Breathtaking panoramic Himalayan views in Shimla are such a treat for everyone, but especially for nature lovers like me. The fresh, cool, crisp air fills your lungs and is enough to make you euphoric. There is also this wild pine fragrance floating in the air and floating mist driving you insane.
To add to this blissful experience, I decided to visit Chadwick Falls a mere 7 kilometers away from Shimla. ‘The waterfall must be at the peak of its glory now that the monsoons are just over’ I thought to myself. The beautiful ride into the Glen forest got over too quickly and I realized that I had to trek nearly a kilometer to reach the waterfalls. This waterfall is high up in the forest nearly 1500 meters above the sea level.
The story behind the strange name is short but interesting. The waterfall was so high up that locals used to say that only birds can reach the top. So they used to call this place ‘Chidku Jhar’ which in local language gets loosely translated as ‘Bird waterfall’. When the British officers moved here they mispronounced the word as Chadwick and hence the current name.
There is another anecdote associated with the name of this waterfall. Some say that Chadwick was a British scientist here who committed suicide in this waterfall. Some others talk of a mythological demon associated with this waterfall. Listening to these tales can be quite entertaining.
I was well equipped for a trek with warm clothing complete with earmuffs and gloves, sturdy shoes and a beautiful walking stick I had picked from Lakkar Bazaar just the previous evening. The forest was dense and a bit dark and damp. The forest canopy is so thick that hardly any light reaches the ground. I was surrounded by sentinel beings- huge black brown tree trunks of the green-blue pines or deodar. The silence in the forest would be briefly broken by a bird call or a buzzing insect. I could hear my footsteps crunching the soft pine needles that carpeted the forest path. I wish I had company; this small trek was turning out to be an adventure by itself. The climb was quite steep. I was climbing over a stony path, sometimes climbing over rocks and sometimes crossing hurdles of giant fallen tree trunks.
When I finally reached the waterfall, it was so amazingly gorgeous. The crystal clear water gurgling in streams and finally falling in white sheets from nearly 80 meters height in great gusto is quite a sight. At the bottom is the water collecting in a mirror clean pool. It is so pristine and serene that you forget the rest of the world. You forget even time. You just sit and watch and listen and breathe in the beauty and serenity.
It is not the tallest or the biggest waterfall in the world. In fact, it is quite small and so absolutely hidden. But the whole experience of the trek and the pristine place is quite extraordinary and very memorable.
Though the fall is a stone’s throw away from quaint little Shimla town and a favorite picnic spot of the locals, the place is largely undeveloped. The big positive is the natural beauty is maintained in its raw form. Also, despite the waterfall being at the peak of its splendor, there was hardly any crowd. This is my books is a huge plus. In many places, I have seen human crowds overtaking nature and spoiling the experience. Here you have all the time to soak in the raw energies of nature in serene exquisite and pristine conditions. I could live here forever!
Featured Photo: Geograph