Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hotel Shrikhand,Sarahan

Daybreak on Shrikhand Peak

The Sutlej at Rampur

The Bhimakali Temple Complex

The Male Himalayan Monal or Himalayan Pheasant
Being a History buff I read the book "White Moghuls" by William Dalrymple during my Chemotherapy Cycles.It was a gift by my daughter Sayali on Mother's day---and today it is well thumbed!!It told of the first few Britishers who came here,adopted the Indian dress and way of Life and married local women to begin a separate class called "The Anglo Indian Community"!!I have always loved to read---and my favourite Authors were and are Rudyard Kipling and Ruskin Bond.Both born in India to British parents had a great affinity for the Country and wrote prolifically about India.Of these my ultimate favourite book is Rudyard Kipling's book "Kim"!!It is with Kim that I travelled on the fabled Grand Trunk Road which runs from Chittagong today in Bangladesh to Kabul in Afghanistan.Kim's adventures on this Road and his friends make for a lively Tale!!!
For long the heights of the Himalayas have fascinated me.So when we decided to visit Sarahan in Himachal Pradesh I was extremely excited.This place lies just 30 km.s from the Tibet border along the Sutlej River.The beautiful temple Complex of Bhimakali is the hub of the Town and it's architecture is unique.Built of Wood on a Stone base it is situated so that the soaring Mountains--their Peaks blanketed in perenial Snow for a perfect Foil for it.This ancient Temple is even mentioned in the Epic Poem, Mahabharata.We were lucky to get beautiful rooms with a truly fantastic view--the Himalayan Peak of Shrikhand towered above us it Snow covered peak glinting in the Sunlight--like a myriad sparkling Diamonds catching the Sun!!For me it was the entire experience--the beautiful Hotel built on the very edge of a Rock spur---the magnificent open vista of the breathtaking view and great ambience and lip smacking Food!!This was for me the ultimate Vacation---looking out for the rare Monal bird--and catching a pair of them perched on an Evergreen clinging precariously to the steep Mountain slope----the plump brown female not as eye catching as the flamboyant male!!!For me it was like being in a magical World--and I spent my day in the Balcony--just drinking in the beauty and magnificence of this marvellous place!!
Visiting the unique Temple Complex was another high!!Here both men and women have to wear Orange caps,cannot wear Watche Straps,Belts or carry Purses/Bags made of Leather.One then climbs up through a narrow staircase to the top where the chamber of the Goddess is on the second floor.The 800 year old Temple is unique--built in a fusion of Hindu and Tibetan styles of Architecture.The original Idol of the Goddess is made of Gold is enshrined on the first floor of the Temple and is worshipped daily in private and exposed only during during the Dassera Festival.The Second floor is a replica and is worshipped daily.The temple is one of the most peaceful places I have been to--and here in the quiet of the Complex one can readily believe that Sati's ear fell here.Filled with various varieties of heady Himalayan Jasmine,Rambler Roses and the scent of Evergreens wafting on the Air it is easy to believe that The Gods still walk here.
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