Established in 2003 and capacity of 25,000 spectators are just two of several most inappropriate ways to describe the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. In fact, there is no way and there are hardly any words that can do absolute justice to this majestic ground, nestled in the cradles of the Himalayas.
They say every cricket fan must visit The Lord's once in his lifetime. This author feels everybody, regardless of inclination towards sports, ought to behold this panoramic venue with his own eyes. To call it a structure would be a huge mistake. To call it just a stadium would be understating it. In fact, several search engines on the web returned unimpressive result when used for for finding an apt word to truly describe the feeling one gets above the pavilion stand.
Mountains on one side and a deep valley on the other make the HPCA Stadium a fantastic place, one in which screaming spectators will take till the first 10 overs of the opening innings to just realize that there is actually a cricket match being played too. State-of-the art facilities including a bar and guest-rooms overlooking the field are present but even the wealthy section of people present here would much rather ogle at the priceless beauty at the disposal of their plain sight. (Image above: One of the guest-rooms overlooking the field of play! Image taken by Shubhodeep)
To this author, an important aspect of cricket that struck him when he visited in 2010 was the sheer joy and passion with which the locals approach the sport. A flat land for children to play street cricket is a common sight in most parts of India. In Dharamsala, it is a dream. HPCA Stadium stands testimony to the fact that dreams and visions do come true. (Image left: View of the ground from the upper tiers.)
When Indian players take on England here this Sunday (the first international match here), there will be just one winner - human endeavor that makes 'venues' like this possible. Therefore, this blog is brought to an end as as stated above, words can try but never do justice to this place. (Note: The views expressed above are that of the author and may or may not be that of NDTV)