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DALHOUSIE – THE CINDERELLA AMONG HILLS


     DALHOUSIE – THE CINDERELLA AMONG HILLS

    Dr. Kailash Maini

     Dalhousie is one of the most beautiful hill-stations of Northern India which is easily reachable by a regular bus service from almost all the major cities of Punjab. Set Iike a precious jewel among the Dhauldhars it has a large number of picnic spots and. is also known as a hikers paradise' He who visits it once continues to be haunted by its beauty and charm forever in life and would love to repeat his visit at the first available opportunity.
Cloistered among the Dhauladars lies the hill station of immense scenic charm, a perfect haven for nature lovers, an inspiration of poets, known as Dalhousie the Cinderella among hills.
One may wonder why Dalhousie is compared with the legendary Cinderella. Cinderella means a woman whose attraction and merits have not been recognised and who has suffered a lot of neglect for long. Exactly the same applies to Dalhousie, which, despite being one of the most beautiful hill stations of lndia, has not yet received the recognition and attention due to it.
Dalhousie is named after Lord Dalhousie, the tenth Governor General of British lndia (1848-1856), who annexed the whole of Punjab on March 29th, 1848 shortly after acquiring power. Situated at the foot of the spurs of Dhauladar range, Dalhousie is perched on five small hills namely, Baloon, Katholog, Tihra Patrani and Bakrota, covering an area of thirteen square kilometres. lt has a height of 6,628 ft: The altitude of Bakrota hills goes above 7,500 ft. These hill also provide a beautiful walk on a level plane through scented woods.
Dalhousie is surrounded on all sides by various beautiful spots. Towards the North, one can see the magnificent snow covered Pangi valley, whose Peaks soar up to 21,000 ft. above sea level. Pines, Cyprus, Oaks, Rhodendrons and Ferns are found in abundance in and around Dalhousie.
Only 22 Km. from here is Khajjiar, a natural, saucer-shaped lake, surrounded by thick Pines and many ancient temples, also known as a 'mini Gulmarg' and 'mini Switzerland'. On the way to Khajjiar, almost about 5 Km from Lakkar Mandi is 'Kala Top' a wildlife sanctuary and the most fascinating picnic spot of Dalhousie. Other places worth visiting are Jandri Ghat, Sat Dhara, Moti Tibba, Kamla Nehru Park and Dian Kund.
Commenting at the beauty of Dalhousie, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru wrote thus, " One of the finest hill stations in lndia is Dalhousie from the point of view of beauty, climate and agreeable surroundings. It is not a flashy hill station like some others and there are a few diverting amusements here. For my Part, I would rather go to Dalhousie than almost any other hill station in lndia, Kashmir apart."
It was his inspiration which attracted Feroze Gandhi to this Place a number of times. Sh. Rajiv Gandhi. a former Prime Minister of lndia recalls about his father'* in one of his interviews and says, " He was fond of driving very much. I remember once. he, taking me along with him, himself drove to Dalhousje. On feeling hungry, we stopped at a wayside dhaba and had our food. I have not forgotten that journey till today." Perhaps, it was Pt Nehru's inspiration, which also leci Lt Col. Napier, the erstwhile Chief Engineer of Punjab, to explore a health resort cum sanatorium in Chamba hills, when he was confronted with this task. A treaty was signed by Lord Dalhousie with the Raja of Chamba, and a sanatorium was founded here in 1854.
 Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore, the great Poet, visited Dalhousie in his childhood with his father in 1873. They stayed in Snowdon, situated at uPPer Bakrota. lt was here that he fell in love with nature, and got an insPiration for his masterpiece 'Geetanjali'. Expressing his poetical sentiments for Dalhousie in his work "My Reminiscenes" he writes thus : "My eyes had no rest the Iive long day, so great was my fear lest anything should escape them.......,., why, oh, rwhy had we to leave such spots behind, cried my thirsting heart, why could we not stay there forever !".
Perhaps this is why thousands of . Bengalis throng Dalhousie every year to confirm the impressions received by their revered poet. Dalhousie is also associated with S. Ajit Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose, the great revolutionaries of lndia. A samadhi' has been erected at Panj-Pula in the memory of Ajit Singh, uncle of Martyr Bhagat Singh, who died there after hearing the declaration of lndependence on August 15. 1947. 'Subhash Baoli', a natural spring of mineral water, commemorates Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who went to Dalhousie in 1937 during his convalescence. During his four months stay he daily visited this spring of natural water and was cured of his ailment by consuming the water issuing from of it.
 Dalhousie's uniqueness lies in its still being the least' artificialised' hill station. lt offers much to nature lovers, whereas, tourists coming here for man-made beauty may find little of cosmetic treatment. However, this 'uncut gem of nature', has now started witnessing indiscriminate felling of wood, and the salubrious climate of the place is now being negatively affected by air pollution.
The beauty of Dalhousie during snow falls becomes divine and indescribable. Nature can be green in its purest form and the aii turns heavenly. The effect produced by the rays of the sun or the noon falling on the scintillating snow becomes a visual delight, an experience never to be forgotten. The charm and aura of Dalhousie is equally unmatched during the monsoon period when clouds of invigorating mist and vast rainbo*s take a person to another wor{d a fairyland.
 ln order to enable the tourists to spend a vacation, Dalhousie has hctels and restaurants to s;i! everybody's pocket, and which are situated ln serene surroundings A few prominent hotels and tourist bungalows which must be mentioned here are H.P.T.D.C.'s  tourist bungalow 'Geetanjali'. lrctei Grandview, hotel Mountview. hotel Aroma-n-Clairs, hotel KinEs hatei Chanakya and hotel Highlano.
 Renowned educational institutions such as Sacred Heart Convent, Top School, Dalhousie Public School and Holy Heart School another asset to this hill station. Interestingly, the commercial world of  Dalhousie, too, is predominently occupied by Punjabis, the trontliners being M/s D. C. Khanna and sons the Gandotra Brothers the Mahajans, the Ralhans the Puris , the Chaddas and the Anands.
Thus, it can be said that the scenic charm, the magnificent backdrop of snow-clad mountains. the picnic spots of haunting beauty the bracing climate and lovely weather of Dalhousie, the least expensive of all hill stations in the country attracts the tourists, especially nature lovers. to visit it during the hot summer days. He who visits it once would dream of it ever afterwards.
Dr. Kailash Maini



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Shivani Shourie said...

There are too many typos on your site. The content is good; get an editor.

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