Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hotel Hatu Narkanda
Read my review - 5/5 stars
The Srikhand, Sarahan
What I did
Padam Palace, Rampur
Shrikhand Mahadev, Sarahan

Flag of India  , Himachal Pradesh,
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our third visit to the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh was again in April – spring time. With this year's prolongued winter however, it was a wet and chilly spring with left over winter snow in abundance.

As usual our trip started from Chandigarh, the most conveniently reachable gateway from Mumbai.  Driving down the newly built  highway  was a pleasant surprise, completely bypassing Pinjore and  the almost guaranteed traffic jams of Kalka.  

 It still took a good six hours to Narkanda, for the stretch between Shimla and  Theog was in poor condition.

Narkanda was an overnight transit halt.  It was a freezing cold night and we  enthusiastically walloped  a delicious dinner at The Hatu hotel.

These monkeys said Good Morning the next day.


After  a hearty breakfast we continued on the Hindustan Tibet Highway NH-22 for Sarahan.
It was a clear morning and from Narkanda itself, we got our first glimpse of the snow clad Great Himalaya range in the distance.

 Coniferous trees  towered over the highway 

 along with pretty wildflowers

and the begonia like Bergenia Ligulata

Soon, the first Cherry Blossoms!

Narkanda is well known for its luscious cherries, which we had enjoyed in April 2010.  This year due to the prolongued winter, the fruit had not yet formed.

Now the apple orchards and their brown bear like haystacks!

Again, it was Apple Blossom, not the baby fruits we had seen in April 2010.  Apple Blossom has a heavenly apple fragrance.

Friendly lizard by the roadside

The Satluj River valley [also spelt Sutlej]


The River Satluj runs alongside NH-22 from just below Kingal through to Rampur and beyond

Though the valley per se is fertile like most riverine valleys, the mountains on either side are barren and deforested, partly due to logging by villagers but mostly due to the huge infrastructure projects viz. the Nathpa Jakhri Hydro Power works in progress.  This is also responsible for the horrendous roads especially between Bhabha Nagar and Powari.

Hanuman Temple by the highway just before Rampur


Rampur or rather RAMPUR BUSHEHR was the seat of the old Bushehri kingdom.  It is an ancient trading town on the banks of the Satluj River, known for its Rajma [kidney beans].  The present Raja, Virbhadra Singh, is a sitting Member of Parliament and former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.  The Padam Palace is his home. 

 Though the public are not allowed inside the palace, there were plenty of people in the grounds.  Naturally, we also went in!

 A first glimpse of the wooden structures of the Padam Palace complex



A pretty wooden pergola was in the grounds.  The grounds are not maintained at all but there appears to be some renovation work in progress so undoubtedly it will look a lot better when it is done.









 Onward Ho - to Sarahan, the erstwhile summer capital of the Bushehri kingdom.



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