Home » Khajjiar disappoints tourists with its ‘Mini Switzerland’ illusion, revealing a muddy reality | Shimla News – Times of India

Khajjiar disappoints tourists with its ‘Mini Switzerland’ illusion, revealing a muddy reality | Shimla News – Times of India

Khajjiar disappoints tourists with its ‘Mini Switzerland’ illusion, revealing a muddy reality | Shimla News – Times of India

DALHOUSIE: Tourists visiting Khajjiar, baptized as “Mini Switzerland” are initially thrilled at the prospect of experiencing its lush meadows, expansive esplanade, and serene lakes. However, their excitement fades when they come across a muddy pond labeled as a lake, officially called a wetland, leading them to mock the moniker “Mini Switzerland” which could cause much embarrassment to the Swiss.
Almost round but dark, black, muddy water lake , as commonly called by tourists and locals alike, presents a rather unappealing sight, with muck spilling over its banks and onto the surrounding grass with garbage littered around its banks and inside the weeds. However, despite feeling helpless or perhaps too excited, tourists have little choice but to sit around the so-called lake, indulging in snacks and drinks.
Tourists may feel deceived, but they do find solace in the natural beauty of the dense pines, deodars, and lush green meadows surrounding the muck pond which no doubt offer a panoramic and breathtaking view to all visitors.
A small saucer-shaped plateau surrounded by dense pine and deodar forests, is one of the 160 places throughout the world to have been designated “Mini Switzerland”, about 24 kilometres from Dalhousie at an attitude of 6500 feet above sea level.
According to the official website of the Chamba administration, Khajjiar was officially baptized by the Swiss Ambassador on July 7, 1992, and as per records, a stone was taken here and forms part of the stone sculpture erected in Berne, the capital of Switzerland.
The official website mentions Khajjiar as a “small picturesque saucer-shaped plateau surrounded by dense pine and deodar forests” and has no mention of the lake or even the wetland.
“Before our visit, we conducted online research about Khajjiar and found that the majority of websites referred to it as Khajjiar Lake except the Chamba administrations official website . However, upon arrival, we discovered that Khajjiar is not actually a lake but a picturesque plateau surrounded by stunning thick forests and in the centre of plateau is a muddy pond which is a sore to eyes” said Dalip Bhaskar, a tourist from Delhi.
Another tourist, Rupa Ganguly from Kolkata, expressed her disappointment after visiting Khajjiar. “I wish there was no lake at all, it just mars the beauty of the surroundings. The lake is highly unkempt, the littered garbage is not picked up, it reeks, and it presents a dismal picture of Khajjiar,” she said.
Divisional Forest Officer, Chamba, Kuldeep Singh Jamwal said “It is a wetland and every measure to clean the wetland is taken as per the guidelines of Wildlife Institute of India”. He also claimed that the department often removes weeds from the wetland and clean it of the organic waste
Deepak Bhatia, the president of Prerana The Inspiration, an NGO based in Chamba, expressed concern over the environmental issues at Khajjiar. He said “For the past five years, we have been dedicated to environmental protection. Despite the toll tax imposed on every vehicle traveling to Khajjiar, tourists often have a negative experience due to the unclean state of the lake.” Bhatia also criticized the administration for not taking necessary measures to clean the lake and remove slush and waste. “We will soon take a delegation to meet the Deputy Commissioner of Chamba to take necessary action to save the lake and clean it so it could at lat look like a lake and not a mud pond”.