The best stories are always chanced upon: the unknown restaurant that served the yummiest food, the stranger who helped when least expected, catching the train at the last moment, waiting for the delayed flight at the airport & finishing that pending book on Kindle or the road that led to a beautiful place that wasn’t on your itinerary originally.
Palampur wasn’t on our itinerary when we planned a 5 day trip to Himachal. Our trip was supposed to begin with Dharamshala, Mcleod Ganj & then conclude with Dalhousie and Khajjiar. The spirit of adventure inside us led to the discovery of BirBilling – the second highest site of Paragliding in the world, and thus Palampur (30 kms. away from BirBilling) happened.
Palampur looks like colors sprayed on a fresh canvas. So fresh that you could smell it & take a whiff of the sprayed colors. The colors are brighter than the Sun and livelier than life itself. Palampur is a beautiful hill station wherein you would find mighty Dauladhar on one side and green patches of stepped farming on another. After every kilometer, you would find a stall selling gold gappas (yeah, I was surprised too.) to spice up the colorful life of Palampur.
An evening in Palampur:
We spent only a day and a half in Palampur. And it was enough for the place to win my heart forever. While Dharamshala, McLeod & Dalhousie are brimming with caps, goggles and backpacks, Palampur is dotted with a bunch of tourists who’s either looking to find adventure in the wilderness or solace in the silent interiors of the hill station.
We spent the morning, getting an adrenaline rush after jumping from 8500+ ft & were famished after safely landing in Billing. Our hotel was in Palampur, a good 1 hour away from Billing. It was 3 pm only, but the clouds showed up early that day and the Sun planned to call it a day, earlier than usual.
My husband, who’s a lawyer generally and a metrological expert always, predicted thunder and rains and thus we sped to our hotel in less than 60 minutes. As soon as we reached the hotel, a cloud cracked somewhere and the cackle scared the dogs who went cooing in a corner.
We ran to our room and stood by the windows to enjoy the rainy evening. But the nature had other plans and a hailstorm came out of nowhere; one hit me on the forehead. Sharp that was! I immediately flexed my arms to close the windows but the windows were heavy and I couldn’t do it alone. After wrestling with the glass panes and wooden frames for a few minutes, my husband and I latched the windows and heard the constant sounds of a storm gushing & attacking from all sides.
While mine predicted the weather change well in advance, not all husbands were meteorologically gifted. A couple living next to our room mistook the rains for drizzling and went outside for a walk with an umbrella hoping for some romantic time alone. Little did they know that a hailstorm was lurking around the corner. 30 mins. later, they entered the hotel, exhausted, drenched & worn out. The storm got the better of them. The umbrella was deserted in an avoided corner of the porch. Two of its spokes were broken like the spirits of the couple to whom it belonged.
It was a beautiful evening with the perfect temperature. The weather was crisp and slightly wet from the rains. A couple of hours more and it would have been time for dinner. I stepped out of my room and went downstairs towards the kitchen for a cup of hot tea and a plate of fried onion pakoras.