Samloti – The One Horse Town on Kangra Valley Railway in Himachal
This post is not much about travel, so please feel free to skip it, unless you want to encourage the forgotten art of storytelling the desi way.
So let us begin from the beginning of the road trip to Kangra as part of Rahi On Road trip series.
It was not part of the planned trip. But then what is the fun in sticking to the plan ? Especially when there is no plan. Driving in the picturesque landscape of Nagrota Bagwan in Kangra, we noticed two parallel iron rails , playing hide and seek in the meadow. This must be the Toy train line from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar I mumbled and instinctively applied brakes. Thank god for a change we were on a non-curvy, non-slippery, zero-slope,, non… ( Damn it I am describing a Himalayan road or Coffee ? no caffeine, no fat ? ?).
I asked around when is the next train, and the guy at the little hole in the wall shop replied
“ Next Train is in 15 minutes”
Well, those were the most exciting 15 minutes I have had in recent times. Well I am not the Paragliding, or Scuba Diving kind of guy, the only diving I do is when Wife jee throws things at me. (Note for Wife Jee: This is just for lame desi humor nothing official about it.)
Note for readers – Wife jee sometimes reads my blog, !! :P).
After this little discourse on my family adventure travel let us move forward.
I reversed the car and looked for the little diversion in the road that took us to the Internationally famous in Kangra Valley, Toy Train Station of Pathankot to Joginder Nagar known as Samloti . Now Samloti is one of those stations in one of those towns that can still be called one horse town. And my hunch was proven right as while waiting for the Toy Train that is waiting for Heritage Tag by UNESCO as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But my love for the toy trains is not limited to UNESCO granting it World Heritage Site, so we decided to wait as the train was late.
As always I digress, we were talking about the one horse town and why Samloti, even with its Kangra Valley Railway, fits the tag of “One Horse Town”
Well as we were waiting for the Kangra Valley Railway evening train to Joginder Nagar at Samloti, in the horizon, deep into the woods appeared a small moving dot. There was something eerie about this dot as it was not only moving, it was getting bigger. As it was already almost dark, almost dark is before it is dark, you can see there is an eerie dot, that is moving but you do not know what that eerie dot that is moving is all about – got it? No? Don’t worry nor did I when I first saw the eerie dot was not only moving but was also getting bigger.
As the eerie dot, that was not only moving but was getting bigger came closer we realized it was a horse leading a man, or maybe it was a man leading a mule. We will not get into the debate of Mule vs. Horse and leader vs. led. The important thing to understand it that the mystery of the eerie dot that was not only moving but getting bigger was solved now and I could see that it was a man and a horse or mule or a Molly as this is not a biology class that teaches about genetic composition of horses, donkeys and the proof of their amorous love affair leading to love child forever banished as a beast of burden. I am sure the Jack Asses and Horses have their own version of Khaaps that decide on these matters.
No glory on the racetrack for these hard-working beasts, but also no ridicule like their father the Jack Ass. So I guess it is a happy compromise for the mule, you get to do work yet are not made fun of. Not my decision, but of the Jack Ass version of Khaap.
So as the eerie dot that was not only moving but also growing into size grew into a man and his mule ( it rhymes better ), I focused my camera on them. But the horse / mule had no plans to get clicked as he felt after all the day’s hard work he may not look good in the pictures. Also, because it was dark he was not feeling comfortable posing for me. So against the better judgment of the man who was leading the mule, the mule decided to jump to the other side of the track.
Can you imagine ? The mule who emerged from an eerie dot, that was not only moving but also getting bigger on the Kangra Valley Railway track, and was not worried about a train coming was scared of a poor photographer pointing the camera at him.
Now suddenly the Mule was in a rebellious mood (do you think he studied in one of our intellectually inclined universities?).
As I clicked a few pictures using flash on my DSLR, the debate whether the man was leading the mule or the mule was leading the man, reached a happy conclusion. The man clearly a horse whisperer said something to the mule and the mule decided to walk a step behind the man but to show his independence in spite of the rope around his neck, he decided to walk not exactly behind the man on the Kangra Valley Railway track but on the stones on the side of the track.
Man and Mule both were happy, and I am also kind of happy, with the picture I clicked of them on the Kangra Valley Railway track at a station called Samloti.
Just as I clicked this picture of the man and mule on the Kangra Valley Railway track, we heard the whistle of the engine in the horizon and waited for the toy train to arrive.
But that dear reader is another story that spans over 2 days and many stations on Kangra Valley Railway, that is waiting for its UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Do check the earlier post on Road Trip to Kangra Valley
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