28 March 2005

 Posted by Hello The 100-year-old steam engine, specially hired by a group of 22 British tourists to ride the 25-km stretch between Shimla and Kathlighat, arrives at Tara Devi railway station on Sunday. The fare for hiring the steam engine has been slashed from Rs 1.8 lakh($2500.00) to about Rs 58,000($1350.00) per trip following a notification by the Railways. PTI
Kalka, April 17 The popularity of Kalka- Shimla heritage rail section among rail enthusiasts from all over the world for taking the journey in the clouds, is bringing windfall for Northern Railway (Ambala division).

With UK-based tour operators, especially those dealing with rail journeys in different countries, advertising the trip on this heritage section as one of the greatest rail journeys in the world, there is a renewed interest among foreign tourists. The fact that Indian Railways Tourism Corporation (IRTC), too, is advertising the journey through lofty pines and misty mountains on this heritage section on the Net, is also adding on to the popularity.

Railway officials inform that for the past couple of months, at least 10 foreign tourists have been taking the rail trip each day. Other than this, the Deluxe Rail Motor cars have been chartered 12 times during the past two months by foreign tourists alone.

“Though we get tourists from all over the world, a large number of these tourists are from the United Kingdom. Most of the people take this trip not just for the sheer engineering feat in laying the rail, but also because of sentimental reasons. Many of the tourists were here during the days of the British Raj, or their parents of grandparents were associated with laying down the rail line,” informs Station Superintendent, Kalka , Mr R. K. Datta.

As is the case of Rosemarie Hall, who has come down from the UK and boarded the rail motor car for Shimla from here today. “I was born in Karachi, then a part of India. A few months back, I discovered that my birth certificate was registered at Shimla. I decided to visit Shimla, and since I knew that the rail track was laid by the British and had heard people talk about the breathtaking view of the Himalayas offered on the rail journey, I decided to have a go” she says.

They were among 29 tourists from the UK brought here by the UK-Based Great Rail Journeys, who chartered two rail motor cars for Shimla from here today. Mr Andrew Summerhayes from Great Rail Journeys, informed TNS that after a documentary on the Himalayas was aired by the BBC in London, they started advertising the Kalka- Shimla rail journey as one of the best rail journeys in the world, along with rail routes in North America, Europe, Japan and Africa." We offered a trip on this rail section in September last year, and within 10 days we were all booked for the entire year 2005,” he says.

The Railways on its part is also offering all possible help to make the journey a pleasure for these foreign tourists. The chartered rail motor car is allowed to halt at any place enroute Shimla, in order to allow the tourists for taking pictures, or having a small lunch - either at Dharampur or Barog.

The chartered rail motor car journey is available for Rs 10, 283 from Kalka- Shimla and back. For the high end foreign tourist, the steam engine service on the Kalka - Shimla section is available from Shimla to Katleeghat and back (a distance of 18 km one way). Though the journey was earlier available for over Rs 1 lakh, the Railway Board notified the new rates from April 1, and the same distance will now cost Rs 58,808. The single way journey from Shimla to Katleeghat will cost Rs 27, 848. For a chartered service with a diesel engine, the one way journey on the entire stretch of this 100 year old rail section costs Rs 34,580 and both ways the journey would cost Rs 73,998.

Mr R. K. Datta, Station Superintendent at Kalka, says that even the domestic tourists have been taking a lot of interest in the rail journey. “There is an unusual rush of tourists and all trains on this route are running to packed capacity. Almost 800 persons are taking the rail trip daily. From April 17-20, we are running two holiday special trains,” he informs.

23 March 2005


The origins of the Kangra School which held sway over the entire Punjab Hills can be traced to Guler, which stands at the entrance to the valley bordering on the plains. Guler was a small state. Nadir Shah's invasion and the conquest of Delhi in 1739 were instrumental in the founding of the Kangra School of painting. The Guler was then ruled by Dalip Singh (1694-1744). It was during the period 1739-40 that Hindu artists trained in Mughal style migrated to the Punjab Hills possibly from Lahore or Delhi. It is quite likely that they returned to their homes in Guler only to escape the uncertainties of life in the plains.

The source of inspiration of Kangra painting was the Vaishnav cult of Hinduism, the love of Radha and Krishna. In this style arms of lovers are about each other's necks, eye meets eye, the whispering Sakhis (friends) speak of nothing else but the course of Krishna's courtship, the very animals are spellbound by the sound of Krishna's flute and the elements stand still to hear the ragas and raginis. This art is only concerned with the realities of life. Above all with passionate love service, conceived as the symbol of all union. This is the spirit which parameters a number of paintings in the Kangra style which had its origin in Guler.


The Divine Pair!

Harassed by the demon sent by Kansa, Nanda and his cowherd Kinsmen decided to move from Gokul to Vrindavana across the river. Their children enjoyed swimming in the river during the heat of the summer, while the cows sat in groups chewing the cud contentedly. Krishna, his brother Balarama, the cowherds and the gopis roamed the woods of Vridavana with their graceful trees covered with blossoms. Here Krishna and his companion played “hide –and –seek “ or sang and danced to music.

Collection - Chandigarh Museum

Krishna playing Holi

The onset of spring, occasion for much revelry and celebration, does not go unnoticed in the context of Krishna and his companions, the cowherds and the gopis, for it provides yet another occasion for the poet and the painter to establish these relationships at a different level. Wile everyone else celebrates the festival, as it is done even today in India—by throwing colored powder, soaking one another with colored water from syringes, and singing—between Krishna and Radha, the play of Holi takes on another significance. Suddenly, amid so much noise and activity, their eyes become locked, as the poet say, and they get drenched in each other’s love as much as they do in the water that is being squirted around.
A great many paintings on the theme of Holi being celebrated in Vraja (in the land around Mathura it is still a remarkably spirited festival) were painted, and this is among the finest. The wonderful air of festivity, the grouping of figures that leaves space in the center for Radha and Krishna to be places in relief, the range of stances and gestures, the little dramatic vignettes involving so much animation, are all handled with singular ability. But the work goes beyond these effects, and the eye is led, through the tender, encouraging eyes of the companions of Radha, to the two lovers who stand transfixed. That is where passionate attachment is seen at its most affecting, and suddenly some of the women musicians stop short, much more intent on what is happening there than on playing their instruments.

