Mountains are the only respite when it comes to beating the scorching heat of Delhi. The sun is becoming merciless with each passing day and people are looking for more and more weekend getaway options from the capital city. When it comes to the mountains, with the ongoing summer vacations for the kids, most of the families plan their trips to Shimla, Manali, and Dalhousie. These places may be the top of the list when it comes to finding the best holiday spots in summers, offbeat destinations during summers have their own charm. Offbeat summer destinations include places which are less explored, are not touristy and have peace to be offered in abundance. People these days are not looking to move from one urban jungle to another even for a holiday. The last week just before our big trip to Kedarnath, we wanted to take a short break to the foothills of Himalayas. We zeroed on Barog, a small town in the mountains which is close to Shimla yet far. The reason why Barog is a hidden gem near Shimla which should be your next weekend getaway is because of the cleanliness, the quietness and the humble people of Barog. Here is a Barog Travel guide which will help you in planning your vacation.
Barog is a small town located on the Kalka Shimla Highway around 60kms from Chandigarh. The town is easily accessible by bus, road or by toy train. Barog is a town ideal for couples or people looking for a break from the mundane life. A town just five-hours drive from Delhi, is located on the Kalka-Shimla Highway, at a decent incline and is very easily driveable should be next on your charts.
Barog is located on the foothills of Himalayas and is mostly cool throughout the year. The temperature in Barog ranges between 4 to 14-degree Celsius in winters and around 25 degrees in summers. Rains can be slightly unpredictable in Barog so it is always recommended to carry an umbrella with you.
Suggested itinerary for Barog
Start from New Delhi to Kalka via Kalka Shatabdi (12011) in the morning.
Reach Kalka by afternoon and take a cab to Barog which is at an hour's drive from Kalka railway station.
Reach Meraki Holiday Homes in Barog and spend the day at leisure enjoying home cooked food and natural beauty of Barog.
Spend the evening at the deck in Meraki watching the sun go down and the hills glow up in the dark.
Call it a day post a delicious dinner at Meraki.Day 2:
Start the day early and visit Dagshai post breakfast.
Visit the Dagshai museum and cellular jail along with other tourist spots in Dagshai.
Return to Meraki around noon to freshen up and lunch.
Start for Shimla around 4 in the evening.
Reach Shimla by 5:30 and spend the evening at Mall Road and Ridge.
Return to Meraki post dinner in Shimla and call it a day.Day 3:
Spend the day at leisure enjoying the indoor games and nature walk and homemade food at Meraki.
Start for Kalka post lunch to catch the Kalka Shatabdi to New Delhi.
Reach New Delhi by night and that's an end to your much needed and relaxing break to Barog.
Barog is a quiet town in the hills which is majorly dedicated to peaceful sightseeing and laidback breaks. As the town is located very close to Shimla, just an hour's drive, this town is perfect for those wanting to visit Shimla and yet stay away from the crowd. Here are a few places to visit in Barog and around:
1) Dagshai Museum: The Cantonment area of Barog also known as Dagshai is one of the oldest Cantonment in the country. The cantonment is famous for the Jail Museum also known as the Dagshai Museum. It was earlier a cellular jail which was built in 1840 and later converted into a museum. We could not visit the museum as the Dagshai Museum remains closed on Monday and we visited it on the same day. However, looking at the inside through the gate did give us a chill running down our spine as we could imagine how it would have been when the jail was fully operational.
Barog is one of the most important railway stations on the track of the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train. The station is located in a valley surrounded by greenery on all sides. This station is famous for the eateries present there and the train stops here for good 10 mins. The station is just outside the Barog Tunnel which is the longest tunnel on the Kalka Shimla train route. The railway station is picturesque and looks like it is out of a Bollywood movie set. This is one place that should be visited during your trip to Barog.Another non-touristy space in the Himalayas, Solan is preferred for the natural beauty and flora and fauna of this region. Solan is rich in vegetables and crops and is also known as the Mushroom Capital of India. Solan can easily be explored while staying at Barog. 2) Barog Railway Station: 3) Visit Solan:
When you are visiting Barog, a toy train ride should not be missed at all. The toy train starts from Kalka and goes all the way up to Shimla by crossing stations like Dharampur, Kumar Hatti, Barog and Solan. The train ride takes around 5 hours to complete and you can opt to board it from Barog to Shimla if you want. 4) Enjoy the Toy Train Ride: It is recommended to book your tickets for the toy train in advance to ensure there are no last-minute challenges.
Shimla is one of the most popular hill stations in North India and is only situated at an hour's drive from Barog. While we preferred to stay at Barog, we visited Shimla to enjoy the evening there. Shimla, as usual, was heavily crowded as it was a Sunday evening and the ridge was full of tourists. However, it was fun to take the toy train from Barog and visit Shimla. The toy train takes around 2 and a half hours from Barog. 5) Visit Shimla:
A stroll down the mall road, watching the sunset at the ridge followed by a dinner at one of the fine dining restaurants in Shimla can be your ideal evening during the trip. You can easily return to Barog post dinner as the roads are very safe. Our recommendation: Dinner at the Restaurant Hotel Combermere and Desserts at Cafe Sol.
As mentioned earlier, Barog is a small town but it has different stay options to cater to the needs of different tourists. While the town offers hotels to stay it also has a range of homestays in Barog. We chose to stay with Meraki which is one of the most beautiful stay options in Barog. Meraki is a holiday home conceptualized and run my Mrs. Aarti who is a traveler herself.
During our course of stay at Meraki, we loved the hospitality by Aarti ji and her staff Jagadish and his wife. The house is managed so beautifully by them that you will feel it's a home away from home. The rooms at Meraki will make you fall in love with them with the kind of view they offer. We took Himalayan Queen, the room on the first floor with a private deck and a stunning view of the hills. While we were there on the first day it was raining heavily but we enjoyed the most as the awesome weather was complimented well with ginger tea and pakodas as Meraki.
The food offered at Meraki is also one of the highlights. The food prepared here is vegetarian but is flavorsome. The staff can also cater non-vegetarian food for you however they request no cooking of non- vegetarian food in their kitchen.
The house is beautifully done on three floors with one room on the first floor, one on the ground and two in the basement. The house is so well furnished and sparkling clean that you end up staying indoors most of the time. Meraki also has a pool table and other indoor games to keep you entertained. They also offer high-speed internet connectivity, cable TV in each room and have a beautiful fireplace in the common area.
So this was our short yet serene trip to Barog and we completely loved the experience there. A mix of Shimla and Barog can be your perfect weekend getaway from Delhi this summers.
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Do share your experiences of a toy train ride in the comments section below. Also, let us know if you prefer going to offbeat places like Barog or you are more touristy in exploring famous towns like Shimla.