"The world is a book and those who
do not travel read only one page"
Augustine of Hippo
And this quotation runs in the family like the blood flows in a human body, mad and free. The patients of wanderlust thus decide to explore an infamous spot in the serene hills of Himachal Pradesh.
Being the kind of people who enjoy travel more than their jobs, we decide to turn the trip into a road trip and take National Highway 22 to visually treat our eyes with natural beauty the state has to offer. Driving straight to a small hamlet off Kalka Shimla Highway, Barog. It is a place surrounded by oak and pine forests ready to take the visitors into their lap. It is a hidden treasure of nature. Also, it is the only hill station in India which has a registered camping site with all the basic facilities.
Driving past Kumharhatti, we reach the enterance of Pine Drive Resort. Now here begins the interesting part. The way from the entry gates to the actual resort is stretched onto not more than 750 metres and it is warned that the car must be driven on first gear. But the adrenaline junkies that we are, we continue driving on second gear. Our ambiguity in respect of the correct destination makes us stop the car on the slope itself. And the road being utterly steep and narrow does not hold onto the car trying to go up the hill. The car starts drifting backwards and our heart beats start fluttering like crazy. The handbrake unable to control and the brakes not letting the car roar. Neverthless, with the help of a few hands, we finally reach our hotel safe and sound while catching our breaths.
The resort overlooks a large valley covered with a sheet of trees and one may even spot the tracks of the famous Toy Train. It is as if the hotel provides you with a personal sunset point and one may also rise to a group of monkeys with the sun. The view is undoubtedly scintillating and breath taking.
The next morning, as the sun rises and its rays push aside the bank of clouds, we get ready for our drive down the hill towards Barog Railway Station. As the history has it, the station is famous for its " Barog Tunnel " and it gets the name after a British engineer, Barog who was involved in the construction of the railway track in the year 1903. In the haste to complete the work, he commits the mistake of digging the tunel from both ends of the hill. Tragically, the ends do not meet due to poor alignment and he is punished with a fine of Re 1 for wasting the government money. The engineer, unable to digest this humiliation commits suicide and consequently gets his name imprinted forever.
However, the 800 metres trek from the Highway entry point to the station relieves us from all the stress the city life ends up transfering and revives our senses. The trek is beautifully paved amid forest and a few houses. It is a delight for the eyes to look at the station from the flight of stairs. It is a station which is beautifully kept, absolutely spotless. And so it is definitely one of the cleanest railway station our eyes set upoon. The small canteen shop serve hot Cholla-Kulcha and Potato cutlets to satisfy one's taste buds accompanied with hot tea to quench the thirst. The small blue and white lodges, the upper ground floored restaurant and waiting room at the station, seize to remind us of our childhoos playhouses.
As we walk towards the much speculated tunnel which is believed to be haunted, the cool breeze caresses us as if the mother nature succesfully imitating a modern day air conditioner. The tunnel is one of the longest on the the KAlka- Shimla track. The site is a blessing for the photography enthusiasts as it offers a view of typical Bollywood movie setting. The station is enveloped in a valley of flora, trees and colonialized buildings. One may even take the daily toy train destined towards Kalka and Shimla, letting themselves flow with the alluring landscapes.
Back from the station to the resort, we call our day by enjoying the small bon-fire and cocktail party arranged by the resort manager and gear up for the last trek towards the apogee of the resort's hill.
The next morning, we rise even before the sun to conclude out trip with a final trek. There is no defined path towards the top pf the hill. Thist time, we are our own planners and executioners. The uphill trek proves to be beneficvial for our limbs and lungs as we breath in the pure and blissful air of Himachal filled with the fragrance of pine trees. The view from the apex makes up for the tricky, steep trek. It gives over the entire lineof hills for our eyes to appreciate and adore. We sit on the crest for hours altogether gazing at the famous Dagshai hill peak, absorbing the dazzling and rare beauty, filling ourselves with exhilaration.
The trip certainly ends up as one of the best weekend getaways for us. It fills us with sheer positivity and admiration for our dear mother nature.