Shimla

In the early nineteenth century, the British in India found Shimla’s climate and terrain akin to their homeland and sought to embalm their homesickness by developing this town like those in England. The echoes of this past history are evident in the Victorian architecture, the Mall, the Ridge and ambience of this hill resort.
Today it is one of the popular hill stations, due to easy accessibility and the variety of entertainment available. Shimla provides beautiful walks, day excursions, shopping avenues and ice skating too in winter. In short, Shimla has something for everyone. The capital of Himachal Pradesh has an airport and its nearest broad gauge railway station is at Kalka. Shimla is connected to other cities within the state and to Delhi by bus services.
Best time to visit: All the year round for scenic beauty and January, February for experiencing snowfall
Languages spoken: Hindi, English, Punjabi and Pahari
Climate: Pleasant summers, cold winters with snowfall
Heritage buildings: Christ Church, Tudor Library Building, Viceregal Lodge
Natural Wonders: Botanical gardens, Prospect Hill, Summer Hill, Potter Hill, Glenn, Elysium Hill, Annandale
Knowledge Centre: Himachal State Museum and Library

Himachal – Kalpa, Shimla

Himachal – Kalpa, Shimla

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I have lived in Shimla long back in early 90s when my father was posted here. I used to come in summers for 2 months for 3 years, so I was keen on visiting places where I had lived and visited during that time. We lived in a suburb of Shimla there called Kelti. The route to it is from Ridge to Longwood and then towards Kelston and then bifurcate at one point towards Kelti. It was nostalgic to walk on the same road which I used to frequent 20 years back as child. To my surprise, road was just like what it used to be. Same road barriers painted green and white, the rain shelters where I took refuge many times in rains, the ascent, descent. The final leg to Kelti was still unpaved like it was at that time. Though this time saw more people crossing me with phones in their hands, hoardings and presence of vehicles.

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Himachal – Shimla, Sarahan, Sangla Valley

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Sangla is also famous for Kamru Fort. This fort is like a tower dedicated to Kamakshi Temple. The Goddess idol was brought from Guwahati (Assam). We braced ourselves and took to steep climb of stairs. The climb took us through houses of Kamru village and get a peek into their life. First there is a temple which has couple of shrines in the small courtyard in hill architecture. Their sloping roofs are lined with flat chipped stones tiles and the distinctive cone as the top. The main Kamru fort was still some climb away. Thankfully, it was quite sunny and pleasant for the climb. After some time, the Kamru fort came into view perched right at the top of the village. One has to tie a cloth around waist and wear a cap which is available in the fort to enter the precincts and go around.

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घुमक्कड़ी — कुछ खट्टी-कुछ मीठी (सुरक्षा)

घुमक्कड़ी — कुछ खट्टी-कुछ मीठी (सुरक्षा)

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We were enjoying the trekking.  A group of Rajasthanis were also going with us.  They had  drums with them and they were loudly singing bhajans and going fast.  My father said – it is not good to sing while trekking on steep slopes, their songs will be stopped soon. ..and it happened too.  In the way there was a small tea shop where we enjoyed our tea with Neemari Pakoras.  The shopkeeper showed us some wild elephants, who were grazing in the valley below.

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Delhi – Sangla … journey through the verdant valleys of Himachal

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As we go further, this road climbs higher till it reaches sheer cliffs of stark, unadorned rock where the road is but a scooped out C-shaped tunnel embedded in the vertical cliff side. While we enjoy the drive along the banks of the Sutlej in all its moods, I am almost willing the road to start climbing to this, one of the most celebrated and recognised sections of this route. And when we do hit that stretch, we are all spellbound! Such is the precarious nature of the road that there are precipitous drops on the only open side and encased in solid rock on the other three sides.

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Doing nothing in Fagu, beyond Shimla

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I must tell you readers about Fagu-which is 23km away from Shimla (and 3km from Kufree) is a great place for doing nothing and morning walks among apple and potato fields. Fagu is ,situated on the Hindustan Tibet Road at a height of about 2500 mts. We drove through Chhotta Shimla,and other crowed parts on to the road to Wildflower Hall and Kufri, stopping on the way to enjoy the fantastic views. You go thro the Victory Tunnel to CHHOTA SHIMLA- part of Kannaur Shimla, through Sanjauli,,cross another tunnel, through wooded forest toward KUFRI which is about 19 km from Shimla ,thro KUFRI by-pass and Fagu is 3km from Kufri on the Hindustan -Tibet road. It took us about 90 minutes, in our Skoda to reach the hotel of HP Tourism — Peach Blossom. Its a small village with only few small typical shops selling essential, nothing else. But the place is dotted with Apple gardens, terraced fields, potato fields etc . There was another group of People from Mumbai–all senior citizens, enjoying the place. We went down the hill though the apple gardens and fields. you can literally walk for hours- surrounded by Himalyan range so close,you could almost touch it. We were lucky that during our stay from 3rd April to 5th April, it became very very cold and we could see fresh snow falling on the peaks, and the whole area was totally covered by low clouds for hours.

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Amazing trip to snow covered Shimla

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Next morning when we woke up, the view outside our hotel room was awesome. We had our tea and a small walk on balcony of our room just to have a view of Shimla at that time. The only thing which I can say now is White White White everywhere. Now the next problem which we never thought of was that the water in pipes freezed. So we asked hotel manager to have plan B executed in such situation. He told me that he is going to serve warm water in a bucket for each person. That was a good news for us. After getting ready, we checked out of our Hotel and moved till Ridge. It was bright sunny day. When the sun light was reflecting on snow, it was very hard to see anything because it was shining very brightly. After 20 mins of walk we reached Ridge. Good crowed over there as everyone was busy in capturing the moments in their own camera and having fun in snow. We took some pictures out there also as never wanted to miss any single moment.

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