I was composing the blog post on the mesmerizing Bhool Bhulaiyya of Lucknow, yesterday, and was reminded of our trek from Dalhousie to Dainkund and return across the Singing Hills of Chamba(Himachal Pradesh).The path through the woods was haphazard, brimming with possibilities of getting lost and gave us a sense of accomplishment upon reaching the destination- yet, it was beautiful….very similar to the Labyrinth of the Bada Imambara!
Did I say, Singing Hills?
Yes. The mountains of Dainkund near Dalhousie in Chamba District, are also known as the Singing Hills. It is because, the trees produce melodious sounds – as winds blow past the woods, ruffling the perennial leaves of the numerous pine, oak and deodar trees.
Dalhousie to Dainkund – The Trek…
On one of our picnics in the hills of Chamba District, Himachal, we chanced upon a path leading through the woods of Dainkund Hills.
As we wandered around, we reached a pebbled path leading towards the only biggest concrete house as far as our eyes could follow. The house was literally on the edge of a cliff!
A Shop on the Cliff
Reaching the house, we were relieved to find that it was an ‘All-in-One’ shop dishing out hot chai, parathas, yummy-Licious milk sweets and also stocked with grocery items. After ordering some Chai (Tea) we hit upon a conversation with the house owner. He introduced himself to be Atma Ram who has been living there for decades. He alone caters to more than 35-40 villages scattered in the hills!
Survival and Salutes
Most of the villagers from nearby regions climb the hills to buy the day to day necessities. These villages lack road connectivity. Occasionally, the Airforce Station conducts Health camps in these villages, wherein a medical team tries to cater to the medical needs of at least a handful of villages. One of these villages has been adopted by the Indian Air Force.Usually, in the case of Fire or Medical Emergencies, the local people immediately call the Airforce Station even before informing the local authorities. This shows the trust and the bond between the people of the region and the Military.
After some more exchange of stories and information, we were guided by him to take the trail through the woods to reach- Aala, a place that houses the Potato Development Farm. So, basically, instead of taking the motorable road from Dainkund to Aala, we would trek to our destination.This path is frequented by the people of the villages and is a shorter and faster route.
Here is a photo journey through the woods of the Singing Hills, on the same trek…
June is the best month to go on treks in the mountains of Pir Panjal. There are infinite blooms of white daisies everywhere resembling the Milky Way-on earth, butterflies fluttering and hopping from one bloom to another, crowding the region similar to the mosquitoes that crowd our cities! What a contrast, isn’t it?
The buzzing bees, the occasional roars (err.. was it of the bears or the snow leopards or the witches of DK that inhabit these hills), the lush greenery made for a perfect jungle view.We had loads of beetles, ladybirds, innumerable insects and wild blooms to give us company. They seemed to be going through their daily errands without much fuss!
Stop and Stare….it is refreshing!
There were times when I stopped, allowing the group to move ahead – to seep in the fresh, dewy and moist smell of the woods, stopped, while the cool breeze caressed my cheeks and took breaks often, to look back at the path trudged. Because not every day will I get to spend so much time amidst Nature inhaling pure oxygen!
While we were walking diligently, my eyes fell on something that looked like the hood of a snake! Immediately, I alerted others and the men in our group tried to stop us, while they went near it to confront. We had a hearty laugh when we discovered that it is a sort of flower/plant. Upon reaching home, I searched on the internet and found that this is a rare plant found mostly in the Himalayas and parts of Himachal, called the ‘Cobra Lily’!
Our path was lined with little budding flowers and wild berries that looked more like Strawberries…Everything around was swaying in sync as winds sweeper across and made a hissing sound.The Snake flowers too started swaying to the tunes of the Snake Charmer- the wind, in this case!
The tall trees with huge trunks among the verdant greenery, looked, straight out of Ruskin Bond novels and European literature.
Soon, we were almost nearing our destination and could see the beautiful green hills of Bakrota and Moti-Tibba canopied under a blue sky, draped in the mist that stretched down from Dalhousie to Dainkund.
Destination Reached…Aala re Aala
We were thrilled to reach our destination-Aala. Realization set in, when we had a look at the watch. This trek usually takes 30-40 mins downhill, however, we had taken more than an hour ( Up-climb would be around 60mins).
The blame was on me! I was taking my own sweet time to capture the woods, our moments in the Singing Hills and the experiences of the trek from Dalhousie to Dainkund and return, to be engraved as fond memories forever. In this pursuit, I was either lagging behind the group or way ahead of the group exploring on my own!
If you are in the Singing Hills of Himachal Pradesh- ask for this trek, that starts nearby to Aala, en route Dalhousie to Dainkund.
You may want to read about Dalhousie on my blog here : Dalhousie: A Colonial Experience In The Primeval Grandeur Of Himachal Pradesh!
Hope you enjoyed the musical notes of the Singing Hills from Dalhousie to Dainkund as much as I did!
Till I take you to a new destination again, please enjoy reading the blogged destinations on Polkajunction. Ciao…….