There is a deep and pining love in my heart for hills; one which keeps me awake some nights just reminiscing moments of peace from the cozy lap of mountains. Evidently, this grand escape from the rush of city life was to the hush of hills; to be there amidst any mountain, finding a moment’s peace in the chilly hilly air searing past me. So here I was en-route to a hill-station; or may be more than one with a friend. There is something about travelling in a pair which makes it so comfortable yet not too crowded.We started our journey on a bus ride to Simla, the queen of all hill stations & reached there to a crisp bright morning with fresh alpine air tickling our senses. The sun was quite sharp for 7 am, but the heat was pleasant on our skin, sending off a radiance of purity. Simla was going to be our base, with an overnight stay, to rest and head off to our next stop. But as destiny would have it, Simla was packed and over an hour of walking yielded no results. We didn’t complain, I mean who doesn’t like an early morning walk in fresh air. Walking off towards the Mall Road; and looking for a place to freshen up; we stopped by at the Kalibari, a Kali temple in the heart of Simla. Amongst other things, there were monkeys having water from taps, just like humans do, and they shut the taps as well. Phew! Oddly satisfying, I must say.
Then came the D-Day ( 3rd September 2015), it was for the first time in the history of my household that all the packing was completed well in advance. There were no last minute stuffing’s in the luggage, all essentials in the list were ticked off. Had this trip not taken place I would have never known how efficient me and my husband can be as a team ;) (Touch wood…..).Our HPTDC Delhi-Manali Volvo departed at 6:30 p.m from Himachal Bhawan, New Delhi. Although initially apprehensive about covering 570 Kms by bus I was very much at ease once the journey started. The semi sleeper recliners were pretty comfortable and before we took our dinner break at Ambala Cantt, hubby had already taken a couple of power naps. There were not many stoppages in the route except for a 10 min tea break at Murthal, 30 min dinner break at Ambala Cantt, another tea break at Swarghat and finally a breakfast break at Pandoh. I settled comfortably on my seat after dinner and dozed off hoping to wake up to lush green terrace farms next morning with a river running by the side of road. I don’t remember when we started the ascent but all of a sudden I woke up to a terrible jerk which banged my already sore left foot to the side of my seat. A painful end to my sweet dreams. Although the pain didn’t last long, but all my efforts to gain my sleep back were now a waste of time. Unable to sleep I started noticing the landmarks outside, which was no less than a task by itself owing to the absence of street lights on roads. At 3:00 am, while all the co passengers snored in sync, I struggled with the GPS in my phone to know how long we have come. The condition of road was deteriorating with every kilometer which left me wondering whether we are on the actual route or some shortcut. Trying hard to locate ourselves I saw some light at some distance and discovered that we have reached Swarghat. The road was being repaired due to which there were innumerable diversions and maybe that’s why the ascent was a bit tiring. In between my cat naps I faintly remember coming across signboards of some remote places like Bilaspur, Barmana and Sundernagar.