A glimpse of Palampur

Preparing for Palampur for a work assignment some while ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a traveller’s perspective. Never having been there, it was merely the place sundry friends and relatives in the army got stationed at.

Additionally, it was in close proximity to Andretta, that hub of inspiration  which allowed numerous artists to discover their personal muse. Notably the celebrated artist Sobha Singh, Gurcharan Singh of the blue pottery fame, and playwright Norah Richards.

Arriving late at my hotel in torrential rain, and with no chance of glimpsing the said environs, I checked-in and crashed out. Waking to bright sunshine, and the soothing sounds that a consistent flowing of water makes. A peep out of the window revealed an overwhelming landscape: of golden fields against a backdrop of the majestic Dhauladars, looming large, their lofty peaks covered in snow.

Following the sound of water to the front of the building, I came upon another remarkable sight: that of a wide stony chasm with a tiny rivulet meandering down from the mighty ranges, veiled in places by thick mist. It was the famed Neugal Khad, flanking the temperamental Bundla stream that makes its presence felt with a rather turbulent roar during the monsoons.

The entire stretch down from my hotel towards the town centre a couple of kilometres away was flanked by lush green gardens of the Bundla Tea Estate; interspersed with shady silver oaks to shield the tea bushes from heavy rain. The constant gurgle of streams and brooks crisscrossing Palampur added not just to visual delight but to nature’s music, too.

The township itself leaves a lot to be desired; typically growing into an overcrowded, concrete version of Himachal’s celebrated forests. Although, the Taragarh Palace made for a pleasant getaway for a brief spell, with the access road winding through verdant landscape. As did Andretta, not quite as serene and close to nature as Norah Richards had once envisaged…

14 comments

  • Beautiful pictures!

  • Looks awesome. There is a heritage hotel which I have heard is very good. Can’t remember the name right now. Haven’t been to this place yet but it is definitely in the list of ‘places to visit’. Looking forward to my annual north bound trip this summer.

    • It will be worth a visit, including the drive to… And you may be referring to the Taragarh Palace I mentioned, that appears to be the one heritage property in the area.

  • Very inviting pictures. How long is the drive from Delhi?

  • yes palampur is beautiful, and your pictures are lovely. other than my own shimla hills….. i wont mind settling in palampur. just need oodles of money to have a lazy life among the tea gardens. 🙂

  • : ) Been there – love it !
    I went in Jun/July in 1995, took the narrow gauge train that leaves Pathankot (Chakki Bank Rly Stn) almost at sunrise, and chugs along, over hill and down dale, through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen, even as the sun peeps through the hills/ the mountains and reflects off small ponds shimmering off undulating virgin greens…. It was the best train journey I have ever been on (and being a fauji kid, I have been on some !)…The images have stayed with me through the years…I Do intend going again this year – it may not be convenient – I remember getting off at Kangra Station and taking a bus from there- but was worth it, as a lot of it is (was?) just not accessible and hence unspoilt and resplendent -no Lux/ Frito Lay’s posters to spoil Nature’s canvas…

  • P.S. : Do tell us more about the sketch

    • Norah Richards portrait by Sir Sobha Singh, a departure from his usual kitsch styling. In fact there is another sketch of Norah, even more mesmerising, in the art gallery but photography is not allowed. So…

  • I have some guests booked into Taragarh in March. Haven’t seen the place myself. Do you reccommend it? How’s the food?

    • The original wing retains its old-world charm and style. I would recommend this section for the character. The new one is spiffy and, well, just that, new. I would give the food and service a seven out of ten…

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