The place could be developed, not by chopping the trees, but by making the exiting one a bit more adorable with a few slight modifications. Perhaps, leveling the ground in front of it, building a boundary around the waterfall that contains the clean water, a couple of benches, couple of more dustbins or a bigger one would do.
SHIMLA – If you read the ‘Times of India’, then recently, the newspaper mentioned the deteriorating beauty of Shimla’s Chadwick Falls, deep inside the Glen Forests. The sighted cause was usual ignorance of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department. So, we thought to give our readers a glance of the present condition of this often mentioned popular spot –the Chadwick Falls. Take a look at the fresh photographs, video, with historical background. We will come to the grievance part in the concluding paragraph.
Shimla city had expanded a lot in the past recent years. A lot of concrete has replaced the green belts. Still, for now, Shimla do has some really tempting natural offerings to feed the soul of anyone who is dying to get out of the crowd and artificially decorated Shimla Bazaar or the Shimla Mall. There are wonderful marvels of British era architecture like the Indian Institute of Advance Studies. But, the real gift is the serenity that one can find in the isolation of Shimla’s dense forests . You don’t have to drive too far from the sophistication of the city. The Glen Forest of Shimla is one good place for those who seek to be in touch with nature. To be specific, amidst this dense forest in Shimla, the Chadwick Falls is the best spot to explore. It’s just 7 KM from Shimla, and the same is 4 KM if you start from Summerhill (HP University). From here, the walking distance is hardly more than an hour
But, it’s better you use a car or cab because the dust rising from the unmetalled road will spoil the mood before you even reach your treat. That because you cross Summerhill to enter Sangti, which means you are then driving on a road in a rural area.
As you drive down the road, the scenery appears to have changed suddenly, and you see crop-fields, scattered village houses, the cattle etc. Sometimes, it’s hard to spot any human around.
About 800 meters to the west of the Chadwick Falls, there is a beautiful village called ‘Huen’, in which the word Huen means snow in the local language. The place is a sight of pure village life in the suburbs of Shimla. The village is a great visual treat itself.
To reach the waterfall, you take a narrow path that passes through a dense forest.
This passage is a trodden path, covered with leaves, and surrounded by trees and bushes. If you are alone, the sounds of the forests could even give you freaky goosebumps.
It’s not uncommon to expect leopards in such dense forest, near a water source of water where these animals could quench their thirst. The villagers will warn you to return back before the sun goes down. The chances of a leopard encounter are higher after it gets dark.
You don’t get a clue of how far is the waterfall unless the sound of the falling water starts to near your ears? Soon, you get a glimpse of it across the woods, framed with greenery.
It might appear trivial as compared to the giants around the world, if you have already seen some. Otherwise, it’s an interesting spot, especially so near to the city.
Water slides down from a channel at an angle of almost 90 degree from the top of a rock, which is approximately 80-100 meters high. That’s not huge, but its serene and the sounds of shimmering water makes it a hypnotic experience. That applies mostly to the loners.
On the other side of the same frame, it’s a good, safe spot for an outdoor drink party with your friends.
We spotted two guys enjoying their beers while they sat on a rock right in front of the waterfall.
They weren’t drunkards. They were decent, nature loving guys. They talked to us, offered the seat they had occupied thinking we are tourists.
They asked us why it’s named as the Chadwick falls. One of the guys related it to a scientist named Chadwick, who had made some very relevant invention regarding the atomic structure. He told us that Mr. Chadwick is said to have committed suicide by jumping off the top of the rock.
Does that sound true to you? Well, actually the name Chadwick is said to have evolved as the English people found it hard to pronounce the original word ‘Chidku Jhaar’. A waterfall is called ‘Jhaar’ in the local dialect, and yes, once there did live renowned scientists named James Chadwick (20 October 1891 – 24 July 1974). He was an English physicist who had won the 1935 Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of the neutron in 1932. However, he never even visited Shimla ever. Moreover, he died in his sleep at his place. So, definitely, there isn’t any question of a suicide.
