The Heritage Toy Train Journey - Childhood Memoir

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I wonder if it is natural to be nostalgic! Or is it due to the mental and emotional exhaustion invoked in us due to Covid -19 and its consequences? Do you also feel nostalgic at times! If yes, kindly share your moments of nostalgia in the comment box. One such nostalgic moment evoked by Ruskin Bond's book 'The Great Train journey' inspired me to write this blog. You must be wondering how! To explain this, let me take you to my childhood memories. I was born and brought up in the same small town Kalka which Ruskin Bond has beautifully mentioned in his book. Not only this, he also talked about the Toy Train, which happened to be the first train that I also ever saw.  Still confused! Let me explain further.  It was nostalgic because I also saw the train for the first time on the narrow gauge of the Kalka Shimla track that happens to pass just behind my house. I got excited every time the train blew its whistle. Waving to the passengers sitting at the window seat was a routine

Kandbari Hills-Palampur, India

When it comes to travelling, we travel for two reasons. One is to learn about our glorious history, to understand the culture and diversity in the world. Second is to breathe new life into ourselves by interacting with nature. 

All my previous blogs were about my travel to the historical cities which I visited for the first reason. But today, I thought of writing about a place that I chose for the second reason.

Kandbari, a new and unexplored hill station is 11 Km from Palampur. 

There is little to do here except for enjoying the bounties of nature. 

After successfully ending a session in school and beginning the new one, I thought of taking a short break to revitalize myself. On 19 April 2019, we set out for a short break at Kandbari. Route till Palampur was well known as we have been on this road many times. But Kandbari was a new place for us. While searching on the internet for an unexplored destination, away from the crowd of tourists, we learnt about Kandbari. We booked our stay at V Resorts that is a well-known chain of resorts. We were amazed to find that unlike the big resorts that have trained hospitality staff, V Resort was being managed by localites. It is a beautiful resort in the middle of a sparsely populated village. The resort is built using natural material. 



We inspected our appointed cottages and were wonder struck to see comfortable rooms with beautiful interiors. The cottages were big, with beautifully decorated walls and matching furniture. On talking to the manager, we found that it is actually a 100 years old building that has been leased by the V Resorts. There are only five rooms built in two tiers, so advance booking is a must.



After having lunch, we sat down with the manager to know more about the place and plan our activities for the evening and the next day. From our conversation with the manager, we learnt that there was little to do here except enjoy the biodiversity in the hilly terrain. After taking a little rest, the cook- Mr Santosh accompanied us to show the areas around Kandbari. We explored the small hill roads, and at a place where the road became narrower, we decided to park our car and take a walk. 



We enjoyed watching the sparkling river, flowering hill slopes and herds of goats and sheep. We took a lot of photos so that we could sometimes travel back in the memory lane and enjoy ourselves. And genuinely speaking when we are locked down in homes from the last six months, these photographs are enough to re-live the time we spent on various trips.   A place where the river flowed along the road, we all entered into the water. 







After enjoying to our heart's content, we decided to head back to the resort. Next day our plan was to go for trekking, so we quickly took our breakfast, packed some fruits and water and set out for trek with a local guide - Rohit, who was also the employee of the resort. The chirping of the birds, tall trees, dry leaves spread all over the trail were all very delighting. The jungle was thick, so the guide suggested us to stay close to one another. It was thrilling. The slope was steep, so it took us around two hours to reach the top of the Langha Parvat.



Awaiting us on the hill was a vast pasture land between the tall trees. We could also see paragliders in the air. The wilderness was beyond description. We paid obeisance at the Langha Devi temple that was located amongst the thick forest on the hill. During our trek, we had seen a shepherd with a flock of sheep and goat. He was old but was hiking like a young boy, and we got surprised to see him already cooking food in the pastures. On talking to him, we came to know that he lived there with his flock and spent entire summer and rainy season on the hill and he moved to the valley only during winter. 




After spending some time on the mountain, we decided to descend.  To our surprise, the fall was much more challenging than the hike. The dry leaves all over the trail had made it very slippery. We could feel the excessive strain on our knees and ankles, so we took small steps carefully. Trekking downhill was dreadful as slipping on these leaves meant directly falling into the deep valley. Finally, we reached the place where we had parked our car, and we took a sigh of relief. But today when we look back at our memories, we get excited. On reaching the resort, we took a hot water bath and had a fat lunch. 

We spent our evening enjoying the views of beautiful fields and village life from the lawns of the resort. My children enjoyed playing cricket in the open lawns. At night we savored 'Himachali Dham' in the open along with the campfire and the light music. Dham is a traditional food that is generally prepared and served on every joyful event or celebration in the family. The menu includes maa ki daal, madra(chickpeas cooked in yoghurt),  khatta and mitha or maani. After relishing all the delicacies, we retrieved to our rooms.

Next morning, we took the return journey to Beas. On the way, we visited Baijnath temple that is just 15 km from Kandbari. This Shiva temple was built in 1204 AD by two local merchants Ahuka and Manyuka. The Baijnath temple derives its name from Baijnath as the vaidyanath version of Lord Shiva( Lord of Physicians).  Numerous idols have been carved on the walls of the temple. There are two Nandi bulls in the courtyard of the temple. A rivulet named Kheer Ganga flows behind the temple.


We also stopped at a small monastery suggested by Mr Rohit. Tashi Jong Buddhist monastery is 10 KM from Kandbari. To reach the main building, we had to climb around 40 stair steps. The beautiful, brightly coloured monastery was a treat to eyes. It is also home to Tibetan refugees.




We found a cemented structure that was built in a manner that the tree that already existed there, is not cut. This clearly reflected non violent nature of Buddhist monks. We found devotees drinking water from a small water tank. On inquiring we came to know that it was holy water and it is believed that one can get rid of diseases by drinking this water.



After spending some time in the monastery, we came back to Beas reverberated with the memories of our trip. 

If you plan for a longer stay, you can also explore

Tea Gardens at Palampur

Paragliding in Bir Billing

Visit Sobha Singh Gallery at Andretta

See Norah Richard's House

Pay Obeisance at Chamunda Devi Temple, Birni Devi Temple, Jakhni Mata Temple.


Comments

  1. Anonymous7:26:00 PM

    Very nice blog. Keep it up. ������

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow ! Beautiful ! Must visit place..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amazing Snaps!! Big up!!

    ReplyDelete

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