When I read the update on one of my favourite travel groups on Facebook (TCBG) about a possible getaway to Palampur earlier this month, this was the first thought that came to my mind. I had initial questions in my mind, as it meant travelling with a group of people I barely knew, but finally the call of the mountains was too strong and it overcame all my apprehensions. I spent an action packed yet rejuvenating long weekend at Palampur with Himachal Heritage Village and it turned out to be an unique travel experience. Sharing experience here of my long weekend getaway to Palampur with Himachal Heritage Village.
Palampur is located in Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh. The most I knew about Palampur before the
trip was that it had tea gardens & estates, which meant there would bound to be some beautiful scenic landscapes. (Kangra region is internationally famous for Kangra green tea & other speciality teas). It takes around 10-11 hours from Delhi to Palampur and there are overnight buses available. However, I opted to share a cab with three other people (2 photographers and one more blogger) for reasons of comfort and relative freedom of taking pit stops whenever one wished. The drive from Delhi to Palampur took longer than 12 hours for us (actually it took 16 hours), due to two tyre bursts (the first one being really scary happening at 4 am in the morning on a highway which had construction going on).
We were really tired by the time we reached Palampur and I personally was questioning myself about the whole idea of coming here, waiting at Palampur bus stand (where the hosts of the trip were supposed to meet us). And then in just a few moments, there came a beautiful shower along with hail stones, lasting 10 minutes! It crossed all our minds then – what a lovely welcome to Palampur!
Our hosts were the lovely people of Himachal Heritage Village, a cottage style Resort located in a beautiful secluded part of Palampur. Gagan Sharma (who owned the property along with Mr. Dogra) and Vijay Naudiyal (who was involved in the marketing of the property) were two young & dynamic hosts, who struck a positive cord with us from our very first meeting. Their passion for Palampur and Kangra region was evident. Though I was dead tired from our journey, the moment I saw the lovely cottages of Himachal Heritage Village, I felt relaxed. The hosts explained to us about the cottages, which were going to be our homes for the next 2 days. I could go on and on about Himachal Heritage Village here, but I think it deserves a separate post and I will write about it in detail in my next post. In short, Himachal Heritage Village is a lovely property, which has been developed with a lot of passion and it shows in every part of the property.
Our next 2 days in Palampur were action packed yet rejuvenating. We visited some popular temples, monasteries, tea estate and also went paragliding.
The Baijnath Temple is one of the most revered temples in Kangra region due to its mythological significance with Shiva. It is a quant temple built in traditional Himachali style and it was a spiritually elevating experience (as I am Shiv Bhakt). Having 2 photographers in our group, we made stops at many random scenic places (such as Kangra Toy Train route, which goes through Palampur), which provided photo opportunity for them and some relaxing views for me.
We also visited Paplung Sherabling Monastery, which was a serene experience, not only the monastery itself but the drive to the monastery was beautiful; driving on the roads to monastery, there were prayer flags fluttering in the wind, spectacular blue sky and the woods around – I felt as if I could just walk here endlessly the whole day.
Since Palampur is only 32 kms from Bir Billing (ranked 2nd best paragliding site in the world), I had to experience paragliding. Our host Gagan arranged for paragliding with one of the best paragliding companies in Bir Billing and it was a amazing experience. Though I have done paragliding once before, doing it in Bir Billing was a unique experience due to the views, height from which we did paragliding and the weather.
We also managed to do a bit of shopping in the evening at Palampur market, buying traditional shawls, stoles and woollen stuff. I wanted to buy traditional silver jewellery of Kangra valley, but the shops closed by the time we got over with our woollen shopping.
On our last night, there was bonfire and Kangri Dham (traditional dinner of Kangra) for us. It was a lovely experience; first sitting under the stars listening to the water streams & other sounds of nature and then to partake in Kangri Dham (I will forever remember the warm & caring way food was served).
Last, but the best for me was a visit to one of the tea estates of Palampur. I am a tea lover (no make it tea addict) and cannot miss an opportunity to visit Tea Estate and Factories. And Kangra is famous for speciality & green teas (as opposed to CTC teas), which are my kind of teas! The tea estate we visited is owned by a dynamic young gentleman Rajiv Sood (who is the youngest tea board member) and I had the most engaging conversation with him. I will write a separate post on my amazing tea garden experience in Palampur.
When it was finally time to leave, I felt I had to come back here soon, with my family. Long weekend at Palampur for me was a wonderful revelation and I cannot wait to come back here with my family.