The real word ‘Chidku’ is referred to the sparrow in the local dialect. The waterfall is so high that only sparrows or a bird could reach the top. Thus, it was named as ‘Chidku Jhaar’.
Then, there is a famous folklore telling about a demon who was imprisoned by the local gods behind the big rock after the villagers prayed these gods to free them from his nuisance. The locals believe that the water flows down from the mouth of the demon, or, at least, it appears to be so. The Tourism Department has put a description board on the roadside that describes the waterfall in both English and Hindi. However, the one in English talks of an Englishman without any details, which are omitted in its Hindi version. That’s confusing, of course.
Anyway, the place is awesome for those who seek to get in touch with the nature. We aren’t sure if our statement would apply if it’s crowded there. It’s a popular tourist spot in Shimla according to the Tourism Department. The name of the village is there in every brochure talking of tourism in Himachal.
The sad thing is that this very enchanting, serene and beautiful place is left at its own while the Govt. continue inviting outsiders (tourists) to visit it. The Tourism department must take the responsibility to maintain and sustain it. Otherwise, they must stop advertising it. If you want to leave it completely on itself, then exclude the crowd as well.
The only rain-shelter tells of Indian ways to show respect to a beautiful waterfall in its neighborhood. It’s actually adding ugliness to the scenery here. Isn’t it supposed to be matching to the whole scene, something more adorable?
The place could be developed, not by chopping off the trees, but by making the exiting one a bit more adorable with a few slight modifications. If not more, then, at least, keep it clean. Perhaps, leveling the ground in front of it, building a boundary around the waterfall that contains the clean water, a couple of benches, couple of more dustbins or a bigger one.
We are sure, for the main drainage, through which the water flows down the place, could be more attractive if you regularly remove the garbage stuck in between the rocks and get rid it of the bushes.
We aren’t beautification experts, so we better leave it on the authorities and the public to throw some good ideas to develop our precious and beautiful Chadwick Falls.
Take a look at the content and the efforts of the HP Tourism Department to promote the Chadwick Falls on it official website. That’s right. Just a couple of lines with no images, no details of any kind, and then they say that a lot has been spent on the development of the Chadwick Falls.
In Pictures: Republic Day 2018 celebrations at Shimla Ridge
Shimla: As usual, like rest of the nation, Himachal Pradesh also observed India’s 69th Republic Day on January 26, 2018. Himachal’s best parade and a showcase of tableaus by various government institutions are believed to be held in the capital city Shimla.
This year, the governor took the salute, which was followed by cultural activities.
Though we are little late in posting, still you might like the pictures of the Republic Day 2018 celebrations at the historic Ridge Maidan of Shimla, exclusively clicked by Himachal Watcher for its readers.
The public did gather this year as well like it has been doing for the last 69 years. Most of the educated people, especially the newer generation might have read all about the 26 January 1950 in their history lessons without realizing the purpose of spending every year on the arrangement of such an expensive show.
This day is special for the armed forces, police, and even the National Cadet Core contingent that take part in the parade. They rehearse and compete to find a place in this parade as it is considered an honour.
However, a crowd of commoners celebrates only the holiday they receive on this day.
It is the day of the people. The Independence Day and Republic day are the days when the people are supposed to celebrate the fact that India had united to overthrow the centuries-old British colonial rule to claim the very freedom we cherish and enjoy today.
On this day we are supposed to express gratitude to the freedom fighters that we are not slaves anymore.
The Republic Day is special because it was the day India received its constitutional framework and the people were given the true power of the country through the written constitution, which is the longest in the world.
India was in a hurry and wanted to incorporate the best components of the natural justice and rights, which is why it borrowed most of the components from countries like United States of America, United Kindom, France, Russia etc.
This constitution is the handbook of common people, and it is the only power they possess for the protection of their democratic rights. As a very bitter truth, we are enjoying freedom in India but corruption has corroded the true protocol. Freedom can be manipulated through political power, wealth and influence.
