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Over the years, New years eve seemed like any other night while other youngsters made determined efforts to be partying in Goa or getting themselves invited for a party with a sizeable amount of skirts. However,2015 was to be different as I found myself on the same bandwagon with the single objective of having a hip new year.

It all started with my good friend Rohit Kumar sending me a message inviting me to go to Chamba valley with him. Now I love to go to new places and always do an immense amount of research before going somewhere. This time i felt unprepared but then again with Rohit there is always a certain amount of uncertainity with suprise situations being hurled at our faces – from breaking an entry to being in the thick of a political debate in the Delhi metro.After 15 hours of travel a gradual regret began to descend as I learnt that i had another 2 hours to go. All that quickly disappered as a picturesque landscape emerged with nothing but huge mountains and a clear blue river meandering through the valley. Upon my arrival to Chamba I was greeted by a smiling Rohit who had arrived a couple of hours earlier and had whiled away his time chatting up with the locals & surviving an attack by a troupe of monkeys armed with nothing more than a tree branch.

After having lunch and freshening up we caught the first local bus to Dahousie hoping to be a part of the party scene that was to erupt in just a  couple of hours. We were both close to dozing off when we saw an irrate cab driver pacing around showing a scratch that was undoubtedly delivered by our bus.The situation  was a little tense with the entire population of the bus disembarking to facilitate a dimplomatic solution but to no avail.There is nothing fun about being stranded on a mountain road for more than 90 minutes but we took pictures and made the most of our time. With the police inspector finally arriving and playing the role of a diplomat rather than an officer of the law,the situation deescalated as quickly as it had begun.

 

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On reaching Dalhousie we were a little disappointed by its quaintness as it seemed more of a romantic getaway rather than a party destination. Being firm believers in shaping our own destiny we approached hotel after hotel which had been advertising extravagant new year bashes only to find them mysteriously full and very hostile managers saying that we should try elsewhere. As we looked at the customer base we saw only famlies with kids.Unwilling to accept reality we clung to the belief that there was a group of young girls out there who just wanted to get away from the city and have fun. How wrong we were!!

After being assisted by a slightly shady character who peppered every sentence with a stylish “Bhen-chod” we found ourselves at a fancy hotel that had a really good room and claimed that the mid night party would blow us away.We played foozball & table tennis, striking up a conversation with other guests including a slightly inebriated older sikh gentleman who had a little too much to drink. We visited the marketplace and  purchased some alcohol which I am convinced was spurious and headed back to our hotel. The barren landscape of the roof with a solitary figure who was the DJ made it clear that there would be no party tonight.After spending sometime in uncomfortable silence along with the other guests who looked as though they had been dragged against their will from the comfort of their rooms by the older gentlemen who were preoccupied with their alcoholic beverages and now seemed intent on appreciating the DJ and his music. After dinner Rohit and I returned back to our rooms. Debating the authenticity of the alcohol we consumed it risking blindness,listened to some punjabi music(a first for me) & chatting away. At midnight we wished the other,made a few callls and called it a night.

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The next day we checked out early and made a run for Gandhi chowk to catch the bus to Khajjiar-another tourist destination.However, we ended up late and had to take a cab which was fine as the chap was friendly and even offered to take us to Chamba at a discount. Khajjiar is a large open ground with a lake only in name in the middle and surrounded by trees. We ended up horse riding and stuck a conversation with a local who was eager to explain the multitude of languages spoken in Himachal. After that we headed to Chamba town once again.

Chamba town, though not very popular among tourists was more lively than Dalhousie. The most striking feature about this remote town are its people. The locals had pink cheeks and were a shade pinker than their vain counterparts from the rest of the country. But even more striking was that more than half the population had grey eyes which is something that i have not seen in any other Indian town. The people are were friendly and helpful. The town square had a good vantage point with the Ravi river flowing below it. We also spent sometime at the local museum where Rohit developed an interest in Pahari painting.

With that being the end of the sightseeing I boarded the bus to Delhi and Rohit caught a bus to his hometown Palampur. Chamba is a good place to visit and the gorge that presents itself as we make way for the town is a sight that is hard to forget. A must visit especially in winter.

Categories: Travelogue

Comments (2)

  • Rohit .28th September 2015.Reply

    Beautifully written with such perfection that made me remember certain things (such as fight with monkeys) which even i had forgotten about…Thanks George for making this trip unforgettable and a must thank for always believing in me and showing up unprepared….#wewereborntoadventuretogether #AlwaysSpecial and we dont even have to try, its always a good time 🙂

    • (Author) George Kottakal .28th September 2015.Reply

      You forgot your near death experience with the monkeys?!?!?! I think you’ve been flirting with danger too often!!Trip wouldn’t have been the same without you man

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