In my last post I left of this story just before lunch, when I didn’t want to wake up after our mini adventure. Pragpur is a delightful little town where the pace of life seems to be slow, where there is not too much traffic and where the weather had turned better by afternoon. I also felt a little less tired after a hearty lunch.
Our first stop was the ancient temple at Chanaur which is about 4 km away from Pragpur. It is said to be standing there from the time of Pandavas. It is known for its langar (free food) but when we visit the langar was not operational. I was fascinated by the churas (bangles that newly wed women may wear in India) hanging from the trees. The story is that it has to be taken out within a particular time frame after the wedding and then some people put it in the temple.
Close to the temple is a rahat (water mill) but due to lack of water it was not operational. We had a good time removing our shoes and dipping our feet in deliciously cold water near the rahat. It was a pain to put back my shoes and socks on the wet and muddy feet. But I am quite willing to do it again when ever I get the opportunity next.
In spite of being such an ardent fan of Himachal Pradesh I had not heard of Kangra style paintings before this trip. But then I am someone who can really get puzzled by art. I can often not draw a straight line using a scale! At Dada Siba (which is close to Chanaur) there is an ancient (may I add nondescript from outside) temple also called Dada Siba. It has elaborate murals of Kangpra style paintings on its wall which are quite exquisite.
The temple from the outside gave me no idea that the walls would contain such beautiful murals. The caretaker can also be seen in the picture. He said that the upkeep of this temple is now with the central government.
It was late in the evening by now. We stopped at the bank of river Beas at a place called Chamba Pattan which is about 5 km from Judge’s Court, Pragpur. The good folks had transported all the stuff to make chai and pakoras there. They had put some chairs as well but we decided to sit on the stones by the river. It was when I was sitting there looking at this peaceful scene with chai and pakoras that I truly woke up and felt refreshed. Before coming to Chamba Pattan we had stopped by the village of Garli but that is a story for another post.
Right next to the Judge’s Court is a weaver’s home where we went in for a short duration. The house was almost empty but I saw this half finished weaving on the loom.
The next day after breakfast we took a stroll around the Pragpur market. I spotted Lord Ganesh near the temple by the water tank. What caught my eye actually was the OM with spray paint! I mean why not use spray paint to decorate the wall!
We walked through a narrow lane from the Judge’s Court to the water tank. If you keep walking around it you would reach the small market place. I wonder how do they manage to keep the color scheme of the buildings symmetrical. These lanes are so narrow that a car can’t be driven through many of them! That made walking quite easy.
It was a pity that I did not buy anything from the market, there just wasn’t enough time. Pooja picked up a momo maker from one of the shops! Now looking at the market I didn’t expect that they would be selling momo makers as well!
I entered this shop looking at earrings, which I didn’t buy in the end. I asked the shopkeeper if I could photograph his bangle display. He nodded yes and then asked, “kya karenge aap iss photo ka?” (What will you do with the photo?) I told him I would post it on the net and he was content with my reply!
Pragpur was a short but nice trip for me. In such a brief time I could probably not even start scratching the surface. But such is life, when did I say no to a trip even if all I could manage was to stay one night!
Last week I did a one night trip to Pragpur in Himachal Pradesh which was on invitation from WelcomeHeritage Judge’s Court. And it was not them who wanted me to stay there for one night. The time constraint was from my side, a fact which I am already regretting. We went sightseeing around Pragpur on both the days, the day I arrived and the next day when we left. It was a hot day when we arrived. While visiting the temples at Chanaur and Dadasiba out cab driver and owner Mr Atul pointed out the Beas river to us as well. Along with Pragpur and Garli both Chanaur and Dadasiba are a delight for people interested in heritage, architecture and paintings. But that is a story for another day. This story is about the giant pipal tree near Dadasiba.
After the temple visits Atul stopped at a crossing and asked a villager how could we go closer to the river. He pointed out a narrow road, and there we were, close to the Beas river. The giant Pipal tree was an added bonus for me. I was willing to look at the hot sky only through its cool shade!
Try as I might, I could not capture the whole tree in one frame. It had a small chabutra (platform) around it. I too decided to sit in its shade while Pooja (from WelcomeHeritage) decided to take a walk up to the river. Everyone removed their footwear before going on the chabutra and I did the same. One of the menfolks asked me if we were locals? When I said no, he said hardly anyone else comes to this place. They came because it was a hot day and it was cooler under the tree close to the river.
I too would have walked by the river but the sun was way too hot. Also at that time of the day I did not see what would I gain photography wise by going close to the river. But in the end it was the sun that the magnificent tree that made me stay put.
Guess what? I was very tempted to write ‘sun rays were playing with the pipal leaves’. But was it the sun rays that were playing or was it I who was playing with my camera with aperture set at f22 so that I could capture this effect! I may have said it at least three times before in this short post by now, but let me say it once more, I was quite awestruck with this majestic pipal tree.
The kids were certainly curious about my camera but they were too shy to ask me anything about it. It was only when their elders talked to me that they timidly asked if I would take a picture of them! I was ever happy to oblige!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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