Anyway, now we put a full stop to our verbose expression of our comprehension about the symbolic meaning of the Republic Day celebrations to let you view more visuals in high-resolution pictures.
There is a lot about the tableau showcase that doesn’t match with the ground reality like waste management, rainwater harvesting, metalled roads, renewable energy etc.
For instance, the tableau of the Shimla Municipal Corporation said ‘Waste to Energy’ while things are more like ‘Waste to Air Pollution’ as the corporation and residents continue to burn a huge amount of daily garbage in open. The sanitation workers are not even regular.
However, we will highlight these tableaus separately later. For now, enjoy the images.
All Photos: Tarun Sharma/ Himachal Watcher
Pictures from swearing-in ceremony of Himachal’s new Chief Minister
Shimla: With the swearing-in ceremony concluding yesterday, Himachal Pradesh received its new government under the leadership of the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur of the Bhartiya Janata Party.
Himachal Watcher has a few images that we thought might interest our readers, especially those who missed the ceremony held on December 27 on the historic Shimla Ridge Maidan with a great pomp and show.
The new Chief Minister swung into action immediately after taking the oath of the office and secrecy and held his first meeting with the 12-membered cabinetYou can read the decisions taken by the cabinet here
Though Jairam Thakur has expressed his wish to abolish the VIP culture, his own oath-taking ceremony remained a display of political strength and extravagant expenditures on facilitation of not only the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, but also for his big guns including Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of several states.
Does it make sense for a state to spend on grand ceremonies when it is debt-ridden?
We hope there are others who would accede to the idea of adopting simplicity while performing such formalities. However, this perspective of ours can’t be forced on anyone.
So, either way, these images will interest you. There was massive crowd comprising BJP supporters and Modi fans. Remember, Mr Modi and BJP have become two different identities within the party. In Himachal, the people seem to have voted for Modi, not for the BJP.
Otherwise, why would people elect BJP but reject its Chief Ministerial candidate and party president of the State BJP?
All HW Photo: Tarun Sharma
Triund: Where the sky romances with mountains and wind plays music – a travelog
If you are in Dharamshala or around, a trek to Triund Hill is something you must not miss. The reason is, it is a moderate trek, even if it is for the first time you are planning to trek, you will not have any difficulty. The trail is beautiful and there are amazing plants and trees to help you uplift your mood and energy. It doesn’t matter how long you take to reach the top, but when you are up there you will feel amazing. The view from the Hill top is magnificent with 360 degree view of the mighty Dhauladhars and the sky looks so beautiful and at night it is enchanting. It is a sublime experience which you must have. Plus at night, when you look down, you can see the entire town gleaming with lights, and that makes your trek worth.
I will not say that I am any Triund or trekking expert. However I have done this trek thrice. I have my experience which I would like to share with you and if you are planning a trek solo, with friends, family or anyone, or if you are just curious about Triund, you will get to know quite a lot from my side.
So, it was 2015, when I planned for Triund along with two other friends. I was novice at that time about Triund and we spent a lot of extra money during the trek. For the other two treks I preferred a trekking company and it was a wise decision. As I came across a lot of local stories of the place and I enjoyed it more than my first visit.
My trek began from Galu. There is a small check point at Galu where you have to register yourself. It is free of cost. While my trek guide was filling the formalities, I sneaked out and enjoyed a cup of ginger lemon honey from Thapu Dai’s chai shop. He is a man with a lot of stories and he likes to discuss a lot about politics and sports. He has some old books for sale and I bought a couple of them while returning.
The hike from Galu to Magic view cafe (which is the middle of trek) is easy with a little gradient and the trail is really beautiful. At some places there are small boulders and if you are tired you can take a small break. I reached Magic View in one and a half hour and it was a beautiful walk with the smell of flowers making it refreshing and the trees giving shade whenever I felt the heat.
