Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dharamshala...Snow Clad Mountains, Clouds AND Cricket!

This is the right picture for the caption!
We had been on a three week trip to Northern India.  The main purpose was to watch the March 25th Test match between Australia and India.  Though I have noticed the beautiful Dharamshala stadium in the TV before, I never expected it to be so overwhelmingly beautiful.  And it was a test match, not a one day or T20 match! And some of my readers might remember about my earlier post about our visit to a cricket match here and one more post about cricket here. 
Well...my husband and son are cricket crazy people.  So, whether I liked it or not, I am familiar with the matches.  Sometimes I too sit with them and watch when it is too interesting to resist, esp. when India is poised to win!

We had stayed in a decent hotel in the market area ('M' Hotel, Temple road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala). So, we had a choice of restaurants to visit and it was the main shopping area.  Though a bit crowded, we enjoyed the place.  First, we thought of hiring a taxi to reach the stadium, it was tooo expensive (10 Km. Rs.400).  So, like many other visitors, we too went by share jeep and then local bus! It was a good experience since it is a long time since we went by share jeep and crowded buses in our place:) The roads were very narrow, with ups and downs, as is common in hilly areas.  Hairpin bends were many.  This is a typical tourist place.  The buses were not long like our city buses.  They were quite small ones.  One more thing we noticed is, the people are unbelievably too friendly.  With all the traffic chaos, nobody got angry, the driver or the passengers.  Oh, let me write about these things in another post! Now, to cricket!

We reached the stadium at about 9.15 am, I think.  The match was to start at 9.30 am.  We were checked thoroughly as usual nowadays...we got delayed because my son had taken a binocular with him! Their net link didn't mention about it but we are not supposed to take it, it seems.  He had to meet some 4 top officials to get clearance! Some small changes and an eye drop bottle was confiscated from me! They were put in a small pouch and thrown in a basket with others' things! We were asked to pick them up when we returned! We did!

Then we entered the venue!!! What a scenery! I just stood in the first step and gasped! Then pulled myself down the steps and sat just below the pavilion, which was the best place to view the match and the hot midday sun didn't roast us here much! Yes, it was cold in the morning and evening but hot in day time! The match had already started.  In the beginning, I was not watching the match but just enjoying the snow clad mountains, clouds all around! We were not allowed to take even water bottle...everything should be bought there! One plastic cup of water priced Rs.10! Pop corn Rs.50, Ice cream Rs.50.  But while going up to get water, I saw Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri...so, forget about the cost of water!

As soon as the first wicket fell down, the crowd started involving...chanting 'India, India'...'Bharath Maatha ki Jai' etc.  Smith scored 111 and that was the highlight of the Australian team.  The afternoon session was the best...Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav (test debut!) started stealing the show.  Wickets started falling one by one...the crowd chanted 'Kul deep, Kul deep' continuously.  Kohli had some injury and Rahane was the captain.  Whenever Kohli came out during drinks, the whole crowd chanted his name.  Some friends of mine said that since Kohli won't be playing, the match won't be interesting.  But, NO, it was very very interesting...it was like a one day match.  The Australians were all out for 300 runs, thanks to our bowlers. We played an over also at the end of the day.

We didn't see much crowd on that day, i.e. the first day.  On the left side, the area was full of school children in uniform...free entry for them it seems.  

School children in uniform on the left side!
We went back to the room by a through bus to McLeod ganj! The bus was full but stopped midway because of some repair.  The driver put on some gloves, opened the gear compartment, did some repair work! The passengers were just watching.  No one grumbled! It must have taken around 15-20 mts. He was chatting with people all along asking them to 'havaa leejiye baahar' (to get some fresh air outside)!  Hmmm...our Chennai means, a big hungama would have been there!

