This is a Guest Post
A last minute decision to take a holiday on a long weekend saw us arriving in Barog, a sleepy little hill hamlet in the Solan district of Himachal, thanks of half of North India descending on the more popular ones. Did we regret it? No for sure! 2-3 days well spent. For a town not so well known, it boasts of a few places worth a visit. And no!! These do not include the run of the mill mall road, so typical of our Hill stations, but some rather different locations.
One of them being the Barog railway station at a height of 5042 metres above MSL nestled quietly in a valley, with the sound of a waterfall serving as a backdrop. It was built during the pre independence period and is now a UNESCO world Heritage site truly reflective of the old world charm of the British era! A 20 minutes steep trek off the Barog – Shimla road takes one to the Barog railway station, one of the pit stop of the narrow gauge toy train being operated by Indian Railways in the Kalka – Shimla Route.
The next stop was at the Hindu temple in Mohan Shakti National Heritage Park . A magnificent monument constructed by the Mohan Meakin group. A beautiful structure, housing the imposing idols of select Hindu Gods carved out of single marble stones and the entrance being adorned by a majestic statue of the Sun God, leading the 7 horses.
A drive along the winding roads of the hills in the midst of whistling pine trees , typical of hill stations, takes us to the base of the Nature Camp at Chewa. A short but steep trek of 15 minutes along the serenity of the wilderness of the pines, with only the wind as our companion made us reach the actual camp site atop a hill. A camp which showed the promise of an activity and fun filled stay in the tents.
The Himachal Tourism pamphlet about Solan district mentioned about the Dolanji Bon Monastery and that was our next stop. Covering a distance of about 20 kms, the road to the Menri Monastery along the Giri river offered some breath taking views of the Shivalik ranges.
I googled Dolanji Bon and learnt that it wasn’t just any monastery: it was the headquarters-in-exile of Tibet’s oldest religion, Bon, and home to the faith’s spiritual chief, His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, Lungtok Tenpai Nyima. That’s why it is also called the Menri Monastery.
Seeking inner peace is the fundamental tenet of the Bon faith. Upholding the values and beliefs of the Bon faith, the compounds of the Menri Monastery tenders quite a soul calming experience.
An occasional glimpse of a Monk reminds you of the bliss of a simple life. It is important to remember that the life of the monk is a life based upon the principles of the Bon faith and is very different from the ordinary life. A monk has to conduct himself so as to “go against the stream” (of craving) and his life and way of doing things is often opposed to the ways of one who “enjoys the five strands of sense-pleasures.”
Being one of the oldest monasteries in India, the Menri Monastery is one of the most colourful places in Solan and is located on the proverbial “faith hill”. Visit the Menri Monastery to celebrate calmness, spirituality and Buddhism in this commercial hamlet of Solan.
Baalmiki is a professional who started photography 7 years back. He likes to call himself a “photographer by passion and everything else by compulsion”. Today he professionally shoots candid weddings and theme based corporate calendars.