Magic View is a small café as I already mentioned. It was built in 1984 and it is the oldest chai shop of the trail and taking a break at this small and cosy place is is nice idea. You can have lemonade, chai, green tea, coffee, maggi, bread omelette, chocolates, energy drinks, cigarettes, and other trek essentials like walking sticks, woolens, gift items etc. from this place. Also, the view from the porch of the café is mesmerizing.
The trail from here takes a better gradient and there are rocks on the way which made me little tired. The route was zig zag and there was no place to sit and relax so I kept on walking, until I came across a beautiful boulder on my left. I fell in love with it and I named it “Shivee Boulder”, because it is pretty and it has enough space to lie down and relax or have a quick nap (I love to do that).
Also Read: Shrikhand Mahadev- A heavenly Himalayan trek
Thank God, I came across that boulder and relaxed, because after that the altitude was increasing and I was really tired, until I saw a dry waterfall. My guide told me that it was the underground waterfall which makes the Bhagsu waterfall. During monsoons, the level of water increases and it becomes a small stream on the dry nallah. Plus during winters there is a lot of snow on it.
Soon we crossed it and there started the real walk. We had 22 curves to walk. I was actually tired and wanted to rest, but my guide encouraged me. He started telling me stories related to the trek. He told me about that one dangerous curve from where some tourist guy fell down while taking a selfie. He also told me about his experiences like, once while coming down from Triund he found an iPhone and apple watch. He named that place iPhone point. He returned the things he found to the owner from Delhi and till date they call him and send groups for Trekking. He was so happy while telling me his tale of honesty, I could see real happiness in his eyes (Himachali people are honest)
He was talking to me while an Indian trekker from Rishikesh stopped me and took a selfie with me. He was so impressed with me because I was carrying a huge backpack (and it was really heavy). He told me that he had seen girls walking up with just their purse and still cribbing and crying. His trek partner was a foreigner from Spain and she was equally impressed. I was on cloud nine and trust me, this motivated me and I climbed non stop till the last tea shop where the 22 curves end.
There I met Ella, a beautiful German Shepherd. She was really graceful. At that chai shop I had some water, chai and tried to play flute, and I was really bad at it. The only tune I can play on a flute is a Garhwali song “Bedu Pako”. May be I was breathless or tired or still on cloud nine, I couldn’t do it.
It was about to rain, so my guide asked me to start again. In five minutes I was on the top of Triund and it was a great feeling. The moment you reach the top, you can see a shack which is run by a guy named Kalu. He makes a nice bonfire and people like to sit there for exchanging their experiences and free music. I enjoyed the bonfire but didn’t stay at his place because there was something better.
Baisakhi Chacha: The Mountain Man
Baisakhi Chacha, I call him mountain man. He is serving at the Himachal Pradesh Forest Guest House located at Triund Hill since last 35 years. At first when I met him, he looked little occupied with his work and we hardly spoke for a couple of minutes. So, I broke the ice and started the conversation. “Chacha, Chai milega kya?” He looked at me, smiled and went to the kitchen. At tea we discussed a lot of things about mountains and he told me many stories related to his experiences with various trekkers from the past.
After tea we had a nice lunch which chacha made for himself, but he shared with me. He served me some wild mushrooms (Ban Bakri) with rotis. That was one great treat after the trek. Baisakhi chacha is a sweet person, however, when you will meet him for the first time you will be showered upon with stabbing words like, “Room nai hai. Pehle kyu nahi book karate. Sahib kabhi bhi bookings bhej dete hai. Sheher ja k book kyu nahi karate ho?”
