The Drive to Bandla Dhar in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh || An excellent paragliding site that offers stunning views of the Govind Sagar reservoir

During this visit to our village in Himachal Pradesh, my sister-in-law had some work in Bilaspur and for that we were required to reach there early in the morning. So we also took our niece and our cousin along to make a full outing of it.

During this visit to our village in Himachal Pradesh, my sister-in-law had some work in Bilaspur and for that we were required to reach there early in the morning. So we also took our niece and our cousin along to make a full outing of it.
 
As it happened, we were done with our work by 9:30 am and had the whole day to ourselves. So we planned to visit a couple of places in the town of Bilaspur. To be honest, I did not have many hopes from Bilaspur. We have only crossed the town on our way to or back from our village in Mandi and it looked every bit like a concretized, commercialized hill town. But we did manage to find some charming sights here as well. And Bandla Dhar was one of them.

As it happened, we were done with our work by 9:30 am and had the whole day to ourselves. So we planned to visit a couple of places in the town of Bilaspur. To be honest, I did not have many hopes from Bilaspur. We have only crossed the town on our way to or back from our village in Mandi and it looked every bit like a concretised, commercialised hill town. But we did manage to find some charming sights here as well. And Bandla Dhar was one of them.

 
Bandla Dhar is a tourist spot and a paragliding point at the top of the highest hills of Bilaspur and needless to say, it offered some of the best views of the Bilaspur town and the Govind Sagar reservoir from here.

Bandla Dhar is a tourist spot and a paragliding point at the top of the highest hills of Bilaspur and needless to say, it offered some of the best views of the Bilaspur town and the Govind Sagar reservoir from here. 


The 14-km drive to Bandla Dhar isn't too easy. If you aren't used to driving on the hills, then it may appear challenging. It is a narrowish road, though it is all in good shape and there are sharp and blind turns. At times the incline can be steep to navigate. But we made it there. And we won't call ourselves expert hill drivers at any rate. However, you should be careful in this drive.

The 14-km drive to Bandla Dhar isn't too easy. If you aren't used to driving on the hills, then it may appear challenging. It is a narrowish road, though it is all in good shape and there are sharp and blind turns. At times the incline can be steep to navigate. But we made it there. And we won't call ourselves expert hill drivers at any rate. However, you should be careful in this drive. 



However the drive is quite scenic as well. For one, for some strange reason, the hills are covered with palm trees that look quite exquisite in this most unlikely of settings. Second, there are quite a few hills covered with dramatic rocky outcrops that make for some good picture opportunities. Or locations for college students to take out their guitar and have an interesting jam session in natural settings. One such group was out there when we were here and we listened as they strummed out one of the new songs.

However the drive is quite scenic as well. For one, for some strange reason, the hills are covered with palm trees that look quite exquisite in this most unlikely of settings. Second, there are quite a few hills covered with dramatic rocky outcrops that make for some good picture opportunities. Or locations for college students to take out their guitar and have an interesting jam session in natural settings. One such group was out there when we were here and we listened as they strummed out one of the new songs. 

 
About a kilometer before the paragliding site, there is a forest guesthouse where they have also constructed a couple of viewpoints. It is a charming place to have a little picnic as long as you take care not to litter the place. We were here for some time and were lucky enough to spot a Himalayan Griffon Vulture as it sailed gracefully only about 10 feet above us. Thankfully, it wasn't circling us.

About a kilometer before the paragliding site, there is a forest guesthouse where they have also constructed a couple of viewpoints. It is a charming place to have a little picnic as long as you take care not to litter the place. We were here for some time and were lucky enough to spot a Himalayan Griffon Vulture as it sailed gracefully only about 10 feet above us. Thankfully, it wasn't circling us. 

 

We had fun walking up and down to the viewpoint and getting our pictures clicked at awkward places, much to the annoyance of our niece who just wanted us to get on with it. The roles were reversed for some time with us allowing our inner child to surface and our niece being the mature and serious one.

We had fun walking up and down to the viewpoint and getting our pictures clicked at awkward places, much to the annoyance of our niece who just wanted us to get on with it. The roles were reversed for some time with us allowing our inner child to surface and our niece being the mature and serious one. 



Right next to the guest house is a temple. But as is true for most beautiful things, it isn't easy to reach this temple. One must climb about 200 steep stairs. We wanted to visit it, but really it was hot and sunny and we really did not feel up to climbing the stairs. But our cousin has been here earlier and she assured us that we had missed something really good.

Right next to the guest house is a temple. But as is true for most beautiful things, it isn't easy to reach this temple. One must climb about 200 steep stairs. We wanted to visit it, but really it was hot and sunny and we really did not feel up to climbing the stairs. But our cousin has been here earlier and she assured us that we had missed something really good. 



We also didn't quite reach the paragliding site. By now we had had enough of steep hill drive. Though we have heard that it is one of the best sites to do paragliding from. The paragliders take off from the hilltop and they land near the Govind Sagar lake.

We also didn't quite reach the paragliding site. By now we had had enough of steep hill drive. Though we have heard that it is one of the best sites to do paragliding from. The paragliders take off from the hilltop and they land near the Govind Sagar lake.  



Anyway, we then started on our way back from the forest guest house. We did stop at a couple of points on our way down. There is one viewpoint at midway and that offers a beautiful view of the Govind Sagar and the surrounding hills. The various shades of blues, greens, and yellows is a wonderful sight to see.

Anyway, we then started on our way back from the forest guest house. We did stop at a couple of points on our way down. There is one viewpoint at midway and that offers a beautiful view of the Govind Sagar and the surrounding hills. The various shades of blues, greens, and yellows is a wonderful sight to see. 



There is also this beautiful and rather mysterious group of temples on our way down. As you can see in the photograph above, the temples were painted in bright colors and were all of different shapes. There was also a chapel-like structure on the left, but this photograph does not show it. It was a beautiful sight.

There is also this beautiful and rather mysterious group of temples on our way down. As you can see in the photograph above, the temples were painted in bright colors and were all of different shapes. There was also a chapel-like structure on the left, but this photograph does not show it. It was a beautiful sight. 


Overall, this drive was an excellent experience and we felt that we had uncovered a hidden gem in Bilaspur. In fact, this day outing showed us that there is much more to Bilaspur than we had ever imagined. There were more stops that we made, and we would talk about those in other posts. Do look out for those.

Overall, this drive was an excellent experience and we felt that we had uncovered a hidden gem in Bilaspur. In fact, this day outing showed us that there is much more to Bilaspur than we had ever imagined. There were more stops that we made, and we would talk about those in other posts. Do look out for those. 

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