E were cruising at a height of 4600 metres. The captain announced that those sitting on the right side of the aircraft can enjoy the snow-capped Himalayas. The glimpse at the undulating peaks assured a glorious headstart to our vacation. Our first destina
nothing but indulge in spectacular views around with scrumptious buffet meals. The verdant forest presented a beautiful view from literally every single direction. My camera rolled with never-ending desire.
I can only say, “Kandaghat is the best house in the loveliest street!”
Shimla was next on the itinerary. This name is derived from Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of Hindu goddess, Kali. Jakhoo hill at 2454 metres is the highest point.
The concrete hill disappointed me. It appeared more of a commercial town.
Being one of the most popular ones in the North, the tourists keep pouring in, but in the absence of end point. Otherwise lifting toddlers up the gradient steep could be a bother.
With nothing much to do, we satiated ourselves with whatever came to us and left. The fine drops of rain swiftly breezed past. We rushed back to Mashobra where we booked our hotel for the next two nights. Our first dinner at Mashobra was replete with the balle balle theme. We had it to our heart’s content since the lunch wasn’t satisfactory. Next morning we resumed our trip to Kufri. Barely 13 km from Shimla, basking in the glory of the Himalayas, it’s a small hill station in Shimla district. Kufri Fun Campus at New Kufri, on Gallu Hill, was our first stop. We were told it is
Having been to Essel World and Imagica Theme Park this looked like a tiny pocket, but I feel once you set out for your chosen destination you must enjoy what it offers. It has a restaurant, a fast food counter, well manicured gardens and nice landscape, besides the 25-plus rides in close proximity of each other that didn’t tire our number 11 (a childhood funny name given to our legs!).
Bhatura chhole was super yum! With a meagre ` 30 per plate with two big balls of bhaturas and fatfree piping hot chhole it was like one ate a free meal. I’m wary of eating fried stuff but it was fried in fresh oil. Even the 2 minute noodles with juliennes of green bell pepper and carrots looked fascinating – quite like the colours of the Italy flag! With an entry ticket of ` 250 inclusive of CGST and SGST per adult you could barely peep in. It didn’t
WITH A MEAGRE ` 30 PER PLATE WITH TWO BIG BALLS OF
AND FAT-FREE PIPING HOT CHHOLE IT WAS LIKE ONE ATE A FREE MEAL. FUN AND FOOD
include any ride. However, Go Karting at 9000ft above sea level was stupendous!
A few kilometres away from this is the point where it gets the heaviest snowfall. At this time of the year we didn’t expect the white cover, but the misty clouds dominated wherever our eyes could go. In summers what covers the potato plantation strangely changes into a glorious skiing destination in winters.
Cars parked in long stretches and horses in abundance implied a heavy rush. One could not scout around in cars from here on. To enjoy the apple orchard and a few points one has to hire a stallion. The muddy wet weather and pregnant clouds hovering over the sky restricted us not to venture out further.
We agreed to pay ` 13, 000 to the taxi service with a promise that it would run the AC throughout but while travelling up Kufri we had a strange desire to smell the air. We rolled down an inch of window – something we never do in our hometown – for no reason and for all the reasons.
The colts’ excreta emitted an undefined odour and we instantly rolled up even the last inch of our window glasses.
From 2600 metres at Kufri we were now at 2200 metres at “The Palace” – Chail.
Its history might bore you but you would happily remember it served as Chanchad Villa of 3 Idiots.
Built in 1891, it was originally a part of Keonthal state and later came under the sway of Gorkha warrior Amar Singh.
Earlier the summer seat of the Maharaja of Patiala, it was purchased by Himachal Tourism in 1972 and stands today as a premium heritage hotel. It nestles in the shelter of virgin forests covering an area of 72 acres on three adjacent hills. Chail is about 200 metres higher and 48 kms from Shimla.
To glimpse or be there for food, an entry charge of ` 100 per adult inclusive of GST is levied. We lunched at the King’s Dining which served good food. It was reasonably priced too.
The chhah meat – a recipe of tender lamb pieces cooked in Himachali lassi ( chhah) along with traditional spices was wholesome.
I never imagined I would revisit one of my honeymoon destinations with our grandchild. It was truly exciting! With more memories added, now I just needed to shut my eyes to be there once again...
Just doing nothing and having those still moments by your side is what really rejuvenates our body.
Tucked amidst beautiful green landscapes and picturesque valleys, we finally had a great peace and comfort in our hotel room for the final night. While booking a room I always put up a request for room or floor preference. The valley view was replete with fog even in the afternoons. The pine trees looked majestic!
It was our second and final day at Mashobra. We didn’t visit President’s Retreat or the helipad. We opted instead for a good walk. The weather continued to embrace us. Lying on the comfortable bed it was a delightful sight as monkeys frolicked over and under, and up and down the trees. We had early dinner with Himachali cuisine. Chana madra with steamed rice, a regional dish, was a deviation treat. It’s akin to Panjabi chhole with the difference that here the curry is thickened with yoghurt.
After a good two nights here, it was time to pack our bags. Some prefer to lazily stick at one place, but a circuit resort vacation around one particular area is a better concept, according to me. It was nice to be with hills without any sickness but our appetiser Hajmola kept us from impaired stomach rhythm. Frederick Wilcox said, “For travel to be delightful, one must have a good place to leave and return to.” The sun smiled brightly and so did we to return where we started from – our sweet home.
At the airport, when I thanked the driver for his skilful hill driving. He said, “Madam, ek minute...!”
He took out a handful of pictures and said, “Madam, main aapko kuchh photos dikhata hoon. (I want to show you some photos).
MITAB (Amitabh) BACHCHAN chose only me to drive him through...”
We praised him openly, thanked him once again, and walked toward departures. After a good dose of rejuvenation, we were back home.
Even though the memories last forever, the best moment to share these is soon after – and not later. We