Visiting the Himalaya (yes, correct grammar) is an entirety different prospect to a visit to Delhi. Gone is the dust, noise, questionable water and fear of infection, and welcome to majestic scenery reaching up to the snow line, Ravens, Eagles, Forests and open spaces. Although curiously, as you enter a town you are drawn back to the dirtiness and squalor of inner city Delhi. Roads are narrow, lockup shops are the standard narrow frontage, piled high with goods of any description, with narrow lanes into darkness beyond. Head out from the village boundary and green-ness returns.
Villages occur every few miles, and are tightly packed like the towns. Pathways through the forests abound, with the women and children as shepherds returning in the early evening with their small flocks of sheep and goats, with the odd bullock accompanying. Later the men return with small bundles of flowers, perhaps having manned a stall in nearby Khajjiar.
The hotel is curiously named “Hotel Mini Swiss”. Perhaps an attraction to wealthier Indians (?), or to westerners searching the Internet for accommodation that might find such a description re-assuring. Somehow you expect evidence of snow, but this is lacking. A concrete structure is round the back, occupied with youngsters playing Cricket. The true purpose is unclear. A swimming pool? Perhaps not, there are no ladders. Our best option is a skating rink, but this seems extremely out of place. Perhaps a plunge pool?
Reception is manned by two gentlemen, fully wrapped up in leather jackets, with a sign behind them, “No Credit Cards, Cash Only”.