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The Enchanting Kalsi Pass: A Portal to the Himalayas

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March 31, 1858
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Mohammed Abdulkarim
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Scenery and Places
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Humayun II 1858-1877

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IMAGE: Troops Encamped at the Entrance to the Keree pass, North of Meerut' by Unsigned (1858). 


Troops Encamped at the Entrance to the Kalsi Pass (Formarly know as Keere Pass), North of Meerut" is a painting created by an unknown artist in 1858. The painting depicts a scene during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the First War of Indian Independence, which took place in India between 1857 and 1858. 

The Keree Pass, now known as Kalsi pass is a mountain pass located north of Meerut in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. During the rebellion, the pass was a strategic location for British troops who were trying to quell the uprising. The painting shows a group of British troops camped at the entrance to the pass, with their tents and equipment scattered around them. The soldiers are depicted resting or engaged in various activities, while a few others are standing guard.


The painting is significant as it provides a glimpse into the military operations during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a pivotal event in India's history. The Keree Pass was an important location during the rebellion, and this painting captures the atmosphere and activities of the British troops stationed there. The Kalsi Pass, formerly known as the Keeree Pass, dates back to the 19th century when European residents in Hindoostan (now India) sought refuge in the hills to escape the scorching heat of the plains. Back then, many travelers were driven to the hills by the need for a more bracing climate to recuperate their health. The pass lies on a popular route that starts from Saharanpur, a frontier town of the province of Delhi, and penetrates the valley of the Deyrah Dhoon before reaching the interior of the Himalayas and the sources of the sacred rivers, Jumna and Ganges. Kalsi Pass, also known as the Har Ki Dun Pass, is situated at an altitude of around 4,800 meters and offers a breathtaking view of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. It is situated on the route connecting the Tons River Valley with the Yamuna River Valley and is a popular destination for trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. 


The Journey Through Kalsi Pass (Formerly known as the Keeree Pass):  As travelers leave Saharanpur and embark on their journey towards the valley of the Dhoon, they pass through the Kalsi Pass, which serves as a mesmerizing gateway to the pristine beauty of the Himalayas. The pass is characterized by its rocky eminences and richly covered with stately trees, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. With each step through the winding valley, the landscape changes its features, presenting a stunning variety of craggy cliffs, wild rock formations, dense forests, and verdant valleys. The pass often evokes a sense of joy and wonder in travelers, as they recognize points of resemblance between the landscapes of their northern homes and the splendid creations of the Indian soil. 


Flora and Fauna: The Kalsi Pass is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. The giant creeper, also known as the scandent bauhinia, is a native plant found in the region, characterized by its snake-like stem that winds around the trunks of forest trees. The pass is also adorned with the rich scent of the superb blossoms of the baubool tree, filling the air with intoxicating perfume. The thick forests and brushwood in the region are teeming with wildlife, including peacocks, hares, black and gray partridges, and even the elusive tiger. The abundance of wildlife in the Kalsi Pass presents an exciting opportunity for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. 


Geographical Features: The Kalsi Pass is situated at an elevation that varies from 500 to 900 feet above the plains and about 2,500 feet above sea level. The pass is primarily composed of sandstone, indurated clay, and beds of rounded pebbles and gravel. These geological features characterize the pass throughout its range, from Hurdwar to its termination. The pass extends over a length of more than six miles and comprises two halting places, the Mohun Chokee at the entrance and the Shoupore Chokee within the pass. The terrain provides a picturesque setting for travelers and adventurers, with encampments often featuring horses, elephants, and bullocks, used for the transportation of baggage and supplies.


Modern-Day Exploration: Today, the Kalsi Pass remains a popular destination for travelers seeking to explore the beauty and mystique of the Himalayas. The pass offers a unique experience that combines the thrill of adventure, the serenity of nature, and a deep connection to the rich history and culture of the region. With modern amenities and infrastructure, travelers can now access the pass more easily than ever before, making it an ideal destination for a wide range of adventurers, from seasoned trekkers to families seeking a memorable vacation.

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.

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