IIT Campus at Kamand is located 15 km off Mandi in himachal pradesh. I am one among the large number of engineers who did not make it to IIT, through the entrance Exam. Mandi is on the national highway enroute, an hour and half from Kulu, famous tourist towns Kulu Manali.
General mode of travel is by road from Delhi or Chandigarh, good Volvo buses of HP government or taxi
From Mandi we take a taxi to Kamand, you Zig Zag up a hill and Zag Zig down to the destination.
Why am I going to IIT campus in Kamand ?
Son inlaw is a faculty there, to be with him, daughter and the 3 year old grandson . Its fascinating to see how kids have their own mind, the way they pick up knowledge and apply them. All of us were like that once upon a time, wonder why we wonder. Our parents enjoyed our innocence and growth, so did we of our kids. The one difference is for the modern kids, technology has provided videos as baby sitters, a dangerous growth leading to lack of interpersonal relationship, a technology dependent life. They identify the you tube icon, right from the age of two and press their way to their favourite videos.
Lessons from kids and new generation
It is an adventurous drive in these hilly terrains. An error can send you rolling down into the valley in few minutes where you were an hour ago..
Looking around the beautiful surroundings, I asked Lekhraj who is taxiing me,
“what is there in kulu manali, that is not here, this is beautiful”.
He said,” the tourist crowd, expenses and snow in winter”. “Here we may get snow up to that point”, he said, pointing to a far away hill, which looked a safe distance.
When I saw some stones and mud lying on the road which definitely did not belong there, he said “ that’s landslide. This had happened yesterday night”. Within a few minutes I saw a JCB and a truck, when he said, “they are going to clear it”.
I thought that’s fast work, when he said “they are ustads in clearing and does it as soon as they come to know about it”. I asked him does this happen only at nights. “No no it can happen anytime, However, before the real rocking starts, we get a few small stones and mud as pilots to warn us. .”
Mini Rock and Roll
We did go to Kulu & Manali in spite of my decision not to go, after learning, all these places are similar. We have to impress our friends and relatives back home, went near Manali story will not sell. It did help to part with some money and add to the list of have been there and done that.
The taxi driver had a strategy to deal with the traffic and parking. He put a board in front of his car that said ” VIP duty” and got priority for right of way and an assured parking. Later he tells me when they asked who the VIP is he told them it is the judge. No body dared to ask me for my ID.
Further up, 4000 feet, to a place called Parashar. Parashar is the father of Ved Vyas, the author of the epic Mahabharatha. A small pagoda type temple, nearby a beautiful pond with a floating island. We cannot step on to it, just watch from the bank, By end of the day you can notice the island has moved to the other side of the pond. Rajma and rice at a daba, lunch, simple and yummy.
Parashar with the temple of pagoda looks and floating island in the pond
Two father-in-laws, Self and Puru with Suma, Lakshmi, Sandhya, Aniket and Kavitha
The photographer, of the above pictures, Govind , with his MIL and spouse
Dharamshala famous for Dalai Lamas adda. My grandson had his head shaved, a mundan with out a ceremony, a week before our visit. We noticed our kid had similar looks with his hair removed, to the chota dalai lamas there. We had to be extra careful that he does not run in to the crowd and lose himself since it would have been difficult to identify him from the mix. Did not meet the great personality, the Dalai Lama, it required a prior appointment and you need some connection for that. I may not have met him, however can lie saying have seen him since a lot of look alike were moving around. When I told my spouse, there he is, she believed it.
We had a home stay arranged, booked through the net, airbnb.co.in. A guy with a poney tail on a bike met us on the highway and led us through a dingy road, took us to the stay. Here again a mallu in a far away place like himachal, you cant beat them, Wow an ancient rickety house, dusty, wooden planks, a narrow steep stairs to the first floor leading into spacious rooms with beds on the floor. .He has a reason for NOT brightening up the place before the renewal of the lease otherwise he says, the land lord may run the place himself !!!
The chota Aniket lama upstairs looking out through the window with a view
He had two ferocious looking, gentle and friendly dogs. It was a one man show, he cooked a good lunch for us in one hour. He had a customer and his assistant was on leave whom we met the next day when we were leaving. He made his boss do all the job. There was a toilet and bath in isolation to the building, unattached. And a river to boot, just go down this way and turn left, there it was. Went into it, had a dip, made the kid with me scream because the water was cold..
Rehearsal for dalai Lamas birthday celebration
Prema, Sandhya, Aniket, Rajeesh
The boss,Prasad, with pony tail, a one man show, assistant went on leave on our arrival.
The assistant is back, waiting to join duty as soon as the guests leave.
Water is coooold….
However this accomodation is recommended to people like me who enjoys a bit of discomfort
We landed in Chandigarh, in the new international airport. Inside the terminal an interesting poster said SAD-BJP program for development. It took me a few seconds to realise I am in Punjab and SAD is a political party, Shiromai Akali Dal and BJP are allies, nothing to do with happiness. Did not take a picture, since photography was prohibited in the airport. The airport is in Mohali and on the way asked the driver where is Chandigarh ? “It is ahead”, he said. After some time again I asked him, he said “its behind”. He took a bypass and made me miss the city. May be on the return…
Chandigarh was planned by the famous French architect Le Corbusier. Picturesquely located at the foothills of Shivaliks, it is known as one of the best experiments in urban planning and modern architecture in the twentieth century in India. This is what I had read in the net.
