Today, we went in the hotel's car to do the sight-seeing in and around Dalhousie. Our car was the very same car that had brought us to Dalhousie from Jallandhar yesterday; our driver was the very same Trilok, who would stay with us on our daily journeys till the end of this holiday. Today's agenda started with the drive to Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary. Our destination took us via the road that goes past Dalhousie Public School, a private residential public school that has fantastic environs, a lot of space, many sports activities and fees that run into more than a lakh rupees for each academic year. What interested us, though, was the fact that the entire stretch of road going into and coming out of the school area was aesthetically decorated with floral arrangements, plants and a uniform colour scheme of yellow and black.
The drive to Kalatop WLS was very pleasant. The sanctuary itself started off with a public area that had a garden-like feel to it. There were countless blooms of both the cultivated variety as well as the natural kind. It wasn't hard to guess why this place is called the valley of flowers ... I mean, you have to see it to believe it. The grass is like a carpet, and the flowers sort of adorn its surface like the embroidery does over an expensive Kashmiri carpet! We spent a good threequarters of an hour here, absorbing the fresh air and the gentle breeze, looking at the mountains in the distance, and taking pictures. Some of these are displayed below.
From Kalatop, we moved on to Dainkund. This journey, taking over 20 minutes by car ended at a spot that was a good 2.5 km away from the actual destination. From here on, we would have to walk up a hilly terrain, past meadows, masticulating cows and buffalo, hill-climbing goats, and an amazing landscape of mountains and valleys till we reached a Shiv temple at the end. The walk seemed daunting initially, but as we continued to climb, the effort became less and less as the climb turned into a gentler one, then into a horizontal walk, so that we breathed easier, and walked with more gaiety. There were returning tourists, and we were tempted to ask them whether it was worth going there, but we desisted as we were all keen to discover the place ourselves.
|Inas and Hans pose for the camera|
The valley spread out around us, with its tiny white flowers swaying gently in the breeze. We did see a fair number of birds, but, to be honest, I wasn't able to document them either with my keen observational skills or with the camera, which was busy taking in shots of the nature. At one place, the view was so fantastic that we just stood there and took photos of the valley as well as of ourselves, enjoying the bracing wind blowing upon us. The next few photos will tell you this and take you right there in the midst of action:
|One of my three fav people!|
|Buffalo slowly digesting their meal|
|Climbing up the hill|
|Facing the bracing wind|
|The trek road to Dainkund|
Arriving at Dainkund, we saw the huge cut-out of Lord Shiva atop a nearby pinnacle, and then, the actual temple, where, in addition to the hustle-bustle of pilgrims and tourists, we also witnessed a wedding in action. The local outfits and colour were, to say the least, so enjoyable. A few pictures will tell the story better than a thousand words, right?
|Wedding in progress|
|Standing before the local goddess, the couple takes marriage vows|
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