It was a busy Friday afternoon and, as always, I was preoccupied with all the long-overdue tasks of the week, struggling to finish off everything within time and in a rush to get back home for the weekend. It was precisely at that moment when my phone vibrated with the following message on the screen, “Get your stuff packed, heading for a small weekend getaway tomorrow.” It was a message from my best friend who did not even feel the need to ask me once before putting together our ‘getaway’ plan. It was probably because she knew that I would never deny a chance to travel. The allure of the weekend trip had me bubbling with excitement but I did not want to get distracted from work at that point in time. I dropped her a reply asking for the destination and got back to my work. “Road trip to Dalhousie! ”, came the answer and after catching sight of her reply, I could not stop smiling and imagining the road trip at the back of my mind. That night, she called to ask me to book a cab from Delhi to Dalhousie and the rest of the reservations were done by her.
The Start of the Journey
The next day, my cab came on time and I picked my best friend up from her place in order to kick-start our road trip. I think the exciting anticipation began to set in right after I picked her up, as if it had only been about mechanical packing and reservations till that moment but now it was all really coming true. The drive was 9-10 hours long and this time we did not take the pain of driving upon ourselves, having to deal with the divergent route maps, signs and signals. We hired a driver because we wanted to just sit back, relax and enjoy the trip.
There is a magical characteristic of hill stations – It takes away all your tiredness, exasperation, resentment, and other negative feelings, leaving only a sense of peace and tranquillity. We reached Dalhousie at around 6 in the evening, checked into our hotel which was pre-booked by my friend and freshened up. The daylight was fading away and the alluring lush green landscape outside the window made me forget all the exhaustion from work, all through the month.
We had some snacks and decided to go for a short stroll. However, as soon as we stepped out of the hotel it started to drizzle. In the mountains, weather changes in the blink of an eye. We decided to order dinner in our rooms and enjoy our meal while enjoying the beautiful, slightly chilly weather, sitting in the balcony, enveloped by the serenity and the muted melody of nature. We played soft music and it was a heavenly feeling to just sit there and stare at the pitch-black mountain range with faint lights flickering here and there in the faraway towns on the face of the Himalayas.
The next morning we had to wake up super early because we had only one day before we were supposed to go back, the next day. Around 5:30 a.m., we booked a reliable taxi in Dalhousie for local sightseeing with the assistance of the concierge department of the hotel. At first, we went to Khajjiar which is nicknamed the “mini-Switzerland of India”, a prominent green meadow with the renowned high-altitude Khajjiar Lake, surrounded by cedar forest. The Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is located to the west of it which is home to a lot of wild animals. My friend and I decided to spend some time there while going for a walk along the shore of the beautiful lake. We had planned to visit the local Shiv temple there but we saved that for the next time due to time restraints.
We got up in our cab and headed towards the Chamera Lake. At first, we hesitated to get down because we had already visited a lake that day. Instead, we were more attracted to the prospect of visiting the Army camp base of Dalhousie. But, going by our driver’s suggestion, we got down anyway and oh! What a beautiful stream of river flowing by as all the snow-covered mountains encircled it. There was also a provision of a boat ride and we opted for the high-speed boat, lasting about 8-10 minutes.
The Boat Ride of My Life
The boat ride was an experience that I would never forget. The blows of the freezing cold wind and the splash of water every now and then due to the super high speed was frightening and thrilling, all at the same time. The first thing that we did after the ride was thanking our driver for ensuring that we did not pass by this experience. We had our lunch there at a roadside Dhaba and headed towards Gandhi Chowk because what’s a trip without some shopping? We visited the two famous Chowks of Dalhousie, shopped a little, had our evening snacks from some local food stalls and came back to our hotel. I wished vehemently, if only we had another day to explore more of Dalhousie and its wonders! We had to go to bed early because the next day we were returning. The trip was a much-needed break for me and it still gives me pleasant shivers when I recall its memories.
The Power of the Mountains on the Human Kind
What I miss the most about Dalhousie is its cloud-covered roads, natural beauty and good food (I have personally seldom had good experiences with hill station food). It could also be visited by people interested in hiking, trekking or solo trips. After visiting Dalhousie I somewhat realised just how much power nature holds over our minds – rejuvenating and bringing it back to life. The greenery and fresh air completely heals the soul with the powerful solace it offers.