Dalhousie calling | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Dalhousie calling

I will fondly cherish memories of the recent family trip to Dalhousie. I know it won't be only because of the scenic beauty, which abounds in this hill station of Himachal Pradesh that is silhouetted by the awesome, snow-capped Dhauladhar ranges. Rajesh Moudgil writes

chandigarh Updated: Jul 02, 2013 09:17 IST
Rajesh Moudgil

I will fondly cherish memories of the recent family trip to Dalhousie. I know it won't be only because of the scenic beauty, which abounds in this hill station of Himachal Pradesh that is silhouetted by the awesome, snow-capped Dhauladhar ranges. It will be because I witnessed in Dalhousie what I didn't in any tourist place I've been to so far.


While most tourists, irrespective of status or strata, cared two hoots for rules and regulation, I was touched by the role of traffic constables and Himachali taxi drivers in Dalhousie. Why, the trend was similar in nearby McLeodganj, Palampur, Baijnath, places the family visited subsequently.

We saw boys and girls along with middle-aged cops man the traffic. These young traffic marshals were seen deployed in more numbers in congested areas or at places prone to traffic jams. They were smiling as they guided the traffic. Without them, traffic in the hills would be catastrophic. Had it not been for them, it would have been impossible to drive uphill on the steep, slippery, narrow, single-lane incline near Dalhousie, especially on the stretch towards Khajjiar, also known as the mini Switzerland of India.

Tourists from outside Himachal would not be able to move an inch if the Himachali taxi drivers drove like them. These drivers are fast but not furious, deft and courteous. Life it seems moves at a smooth pace in most small and congested tourist towns of the hill state only because of these level-headed drivers.

The traffic cops and drivers in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab are, however, a picture in contrast. In the plains, a vehicle with a registration number of another state can invite several unwanted questions. On the pretext of checking, the cops are smart enough to gauge that the bigger the inconvenience, the better the scope for money exchanging hands.

Also, consider yourself lucky if the cop is courteous and other drivers abide by traffic rules. In Himachal, it's just the opposite.

Most drivers in the plains lord over the roads with a single-point agenda: the right of way is his/hers, always. So his/her vehicle has the first and probably the only right to overtake from the left or right, while others can find their way later. Such drivers in a hurry don't look back at the trail of misery they leave behind.

Another pleasant memory of the hills was the peaceful drive without blaring horns. Drivers in the hills seldom honk unlike the attention-seeking Delhiites, Haryanavis and Punjabis.

Traffic rules or not, tourists enjoy their Dalhousie sojourn for the privacy it provides. A diverse group, they have their own reason to dash to Dalhousie, from the honeymoon to a family getaway, but unlike any other crowded destination of Himachal, this hill station gives them serenity, comfort and of course, lots of space.

The writer can be reached at rajesh.moudgil@hindustantimes.com