It was winter time; I accompanied my friend Eliza to Shimla in order to intern with an NGO. At first I was hesitant because of the chill at that time of a year, but I couldn’t resist myself from this adventure. I didn’t think, rather I should say that we both didn’t think that this was going to be the greatest adventure of our life. When we arrived in Kalka, we were totally blank as we didn’t know what to do or where to go. We didn’t reserve any accommodation.
So, we were wondering what to do, and there came an angel guard for us. A nice guy who volunteered to guide us. So with his help, we boarded a toy train. Off we went!
The first place we chose was Jakhu Hill since that was nearest to where we stayed. 2 kms from Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhu Hill is the highest peak an offers a beautiful view of the town and of the snow-covered Himalayas. At the top of the Hill, is an old temple of Lord Hanuman (33 meter statue of lord Hanuman which is a master piece, this over takes even the Christ Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro), which is also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting to be fed by all visitors. Word of Caution: Beware, these monkeys will snatch anything and everything from you.
Later we went to Kufri without which our trip wouldn’t have been an adventurous and remarkable. The landscape up to this point was dominated by Deodar trees. But pines began to dominate from here. Dense pine forests – it was an amazing sight to be surrounded by towering pines in all directions as far as the eye could see. We reached Kufri which was about 20km from Shimla. Horse-rides were the “thing” there. So we mounted them and they carried us through a trek full of mud, slush and stones. The trek was quite steep and the horses made their way up.
One side had few adventurous sports, grabbing and tempting the tourists to get this lifetime opportunity. Though we thought of going on the rope, we later decided to hop in a walk as that might give us time to explore the market and trek feel. There were few shops where you can buy shawls, sweaters, jackets etc., Mind you they were pretty expensive, if you don’t know to bargain. At the other side, there was a small area blocked off with a bunch of telescopes inside. Apparently, they show the Great Wall of China for 100 rupees. We went to the hill top temple, got blessings and Prasad. Blessed us with nature and God. Thanks to Shimla!
We thought of heading downhill, when Mother Nature thought to give us more adventure. It started RAINING. That rain was definitely an adventure as we both were freezing to death. It’s always better to go with an umbrella. Though that might add weight, it will come handy in need. We headed downhill again but this by walk as the horses cannot come up in rain! Well, now I know what I’m going to do after we’re back in our hotel – clean my shoes and socks of all the mud. And in this cold, there was no chance of anything drying up.
We both had a nice shower and had a great sleep. We slept like 12 hours. Later that day, we headed to The Mall Road, the Main shopping Centre of Shimla. What I remember the most was the Gaiety Theatre, a reproduction of an old British theatre, a center of Shimla’s cultural activities and did shopping…
Later that day, we took a 45 minute walk to visit the Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Crest popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs, it was “A walk to remember” and I was not at all tired, a wonderful quest only to discover the beautiful area surrounded by dark thick forests/ mountains at its best beauty and it was awesome to see the snow covered mountains (Being South Indian, snow is something I’ve only visualized and this is the first experience!!!)
We both were somehow not feeling good as the day after I had to leave this beautiful place and my heart too. I had to return to home, so booked a night bus from Shimla to Delhi leaving Eliza there in hotel. A great taxi driver who was our guide the entire trip took me to the bus station and there, RAINING again! He suggested waiting with me until the bus arrives (The bus I’m supposed to take was met with some accident and they were arranging some alternate bus which was supposed to pick us an hour later) since I said so to him, he left halfheartedly. But called me twice to check whether I’m safe (That was really cute). Finally I boarded bus around 12:30 AM and was freaking cold. (Thanks to our memory power, because we both didn’t take our blankets, forget blankets not even our shawl) but then that was another experience. Well thanks to our playful adventure we had to suffer a lot with cold/ shivering and everything and it was odd to stand there just with t-shirt and jean, but we were happy to be odd together.