From Macleodganj, I got a taxi to Kangra Mandir railway station, the nearest point on the narrow gauge railway line from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar. More precisely, I took a taxi as far as it could get down narrow lanes until it could go no further, then walked across a suspension bridge and through more narrow lanes until I reached the station.
I didn’t remember the bridge, but the station didn’t seem much changed by the passage of time since I was last here. I had done the same train journey in 1990 and it had been magical.
I rode to Baijnath Paprola, where this train terminated and walked up the line to the next station (Baijnath Mandir): not as impressive as it sounds, only two or three kilometres. Despite the afternoon sunshine and carrying all my gear, it felt good to exercise. Baijnath Mandir, when I got there, looked abandoned; the station was surrounded by wire fencing. Looking at the roof over the waiting area, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been condemned. I had come up here to visit Baijnath Shiv Temple.
The temple visit was a painful one as my bare feet (a religious requirement, not a fashion statement of mine) charbroiled on the hot stone. The Indian visitors were having a similar experience as we all walked as quickly as possible from shade to shade. Monty Python could have added to their repertoire of silly walks.
The train through to Joginder Nagar left Baijnath Paprola at 6:00 pm and probably got to Baijnath Mandir a few minutes later. But I wasn’t sure that it would stop at this derelict station so I headed back towards Baijnath Paprola, getting a rickshaw to a restaurant near the station. Then back to the station and the train to Joginder Nagar:
I got a pleasant room at the Hotel Uhl, the Himachal Pradesh Tourist Development Corporation hotel. So I decided to spend a day around Joginder Nagar. I started with a longish (12 km but level and very pleasant walk) within the area of the Bassi Power Station.
Then walked into town to explore. And to clean myself up a bit.
Back on the train tomorrow, retracing my steps past Kangra to Pathankot.