My Journey Through the Tea Gardens of Palampur
Palampur: The abode of pastoral hues, tea gardens and the much longed-for serenity.
The mesmerising snow-clad mountain peaks stood tall right before me, the silence of the valley wrapped my soul and the enchanting view comforted me. Serenity got a new meaning the moment I reached Palampur.
Nestled in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh, the first glimpse of the small “pahari” town was enough to make me fall in love with it. Known as the tea capital of north India, Palampur offered me the solace and the respite that I was craving for, away from the hustle and bustle of the mundane city life.
The moment I reached Palampur bus-stand, topaz blue sky and the serenity of the valley drifted away the melancholic mood that I had been bearing from Delhi.
Not opting for a hotel stay, I opted for a home resort run by a retired Armyman Thakur Sher Saklani and his family. Their overwhelming hospitality made me feel much at home.
Once there, after freshening up I decided to take a stroll down the streets. Walking aimlessly and listening to Lazarus by Porcupine Tree, I passed through the tea-estates of Palampur and headed towards Neugal Cafe, a government-run eatery as suggested by the locals. They were so right about the coffee and snacks on menu!
On my way to the cafe, I could only hear the whispering of gentle breeze tickling the pine and spruce trees. The rustling sound created a sweet and rapturous mood as the Dhauladhar range of Himalayas kept appearing on the way.
As I crossed the meadows and reached the pastoral highlands of Palampur, I saw a lady collecting tea leaves, instantly reminding me of the Wordsworth poem “Solitary Reaper”. The lines, “Behold her, single in the field, Yon solitary highland lass, Reaping and singing by herself, Stop here or gently pass,” began playing at the back of my mind.
Later, I witnessed the peaks taking on a reddish hue while enjoying some local Kangra tea and hot, fresh momos just as the temperature dropped after a fresh shower.
The green highlands with a cluster of huts bordered by the snowy mountains, with cattle roaming around freely and the sun basking in glory — Palampur was like a perfect canvas framed by a painter.
With the vacay coming to an end, I was left with no choice but to leave Palampur with a heavy heart — promising to come back soon.
How to reach:
Palampur is well connected from Delhi, Kangra, Chandigarh by bus and Pathankot by train. One can take toy trains from Kangra to Palampur.
Places to visit:
Though there aren’t many places to visit in Palampur, there are nearby tourist spots. If time permits, one can even take a trip to Dharamsala as well as Mcleodganj which is well connected from Palampur.
Where to stay:
There are many hotels and resorts in Palampur.
What to eat:
Most hotels provide good north Indian food. There are small restaurants as well. Go for local food and Kangra tea.
Delhi to Palampur is nearly 10-12 hours by road.
Time to visit:
Winters are harsh. Summers are comfortable and the best time.
The town is also home to several ayurvedic treatment and yoga centres. Retreat your soul and rejuvenate yourself amid the lap of nature with ayurveda.
(This article has been published in a special arrangement with IANS)
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