Beyond the clouds
Let us get the facts right. When you plan a trip after working up your mind and body each day at the office, you certainly look out for some fun. You look out for adventure. Maybe, you look ahead for a road trip or think of going on a trek. Some might land up in Goa while some discover tranquility in Rajasthan. At the end of the day, what you look for is a break. You find happiness in travelling and that is what you need the most. At least, I needed the most. One fine morning, I decided to find my peace in hills. I decided to take a trip — to calm myself, to find some inner peace, and to get some fresh air (since, Delhi has swallowed up all). Bus tickets were booked, and I was on my way to attain nirvana. And guess where? Palampur.
Not many of us are aware about this little package that resides within Himachal Pradesh but without any doubt, it was certainly a shrouded pearl. Upon reaching and resting for a while to cure myself from the hangover of 12-hour journey, I decided to take a stroll around, look for quaint places to eat when the general manager of my hotel at RS Sarovar Portico recommend a few places. A bonus: he helped me prepare an itinerary. As I mentioned earlier, I was looking to attain nirvana but after the plan was discussed, I was sure that this was what I needed the most. With this, I had tasted ‘the best’ dumplings, I had soaked my feet in the running water at Saurav Van Vihar and I was completely ready for the next day. It was an early morning wakeup call. Certainly, I was not ready for it. But my mind clicked — adventure awaits. I got into my most comfortable attire, hopped onto the jeep that waited for us, and we drove to the steep slopes of Dhauladhar range. It is a 40-minute uphill drive that takes you eight thousand feet above the ground. The bumpy roads trouble you but, what’s the harm when you know, your social media feed is soon going to be occupied with breathtaking views. Since, my body reacted well to the adventure mode, I also decided to trek a little on my own. I climbed on the snow laden mountains, and I did built a tiny snow man of my own. My hands were cold, I had a screeching sound going through my ears and yet, I did not stop. A few minutes later, I was told, after a quick lunch we need to head towards Bir-Billing. Bir had only struck my head when sometime back I had wanted to go paraglide. And I realised, it’s time.
I didn’t want to have lunch, for obvious reasons. I was certainly not in the mood to throw up from such a height and on top of someone else. Bir was around 45 kms away from the hotel and as the driver dropped us as at the landing site, it all felt surreal. I looked up in the sky and I couldn’t wait to be at the top. Once you reach the landing site, the organisers will take you in their own jeep to the take-off site. It is an 18 km drive and took us an hour and a half to cover the distance. Thanks to the traffic jam! We reached at the top and in some time, I found myself in the gear, ready to fly. Much to my amusement, I wasn’t scared at all. One basic rule: Run till you are in the air. We were in the air for approximately 18 minutes and it gave me memories that I would cherish forever. I did not wish to land and wanted to be up in the air. However, I did wish to have a warm pair of gloves. “I hope the experience was worth it.” My instructor, Ashu enquired. I nodded with a smile. I woke up the next morning with frizzy hair, and a headache (some of the perks associated with paragliding). It was the final day in Palamapur and I wanted to make the most of it. Not many are aware, but this hill station is also known as the tea capital of North India and I certainly did want to experience it. You certainly do not want to give it a miss. I did though and I do regret. Also, not to forget, McLeodganj is just 90 minute drive from the hill station, just in case you wish to explore the busy streets or visit Bhagsu Nag. Just pack light, stay light.