The Himalayas of India: Ladakh and Dharamsala,
Himachal Pradesh - The Rock Throwing Kids of Chamba, Bharmour
Page 11 of 16
in front of the Chamunda Devi Temple in lovely Chamba.
After hanging out at Chamunda Devi for a while, I continued walking up to the Sui Mata Temple.
Sui Mata Temple is a tiny temple dedicated to a Chamba princess who gave her
life for the inhabitants of Chamba. While there, a family burned
incense as an offering.
While there, dark clouds gathered, and I heard the rumbling of thunder in the distance. I left, walking a little faster to see the Bajreshwari Devi temple before the inevitable downpour came.
made it to Bajreshwari Devi Temple, not far from Sui Mata, up a path with
colorful railings just as the houses were ending. I sat and admired
the temple, another stone shikhara-style temple, this one celebrating
another form of Durga, and admiring the beautiful green mountains.
Partially due to the setting, I felt that this might be my favorite of all
the temples in Chamba.
I wanted to stay longer, but the thunder grew more insistent, and it began to drizzle. I walked quickly back down, descending into town, then taking some narrow walkways back to Hotel Iravati. Just seconds after I ducked inside the hotel, sheets of warm monsoon rain and surprisingly heavy winds furiously battered Chamba for several hours. When I had left, the sky was blue and it was hot, and I hadn't taken my rain jacket with me, and I felt like I had cheated the rain somehow. I ate a dish called Chamba Kaddi, green beans in yellow yogurt sauce with rice, a local dish which was quite good.
hours later, the heavy rain abated, although it was still cloudy. I
wanted to see several more temples, all of these tucked inside the little
town of Chamba.
This is a Shiva lingam at what I think might be Sita Ram Temple in Chamba. It's difficult to know for sure as I walked to another temple that I do not know the name of, as it was not on my map, so it may be that one as well.
|I also believe that this is Sita Ram in Chamba, or the temple that I visited to the north of Sita Ram. I don't remember.|
don't know the name of this temple in Chamba either, but I remember that it is also
tucked inside the town. I visited several temples that I never knew
the name of, so it's difficult to say.
I visited Champavati Temple next, a quick walk behind the police station. I walked into the back temple, and in its dark recesses, almost immediately stepped in crap.
As I wiped it from my shoe, three little boys came, showing me Sui Mata's temple and at first seemed helpful. But then, the smallest one, probably five years old, threw a pebble at me. I was taken aback, not only at his age but that he was doing this on sacred ground. I reprimanded him, pointing to the temple. A minute later, another one threw a thick stick at me. I pretended to give chase, and two of them scattered, the oldest one remaining because he had thrown nothing.
I left, deciding to walk around the Chowgan, as the sky was clearing and the mountains looked beautiful.
the corner near my hotel, right of the Chowgan, three kids said hello.
I said hello back. Then they started yelling "Chinese! Chinese!"
so I ignored them and kept walking. However, they kept running after
me shouting. I kept walking. No adults intervened. I took
photos and kept walking. They kept following and yelling. After
ten minutes of this, I finally got sick of the yelling and chased them away.
I got to the other side, by Gandhi Gate, looking for an internet cafe that someone had told me about. Another kid shouted "Chinese! Chinese! and waved a very large stick menacingly as if he were going to throw it at me. I had had enough. I shouted, running at him and took off my shoe and struck him with it. This is considered extremely degrading and insulting in Hindu culture. He took off running for his life and didn't look back. This was clearly the way to deal with these a**hole kids since ignoring and reasoning with them had gotten nowhere.
The parents of Chamba must be the worst parents in all of India, raising racist kids who throw things at people. I've never encountered or heard of kids doing this in any of my prior visits to India.
Wanting to make sure no more kids spoiled my visit to Chamba, I walked to the Bhuri Singh Museum to view collections of miniature paintings of Kangra and some stone reliefs and photographs of old Chamba.
July - I took an 8:30am bus to Bharmour (Brahmaur) along a rough dirt road,
one that looked quite prone to landslides, and got a room with a gorgeous
view and a leaky bathroom at the Chaurasi Hotel. I was immediately
taken with how beautiful Bharmour was. After lunch, I walked up the
road for 2-3 minutes to the Chaurasi complex of temples.
Here, workers were restoring one of the structures that houses one of the 84 temples.
|Unlike Chamba, the kids here were extremely thoughtful and friendly, much like they typically are in most of India.|
|I walked for a while out of the small town of Bharmour (Brahmaur), enamored with the beautiful green mountains and scenery. I was stunned to find pot plants growing wild to the side of the footpaths. But evidently, not many tourists knew about this since there were only a three or four of us in town, or the place would have been crawling with people.|
|I walked back to the Chaurasi complex of temples. The Lakhna Devi, the mother of the gods, was built in the 7th Century and is the oldest of the ancient temples. It's surprisingly intact, despite being made of wood. The temple is covered with intricate carvings on the walls and ceiling.|
|Chaurasi complex in beautiful Bharmour, located in Chamba Valley.|
the group of 84 temples is the Manimahesh Temple, a large shikhara-style
stone temple dedicated to Shiva.
In the Chaurasi complex, people hung out, talked, relaxed, played cricket.
small shrine in the Chaurasi temple complex in Bharmour.
I felt comfortable walking around, relaxing, sitting, taking photographs, and people-watching here. Bharmour was extremely relaxed, and the people were proud of that, many stating so.
was willing to put up with the leaky bathroom of the Chaurasi Hotel for a
couple of nights because of the stunning views out this large alcove of
windows and writing area, overlooking the valley. As the sun set, I
was able to take this photo of the hillsides.
Afterwards, I was invited to have a drink with a couple of Canadian guys who had ridden on the same bus, the only other foreigners I had seen here in Bharmour thus far. As we hung out, a local wedding party started up the street from us, and we could here laughter and the pulse of Bollywood and, curiously, Spanish dance music.
The Himalayas of India: Ladakh and Dharamsala, Summer 2008
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Contact photographer/musician Ken Lee