Day 2 :
While a typical morning is defined by the harsh sun slapping you back into reality, there are those days, when the soothing sound of the Sutlej greets you the moment you open your eyes. Arriving at Rampur long after the day light faded, the only hint of the river was the sound of the gushing river. The first sight of the river was through the tiny window of the hotel corridor; somewhere down below, the river went on her way, sustaining life wherever she went.
The first view of Sutlej in Rampur
If this isn’t a postcard moment, I wonder what is…!
A growl in the stomach brought me back into reality. A short walk around the main road and was back in the room. With a slight scare of an upset tummy, I was on my way to the round-about after a light breakfast.
Agenda for the day, get a bus to Sarahan to visit the famed Bhimakali temple. Seeking blessings at a small Buddhist temple at the bus stop, I was on my way.
Buddhist Temple in Rampur
Traveller Tip: There are regular buses from Rampur to Sarahan, about 35km away. Even without direct buses, one can get a bus bound towards Reckong Peo and beyond till Jeori and get a connecting bus from there.
There are limited access to atms between Rampur and Reckong Peo. It is advisable to get enough cash at Rampur. The atms at Jeori are unpredictable. Worst case scenario, one can head up till the ITBP post before Sarahan.
Sutlej dividing Shimla distt (Rampur) and Kullu distt is a sight to behold. The idyllic setting of the little town more than makes up for a rather dusty road that it falls on. The picturesque mountains along the river with tiny homes on the slopes are straight out of a post card. The bridge that connects the two districts has its own charm from above. It is a shame I never got to go down till the river.
Like all else in Rampur, the new bus stand is also located on the banks of the Sutlej. Around 35km from Rampur, Sarahan is well connected by frequent buses.
Rampur bus depot – the picturesque setting..!
Setting off along a dusty mountain road, dotted with hydel projects and allied facilities, Jeori came up in about an hour or so. An empty bus while comfortable reminded me that I had to withdraw cash. Sarahan, I have been told is unpredictable with regards to atms. Jeori, it seems was my last hope! The breakfast stop at Jeori did no good since both the atms there were in no mood to dispense cash. The nerves calmed down only when I got to get cash from the ITBP post along the way to Sarahan.
Views along the way
A 3 hour’s drive and I was at Sarahan, probably the shortest drive of the entire trip. Sarahan at about 2300m above sea level is at a much higher elevation than Rampur (@ about 1000m above msl), has a much more pleasant climate that Rampur. The BhimaKali temple, Sarahan’s claim to fame is the centre of the town’s activity, besides the large swathes of Apple orchards that abound the place.
Bhimakali Temple complex from a distance..
BhimaKali Temple courtyard.
Traveller Tip: Stay at Sarahan is not a fussy affair. The place has a HPTDC hotel, the Hotel Shrikhand at a price. Those opting for budget accommodation can stay at the temple complex at about Rs 500/- a night for a double bed room with running hot water facilities.
Temple Guest House
Checking into the temple guest house, a bit of a rest later, a small walk along the roads led to a hotel/restaurant at the end of the road, overlooking a public school. While this seemed to be a new property coming up, the food was nothing to write home about, although it was decent. With food done, a small nap was in order.
Overcast evening at Sarahan
With the sky getting overcast, a small walk around was helpful in meeting some locals and making friends with them. Making friends far away from home is always fun, more so when they are kind enough to gift you with a bunch of fresh apples and wishes for the onward journey. Walking along a little bit more, got back to the guest house.
The Chief Minister’s Ancestral residence.
People one gets to meet…
More pictures of the ancestral home
A seemingly non-descript village, but with such beauty….
Sorting out apples… Got a few as gift
An ethereal sunset… so simple, and yet so beautiful…
Loaded with apples and wandering aimlessly, I met an old Kinnauri man who told me of another guy from Chennai. Before I could ask him anything more, he decided it was his duty to get me introduced to the guy, who apparently was staying there researching the native wild fowl. My attempts at visiting him at the natural reserve proved futile since it was closed for the breeding season. With the senior villager, I did hope to meet the guy. Dint quite materialise though. Thanking him for the efforts, I set off for Shrikhand for a snack. The setting of the hotel was amazing, overlooking the valley on all three sides.. I wish I wasn’t on a budget. Maybe, someday I would stay here..!
Bhima Kali Temple in the Golden glow of the setting sun…..
Getting back from the hotel, I happened to meet a couple of guys from Ladakh leading a bunch of tourists from Dharamshala to Leh on a bike tour..! The Royal Enfields they had parked around the complex was such a sight..! Maybe, someday, I would get to ride my own bike on those switch backs…!
A quiet dinner at the Hotel Shrikhand, and things were done for the day. The temple seemed even more beautiful in the nights, with the lights.
Tomorrow, I would be heading out of Sarahan, and into the famed Kinnaur district; a step closer to Spiti….. Until then….
The BhimaKali temple against the backdrop of the Himalayas in the setting sun, such a sight…! A beautiful place one would love to live in……..