Lifestyle Travel 05 Jul 2018 Glocally speaking: V ...

Glocally speaking: Visiting idyllic alpine Disentis

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | JOHN SAMUEL
Published Jul 5, 2018, 7:08 am IST
Updated Jul 5, 2018, 7:08 am IST
In the summer, an unforgettable sight is the Alpine roses — a mountain full of beautiful roses under the bright blue sky.
John Samuel
 John Samuel

It’s not an exaggeration when they say Switzerland is the most beautiful country in the world. Not only is it home to the amazing Alps, it also boasts of 1400 lakes. This scenic country is also one of the most economically and politically developed countries of the world. That you get some of the best chocolates and watches in the world here just adds to the charm of the place.  

In the last few days, I was at Disentis, a municipality in the Rhine Valley, in the lap of the Alps.  Disentis is one of the oldest and most beautiful settlements in the south-west of the country. It takes three hours to reach Disentis from Zurich.  On sunny days, one can see the gleaming glaciers on the top of the mountains. It is also a centre of the 1400-year-old Disentis Monastery, which dates back to 720 C.E. This place, where 96 per cent of the population is Catholic, is also home to many ancient churches; the church bells ring almost every hour.

 

In the summer, an unforgettable sight is the Alpine roses — a mountain full of beautiful roses under the bright blue sky. Alpine Rose grows from 1800 to 2000 meters above the sea level (1800 to 2000 feet). A mountain full of beautiful roses smiling on a sunny day is truly a sight for sore eyes.

This municipality is connected by  Glacier Express and the journey through the mountainous areas is a beautiful trip. For that matter, every train journey in this region is memorable and one can see glimpses of beautiful lakes, large farms and majestic mountains. What makes Disentis special is that in the entire province, there is great emphasis on heritage management. Old houses from the 16 and 17th Centuries are well-preserved and people still live there. The churches too have retained their charm. A visit to Disentis isn’t complete without a trip to the monastery.

 

It’s also surprising that one of the most known and respected persons here is an Indian — a Malayali priest, Dr Geevarghese Changeth. He speaks Romansh like the natives and is the main priest in charge of 14 churches in the municipality.
Living in places surrounded by magical mountains, flowing streams, beautiful valleys and streets full of history lets you experience life in an extraordinary way. Yesterday, I participated in the community grill and lunch and discovered how friendly the people here are. All in all, this trip to Rhine Valley is an eye-opener and an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life.

 

— The writer, John Samuel, is an international traveller, and researcher on international relations, public policy and governance

HT09

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