As we stepped off the bus, the cold buzz in the air felt a few notches higher than Simla. We started looking for a place to stay. Well, even though it wasn’t a popular tourist destination; the handful of hotels which were there; were already full. After a lot of walking around we finally stepped into a suite of a small hotel, Mahamaya Palace, at about two in the afternoon. It was cute and comfortable with a living area, a lounge and a double bedroom with large windows opening to a parapet with a serene view of the valley.
There was exhaustion to some extent, but we certainly didn’t have those butterflies of hoping everything would go as per plan. Lesson learnt – No Plan = No Nervousness. Honestly, that remained to be seen. But in that moment, with the warmth of the retreating sun crawling in through the windows and warming our comfortable rested feet on the sill, we didn’t care about the lack of a plan. It felt good, not knowing what we needed to do next, not relying on calendars, alarms, reminders; not being on auto pilot.
With a lazy rug thrown over our knees, I think we must’ve napped for some time before our room service brought in the overcooked hill tea with fresh cardamom. Our holiday felt so much better.
Feeling restful and revived with the tea, we were ready to explore the streets of Narkanda. To our amusement there were loud noises, like that of a celebration, people clamoring, singing and dancing to local tunes. We stepped out and par-took the whole experience. It was an annual religious festival where the locals prayed to the goddess and took out a procession to a nearby hill-temple. Once the flurry was over; we headed off to Hatu Peak, which is one of the highest peaks in Simla, almost over 3000m from sea level. Even though we were not expecting much, it made an interesting ride in a small hatchback to the peak, crossing extremely narrow hairpin turns which required constant maneuvering of the vehicle back and forth, albeit, without falling off the cliff. Dear Lord.