Dharmshala & Mcleodganj
This is the principal township of Kangra district and overlooks wide spread of the plains. With dense pine and deodar forests, numerous streams, cool healthy air, attractive surroundings and the nearby snowline, Dharamsala has everything for a perfect holiday. It is full of life and yet peaceful. The headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are at upper Dharamsala. Covering a wide area in the form of twin settlement, lower Dharamsala (1380m) is a busy commercial centre. While upper Dharamsala (1830m) with the suburbs of Mcleodganj and Forsytheganj, retains a British flavor and colonial lifestyle. The charming church of St. John in the wilderness is situated here and this is the final resting place of Lord Elgin, a British Viceroy of India during the 19th century. There is also a large Tibetan community who have made this place their home. Numerous ancient temples like Jwalamukhi, Brijeshwari and Chamunda lie on the plains below Dharamsala.
In local parlance, the word for lot of water is “pulum”. This is what has given Palampur (1249 m) its name and its water has given the valley so much of its character. Countless streams criss-cross the landscape and in their intricate mesh, hold tea gardens and rice fields. The town came into being when tea plantation was introduced in the 19th century and Palampur became a focus for the planters. Kangra tea, with its center at Palampur, has been internationally acclaimed since then.
Ancient legend speak of a time when demons lorded over the Himalayan mountains and harassed the gods. Led by Lord Vishnu, the gods decided to destroy them. The gods focused their strengths in a huge flame which rose from the earth. From the fire, a young girl look birth. She is regarded as Adishakti the first ‘Shakti’.
Known as Sati or Parvati, she grew up in the house of Prajapati Daksha and later became the consort of Lord Shiva. Once her father insulted Lord Shiva and unable to accept this, she killed herself. When Lord Shiva heard of his wife’s death his rage knew no bounds and holding Sati’s body he began stalking the three worlds. The other gods trembled before His wrath and appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu let fly a volley of arrows which struck Sati’s body and severed it to pieces. At the places where the pieces fell, the fifty-one sacred Shaktipeeths came into being.
Sati’s tongue fell at Jwalaji (610m) and the goddess is manifest as tiny flame that burns flawless blue through fissures in the age-old rock. Even the Pandavas are regarded to have visited this sacred place.
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