It was not exactly a part of the plan. I was planning for GHNP but I was told that I could enjoy hospitality for a couple of days if I enter Kangra (No, it was not a FAM invite from some resort, just a bed to sleep). Nevertheless, I did take the opportunity, expecting to spend a clue of relaxing days without doing anything. However, there was more to the place, so much so that now I am having to divide it into two different posts because I have too many pictures. The primary attraction includes the sheer green pastures, a small, nameless trek to the higher villages up the hills, and a visit to the Norbulignka Institute, a centre for Tibetan arts and culture. I will describe the trek and Norbulingka in the next post, but for the time being, let me just get back to the fields.
So, the guy who facilitated my trip had already started calling this place Zen Valley. As a matter of fact, it is just a piece of agricultural land behind the residential colonies and Tibetan monasteries of Sidhpur, a suburb of Dharamshala that is around 15 Kms from Mcleodganj.
In many ways, I found Sidhpur to be the anti-Maclo. The populated settlements of Dharamshala can be seen in the horizon but is a far different world. Not too many tourists can be seen here and nor are the roads overflowing with touristy shops, hotels, and restaurants. However, it does not mean that it is a godforsaken locality. It has everything that is required, just in the right proportions, without desecrating the natural aura of the location.
The next morning we decided to take a short hike. However, to reach the steeper hills, we had to pass through the so called Zen Valley and for the rest of this post I will only focus on it, saving the actual hike for the next post.
Spring comes to the Himalayas in phases, depending mostly on the altitude. The higher areas remain covered in snow till as late as May. However, the lower valleys such as this one tend to end their hibernation by March. So, the spring was already in full bloom as we started our hike.
I have said it before when I was in Lahaul last year, but I will say it again. There is no sight more erotic than a fecund plot of agricultural land, especially with snow-capped peaks in the background. This plot of land was a vast expanse covered with mostly wheat, and a certain type of grass grown as cattle food with the Dhauladhars looming behind them. Plum, peach, and apricot trees dot the fields and as you might have guessed it already, it was the flowering season for them too.
The trek got delayed because I was stuck are for more than an hour, taking photographs of the fields, and the locals. We even came across a Tibetan Buddhist Nunnery in the middle of nowhere. Mostly local women seemed to be working in the field. Do the men just go out to the town looking for work?
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Anyway, my obsession with this plot of land did not end there. We moved on and did a short hike and came back. I was planning to shoot the sunset from the same location later on. However, as we were brewing coffee and relaxing, we realized that a hailstorm was also brewing. There was no sign of it when were outside but suddenly everything became dark and it started raining. I know a lot of people who are afraid of rains and storms but there is another set of people who find the sound of hailstones falling on the roof insanely arousing. I won’t tell you which category I belong to but I went out and took photographs of the green lawn that had turned white within 5 minutes.
Anyway, the storm departed as it arrived, swiftly and suddenly. It was around 6 PM and the time was right for the sunset. However, the clock did not prepare us for what we were about to see. The partially cloudy sky left behind by the storm was displaying all sorts of hues. I know the word “surreal” is misused a lot nowadays but I will use it now because those colours were certainly not real (and I don’t use Photoshop in case anybody is wondering).
So, the day was threatened by the storm but eventually it ended well. Rarely do I have a day in my life that surpasses expectations. There was more to this day and I will be back with the rest of the details.
32 thoughts on “Sidhpur Part 1: Delirious Spring”
I am sure I will come back again and again just to look at the beauty of nature captured by you. Spring is so joyful, colorful and alive. Loved going through your post 🙂
This is the first time I am reading your blog and I must admit I am absolutely in love with your description of these beautiful places! And the photographs are amazing! Looking forward to more such readings.
What lovely pictures and a perfect narration to go along! Can’t wait to head back to the mountains after reading this post 🙂
Such a lovely place this is! The natural beauty is charming. The lush greenery mingled with the white softness is stunning! The view is mind blowing.
Omg. I wish I would have known about this place on my trip to McLeod. The pictures are beautiful.
This is a beautiful place. Thanks for discovering it. I guess there are many such places around Dharmshala that are offbeat and less discovered and so very beautiful. I recently visited Palampur and found it to be so much charming and beautiful. I will visit here as well.
The contrast between the snowy mountains and the green field is very cool. It is interesting that you only saw the women working in the field there. I imagine that you are right about the men having work in town or something along those lines.
That is quite a memorable experience. The photographs have captured the magical colors!
Hats off to you for finding out such off beat locations.
It really looks like an amazing place for an hike. Nature and mountains all around. For me it looks like a movie when the women cross the field with the baskets on their heads. 🙂
I love how you’ve captured the arrival of spring in the valley of the Himalayas. All the nature came to life in such a beautiful way, covering the earth in green and different colors by the beautiful flowers. It’s great that the hailstorm didn’t ruin your plans of photographing the sunset.
Snow capped mountains and fields, this is just stunning. So much greenery, this place looks like heaven. The picture of the small stream has come out amazing. Would love to visit this place.
Sidhpur! I couldn’t even have thought about that place. Your pictures are really surreal. For a moment even I thought in some pictures you have played with the colors but good to learn that even you say No to Photoshop. I loved the spring with their captions. Awesome.
Utterly stunning landscape and the captures, it looks as if its totally untouched by the tourists! As we scrolled down we could see different hues and its breath taking, we envy you for you have witnessed such beauty 😉 Thank you for sharing these captures, waiting to read your next post…
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Wow Amazing place. Great pics.
This is completely off radar place. Loved the description and some brilliant captures. I was absolutely not aware of this place called Sidhpur . Your obsession with land , especially agricultural field is evident through your posts.
The Himalayas are always stunning! Loved the picture of the little kids … so cute! You have made me want to go on a Himalayan trek right now!
That’s just speechless!!! Sidhpur looks like paradise! First of all, I guess there are so many Sidhpur-s here. There’s one in Gujarat and a Siddapur in Karnataka. I didn’t know of the Dharmashala one so far. I can’t complain that your trek got delayed due to photographing this beauty, perhaps I’d also have done the same!
Thanks Bhushavali for dropping by. I am aware of the Gujarat one, which is actually more famous. Din’t know about the Karnataka one.
These photos are absolutely beautiful! I just came back from India a few months ago and loved HP. The mountains, breathtaking views and serenity are things that will definitely draw me back
I think I saw this every time I comment on one of your posts Jitaditya, but your photography is superb! Would you mind tell me what equipment you are using? My photography game is still very sorely lacking…
Those photos are beautiful. It reminds me of my trip to Vancouver and I often wondered if people take their view for granted? I was staring at your photos and the mountains in awe, to see such contrast between the greenery and the white mountain tops were completely breathtaking. Thank you for sharing.
You have amazing landscape photos! The views are incredible. No wonder it’s called the Zen Valley, the destination looks very peaceful!
These photos are mesmerising. I love the softness of the mountains in the background. I can see why they call it the Zen Valley!
Looks like you got the perfect photo right after the storm. Really love your landscape photos and how you make it all look very soft and warm (despite the cold). I would really love to visit Sidhpur, thank you so much for sharing and inspiring a future trip!
Your narrative writing is incredible!!
This place looks absolutely heavenly – I can totally see why it’s referred to as Zen Valley! Your photography is also next level – I can’t decide whether I’m more in love with your writing skills or photography!
What a beautiful post with these amazing landscapes and extraordinary captures.
Sidhpur seems so picturesque, Jitaditya! Thanks for sharing this post. When’s the best time of the year to visit this place?
Best time will be spring i.e. March April
Nice pictures. The plains surrounding the Dhauladar are more fascinating than McLeod.
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