drive noisy kids from the room.
Overall it had a cosy appeal to me and felt at home, probably after that packed drive such roominess was certainly a luxury and I slept like a dog hoping the sun never rises. But this hope of mine gets ruthlessly shattered every morning and I hate to be an early crow.
‘Early crow’ is a new connation designated for ‘early birds’ to restore equality and honour and also counter those ridiculing the night owls.
But surprisingly enough I was up really early to capture some sunrise shots.
At 9 the sun was in full fervour, the snow peaks now mirrored their golden gleam across the vicinity turning the valley into a vivid Eastman color.
We first visited the Dal Lake, a cluster of Deodar trees stand guard around the otherwise pristine waters which makes for a picturesque picnic spot when the waters are full but for us the lake was marshy and under some restoration work during our visit, I told you about the ‘Paapi’ syndrome already.
The area is has a heavy army presence as there is a basement camp here.
Later we headed to the Bhagsunag temple, another ancient Shiva temple that stands at 6000ft surrounded by the hills and a sea of sellers, there is a waterfall called Bhagsu falls for which you have to trek for a kilometre.
Bhagsu apparently was a king in the beginning of Kaliyuga who was defeated and later blessed by a Nag, hence the name. Most temples built in the hills actually make for a good view point with glimpses of unsullied peaks that play pica boo.
We shopped a little bit of junk jewelry here and then went straight to McLeodganj, a Tibetian monastery the abode of DalaiLama.
It gets its name after a British Lieutenant Governor called Donald Frell Mcleod when the British annexed this area in 1850. Ganj means ‘neighbourhood’.
The path to McLeod ganj is a shopper’s delight with colourful handicrafts flooding the lanes on both sides but sadly the spiritual essence of the monastery is encroached and condensed by an over doze of hawkers.
To me it was just another view point, later we also visited the hotel where our cricket team stays during IPL here and headed back to our hotel to enjoy the vistas around.
We walked around the hotel clicking pictures in the twilight and soon enough it was time for a steaming hot dinner.
If you have read every line till the end I bow and thank you for reading my blog patiently, this is my 75th post.