Although I encountered my version of nightmare, while boarding on train for my smallest possible vacation, and in morning I realized by remembering that how desperately I needed this. So, here starts my journey, which may sound crazy, but helped me to rejuvenate myself.
Delhi to Kalka 270 km overnight by train then Kalka to Shimla 96 km in 5 hour by Rail Motor, back to Kalka 80 km in 3 and a half hour by bus and again those last 270 km backward train journey to Delhi, all this covered in just 32 hours starting from mid-night of 5th March 2011 till early morning of 7th March 2011.
Kalka Delhi Mail got late by 4 hour that day and I had further reservation in “Rail Motor”, a narrow gauge train, but pleasantly surprising Rail Motor waits for its big daddy. So a journey which was expected to start at 5:10 in the morning kicks off at 8:15.
For those who have yet to attain this unforgettable pleasant experience have my words, this one boggy, 17 seats chair car, powered by a truck engine and transparent roof is a place where you need to be, in your first possible opportunity.
|Rail Motor’s Driver Chair|
|Just 15 seats are available to this enormous journey|
|Transparent roof adds more charm to this journey|
The reservation can be done on www.irctc.co.in and a ticket costs you INR 247. Once you in there you’ll feel like a king with a little kingdom to possess. I rested my back on comfy chairs and played Kishore Kumar’s song “Aisa kabhi hua nahi…” to perfectly accompany my mood. In a few minutes train starts moving through beautiful valleys and gigantic hills.
|Badog Railway Station|
En route it has only stoppage at Barog where you can have refreshment, but protect yourself by not de-boarding here, because it seems so ideal to ones dream destination, no one on site and a ton of unexplored natural beauty. You can have egg, toast and their self claimed famous (?) cutlets with a cup of tea thinking and thinking that why this bloody cutlet is so famous?
|Shoghi Railway Station|
Anyways as the journey proceeds further another scenic beauty “Shoghi” will reveal itself. And again you have to control yourself.
By the time we reach close to Shimla beautification of nature gets intensified. And finally here is Shimla.
In spite of all chaos of a big hill station, everything seems to be just in place. Plastic bags are big no-no, people avoid to smoke in public places, littering is rare, and probably the world’s largest no motor tourist spot, which consists around 6 km of mall road that includes one or two km of main ridge area, the centre of all attraction.
|Famous Ridge Area|
Tourists enjoys the cool weather, the warm hospitality, the fresh breeze, sun kissed hills, pine, oak and deodar trees and probably feel envy of the locals.
For authentic Himachali non-vegetarian cuisine (although vegetarian foods are also there but I personally never find any logic in eating vegetarian if you can have the mouth watering non-vegetarian delicacies) just walk to Himachal tourism restaurant cum bar “Ashiana and Goofa” and try “Chicken Anardana” and “Mutton Cha” among others.
Now as the Kalka mail leaves at 23:55 from Kalka so, I took a bus (normal fair 102 INR) from ISBT Shimla.
Wow! What a day, quite hectic but rewarding. I was now ready to face those ugly faces back there, and feeling like the guy in that famous advertisement of a bike…..I’ll forget everyone……because I am feeling like king.