Solo escapades: Shimla

Tripoto
19th Jun 2015

Mall road, Shimla

Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra

Barog Station - One of the station of Toy Train

Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra

Wake n bake Cafe

Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra

Ridge (Yoga day)

Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Solo escapades: Shimla by Sanyam Malhotra

The Awakening

10 months into a corporate IT job, I realized what a useless life I am living.

I decided to finally do what I always wanted to, travel solo. Packed my bags and left. 3 months after coming back, I quit my job to have time for myself, to travel a lot, and to have a career I would love (Gaming).

I decided on Shimla! Firstly, I had been there before, so it won't be an unfamiliar place. It was my first solo trip so I did not want to be that adventurous straight away. Secondly, it was easily accessible, entirely by train. Thirdly, I wanted to travel on that amazing Toy Train alone. When I came back from it, I realized what I had gotten into. Something I am never getting out of. Solo Travel!

Fares:

New Delhi to Kalka and back - Rs. 670 one way (1340 total)

kalka to Simla toy train and back - Rs. 230 one way (460 total)

Hotel stay per day - Rs. 1250 (Rs. 3750 for 3 nights)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner - Around 1000 per day (3000 for 3 days)

Shopping (Simla has many good bookstores and other things) - 500 per day (1500 for 3 days)

Total for 3 days: Rs. 10500

Now this being my first solo travel, I never paid attention on budget. You can take a 3 day Shimla trip easily under 6,500. This is how:

Prices same for travel - 1340 + 460 = 1800 (1200 if you find a sleeper class train)

Hotel: 500 per night for 3 days (off season) - 1500

Breakfast, lunch and dinner - Rs. 600 per day, 1800 total (no beers when you are on budget)

Shopping - Rs. 250 per day, 750 total(If on a very tight budget, don't shop)

Total for 3 days: Rs. 5850

Total for 3 days (if you travel sleeper class and don't shop): 4500

Shimla being one of the most touristy hill stations, is more expensive than others!

Kalka shatabdi from New Delhi railway Station at 7:40 am. The train is available 7 days a week. It reaches Kalka at 11:45am and it is hardly ever late. Fare - Rs. 670 (Breakfast included)
Okay, so this was one of the reason why I wanted to come to Shimla again, even though I have been here a couple of times before and Shimla is not that great (it has become way too touristy and is often very very crowded, the clean air makes it bearable). Being an introvert, I totally love train journeys. Just glancing at the passing world through the windows, not really thinking anything (Sometimes I do). So for people who love train journeys, peace and hills, how about a train journey through the hills (literally 'through')? It is irresistible to me at least. A spectacular 5 hour journey, passing the tiny 'out of a fairy tale' stations, beautiful patches of wilderness and awe-inspiring tunnels (around a 100). I travel it my favorite way, sitting on the entry gate on the stairs (the train is pretty slow so it is not risky), just munching chocolates and looking at mother nature with all the time in the world. Train starts from kalka at 12:15 pm (25 minutes gap between the shatabdi and toy train, if the shatabdi is not late of course) Reaches Simla (that's how it's spelled on the station) at around 5:30pm. Fare: Rs. 230, if you pre-book. If you don't and just get on the toy train without a ticket, then you need luck with the TC. Often he obliges to your request and gives you a ticket for 100 bucks I guess. But it is good to prepare well if you are traveling solo, that too for the first time.
Photo of Toy Train Food Court, Simla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Toy Train Food Court, Simla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Toy Train Food Court, Simla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sanyam Malhotra
Okay so this is all I did for 3 days. Eat, walk, eat, drink beer, walk, walk, eat, walk...... Being my first solo trip, this was more about exploring myself rather than exploring the place. I wanted to know whether I am the kind of person who can stay in his own company for a few days. I had already been to shimla two times before, so I already knew the nearby places. Nearby places: Kufri (cab needed), Jakhu temple (walking), ridge (walking, it is on the mall road itself). Do not get your hopes up with these places, they are not spectacular. Just good for a day out with family, friends or alone. There is a church on the ridge which I totally fell in love with when I came here the first time. This time I decided to spend some time in it. I sat for an hour there. Such peace, such....peace. I am an Atheist so i am not pointing towards a connection with god or something, but it was the silence I totally loved. Living in a metro hardly gives you time for such beautiful moments. Jakhu Temple is a temple over crowded with monkeys. No pics of Jakhu temple because I never took out the phone from my pocket, because chances of your belongings and eatables not being snatched from monkeys are pretty low. Approximately 3 kms from Mall road. Kufri: When I went there the last time, it was barren land to be precise. Why would I even think of going there again. Hotel: Hilltop. Pretty average, you have to climb a lot to get to mall road. 1250 per night (on season, only breakfast)
Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sanyam Malhotra
People traveling with buddies, this is one of the coolest cafe's I have seen. It was absolutely amazing. Food, ambience, all great. It is bang on the mall road, right in front of the shimla post office. Yellow windows, blue walls. I tried some sort of crepe. It was delicious. It opens up at around 10am. Prefer breakfast there since getting a seat after that might be a task (I don't know for off-season though).
Photo of Wake n Bake Cafe by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Wake n Bake Cafe by Sanyam Malhotra
Photo of Wake n Bake Cafe by Sanyam Malhotra
It is a new cafe, at the end of mall road (not far end). It has an open balcony with amazing views of the hills in front of it. Grab a beer, look at hills, think a lot of random thoughts and sit your day away. Even better if you have company. Cafe is one place where I don't prefer being alone. Long walks is where I love being alone. No images for it too, I was too engrossed in beer :P
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