3rd August 2015, Monday……Day (3) Khajjiar-Chamba 35 kilometers.
It was still drizzling when I woke up inside the car parked at Khajjiar parking. Couldn’t sleep all that well second time in a row. Despite rain, it was too hot and humid inside the car.
It was 6am morning.
In light drizzle, lush green Khajjiar meadow was looking beautiful. I took out umbrella and decided to have a walk. It felt so good walking through the beautiful meadow all to myself until I slipped and dislocated my left elbow.
I heard a creaking sound when I fell. I was in tremendous pain. It felt as if I have broken my elbow.
It reminded me of Kasol in 2009 where I broke my left wrist when I fell from bike. Alongwith the pain many other negative thoughts started playing on my mind. I thought the whole plan was over. Thought of being hospitalised and in bed for months to fully recover made me even more pensive.
I thought I should go down to Chamba and see a doctor, but was not sure whether I would be able to drive the car or not. Left hand was needed to change the gears which I was not able to move. I checked the grip of my hand, it was fine, so probably there was /no fracture.
There was still no one around. I kept waiting and walking for some sort of help. Finally I found a man walking on the road. When I told him the story of my fall and showed my dislocated elbow, he advised me to wait for a ‘Doctor’ to arrive. He told me that there was a wise man, he lives in Khajjiar village and knows a lot about broken bones. He is fondly called ‘Doctor’ in the area.
It was still 7am and the ‘Doctor’ was expected to arrive at around 10am.
By chance the ‘Doctor’ got bit late that morning and arrived at 11am instead of 10am. In the meanwhile I befriended a photographer and many of his hawker friends. They all consoled me and made me believe that everything would be all right and that the ‘Doctor’ was good at these things and has healed many people in the past as well.
They advised me to keep myself busy until the ‘Doctor’ arrived.
Rain had stopped by then, So I walked around the meadow once again, of course more careful this time. Click few more pictures, the pictures that you are posted here were all taken with my right hand, left being in severe pain.
The ‘Doctor’ arrived and after inspecting my condition, assured me that it was not a big deal, that there was no fracture, the elbow was dislocated and a muscle tear around the elbow. He told me that he would fix the problem. While the muscle would take some time to heal, I needed to take care of the elbow so that it would not dislocate again.
He guessed that I did a good job before his coming and has corrected the elbow myself.
After pouring some oil from ‘bagpiper’ bottle on my elbow, without using any anesthesia and with tremendous force he started twisting my elbow to its rightful place. It was like two wrestlers fighting, where one was attacking and the other one was defending. While he was using all his force to twist my elbow on one side I was trying my best not to allow him do so.
The process took several minutes. While he was smiling and enjoying I was in total pain. However, looking at his confidant face I was quite happy in my heart and wanted him to win this fight, as in his victory lay my freedom from pain.
After gruesome struggle, he left my hand and told me that everything was alright. He tied my elbow with a bandage and advised me not to use it for at least two weeks and also to give it massage three times a day with lukewarm water.
It was such a relief. I felt so good. I offered to pay but he refused to accept even a single penny, did not even disclosed his name. The World is a good place to live because of people like him. Good people still do exist, if you haven’t found one, see him at his shop in Khajjiar.
The man not only healed me but taught me a very vital lesson. There is more joy in giving than receiving.
With bandaged left arm, relieved of most of the pain and only right hand available and being solo, I had a choice to make, either to return back home Amritsar via Dalhousie or move ahead to Chamba and be a part of Minjar Fair.
Being believer in gut feeling, I chose to move ahead.
While driving out of Khajjiar I tried changing gears with my left hand and after driving for few kilometers it became clear that I won’t be able to use it. There was no grip, power in my left hand and it felt so painful as well.
Suddenly faces of some of the known people started flashing on my inner eyes. They were the people who had one or more limbs amputated and were driving their vehicles with their amputated limbs.
My mind was continuously oscillating what to do next, go to Jot and then back home Amritsar or walk up to Pohlani Mata temple and then go back to Amritsar or go to Chamba for Minjar Mela and then see further.
I was not enjoying at all. There was fear of weather turning bad, rains, floods and landslides. There were few terrorists activities in the past few days which created a major security concern in Jammu & Kashmir.
All in all, everything seemed to be going against my continuing the trip.
After passing through the reserve forest, statue of Shiva, forest check post and the site for paragliders taking off reach village Gete, and took u-turn puts towards Chamba instead of going straight towards Jot.
Saw some village women selling locally grown radish and cucumber near a water stream. Munching on those wonderfully tasty raw veggies dripped in local spices was a wonderful experience.
Located at 3300 ft ASL and on the banks of furiously flowing Ravi River, Chamba is a district and an ancient town in Himachal Pradesh. It has numerous temples and palaces and is famous for ‘Suhi Mata Mela’ and ‘Minjar Mela’.
It has a large grassy ground right in the middle of the town called Chaugan, the centre of all the major activities in the town. Champavati temple, Laxmi Narayan Temple and Bhuri Singh museum are some of the other famous places for the tourists.
There was big rush in Chamba and I found it very tough driving through the crowded, narrow lanes with only one hand working. I was using my right hand to control steering and to change gears as well. Somehow found a parking slot in a nearby lane and then walked inside Chaugan, the venue for Minjar Fair.
The Mela was fully packed, people were busy eating, shopping and playing with their families and friends. In the beginning, I did not find anything of interest to me. More so as there was lot of pain in left arm, was sleepy and tired too.
By evening I started feeling better. Pain had receded a little and weather turned good. Unlike afternoon when it was quite hot, evening was much cooler. With the start of cultural programs and under lights, it became very colorful as well.
Beginning from the last Sunday of July and lasting for one week, Minjar Fair is held every year in Chamba. People offer prayers at the Laxmi Narayan Temple and celebrate throughout the week.
The main attraction of the fair are folk songs and dances. The fair starts with the distribution of Minjar (a silk tassel worn on front parts of the dress by men and women alike).
It is believed that since Ravi River used to flow between Champawati Temple and Hari Rai Temple, it was very difficult for people to reach the other temple if they were on either side. The then Raja of Himachal Pradesh asked a saint to make the temple of Hari Rai accessible to people.
The saint performed yoga for one week, using a colored stick called Minjar. As a result the course of River Ravi got changed and the people could easily access the temples.
It was good to see people from all over the state participating in the fair and enjoying.
Vendors from far off places were there to sell all kind of merchandise.
The atmosphere continued to be good well into the night.
There was a large stage on one side of the ground where various cultural programs were being performed and telecast live on TV.
Minjar Fair Chamba
Had an amazing time, walking around, clicking pictures and watching people making merry with their friends and families.
Finally got tired, took dinner and found a good place to park the car and sleep inside. Like the previous two nights I found it difficult to sleep inside the car again, too much heat and suffocation. Went walking in Chaugan and found vendors from outside sleeping in the open ground near their merchandise.
Thus inspired, took out my bedding from the car, placed it amongst the vendors in chaugan, listened to the interesting talk happening all around, finally went to sleep.
The best sleep of the trip so far and one of the most memorable ones, one of the many firsts in my life………………!!!
Map of the route followed for the day