Whenever I return home for the vacations from the college in India, I feel a great sense of joy once I pass by NJP and start seeing the lush forest and rolling hills to the north. The much-travelled endless Indian plains finally comes to an end as I reach the Phuntsholing gate. The next journey as the bus ascend uphill to enter the core of Bhutan not only relieves me of the stress I had in the college but also the fact that my home, the embodiment of peace is one step closer, the journey though in times is nauseating, it however remains the most cherished one. Added more the joy is by the fresh cold air that is devoid in the cities and the enthralling beauties of the mosaic of forest types that keeps changing as the elevation rises.
I am almost saturated by the same mundane for the last three and half years. I never changed my room, lectures seemed monotonous, but the final semester of my four year course of B.Sc. Forestry gave me an opportunity to visit Dehradun where all the forest based research activities are being carried out in India. Set up the Britishers in 1800’s the buildings are still at their best without much change in architectural designs and it was indeed a good experience to finally see the real forestry practices which otherwise was mostly learnt theoretically in the college.
|image from google: could not capture a good photo of my own.|
Ranchi has been unbearably hot without rain for overtwo months I felt it would be a good opportunity to relish some favourable weather in an exotic location, but my assumption tuned out to be wrong, as Dehradun is equally hot as Ranchi. However, our trip to Mussoorie Hill Station on 21/06/2012 was an amazing experience.
Located at an elevation of over 6000 feet, Mussoorie,popularly known as the Queen of Hills, is one of the most famous hill stations in India for both foreign tourists and Indians. The road after leaving the plains trespasses through the woods and ascends upward with numerous twists and turns, just like the Bhutanese roads. Owing to its excellent condition, I hardly felt any bump despite the vehicle travelling very fast. The route was very busy with thousand of cars moving up and down, as it is vacation season for the Indians. Though the hills are deeply encroached, natural forests are also found in abundance, which is why the air is cool and refreshing.
|our own Dochula: source linked.|
Reaching Mussoorie, which is perched on the top of the hill, I am reminded of our own Dochula pass. The difference is that Mussoorie tuned out to be inhabited and densely populated and often polluted by thousands of cars coming and leaving every day during the peak seasons but our Dochula is a pass which is still in its pristine state exhibiting the spiritual identity of nation. There is a stretch of shops, which sell varieties of items and numerous hotels and restaurants to cater our needs. The hill gives us a spectacular bird eye view of the Dehradun plains on one side and to the others we can see the Himalayan mountains and hills.
Besides there are many other sites to visit nearby like Kempty fall which reminded me of the landslides in Bhutan which block the roads with queue of vehicles though its due to narrow road and heavy traffic in this case. Others include the artificial Mussoorie lake, Camels back road, Municipal Garden, Gun Hills etc. As we returned back, the moment yet took me back to my village when I saw the sun about to roll behind the hills to the west. Generally, sun sinks in the plains in India.
People describe it as a natural paradise to sleep sound and peacefully and it is one indeed but its sustainability is a great threat due to reckless throwing of garbage, the ever increasing number of visitors and threats of decreasing forest coverage. Sadly, I couldnot locate a single Cedrus deodara tree which I longed to see for long as it is confined only in the western Himalayas. Yet, with nostalgic reminiscence and euphoric aches in heart, it was a pleasant birthday treat for me. Yet I am little worried for the coming days. HOPE!!!!