Around 75 Kms from Shimla; 60 Kms from Chandigarh and 30 Kms from Kalka, is an offbeat and less popular places among the but adept for people who are kind of unconventional tourists offering same landscapes, cold breezes, wild beauty as on popular tourist spots, with more tranquillity and chaos. However, you might miss the night life, shopping spree, crowded street or family times but if want to explore wild in harmony with nature carrying the personal peace, its a perfect place for the lonely travellers.
Dropping my Individuality:
Got Down at Dharampur railway station, took a look around. A silky afternoon. Long shadows projected over brown sloppy grasses. Narrow rail gauges merging ahead. The toy train had left a while ago and I was still standing and wondering around as though I had been, by mistake, dropped into another world. A dormant nexus had found its harbour. It was time to take a shape. I smiled and stepped ahead. I was on a journey of drifting away and getting lost in vastitude of beatitude- forsaking my existence, abandoning my memories, rejuvenating my withered self with boundless happiness hanging onto every tree, every dusty step I was going to take and every unknown place where I would drop my individuality.
At Dharampur railway station
Finding a shelter:
Hunt the town first for finding a place. Little town resembled British-India. Wooden houses with sloppy roofs. Narrow streets. Even hotel rooms were old-fashioned. I needed a quiet place for my head, not inside market. I was suggested a Gurudwara but that turned out to be a private space. Finally, I checked in at a wooden shelter off the highway.
An old renovated wooden cottage. Enter inside, a maroon carpet waits. Heavy boots make thumping. The room is much bigger for a single person who likes to curl up while sleeping. Open the window and a familiar honk touched your ear, its the same toy train. Crawling lazily over rails. Rush to your bag; take out the cam; focus and shoot. It shoots exactly what I think of. A toy train crawling through pines and gleaming in afternoon sun and taking a turn at the edge of a valley. Big wooden windows; people looking outside and the toy train gradually crawls behind the hill. Open the shoes and jump over the bed. Can I still see the rails? No. Let me adjust the pillow a little bit. Now I can see. But, could not stay for longer inside and walked outside. Cold wind whispers into your ears.
The hotel entrance, Dharampur
Take a small-stepped stroll along the portico. Aligned straight to your sight is small town of Dharampur and beyond is a small chain of hills. Hills look dark-brownish with green patches. In the evening, they wear a thousand colours each moment. Ranging from yellow, to red to brown to scarlet to carmine and many, more than our little eyes can count on. You can see the farthest point of the city meeting horizon where the sun sets. Cold winds prick now. Go Inside.
First night at the wooden world:
It was around 7.30 in the evening. Removed the curtain of window and sneaked through glasses. Sleepy town was silently burning under the yellow street lights. Lights were scattered across the hills while highway was still alive. I enjoyed putting my legs in warm water and reading a novel on the sofa. Read a few pages; stare in the darkness outside; your eyes get stuck a yellow far light for sometime while you are lost in thought. As the time slides by and the night got weaved with more darkness, I felt closer to a part of lost wanderlust inside me. Vacuum. Soundless. adrift life. getting carried away to a tranquil dreamy land.
Kalka-Shimla toy train as seen from hotel
Around 4 Kms from Dharampur lies Dagshai, a village famous since British era. It was almost a planned village with hospital to serve the health, Jail for prisoners, dairy to supply milk to the village, Churches, military cantonment and even a railway station for quick access to the village. The name of the railway station is Kumarhatti which lies on the way of Kalka-Shimla toy train route. Situated into woods on the uneven terrain above 6000 feet, Dagshai’s climate suited the British people and being located at remote place then on the hills, it provided a resilient protection to British forces.
To Central Jail museum, Dagshai:
Began with Dagshai. A village famous since pre-independent India for Central jail, military cantonments, steep roads and view points. A jail is famous for execution of some Irish freedom fighters and locking up Mahatma Gandhi. This jail is now a days maintained by the Military Engineering Services (MES), Indian Army. There are still spots preserved where who was locked up with some wall paintings. This jail became famous in 1920 when some Irish prisoners revolted against imperial Government. During that time, Location of the the jail offered no scope for fleeing away for prisoners.
Dagshai Central Jail corridor
To the Army public School and military cantonment, Dagshai:
Schooling at hill station has always been appealing- culture, curriculum, housing, western-influenced living style, wooden dormitories, staircases leading from one to another house. So, I decided to explore more of army cantonment area and Army Public school. Army Public School is founded by two of the erstwhile Generals of Indian army. It is situated in the Dagshai Cantonment and still above 80% of the students of this co-educational and residential school are from Military background family.
Cricket ground, Army Public School Dagshai, facing valley
Hostel blocks in the background
There are graves inside the cemetery which dates back to 1857. These cemeteries are maintained by the Indian army but they are in pathetic condition. Even some of the graves are missing their inscription stones over them and some of the stones are misplaced from one grave to other and it was difficult to collaborate the inscriptions and the graves. However the entrance still stands strong and looks in good condition but it also needs some restoration. Besides, there are also horror stories associated with this grave-yard which can be found out over internet.
Entrance gate to Dagshai graveyard dates babk to 1800s
Terrace farming along Siharri Brahmna:
The houses are scattered in these farming areas. The farming is mostly step farming by cutting a hill into step-farms and growing vegetables over them. walking along the serpentine paths of the fields with patches of trees covering them is purely divine. In these locations, population is low and there is ample of opportunities and time to re-discover yourself and photograph the nature and stroll along the circuitous paths.
Step-farming around Dagshai
View points from Dagshai:
There are some view points around Dagshai from where large cities situated on the plains can be seen like Panchkula and Chandigarh at night. Apart from that remote villages and looking at chain of hills is a nice experience. Some of the views on a clear day even offer snow peaks and remote villages situated on far hills. Dagshai is less crowded and lesser known place to tourists with promising tourism.
Across the valley on a clear day
Churches in Dagshai:
Imperial administration had built two churches in Dagshai for themselves. Those churches are still functional and is turning into a point of attraction of tourists flocking to that area.
St. Patrick Church, Dagshai
St. angelin church, Dagshai
it was around 3 or 4 in the evening and I had walked almost 15 Kms since morning. It was time to move over to Kasauli…..
How to reach Dagshai?