Himachal Pradesh

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Khajjiar – The Mini Switzerland Of India 

We all know about Switzerland but have you ever heard of mini Switzerland that too in India? It is in a very remote area of Himachal Pradesh and just like it’s name it is very small.  Khajjiar or Mini Switzerland is atypical combination of three ecosystem: forest, pasture and lake. Apart from a few shops,places of accommodation there is nothing but the serene beauty of the Dauladhar Mountains of the Himalayan Range and dense forest of Pine & Deodar trees. It is a perfect place for getting away from the tiring hustle and bustle of the city life.

Getting to Khajjiar

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the bears we found on our way to Dharamshala

Well there are lots of ways to get there. If you prefer the time saving way of travelling then take the airplane. There is daily flights for Dharamshala from Delhi and then you can hire a taxi from the airport to take you to Khajjiar. If you like train journeys then take a train to Pathankot from Delhi and then take a cab,  or you can take an overnight bus journey to Dharamshala again from Delhi and then hire a cab.But if you are like me who prefers long drives then you can hire a car. We went in our own car and we did a lot of break journey. We started around 6 in the morning and by 5-5:30 we reached Palampur, another beautiful place. But since we were really short on time we couldn’t see much except the Tashi Jeong Monastery. It is a nice monastery which belongs to the Tibetan refugees.We stayed the night there and we left for Dharamshala the next day. On the way we saw some black bears kept in an enclosed area which I guess belonged to zoo but we didn’t really get to see that. We also saw a beautiful church where a monument was erected for James Bruce, Viceroy of India, who died during the discharge of his duties.On reaching Dharamshala we went to the Tsulag Khang complex which was built in 1959 when His Holiness Dalai Lama arrived in India. It houses the famous Namgyal Monastery, a museum, a book shop, a library, a coffee shop and the private residence of the Dalai Lama. We were a little unlucky as during our visit, his Holiness was not in town. Dharamshala is a wonderful town with a charm of its own. The next day we went to Dalhousie. Dalhousie is a really nice place as well. There we saw two beautiful churches of St. John’s and St. Francis.  Then we left for our final destination of the tour ‘Khajjiar’.

 

 

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the idol of Buddha inside Namgyal Monastery

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Khajjiar or Mini Switzerland

If you are nature lover and would love to getaway from the mundane city life then this place is the best for you. I’ll tell you a little history about why this place is called Mini Switzerland. Mr. Willy T Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery, in July 1992, coined the term Mini Switzerland which brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map. He even put a yellow Swiss hiking footpath signboard which shows the distance of Khajjiar from the Swiss capital Bern(6194). There is not much do unless you are hiker. But since I didn’t go there as a hiker instead I was little girl who was just enjoying some quality family time. I saw a temple which is known as the Khajjinag Temple belonging to 12th century AD.  There is a small lake which is surrounded by saucer shaped lush green meadow and a floating island.

DSC00342Then there is pony riding, you can hire a pony and go for a quick round of the valley. Because of its picturesque location many bollywood films has been shot here. The local people will tell you all about it. If you dont like pony riding you can always get inside a giant bubble and roll around the valley or better yet do both. But remember as the sun goes down, you must also go get inside your rooms and cottages because I don’t think you would want to hang around with the black bears. Well I liked the place and overall experience of my tour. The alluring charms of the mountains and the vibrant & colorful streets of Dharamshala and Dalhousie where you can buy lots of touristy stuffs like Tibetan handicrafts, souvenirs, woolens, carpets etc., had just made my weekend. I would love to go there again but this time I want to go trekking. Even though I’m not an experienced trekker but I’ve heard there are trekking trails which are suitable for beginners and children. So let’s hope I can convince my friends to come along.

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view of the dhauladhar range

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the giant bubble

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Accommodation 

If you are worried about accommodation then I would say don’t be. There are lots of hotels in Palampur, Dharamshala and Dalhousie (if you wish to spend a night there as well). But for Khajjiar you have fewer options like the Himachal Pradesh Tourism’s guesthouses and cottages, a rest house of the forest department and another rest house belonging to P.W.D(Public Works Department). I chose the Himachal Pradesh Tourism‘s Guesthouse and hotels for this whole tour.  The hotels and guesthouses had a nice service, fine food and pretty good staff . So just pack your bags and leave your place and come to India.

 

 

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