On our return from Mandi, we stayed over at Chandigarh. Went to a market, Shastri market in sector 22. Nice to know ,something is also named after a very humble and sincere ex prime minister of India, Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri. A big shock, the market of a modern city begins from the foot path and continues into a huge maze inside a complex.
A market with the origin in the footpath of a busy street. Part of the design ?
A catchy shop name in Sector 22
Another shocker was to see Cycle Rikshaws in a modern environment. Lots of them making a living on that. Reluctantly took a ride back to the hotel on it, giving all sorts of justification, well I can help him with his earnings, the roads are flat and straight without any gradients, easier than my school days in Ranchi where the guys had to get down and pull our weights up the slope. While he was pedalling through the traffic, with occasional coughs, they all end up that way in the middle of their life, I was almost standing with my butt hardly touching the seat, with guilt. He was from Bhagalpur, Kanhaya, his name, touched my feet in disbelief, when I paid him twice of what he had asked for. It was one senti ride.
A picture of the cycle Rikshaws from the net. Stats says 25,000 Rikshaws saving 75,000 litres of fuel per day. Will they be able to afford solar Rikshaws, when they come up.
Made a two day trip to Jibhi. It took us three hours to reach and the accommodation was at Rana swiss cottage. Hmm.. Swiss. Mr Rana, the owner, an ex-army, had a few acres going up and down with vegetables, and fruits like apple grown, and a few wooden cottages for the stay. His passion and love for what he is doing reflects in the entire environment. He gets invited to Europe by the foreign tourists, who falls in love with him and he says his favourite is Switzerland. And that’s from where this place got the Swiss looks and name. During winter, it snows here. He is assisted by his two lovable sons Guda and Narendra
Switching off the camera to do some quality site seeing in front of the Rana’s swiss cottage
Rana is an important cog in the local efforts to protect the valley’s nature and wildlife. He knows the area thoroughly and advises the tourists on lone treks; assisted treks of few days into the great himalayan national park.
We have places, across our country, where nature has been extremely generous with magnificence. We come across simple, honest, happy and moneylessly rich folks in these regions eager to share about the riches of the place.
.We spent time to walk to near by village which was around 5 kilometres, on lonely roads through thick growths of pine trees. A strange feeling of security creeps in while walking on these paths.
The Jibhi gang, col Naik, standing next, the only uncle in the group, Bhakthi, Arnab,Padmanabhan, all doctors, Anoop, dr in the making, Sandhya, mother Arnab, mother Anoop, Aniket, Prema, with Dr Dileep behind the camera
Here the change is Dr Dileep with Sandhya behind the camera
Col Naik told me an interesting meeting he had with a father and his two daughters, he met during his visit to one of the villages here..They used to carry huge cans of milk on their back from the valley, walk up to their home and next day return with cheese to sell and the daughters attends school after that. This back breaking trek is a daily enjoyable routine for them. Her only complain in life is that there are not enough teachers in the school.
Col Naik is a philanthropist, he takes care of the children from the nearby village every week end, teaching them, showing them around, introducing them to some of the modern gadgets, gym, oh it was a pleasure to have met him and hear some of the stories of his army days.
Col Naik, his two pets( kitty, gatu), airline pilot daughter, my daughter sandhya with her kid Aniket’s hand and Prema. The stick helps for trekking, to move the plants aside.
Life is easy if we enjoy what we do,, that’s the message from Mr Rana and the daughters who supplies cheese.
Welcome to IIT, freshers
Attended the orientation program for the newcomers to the college by the director and istaff members. Out of 12 lakhs who appeared for joint entrance exam to IIT across the country, 10,000 qualifies and 150 are joining this college. Most of the students had their parents with them in the audience. The parents were given an opportunity to ask questions when one of the parent was worried about the leopards in the hills and how safe is her son The director said in his last 7 years no leopard has eaten any one from the campus. They are interested only in cattle. There are more deaths in Mumbai and Bangalore on roads than in these forests.
Another parent wanted to know how about the salaries of IIT Mandi students in comparison with other IITs ? The answer by the director was that he was from IITchennai, then Madras and is the director here and the students passing out of the college are earning much more than him at the starting itself !!!.
His final advise to the students, the future is all technology based when we will be able to read the other persons thoughts with a few sensors plugged into the brains.
Scary, not the plugging of the brain, its the reading of the thoughts, will have to stop thinking, no more privacy.
The little white board on the right says cattle trap. It has nothing to do with the students
I started my stay here with regular morning walks on roads full of plants on both sides, smelling the greens. Among the plants were the curry leaves (kariyapatha) in plenty, which we learnt, no body uses here. For my spouse its an important ingredient in her cooking, curry leaves with the discovery of a new item, curry leaves chutney, its yummy. This curry leaves has lot of medicinal properties, we Indians know it, however we are waiting for the US to give someone a doctorate and patent it, to add it to our life style. What I am getting at is, this lead to a new theme for my walk, collections of curry leaves every day morning.
The curry leaves at the edge of the road
Standing at the edge of the road , stretching to reach these leaves became an adventurous sport because one slip and I can be gone.
From the greens of south of India, folks visits to see a greener north and from north to see a greener south!
Soninlaw, Dr Padmanabhan, Aniket, Sandhya daughter and Prema. As usual, me in the shadow of these people
Thank you for reaching this far, I was expecting, to drop out before reading till the end, a bit too long and personal.
You can goggle these places for exciting pictures, also place like Leh, ladakh and others in these areas.