The next day, we took a taxi...the adventure mood was not there on the second day! Son had left the binocular in the room itself and I left the change also in the room.  So, we sat in our seats before the match started.  The match was a bit slow.  We started enjoying other things than the match! Many Australian fans had come.  A huge kangaroo doll also was there, sitting among us.  They were very friendly people.  All were chatting, in a friendly way.  One old man was selling ice cream, some 'lotus' brand... he was cutting jokes about the old players and humouring people.  More crowd was there on the second day.  Not very eventful, though.  Jadeja played well on that day.

Unfortunately, we had to leave for Chennai on 27th.  My husband and son enjoyed the match and I, the scenery, esp.cloud movements on the snow clad mountain peaks and people.  My picasa album is full of snow peaks and cloud pictures which can be watched always.

Now, to some pictures, for you to enjoy!

2nd day afternoon.  You can see the spider cam with the cloud background!

Australian fans with a Kangaroo doll...notice the Indian flag on its cheek. Very friendly people!

The Australian fan with the green cap was standing up and dancing for 4's, 6's or when any player scored 50 or 100 or got out! Australia or India didn't matter for him! True fan! The whole crowd around him were HIS fans! Us, included!
On our way out of the stadium in the evening.  Felt a bit sad.  Cricket match is played everywhere, but Dharamshala match experience is unique.
You can see the score board here! We won the match by 8 wickets! Jadeja and KL Rahul were the top scorers! Jadeja was the 'Man of the match' and 'Player of the series'! This test match was a memorable match for us/for me! I never expected the first innings of the Australians to be over within a day! That was the highlight of the match.

Click on the pictures to view the scenery better!


P.S.: Sunset shots at Dharamshala


SG said...

Thanks the beautiful photos and the nice travelogue.

Sandhya said...

SG: Thanks for the beautiful first comment, SG!

Rama Ananth said...

Dharamshala is so beautiful, I am yet to visit these places in the north.
I am waiting for your North India tour blog and also for the photographs taken there.
I also just returned to blogging, more of a pictorial blog, but one has to begin somewhere.

Destination Infinity said...

Nice place to build a stadium. Should plan to visit this town someday. Was it too cold? Nowadays, I don't watch even 20-20 matches! One scenic stadium was supposed to be built along the ECR beach by Srikanth, not sure what happened then...

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

RAMA ANANTH: Waiting to read your posts! Even my posts are full of photographs. I get inspired by photographs:) And mostly they are like travelogues! Going to write more about the place in my next post.

DESTINATION INFINITY: I too am not much interested in cricket. Maybe because I see and hear about cricket all the time at home....365 days a year!

I liked this match more because of the surroundings and the first innings of the Australians were over within a day! It would have been boring on the 3rd and 4th day, though we won the match!

I haven't heard about Srikanth's stadium!

Pradeep Nair said...

Dharmasala is a place I would like to visit. I am bookmarking your blog post for future reference. Good photos and writeup.
During the match commentators were saying that the city should host more matches.

Pradeep Nair said...

Too much cricket, is it not?

KParthasarathi said...

You literally took me Dharamshala with your wonderful description of the place ably supported by great pictures. Please start watching a few matches and I bet you would turn into avid cricket buff! Thank you cery much

Sandhya said...

B PRADEEP NAIR: Welcome to my space, Mr.Nair!

Dharamshala is the best place for playing cricket matches or any other outdoor games. The weather is very pleasant. No sweating. We can put our 100% effort into the game.

Yes, it is too much cricket nowadays! Many ardent cricket fans are changing nowadays. IPL has started but not much discussion seems to be there in the media too...well, it used to be crazy before. Thanks for the comment!

K PARTHASARATHY: No, I don't think I will sit in front of the TV for watching full matches:) Thanks for the lovely comment!

Onkar said...

This must be one of the most beautiful stadia in the world. I have seen the stadium, but not a match.

Anonymous said...

Very nicely written.

Sandhya said...

ONKAR: This is a beautiful venue! We can enjoy the day even without a good match:)

sm said...

beautiful photos

Sandhya said...

sm: Thank you, sm!

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