To bus station @ 11:30 intending to go to Dalhousie but once there (bus station) Bon talked to a Polish fellow just off a bus from Bharmour who gushed about the place (he was there a week having intended to stay only a couple days). Since Mari had it in mind to go there anyway our plans changed and we caught the bus to Bharmour at 1 pm.
The bus station in Chamba is a fascinating exercise in Indian adaptation…Mari called it a dance – buses are coming & going just like every other bus station – but this one accommodates 10-12 parked buses, allowing room for just 2 ½ buses to maneuver in the middle to either park or head out the driveway which leads directly into Chambas’ main street – a crowded two lane affair in the middle of town. Organized chaos for sure…it all seems to work w/ conductors tooting whistles all the while drivers pass by one another w/ only an inch or two between them(sometimes even scraping by, literally)…fascinating!
We arrived via a single (mostly) lane road – sometimes paved, mostly not – along a canyon which is being converted into a major hydroelectric supplier from the looks of all the construction ie tunnels taking off the rock walls every 8-10 km most of the way up & huge piles of rock dumped along the roadway on both sides of the river. Who knows how many dams are planned but at any rate the road is very narrow and passing trucks hauling loads of rock seems to be a fine art these drivers have developed. Three and a half hours later in Bharmour we look down on steep, terraced fields, tiled roofs of traditional brick/wood/stone square houses.
I would have enjoyed the ride more if we hadn’t ended up in the rear most seats, where you feel every bump the most and get whipped around like crack the whip ice skating! We were lucky to have seats at all since the bus stops for passengers all the way along and before we knew it the aisle was crammed front to back. Once in Bharmour(ancient capital of Chamba until 920 AD), we ckd into Chaurasi Hotel & Restaurant(LP recom) and walked 10 min up the temple road to the compound where I saw 2 things which made an otherwise senseless trip for me a worthwhile one. The first was a huge deodar cedar fully 4-5 arm lengths in circumference and even being chopped/topped off(lightning?) it was still over 150’ tall w/ at least 4 big trunks…you can see it in the distance on the photos(no pictures were allowed in the compound). The second two Chaurasi temples – Manimahesh from 6th cent. AD and Laksha Devi, an old wood carved one from around 700 AD. The place is cold, comforters were dirty…I again slept in my clothes.