Tired of the Delhi summers, we decided to escape to the hills, and what could have been a better option than Shimla.
One of the pleasantly panoramic and pristine pure hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla has always been and remained a prime tourist destination in north India and has attracted families from India and abroad. Snow-capped hills, religious sites, museums and art galleries are the famous tourist attractions of Shimla.
How To Go: We took the Kalka Mail from NDLS on Friday night, and reached Kalka on Saturday, early morning.
From Kalka, there are 3, 4 toy trains for Shimla, and you can easily get the tickets from the platform ticket counter.
Although we booked general tickets worth Rs.50, we were lucky enough to sneak into the First Class Compartment, which made the journey more enjoyable!
The toy-train passes through numerous tunnels on the way, and as it takes turns, one can see the snow-capped peaks at a distance, and the lush green valleys on the other side.
We reached Shimla at around 10.30am, and checked in to a decent hotel (Hotel Hill Bloom) that’s just next to the Mall Road. In the summers, hotel rates are higher than usual, and we got a room for Rs.2500, which otherwise would have been something around Rs. 1600 max.
After a sumptuous lunch at Ashiana Restaurant (Himachal Govt. undertaken), we walked down the Mall Road, towards the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. Once the Mall Road ends, you’ll find this narrow lane, extremely quiet and serene. It was a long walk, but we didn’t feel exhausted, may be because of the freshness in the air.
Exploring IIAS was immensely delightful, and we met quite a few scholars studying there.
The flowers had bloomed, and added colors to the ruined Gothic architecture.
We were relaxing there for quite some time, till it was getting late.
On our way back, we met some locals, who advised us some good places to eat. And we followed their advice, and landed up at Bajlee’s Restaurant for dinner. The Continental food served here is worth trying, and I assure that you won’t be disappointed.
The next day, we headed out in the morning for some souvenir shopping, and a quick visit to the Church. Post breakfast, we booked a car for Rs. 2000, and travelled to Naldehra (60kms from Shimla), for river rafting.
Most of us think of going to Rishikesh for rafting, but I would suggest you to go to Naldehra, for 2 main reasons: (1) This place is less crowded than that of Rishikesh, (2) It’s way more cheaper!
Although there aren’t as much rapples in the Beas River as that of Ganga, but it’s nonetheless exciting.
The 15km stretch would cost you Rs 1200, and you can take a dip in the ice-cold water as well!