My exams ended on the 19th of June and 20th I ran off to this little town nestled between mountains called Nahan in Himachal Pradesh. The first thing you notice about this place is its deafening silence, disturbingly deafening. A person who is used to the sounds of a city like Delhi, the quiet the city offers is so surreal that for me it was ironically rather disquieting. There were other things too but we will come to them later. One thing though, this time I went with a group so the places we visited were by consensus.
But first things first, as my usual suggestion for Indian roads is keeping Google Maps at hand, cause you kind find your way for nuts on these roads. The trip was right after the exams so my excitement levels were through the roof, I literally looked up the history, geography, demographics of the place. I literally could tell you the route by heart- Faridabad-Karnal-Kurukshetra-Shahbad Markanda-Barara-Sidhaura-Kala Amb-Nahan. So the route till Shahbad Markanda was basically NH1 and we know that the road on NH1 is fantastic. But after you take the turn under the flyover, it will take you a few minutes to understand what happened. Where did the road go???? And interestingly the road till Nahan is the same, motorable for the most part with patches of what passes as a road for the State Highways department.The uphill drive starts from Kala Amb, some 24 kms of driving that will take you above the sea level. Our resort was 11 kms further above Nahan so we had to drive further on. The resort afforded us the view of the entire city of Nahan from our rooms. It was beautiful.
Nahan, in and of itself really doesn’t have a lot apart from your standard lake and Mall Road. But one can use Nahan as a base for other places. Again not a lot of places for going but I guess the magic of the place is the fact that you don’t want to do anything else. You just want to sit in your room on the balcony and just see, take in the beauty of the mountains and the tranquil of the place. The best part was that all along that we were there , it rained everyday and the mountains and even our rooms used to get engulfed in clouds and the temperatures used to drop and then you would just want a hot cup of coffee and something to cover you, a chair, maybe a book and then just see the clouds coming and touching your balcony and before you could get them they would scuttle away.
That was another reason our trip got restricted. It would get all foggy and then you can’t drive on a hill road with such fog clouding your way. We always used to study that it takes longer to cook on the mountains than the plains because of the decreased atmospheric pressure and all but how do you explain placing an order at 2 pm and getting it exactly an hour later. This was the story of our breakfast, lunch and dinner. But this was not the worst part. The worst is yet to come, flying eight-freakin’-legged creatures of all-freakin’-kinds. A huge cross of a cockroach and beetle flew right next to me, I jumped and spilled water on the floor :(. Not that I am scared of these things but come on something flies straight for your guts you are bound to jump. The service was so slow that we used to ask for things like cups or tea bags about 45mins in advance because we knew that it would take them about this much time to get it. But the hotel was good in other respect. Nice spacious rooms and great view, friendly people who would help you with anything.
The first two days of the trip were marked by rains and clouds hence we had to stay in. The third day was clear so went out to the Renuka lake about 28 kms from the hotel. It is supposed to be the birthplace of Parshuram, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The parents of Parshuram had mediated here to get Lord Vishnu as their son. The place has two lakes, a smaller one The Parshuram Tal (Lake) and the bigger one at a short distance called the Renukaji Lake, named after Parshuram’s mother. The Parshuram Lake is actually not that big, it is enclosed by cemented embankments. And nearby is the Renukaji temple. Again it is a small one with three temples inside it. People milling around from the one in the centre to the other on the upper left corner, the former of the son and the latter of the mother. The third one is dedicated to the 10 incarnations of Vishnu.
You can go for boat ride in the larger lake or as they put it ‘botting’ ride. You get those paddle boats for half an hour and you go around the lake. It is a huge lake and you see lots of fishes and we even saw a tortoise in the water. But I have a simple policy of no gadgets on boats so I couldn’t click the tortoise. But the lake has pretty lotuses on one side.
Then we had lunch at the Renukaji hotel run by HPTDC right next to the lake. Even that one was a decent resort, nice food and lots of space. The next day we left for home. This is where I actually lost it. You ask why?? Hahahahaahhahaha. Kala Amb, that place where the ascent starts had a small attraction called a fossil park. Fossils had been unearthed in this region and the government had created fibre reinforced plastic models of these fossils. It was supposed to have 6 sets of animals including sabertooth, Indian mammoths and what not. But when we actually go there. First that we learn is it is closed on tuesdays. But the next thing we learn is that the place got burned down in a fire and what remained of the place I was so excited to go to was —
I either wanted to kill someone or cry.I so wanted this place to be fantastic and no one, no one on the internet mentioned that this is what has become of this place. The museum has simple rocks and some random sculptures. And we spent about 25 mins getting to the stupid place because of the road. even the road was a fossilized one -sarcasm- the whole road had just potholes. I literally felt bad for the tyres of our car. All we got there was a coke. 😦
But the place was very peaceful and close to nature.
While on our way back we stopped a lot deciding where to have lunch eventually we had it at this place called Zamindara Dhaba. I was so happy after I had the food, it was literally fulfilling. The whole time all we ate was so similar to our college mess menu that I had given up on life. They literally made the same things. But the roadside dhaba, I just fell in love with it. Then slowly but steadily we came back home and I realised that I will never love a place more than Delhi.