Sassi Bewailing of her lover, Punnun

Sassi a beautiful girl was born to a Brahman King. At her birth it was prophesied that she was destined to fall in love with a Muslim and would die of grief of separation while searching for her lover in a lonely desert. In order to save the honor of the family and the girl from her tragic fate she was shut in a box and floated down the Indus River. The box attracted the attention of a childless washer man, who brought her up as his own daughter at Bhambhore.
Sassi grew up into a girl of dazzling beauty and attracted attention of all the young men of the neighborhood, but she spurned their advances. On a visit to garden of a rich merchant she saw a portrait of Punnun, the son of the King of Kecham in Baluchistan and fell in love with him.

1750 AD, National Museum

Raja Govardhan Chand listening to music

Govardhan chand listening to music, which was in the collection of Raja Baldev singh and is now in Chandigarh Museum. The Raja is seated on a terrace listening to the music of drums and pipes. The Raja is listening to music, and the air of gentle reverie is well expressed. The pose of the individual figures and the balance of the whole are admirable. In this respect it respect it resembles the finest of the Mogul paintings, but it has a delicacy and a spirituality of feeling to which the Mogul art never attains. The coloring of Kangra pictures of this period is extraordinarily delicate. The Kangra artist had the colors of the dawn and the rainbow on his palette.

Portrait of maharaja Sansar Chandra

In 1809, Raja Sansar Chand employed a European adventurer, O’ Brien, who established a factory of small arms and raised disciplined force of 1400 men for him. In this painting, we can see O’Brien waving a fly –whish over sansar chand. It is a very fine portrait by one of the Guler artists who had migrated to Tira- sujanpur. The green background with dashes of red in the horizon is typical of the work of these artists. The character of sansar chand, proud and sensitive, is well brought out in this painting.

Collection - Chandigarh Museum

Raja Ajmat Dev smoking huqqa

The king sitting in pavilion. He wears a black jama and turban on his head. He is smoking huqqa with one hand and in other hand a rosary. A sword is kept near him.

Balauri Rani of Raja Prakesh Chand with her Son Bhup Singh
1780 AD, Chandigarh Museum

In this beautiful painting Balauri Rani from Basohli is shown seated in a pavilion talking to her son Bhup Singh. One of the maidservants is offering him a wooden toy. On the roof of the pavilion is peacock and in the foreground is a pool with a fountain. A monkey is drinking water from the pool totally unafraid. Women musicians are singing and playing on musical instruments. A servant girl is feeding a parrot.

Sheltering in the Rain

Radha and Krishna are shown sitting on the top of a mountain, sheltering from rain under one umbrella. A storm bends the branches of the trees, lightning shines in the dark clouds and rain pours from above. The peacock cries with joy, and Radha clasps Krishna, afraid of the rumbling thunder.

20 March 2005

Himachal Miniature painting series!

And for those of you who thought we are just NOMADS, a large series of different Himachali style miniature paintings is coming! I assure you, the wait will be worth it!Posted by Hello

18 March 2005

Hidden Himachal!

This is our Himachal, of course! All images can be enlarged so please have look on every single one by clicking and see the beauty of our Hills! I have taken these snaps from the website of TAKEO KAMIYA and you can EMAIL TAKEO KAMIYA here! I apologize for any wrong reference and your comments would help!

A small temple of Square Tower type, Gazta

Adi Brahma temple of four tiered tower, Khokan

Ambika Devi temple of Pent Roof type, Nirmand

Chamunda Devi Temple at Mindal village

Gautam Rishi Temple at the end of Goshal village, Naga shrine on the right hand

temple on the back of the mountains of the hights of 4,000m, Sangla

Inside of Adi-Purka Temple on the top of a mountain at Tihri

Looking down at Bhandar from the entrance balcony of the Temple tower at Chaini Kothi

Maheshwara Temple at Chergaon (Chagaon), photo by Shin-ya Takagi

Maheshwara Temple at Sungra, photo July 1993

Newly reconstructed temple, Pujarli

Old temple of Square tower type in Narain

Parashar Rishi temple by the side of Parashal lake, wooden detail

Parvati Temple, Killal ( photo by Shin-ya Takagi )

Piri Naga Temple, Sapni

Reconstructed Narayan Dewta Temple in Narain village

Temple Tower and the village of Chaini, 17- 18th century

Temple Tower and Village of Chaini, top two stories lost in

 the Kangra earthquake of 1905

Upper part of Baoindara Devta Temple

Village of Devidar and Square Tower type Temple

Granaries constructed thoroughly by wood at Chitkul village

temple on the back of the mountains of the hights of 4,000m

Kii Gompa (monastery) on the mountain recalling gompas 

at Tikse or Chemre in Ladakh

Kothkai Fort sorrounded by deep river on three sides

Himachali Kids

Outside Stairs of Yogini Temple, Chaini

Maheshwara Temple with roof covered by wood, Sungra

Baoindara Devta Temple of oblong tower type under repair, Bachhonch

Durga Temple, c.17th century, Pangna

Parashar Rishi temple by the side of Parashal lake

Kii Monastry

A girl gives the proportional scale of the stairway of Jogini Temple