Oh, oh, oh, oh! Heaven, Heaven on Earth! Oh, oh, oh, oh! Heaven!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why Haven't You Taken Dream Trip to Mini Switzerland?

Signpost in Khajjiar
Signpost in Khajjiar
It was Tommy Singh, who noticed a movement in the wooded forest on the descending gradient to the left of the path we were negotiating back to Lakkarmandi from the Kalatope wildlife sanctuary. We stopped as we heard some voices. 'Hello', shouted Tommy, looking down. After waiting a while the reply came. 'Hello'. We saw a few figures climbing up towards us.And when they were closer, we were surprised.
They were foreigners.
'I am Rufus, Rufus Scott. My wife, Alice and this is my son, Ronnie. We are from Manchester, England.'

We introduced ourselves.
Rufus was a tall, handsome in his early 40's. Alice, his wife was also tall and a pretty blond. Ronnie in his teens with a mischievous smile and a round face. We walked back together to the forest outpost where we had parked our cars and we knew that we are staying at the same place in Khajjiar- Hotel Devdar, we decided to meet in the evening.
It was about half an hour drive to Khajjiar from the forest outpost of Lakkarmandi, Dalhousie. Soon we were taking our last turn through the blue pine and conifer trees that carpeted the beautiful land. The dusk was silently and quickly descending on the forest. And it was before us! We entered into a breathtaking beauty of Khajjiar's vast meadow at the height of 6500 ft above the sea level. There was a tiny lake with a floating small island. On the rising periphery of the meadow was a thick forest of conifers and pine trees. Wow! It was a real treat for your eyes.
Beautiful Khajjiar mini Switzerland
Beautiful Khajjiar mini Switzerland

Mini Switzerland

On 7 July 1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by christening it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as a Mini Switzerland of India

Hotel Devdar Khajjiar
Hotel Devdar Khajjiar
As planned, we met Scott family in their cottage room of Hotel Devdar Khajjiar. On a hill, at the edge of a meadow, Hotel Devdar is sheltered by pines and spruce. The hotel offers a panoramic view of the meadow and surrounding forest. It's peaceful ambience is ideal for those who seek solitude.
While sipping our tea we listened to Rufus and his incredible story.
'I'm going to make Khajjiar my second home', he announced.
Myself and Tommy looked at each other in disbelief.
Then Rufus continued...
He had come to India and to the district of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh in search of his roots. His great grandfather was born in Chamba and played a key role in establishing the first golf course in India at Khajjiar. His great grandfather was in the army and fought the Sikh Wars in 1884 when the British annexed this part of the country from the rulers. We listened to Rufus spellbound! He had been in Chamba for more than 4 months and eventually, as it happens with most of the foreigners who stay in this part of the world for more than a few months, his family fell in love with India and decided to make it their second home at Khajjiar.
Khajji Cottage at hotel Devdar Khajjiar
Our heaven-Khajji Cottage at hotel Devdar Khajjiar
It was almost night now. I came out of our "Khajji"cottage into a verandah and stood quietly. At a distance I could see a silhouette of a horse rider galloping around, a sound of a famous song from an Indian movie "Chake De India" from the distant restaurant at the entrance of the meadow and a burst of laughter.
We got up early next morning. Tommy hired a horse and I followed him on another horse with a guide, the difference being Tommy was an experienced horse rider and me, a learner. Soon Tommy was galloping and raced ahead at the circular end of the meadow and I was on an easy trot. I was really enjoying the early morning cool breeze with the fragrance of dew drenched green grass mingled with the scent of forest leaves. At the other end, across the meadow, I could see Tommy Singh waving his right hand to me riding majestically. I realized this was my one of the finest moment of my life.
After enjoying our morning ride, we went to see an ancient temple.

Khajji Nag temple

Khajji Nag temple in Khajjiar
Khajji Nag temple in Khajjiar
A little away from the lake is the temple of Khajji Nag belonging to the 12th century AD. In the mandapa of the temple, one can see the images of the Pandavas and the defeated Kaurvas hanging from the roof of the circumambulatory path. The sanctum of the temple has been beautifully carved from wood.[9] This temple is dedicated to snake (Nāga) worship and there are some snake idols inside.

In the afternoon we went on trekking the nearby forests. It was marvelous. We stopped near a stream, sat, enjoyed our snacks and tea from the flask.

Best Time to visit

Khajjiar is an all weather destination. Summers are pleasant with temperature hovering around 10-39 degree Celsius. The hill station serves as a perfect summer getaway. Winters can be severe with minimum temperature dropping as low as -10 degree Celsius. However, Khajjiar carpeted in pristine white snow is a sight to behold. The hill station receives moderate rainfall. Khajjiar looks most stunning during the rainy months. March-October is the best time to visit Khajjiar.

Where to stay

THE DEVDAR
ADDRESS: The Devdar, Khajjiar (H.P.) - 176314. Tel: (01899) - 236333, 9418002306

E-mail: khajjiar@hptdc.in 
Website: http://hptdc.gov.in
Updated post of 30/10/ 07
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