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…