Sunday, February 11, 2018


A far cry from the much celebrated ‘Saawan Ke Jhoole’ and the ‘Peengh’ , the pictures of which showing young damsels,singing and smiling while swinging to and fro evoke romantic feelings, the Jhoola in Kinnaur and some other interior areas of Himachal Pradesh is altogether bereft of such romance and can at best be called a crude predecessor of the chic power driven Cable Car found at some places as a tourist attraction for those who cannot negotiate the long distances to go to the places uphill. A Jhoola is a narrow metal structure or a trolly for sitting or keeping goods to be transported across the river , where the road facility or bridges have not been available. The Jhoola is fixed with hooks and ring to a thick metal rope fixed at the both ends to the platforms made for the purpose. A long rope, strategically made to pass through a numder of metal rings runs parallel to the metal rope and is pulled by the occupant/passenger to move the trolly forward. The extra precaution is to be exercised at the either of the platforms not to get entangled with the may folds rope falling on the ground lest one should get carried away and eventually fall in the river or the khad as the case may be. 

I had heard of these Jhoolas and swings but not come face to face with a situation when I would be forced to use one. However I did not have to wait long to be a part of the ‘adventure’. I was posted at Pooh in the ‘80s .Once returning to Pooh from Shimla where had gone on official tour, we were held up at Tapri more than 80 km short of Pooh, as due to excessive rains, there were landslides at many places and buses or vehicles would not go beyond Tapri . The small PWD Rest House , being already packed , we were in a fix where to go and stay for the night. Fortunately, Narbir, an employee also stationed at Pooh, had become my co- passenger and companion from Shimla . He told me that he had some friends staying at Sholtu across the Satluj river but we had to go in a Jhoola, a there were no other means of getting there. Not an easy option for me as I was scared of sitting in a Jhoola lest some mishap should happen. We went to the starting point of the Jhoola, where a platform was there to board and disembark from the Jhoola. It was amusing to be told by some local person, ”Janaab hum to gai bakri bhi is par le jaate hain”. Was I not a better being than a gai or a bakri – I suggested to myself. However after seeing a living demo of how people went to and fro, I mustered up courage to get into the Jhoola and with closed eyes ferried across safely. Our hosts at Sholtu extended us warm hospitality and all anxiety of adventure was forgotten .We spent two nights at Sholtu in between coming to Tapri about restoration of traffic. However the third day we proceeded on further journey part on foot, part by bus and part in a Jeep that we came across just by chance .How we travelled from Tapri and reached Pooh will make the subject matter of another post.
Hard areas are called so not without reason !

No comments:

Post a Comment