Unearthing Fossils in the Hills

The CCE curriculum of CBSE ensures that the children and their parents spend some quality time together. A few days ago, I was teaching Anu for her Social Studies exam. The chapter was ‘Northern Mountains‘. I wished I had learned my lessons properly during school days, because this whole exercise taught me so many things about the various states, the climates, their vegetation, their languages, their people and how to differentiate between the different tribes.

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I ensured to make points for Anu just as Mom would make for me when I was her age. It certainly makes it easier for the child. And since I wrote in with ink and pen, it is engraved in my memory too.

After studies as always Anu waited for her father to pour out all new things that she studied. Unlike Salman she gets her kick from this exercise when we make faces and express that we didn’t know it earlier. She tells her father how the Himalayas are divided into Himadri, Himachal and Shivalik. She is aware that we have been to Himachal because she remembers our trips to Manali and Chail. She told him that she wanted to visit Shivalik.

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The darling dad that he is, the father took us on an absolutely unplanned surprise trip to the Shivalik. To be precise, we went for a short two-day trip to a lesser known place called Nahan, 270 Kms from Delhi. It’s a very small place, 15 Kms from Kala Amb which is an industrial hub with factories of chemical and pharmaceutical companies like Pidilite Industries, Cipla Limited, Cadilla Healthcare and the makers of Royal Stag and Seagram’s beverages. Commercialization is yet to spoil this place.

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Nahan has no big sight-seeing points except the river Markanda that flows across Nahan district and the scenic beauty of the Shivalik hills. We then drove to Shri Renukaji which is about 55 Kms from Nahan. The drive was so fulfilling with mountains, valleys and waterfalls all along.

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There’s always a risk travelling to hilly regions during rainy season. Landslides had blocked the way at many places and hence the husband was a bit reluctant in going forward. We asked a local and he said, “Mataji ka naam leke nikal padiye aap.‘ I told husband to continue and we can drive back if there’s more on the way. A little later we saw more and more vehicles following us and some overtaking us. Through the rains and the landslide remains (which were being cleared by government officials) we drove up to Jamta to find out that we were up in the clouds. Awesome view it was.

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We then drove down to Shri Renukaji which has a popular temple, two lakes and a small zoo. Renuka to me is my younger sister and so I took the liberty of removing the respectful ‘Ji’ without knowing why this place was called Renukaji.

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The temple is apparently the only Parasurama temple in India (I doubt. I think there are Parasurama temples elsewhere in India too, especially my home-state Kerala which was created by Him). We entered the temple and heard the priest telling stories about who Renukaji was. She is Parasurama’s mother and it is believed that every year he comes disguised to this place to meet his mother.

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There are two lakes named: Parasurama Lake and Renukaji Lake. The Renukaji Lake is home to huge fishes and tortoises. Our girls had a wonderful time feeding these creatures and we had the time of lives watching them smile again and again.

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We also met this family which made Lil Love jump up smiling. She wanted to take the little one home. Of course, her mother is already making the house a small zoo.

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The next day we were to return back. But before that we had to make a trip to the Suketi (Saketi) Fossil Park situated in Kala Amb. We saw specimens of the fossils unearthed from this place displayed there. It contained fossils of brains , jaws, limbs, tusks etc. of Stegodon Ganesha, Rhinoceros, Crocodiles, Mammoths, Neanderthal man etc.

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It also displays life-size FRP (fibre-reinforced polymer) models of crocodiles, sabre tooth tiger and extinct four-horned giraffe. Nand Kishoreji took the pain of explaining the process of evolution to us and it was great to see Anu grasping onto each and every reference that he made.

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Our little geologist Anu on an expedition with her students explaining the evolution of the various species of Dinosaurs including her mom, T-Rex. She believes to be able to dig out the fossil remains of Archaeopteryx one day. It’s fun to listen to Dad and daughter’s non-stop chitter-chatter on whether she should be a geologist or a paleontologist or an archeologist.

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On our way back we also visited the Brahmakund Sarovar, Jyotisar (the birth place of Bhagwad Geeta) and Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb in Kurukshetra. We surely ought to spend some extra caution in maintaining these historic places which can generate popularity and wealth for the country through tourists. Beautiful places but almost completely ignored and abandoned.

Destiny has its own ways of making you reach people and places you had never planned for or dreamed of. This trip was one such rotation of the Chakra of Life and I’m thankful for the little blessings in life.

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This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Three-tenths: Scribble down the first ten words that come to mind. Pick three of them. There’s your post title. Now write! ”

The author Rekha Dhyani is one of the contributors to the We Post Daily and blogs regularly at Dew Drops. She also shares her lucky clicks at The Crystal Trance

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5 Replies to “Unearthing Fossils in the Hills”

  1. beautifulllllll … I loved it as it reminded me of the lovely bike rides we had from chandigarh going up to Paonta sahib.. and we went to this fossil park too.. not sure if its the same one ..
    we liked the back route from kala amb as it was kacha at that time and had to go through river beds ..

    and nahan is so beautiful

    1. Bikram, I guess it’s the same fossil park. I wish to visit Paonta Sahib some day soon. Rides through the hills are a refreshing experience. I find it quite rejuvenating. And Nahan indeed was beautiful!

  2. Though I haven’t heard of this place ( I wonder why such a beautiful place is not yet a popular spot ) but it looks wonderful 🙂 But it’s really unsafe to visit hilly areas during the monsoon…especially with kids…

    The photographs are great..clicked to get a better view….they looked nicer …

    1. We were not aware of the rains till we reached there. The plan was to return in case it seems dangerous. Thankfully all went well and I could post this travelogue. 🙂

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