I dislike feeling at home when I am away – George Bernard Shaw.
And that’s the whole point of traveling.
This video will explain why we weren’t feeling at home.
By the time we left Tiuni we were unsure about our next stop. We wanted to get some homely feeling or at least find an ATM nearby. Luckily we made it to the HaripurDhar with the leftover INR 180 ‘intact’ with us. That would fetch us 2 Liters of petrol and Solan was still 100+ kilometers away.
Then we got a surprise call.
A good friend was working with UCO Bank near HaripurDhar at Sangrah. And Sangrah is a ‘heritage village’ of Himachal Pradesh but we will come to that later. Now he called me just for a casual talk (he didn’t know I was around) and there we were struggling to find someone who could give us some money to buy petrol or give us some hope.
Interestingly, HaripurDhar leads you to two different parts of Sirmour District. One is the to the famous Renuka Ji Lake on Giri River while the other road takes you through the thickest forest of the state, the NohraDhar-ChurDhar region. That we got to know from our good friend and he asked us to stop at Sangrah – Heritage Village of Sirmour district featured in the ‘Har Gaanv Ki Kahani Program (HGKK)’.
‘Har Gaanv Ki Kahani’ is a tourism program promoted by Himachal Tourism to motivate tourists to visit rural Himachal. In the first stage 12 villages from each district were selected and 12 more were selected in the second stage. Sangrah is the second ‘featured village’ of Sirmour District.
By the time we decided to go via Sangrah, we got to know that the friend count has increased from one to two. There was another unlucky chap from our college posted at Sangrah. Engineers connect everywhere and whenever they meet alcoholic nostalgic gathering is a must.
Sangrah is 22 kilometers from HaripurDhar. Before we move forward let’s talk a bit about HaripurDhar. It is located at a height of 2500 meters and the Churdhar Peak oversees it. Trapped in the middle of the mountain ranges, HaripurDhar remains covered in fog and mist throughout the year except in May – June. Wildlife flourishes in this region and sight of a leopard or a bear is not unusual in evenings. Solo night-driving on two wheeler is not advised.
Sangrah is a small village which once was popular because of its unique building architecture. People from Raipur Khera, Raanee villages in Haryana migrated to Sangrah long ago and they were the first inhabitants of this village. The ‘Beejat Temple’ features in the ‘HGKK’ program. It is a two-storey temple showcasing amazing wooden work. Before featuring in the ‘HGKK Program’ most of the selected temples (across the state) did not allow schedule caste [sic] people to enter inside the temple premises. However, with the introduction of HGKK, caste discrimination is disappearing, at least on the surface.
Sangrah serves as the administrative center of the whole region. There are many hiking options around Sangrah. And names of villages in and around Sangrah are quite interesting. There is Andheri (E) and W in Mumbai and Andheri (N) can be found in Sangrah.
Shri Renuka Ji is 30 km from Sangrah and unlike HaripurDhar – Rajgarh road; this road is pretty clean and smooth. It is Major District Road-1 (MDR-1) with Nahan being its source point and HaripurDhar as its destination point. From Renuka Ji, State Highway -1 (SH-2) connects you to the NH-22 (Chandigarh-Shimla) near Kumarhatti.
This is by far the best SH of Himachal Pradesh I have seen. Other SH’s worth a mention are SH-32 (Una-Nerchowk) and SH-43 (Shahpur-Chowari). See these photographs and judge yourself.
And it is said that State Highway 32 (Una Nerchowk) looks even better.
The State Government is doing a commendable job with these SH’s across Himachal. With deteriorating condition of NHs and ever increasing traffic in the state, soon SH will be more preferred by people over NHs. Recently, one of my friends traveled from Chandigarh to Palampur via SH-32 and it took just 90 minutes for 80 Kilometers.
Next: Dera Baba Kartarpur – Living On the Indo-Pak Border
P.S. Thank You Sahil, Vivek, and Subhash!