A place to call home

The Silver Phoenix By The Silver Phoenix, 3rd Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

I remember feeling very insecure at that one moment when we were left helpless on that rope trolley as the operators went for a ten minute lunch break, giving hand signals that they will be back in ten minutes.

A place to call home

As it glided along the ropes, the trolley we sat in slowly ground to a halt. Here we were, myself, equipped with my video camera, my Dad and our petrified guide, 30 miles from Minali, suddenly finding ourselves in mid-air, literally hundreds of feet above the ground and surrounded by the beautiful Shivalak Hills. To make matters worse, as the trolley swung to and fro, my hands shook and my camera almost lost its gripping, as I gazed down at the minute trees that looked like toy-figures from such a vast height. I remember feeling very insecure at that one moment when we were left helpless on that rope trolley as the operators went for a ten minute lunch break, giving hand signals that they will be back in ten minutes. Of all times! This journey, to the famous Timber Estate, by the aptly named rope trollies moving between the hills, from one end to the other, in open air was fascinating but I must emphasise, also very intimidating.

A place to call home

I still recall, how sweaty my hands and feet were, and the video camera in my palm, began to lose its gripping as I dared to look down from such a great height. We
were all relieved once we got going and the guide excused himself that he won’t go through this again! Along the way, there was so much for the naked eye to see. All sorts of timber trees, ranging from species such as conifers, cypress, walnut, redwood and pine to name a few.
Apple, apricot, pear and plum trees were loaded with fruits and surrounded by colourful and exotic birds and wild animals.

A place to call home

A visit to Jaipur in Rajasthan is still fresh in my memory. As you enter the city you come across giant elephants so massive with long trunks, big fan-like ears, usually grey colour. I stopped there to have a good look at them. I remember asking the driver to pull over the road to take a look at a mother and its calf as we stopped to buy coconuts there as well.
The guide (as we moved further) pointed out that Jaipur is a pink city. He
was talking continuously all the way, explaining its history with great pride and enthusiasm. The museums in Jaipur, have a beautiful and varied collection of antiques. There are huge massive tankard/containers made of silver which the Maharaja took along with him in his ship. They once contained ‘Gangajal’ which he always used for bathing and drinking during his trip to U.K, Outside
the museums, there were thousands of wild pigeons (reminiscent of Trafalgar Square, in London) and stray cows. People were offering food to them. Then we went to Birla Temple – made of marble and sand stones, housing beautiful idols of Hindu deities and photographers wearing Rajasthani outfits – Dhoti, turbans and shoes. We visited Queen Gayatri Devi’s palaces – a very beautiful set of buildings furnished with expensive furniture and paintings. A very fascinating sight was that of the huge Amergath Castle, spread in miles. Outside the entrance dwelled wild langoor
monkeys. They had migrated here for centuries

A place to call home

The driver was cautioned to be careful on the road as the monkeys are sacred and move very swiftly from one end to the other. Within the palace, there was a splendid Goddess Kali temple, where animals were sacrificed in the past. The city has beautiful lakes where you can see beautiful swans and colourful birds. The hotel we stayed in was called Maya Palace, with a beautiful painted bust of the lady founder, with very comfortable accommodation coupled with luxurious furnitureand decorations.
The food we were served that evening was raajmash (black eyed beans) and rice followed by strawberry ice cream. We also watched puppeteers perform their annual puppet shows. The room was very cosy as we snuggled up in our beds and watched doves and pigeons cooing outside our window. It’s definitely a place I would love to re-visit again.

A place to call home

A visit to Mohali Cricket Ground where most of the test matches are played began when my uncle took me to see a colossal 80 foot statue of the Hindu God, Lord Hanuman and similarly, Lord Shiva’s Shivling and various temples around the outskirts of these statues. They were all stupendous structures. There was also a Sai Baba temple situated at another peak of neighbouring hills at Village Gadkil which houses beautiful oil paintings displayed on its walls and roof.
We then went through the steep hills with winding roads through pine trees to Kasauli. There was a sanatorium hospital for T.B. patients. We spent almost three hours there and then proceeded to famous breweries at Solan, a famous university situated in these mountainous hilly area and is well worth a visit. We stayed in a Dak Bungalow where we slept overnight. Next morning, we left for Simla, which is the summer capital of Himachal Pradesh. Simla is also renowned for its snow. We
decided to travel by rail to Kalka and Simla. The trains (carriages, bogeys and cars) are quite small and move by means of narrow gauge rails. There are always two engines – one in the front and the other in the back.

A place to call home

Once, I spent a night with hunters, though it was my Dad’s idea. It was in the Branda-Narpur-Kangra Hills. They were hunting wild boar. There was even the remote possibility of spotting a tiger. I was asked to sit on a machan over a tall tree.At night, I could see the glowing eye of tiger and felt scared..
The night was pitch black and the atmosphere was pin-drop silence, so much so that you could actually hear the movements of animals footsteps as they walked around. Occasional howls of jackals and hoots of owls were clearly audible too. The hunters aimed to kill wild boar and 5-6 wild fowls (wild cockerels). The following morning, it was finally time to pack up. Inside, I was feeling sad that my holiday was almost over. I spent the last night in a hotel in New Delhi and went through my souvenirs. I also knew that tomorrow morning, this would all become a dream as I return to a place to call home.

The End.


Holiday Destination And Luxury, Holiday Season

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author avatar The Silver Phoenix
I am a Professional Freelance Writer and have been having my works accepted and published since 1990

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