Sunday, 4 August 2013

Himachal Pradesh: Shimla, Tattapani (Hot Springs), Manali, and Kullu

The Mall in Shimla. Christ Church Cathedral dominates the community square, as well as other colonial architectural gems. Here, the tourist are mostly Indian, in this rather "unIndian" city.

The mountain temperatures are suited to those who like a little respite from the heat. The mall throngs with visitors and the steep hills can be a challenge even to the fittest.

Tourists are invited to take pony rides, purchase candy floss, or shop in emporia

The Main Shopping Street in Shimla which starts at the crest of the hill and continues all the way downhill. Grab a cup of tea before negotiating your way back up.

Christ Church Cathedral which dominates the view of the central mall. During certain hours, visitors may wander in to pray or simply ponder past times as one reads the brass plates recording historical moments plastered into the walls.

Children, being children, love to truck with danger. Fortunately, there is a good railing along the mall. Shimla.

The Clark Hotel, Shimla - a colonial remnant where I could not afford to stay. But certainly worth walking by and looking in.

I was intrigued by the hats worn by these mountain people. The embroidered motifs are chevrons and crosses. Couldn't resist purchasing one. Good handwork is a little pricier than the machine-made hats. Mine was all of 300 rupees - six dollars.

Like the Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro, Hanuman, the 'monkey' god watches over Shimla.

It was hard to smile and keep the monkeys at bay! They are respected at this site and one needs to hold on to spectacles and watch their every move. The monkeys, I mean!

On a day excursion, I took a pony ride up to a meadow high in the mountains. I pitied the horses, really, as they plodded through knee-deep mud and boulders. Once there, a fair was in progress - dampened by a sudden change in weather. 

What was supposed to be a passing shower, has us all seeking shelter for a good hour! Fortunately, there were lots of food stalls happy to flog their aloo parothas and coffee. (potato rotis)

The Thermal Spa at Hotel Hot Springs in Tattapanni - which means 'hot springs'.

Not far from Tattapani, the rivers waters are dammed...since colonial times

I hiked up to the dam...

The engineers were happy to show me around the power plant

The view from power plant

I have a new respect for the 'donkey' buses that ply this mountain roads. I held my breath a lot!

This bridge is Manali separates the old town from the new. A haven for Israeli tourists! Wonder if there is a connection with the abundance of marijuana and pot paraphernalia?!

I met Bupendra on one of my morning excursions up the mountain; he owns a few apple and apricot orchards. What luck! After enjoying some fresh fruit, he offered to ride me to a few places of interest, for a small fee which I offered...he did not want anything. 

Snow-capped mountains and apple orchards. Ah, making me nostalgic for Canada!

Log homes with crude slate roofs  in old Manali

I was shy to take photos of local women in Manali - either walking their cows or yaks to pasture, or carrying baskets full of fruit and vegetables to the local market. 

On the way to Kullu, I took a local bus for a pittance...and captured these ponies sharing the rode. Pack horses abound in this region.

The local museum in Kullu holds many treasures, among them these fabulous pieces holding fort in the shade of gigantic and splendid  deodars - what look to me like white pines.

A view from the restaurant at the Naggar Castle

The Roerig Estate - Naggar. Nicholas Alexandrovich Roerig, a Russian from Saint Petersburg, made this town home for many years. His legacy lives on in his magnificent paintings and writings about his experiences in Asia - especially the Himalayas.

Outside the castle/fort in Naggar

A view from the castle in Naggar

The road to Manali wends it way beside the River Beal. Auto rickshaws are a great way to get around - efficient and affordable.

The swift-flowing River Beal heading towards Manali

A temple along the main shopping mall of Manali, unsual with its wooden components, but expected in this region of mountains and pines

At Drifter's Inn - a recommended place to stay - I got addicted to garlic-chilli fries. The beer was good, too. So was Joane Fernandez, a blues/jazz singer from Goa, who entertained us a few times in the cozy cafe.

Christ Church Cathedral, Shimla

The City Hall, Shimla

A nearby village on one of the hills surrounding Shimla

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