A peaceful energy runs across the valley. You could sit on a boulder on the roadside, go on a trek to the waterfall, or just gaze at the whistling pines from your window - the valley's vibes embrace you, put your heart in an oddly calm rhythm. The sky changes shades of blue just the way it should, away from the city grey. Birds of every possible colour flitter across and so do butterflies. Stars and fireflies light up nights. If one were to walk into another time, another world, this would be it.
Wherever you are in the valley, you can hear the Tirthan gushing and gurgling past. One can spend hours just sitting on its bank watching the cold, clear water flow past. A fishing enthusiast can be seen across the river patiently waiting for trout to bite the bait. Up the mountain, a flock of sheep looks more like a spray of dots jumping across treacherous landscapes. As you sit there wondering how they do it, you feel a furry presence near you. A dog from the valley has adopted you. They gauge. If you are a dog lover, they would sit near you and follow you everywhere you go, even sleeping outside your door! And if dogs do not tug the strings of your heart, they let you be.
If trekking does not entice you much, you could always walk it! The road that connects the various hamlets of the valley is not frequented by many vehicles, so quite a few evening are spent walking down the road with mountains on one side, river rushing along on the other. A tiny chai-shop on roadside here and there are the favourite hang out joints of the locals and they would welcome you to a cup with a big smile in place.
In a world where a vacation is more of a feather in the cap, a status update, and a check-in at an international destination, I am sitting by the side of a stream, the children are taking a dip in a tiny pool created by the river, and the grown-ups have decided to finish just one more chapter from their books. The only sound here is the gushing water from the stream, chirping of birds and an occasional, delighted squeal from the children thanks to the ice-cold water.
The Tirthan valley has little to offer if you are looking for modern amenities but if breathing mountain air, listening to silence, trekking, hiking or just lazing around is your idea of a vacation then this is it.
Tirthan Valley - The heritage, the people, the crafts
Tirthan valley is a laid back place dotted by tiny hamlets. The villages are frozen in time and the villagers are in no rush. Women can be seen hauling grass and wood in packs bigger than themselves along narrow treks all across the mountains.
Religion is big part of the daily lives with every region having temples devoted to their Devta. Every few days, processions can be seen of Gods visiting other places. It is quite an experience - people carrying God on their shoulders, and drum beats echoing through the valley accompanied by other instruments.
In the evenings, women can be seen furiously knitting away intricate patterns that would warm feet in winters. We swear by the Himachali socks and house-shoes! Nothing made a difference but these in the winters.
As with every Himachali region, one of the finest culinary discovery for us here was the Siddu - a steamed dumpling of sorts filled with different fillings ranging from spiced walnuts, to potatoes. They are traditionally served with warm ghee and tangy chutney.You would find it on the menu. And if in season, hempseed chutney makes an excellent accompaniment.