When I asked him if he feels homesick, he replied in simple words that since last 35 years this is my home. I live here, the air, trees and climate of this place is like my family and I enjoy staying here. He can reach Triund top from Galu in 35 or 40 minutes, if there is no one to stop him and ask questions, like how far it is from here, is there any shop around or is it difficult from here etc. Chacha hates talking to strangers, but if he is comfortable with you, you will get to know a lot of stories from his experiences. He wakes up really early in the morning to fetch water from churri, which is around half an hour walk from Triund and if he finds anyone mis using water, that person is in soup. Talking about family and life, he told me a very interesting stories from his native village and his life in Triund. His supernatural encounters during snow and when there is no one on the hill. He also shared some interesting incidents with trekkers, like, during the late 80’s when British travelers were frequent in Triund and one evening while going uphill he met a British woman who needed some help. Baisakhi chacha not only helped her but took the entire group safely to the top and served them with tea and quick snacks available. The British woman was really impressed with him and she proposed him to marry her and she was even ready to take her to England. Chacha was smiling while telling this story and when I asked him, “Aap kyu nahi gaye?” Shyly, he replied, “Merko uska bhasha nahi samajh aana tha, usko mera nahi. Bahar ke log alag hote hai na.” Apart from that we talked about many other things and he told me amazing stories about the place.
Last year, Government of Himachal Pradesh awarded Baisakhi Chacha for providing hospitality in Triund. Till date, whenever I feel my life is tough, I think about him and get my confidence back.
Best time for Triund Trek:
During January to March, Triund trek is not open because of the snow. If you want to enjoy natural splendor to the fullest, the best time for Triund trek is from April to May. However, it is mostly crowded during this time. September to mid-November is also a nice time for this beautiful trek. You should definitely avoid Triund during the monsoons because the rocks are slippery and the mud is slushy during this time. There is a high risk of slipping down the hill during rainy season.
Important details about the trek:
Trek Duration: It can be covered as a day hike. However, if you plan a stay during night, you will get a chance to see the beautiful and star studded sky and if you look down, you will see the dazzling lights of the town. I will recommend you to stay at least one night at Triund.
Trek distance from McLeod Ganj to Triund: The distance of the trek is 9 Km, but it is an old saying that, you cannot measure the distance of mountains in kilometers. It is the number of hours you take to reach the top.
Starting the trek: You can either start the trek from McLeod Ganj or Gallu. I prefer staying in Dharamkot for a night and taking a short walk to Galu. These days there are auto rickshaws and taxis available from Dharamkot to Galu. Auto rickshaw charges rupees 80, and taxis are available for rs 400.
Triund Altitude: 2842 mts.
Triund trek grade: Moderate
Accommodation: There is a Forest Guest House on the top of Triund, but you need to book it in advance otherwise you will not get a room. There are tents available on almost every shack of Triund. You cannot pitch your own tent there if you don’t have permission from the Forest Department, which you should take at least a day before the trek from Forest Office in Dharamshala town.
Triund trek essentials:
- People who trek often, know this already, however, if it is your first trek, you must carry a day sack, keep a small torch, first aid, tissue roll, water bottle, packed lunch, fruits, juice, camera and extra clothing as the weather of Dharamshala is unpredictable, it might rain or get colder than you expect, in the night.
- Good quality, ankle length, waterproof trekking shoes or sneakers which are comfortable. Wear good quality cotton socks and keep a pair of flip flops.
- For sun protection, you must apply sunscreen lotion, lip balm with SPF, sun glasses and hat.
- Wear comfortable cotton T-shirt and lose trousers. Also, keep a warm jacket with you.
Some quick tips:
- Be a responsible trekker and do not litter your waste. There are dustbins or huge bags available which are given by Waste Warriors, an initiative by Jodie Underhill to clean the mountains. All the shacks and shops have the waste bags available.
- Keep water bottle with you because there is no water source on the way and buying a bottle of packed water can cost you rs 40 to 60. You can refill water from the filters available at Magic View and other shops on the way by paying rs 20 for one liter.
- The way is laden with Rhododendron flowers, do not freak out and pluck the flowers or damage any other plants and trees. Let the beauty stay on the way.
- Do not disrespect local cultures and nature. Be friendly to other trekkers.
- If it is your first trek to Triund, hire local guide, they will make sure you get a tent to stay plus you will not have to worry about your meals. They will also take care of your safety and above all you will get to know a lot of local stories from the place. You can feel free to contact me to help you get a good guide.