I started from Dalhousie at 7 in the morning. It was pretty early by Dalhousie standard being off season so left with out a morning tea. This time I traveled through the main road. Had breakfast at a road side dhaba and reached Loharu and then moved over to Shahpur and was in Dharamshala by 11 am. It took me 4 hours to drive back. On the way found a gharat and stopped for pictures. The owner was lying back peacefully. This chap was a smooth talker and we exchanged notes on crops in our respective areas. My family also owned a gharat at a place called Bhaira Khad on Satluj basin which was washed out in the famous first Parchu flood. Family since been settled in the hills, the gharat was lying abandoned off late. Anyway, return journey was full of some amazing views. Since it was morning and much less traffic than the daytime, I was able to cherish the views on my way back.
After a quick shower, went over to Mcleodganj. The place was full of foreigners. Since I was short on time, I just glanced at the bazaar. Prices are pretty steep here. Also there is quite a tension among Tibetian and local population. Very few local shopkeepers but almost all hoteliers are local. They being sore about summer season being washed off because of the Tibetan protests in summers over Chinese backlash in Tibet and tourist traffic getting hit in the peak tourist season. Mcleodganj is a foodies paradise where you can savor some of the world’s best cuisine. I chose a cafe at the Pema Thang and had a lovely lunch in the sun over Mexican food. Just below Pema Thang GH is the Chonor House. This is a small Tibetan hotel which lets you soak into Tibetan way of life. Prices are steep but worth the experience. Moved over to Naddi, which has hotels everywhere and have killed the beauty of this small village. Two years from now, this place will look like Paharganj market. Slightly away from this madness is a small place called Snow Crest Inn, which offers some solitude and have decent rooms with cheap prices. I was told that entire land from the Dal Lake till Naddi on the main road has been sold for hotels. Now you know why we are expert in screwing up with tourist places.
Bhagsunag is just another suburb with hotels at every nook and corner. You have to find your way among these hotels to get to the temple. Then you have a check post collecting money. Why this money is collected is beyond any reasoning. One also pays to enter the Mcleodganj market.
Coming down to lower Dharamshala, lot many resorts and hotel have come up on Khaniyara road. One is Karnika Resort in the middle of nowhere and the other is Snow Hermitage Resort. Snow Hermitage looks pretty run down from the road level but once you climb up through the lift you fell in love with this place. The view is pleasant from here. One really feels like blowing those 2 grand. Club Mahindra also runs a hotel here which is located on the Palampur road. Pretty un-impressive. Who would like to come for vacation in this dump after spending so much for the time share. I was told they have bought land near Palampur and are building a resort. Dharamshala – Palampur road is in complete mess. Dropped the idea of going to Palampur and came back. Had a hearty talk with my brother and it was past 2 when we finally slept.
Next morning it had snowed up on the mountains and was still snowing. Bade good bye to my brother (we still cry upon goodbyes 🙂 and started back to Shimla. It was raining for most part of the journey. Stopped for meals at Namhol at Raja dhaba and was at Shimla by 3 in the afternoon. Things were pretty the same since my last visit. Only more cars on road and lot many hotels have come up. This is the only progress I found on this trip.