The last time I wrote about Kandaghat, my home place, was on 31 Mar 2012 (Please read: ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is – Kandaghat In Shimla Hills‘). As far as I am concerned, it is the most beautiful place on earth. In the month of June, my wife and I visited Rampur, Jhakri and Sarahan (all in Rampur Bushair district); Sangla Valley, Banjara Camps, Chitkul, Karcham, Powari, Reckong Peo, Kalpa, Pooh, and Nako (all in Kinnaur); Sumdo, Gue, Tabo, Dhanker and Kaza (all in Lahaul Spiti). These are really very beautiful places (write-ups about them coming up shortly). When we returned to our house in Kandaghat, it was drizzling and we found that our village Ded in Kandaghat (Kandaghat Tehsil has 269 villages as per the 2011 Census) looked equally beautiful.
Last week, my wife and I climbed the hill on the North-West of our house and were able to discover the most beautiful Kandaghat that we had never seen before. The occasion was the first birthday of the son of our Up Pradhan (Deputy Head) (our village in Ded (it is exactly One and half kilometres from Kandaghat and hence the name) is in Mahi Panchayat) of Mahi. We could climb up to Mahi by car, a distance of about 5 Kms from our place.
We looked around because the weather was heavenly, with low clouds and fog, moisture and freshness and because of these the already beautiful scenery was covered with alluring enchantment. We looked down because we could see our house – Whispering Winds – from there:
And we looked up because we had a fair bit of climb to do to reach Laik Ram’s village Kudhar:
We passed through some of the prettiest sights, made even more fascinating because of the mist and slight drizzle. Have a look at what and who we saw on the way:
In the third picture on top, you must have seen a man carrying a gunny-bag and a large basket of vegetables down on his back. Well, just 1000 to 1500 feet from our house Whispering Winds on the National Highway 22 (with easy access to amenities), everything from those villages has to be carried either manually or on mule-back. And then, two questions would arise: One, why would anyone want to live there when it is so inaccessible? And two: How is life there? I shall answer both these as I go along.
First, the air is clean and pure. Second the land is fertile and third the schools, primary health centres and community centres are within easy reach.
As we neared the village Kudhar, we could hear enchanting sounds of community singing. In the hills people join in to celebrate all events and festivals together without worrying about whose party is it in the first place. For example, I have seen the same people in the local gurudwara that I would have seen in the mandir.
Here is the one year old boy whose birthday we had climbed the hill to attend, with his proud and still so simple parents:
We took time out from the celebrations to look around and discovered a different Kandaghat than we had ever seen. The villagers had built a temple on a cliff with steep and – due to the rain – slippery steps leading up to it. One slip and one can go down a thousand feet. One could see the hills of Shimla, Chail, the Air Force Navy Housing Board Colony (with red-roofed houses), HUDCO (Himachal Urban Development Corporation) Colony (with green roofed houses), the road leading from Kandaghat to Shimla, Mahendra Resorts, Bahara and Jaypee Universities.
Getting back from the temple was a sigh of relief that with the grace of God we could return in one piece. Laik Ram had invited over a thousand people and they all had bhoj (lunch) there.
The best part of seeing these beautiful places and meeting such beautiful people was that the return trip offered as much picturesque sights as the trip up there.
Before I end this photo essay, I hope you have been able to observe the following, amongst other things:
- Whilst on the main highway people have littered extensively by chucking things from the buses, cars etc, these villages are clean. Even when there was a party in progress of more than a thousand people you couldn’t see heaps of garbage everywhere.
- There is easy availability of electricity, water, solar lights, clean air etc.
- The views all round are just beautiful.
- Himachal is beautiful not just in those places that are declared as tourist destinations but everywhere, especially in the villages.
- You could see my place Whispering Winds from various angles.
- You could see the National Highway as well as the UN Heritage Train Track.
- I have whetted your appetite for seeing more of this beautiful state.
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