Escaping from Delhi within a student budget ;)

Photo of Escaping from Delhi within a student budget ;) by Sumeet Dansena

Living in the capital has its own toll on you, the smoke, the noise and this goddamn heat but what we often forget is that it's a gateway to the Himalayas. Here, I’m going to talk about one of the most common destinations found in everybody's Travel list...'Shimla' and a route to feast upon all the major scenic treats this town has to offer which are often ignored by the tourists visiting the town.

Budget (The best part)

Anything more than 1000/- rupees should be enough because the only money you need to spend while visiting Shimla should be spent solely on the bus tickets and food (because I’m a broke student and ready to compromise on everything else but not food). So, if you are visiting the town at the end of the month, you are not missing out much.

How to reach?

Take a direct bus from ISBT Kashmere Gate to Shimla. The bus that I prefer is HRTC Non-AC one. The to and fro cost for this route is Rupees 413/- respectively. You may wonder why I choose the Non AC bus, while the AC one is feasible. Well, do you really need AC while travelling to hills? Also, these buses are cheaper so, Yayiee !! You can take the bus that departs at around 7:30pm, if you want to reach the destination earlier and witness sunrise or you can take the one that departs at around 11:30 pm, as per your convenience.

Photo of Escaping from Delhi within a student budget ;) 1/1 by Sumeet Dansena

The route

Once you reach Shimla, you do not need to rush to see the whole place as quickly as possible . I would recommend you to just walk and see this beautiful town. It is both refreshing and pocket friendly. It is at Shimla ISBT where you get first glimpses of this lush green hill town.

Photo of New ISBT Shimla, Shimla Bypass, Tutikandi, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sumeet Dansena

From the bus stand, start walking towards Vidhan Sabha. You can either ask for directions or use the old trusted friend- The Internet. The distance is little more than 3.5 kms and it would take you around two hours to reach there. The route itself is very pleasing and finds a progressively better view of the lower part of the town as you move towards the Vidhan Sabha. After reaching, you will definitely get amazed by the architecture of the Vidhan Sabha.

Photo of Vidhan Sabha, Nabha, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sumeet Dansena

The actual scenic route starts from here. Ask for directions and move towards the ridge from here. The beautiful scenes of the valley that you get in this route are just beyond words to express. Moreover, the area around Vidhan Sabha is covered with pine trees. Do not forget to collect some pine cones; after all free souvenirs never hurt. On your way to ridge, you’ll cross path with some notorious monkeys, be vigilant. The distance between Vidhan Sabha and Ridge is little less than 2 kms and would take around 40 to 50 minutes. The ridge is one of the tourists' hotspot of the town and if you are lucky enough, you may reach there in afternoon when the crowd is minimal. Little ahead of ridge you’ll find Christ church. Do make a point to visit this place considering it one of the tourist attractions of the town.

Photo of The Ridge, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh by Sumeet Dansena

The road from the ridge to the 'Mall Road' is like a gallery where best of the architectural delights are present, and who doesn’t know about the Iconic Mall road, it is the heart of Shimla. The walk from ridge to the mall is as short as a kilometer which would take about half an hour at maximum. Wander around in the area, you will find tons of Instagram worthy buildings here. Now you can head down the stairs to experience the hustle and bustle of the 'Lakkar Bazar' where you can finally have the mouth watering street food after a long day of wandering around Shimla.

When the sun starts to set, gather all your strength and excitement to climb up one last time to witness the surreal sunset at the Mall Road. Fortunately, if you are more energetic, head back to the ridge for a wider view of the town as sun sets and remains there for a little longer period of time.

Also, you will get to witness the valley at night when it gets lighted up brightly. Believe me, the view of town you get from here is the best. You can choose to sit back there for a while and experience the real serenity that the place offers. The world would look more beautiful to you when you will breathe in the scent of nature. Getting to see the Mall road at night with the town lighted up in golden is a win win situation. Do not miss this out!

With this, your budget friendly walk of Shimla comes to an end. Head back to Lakkar bazar, find the local bus stop and take a city bus to Shimla ISBT. If you are lucky enough to grab a window seat (which let me tell you is like finding a seat in metro at Rajiv chowk) you'll get to see the whole town lit like it happens during Diwali Celebrations. What more can you ask for? Don’t worry if you are too mesmerized by the view of valley at night and spend a little bit more time looking at it and end up taking a couple of rounds in city bus. The last HRTC bus to Delhi leaves at around 10 pm, just be sure to book your ticket in advance.

Photo of Escaping from Delhi within a student budget ;) by Sumeet Dansena

So that’s how you do Shimla in Budget. Frankly, I don’t even know any other way of wandering in this pleasant hill town and honestly, I don’t even want to. Hills always bring inspiration to widen your arena of happiness and believe me, this destination will bring more of it.