After my first encounter with writing my travel experience on Ghumakkar, I am all here again to share another story from my trip to Shimla. This time we were a group of three wanderers who wanted to escape from our hectic lives and spend some peaceful moments at some lonely place away from all the worries and explore beauty of nature, refill our lungs with fresh air and pump some fresh ideas about life while sitting alone on a cliff or on a riverbank. So the hunt for a destination was started and it finally stopped at Mashobra, a small town at a distance of around 12 KMS from Shimla. Mashobra houses one of the two Presidential retreats for the President of India, and the President visits The Retreat at least once a year. Located on the hill top of the Mashobra, the building was taken over during 1895 by the Viceroy of India.
So after all the hunting and planning we got our train tickets and the hotel at Mashobra booked. We boarded Kalka Shatabdi from New Delhi railway station and reached Kalka by 12 in the noon from there we took a cab as we were in a hurry to reach our destination it took us around 4 hours to reach Mashobra. The road from Kalka to Mashobra is in good condition and is very scenic, full of beauty and grace hills hold it in themselves one can feel the fresh aura once you start ascending the hills, a certain type of freshness gets filled in yourself. I often get mentally lost on seeing the hills and a chain of thought starts erupting which leads me to place where I feel complete satisfaction and solace from all the worries and lines from Ruskin Bond’s Rain in the mountains echoed in the background
“ I am still on my zigzag way, pursuing the diagonal between reason and heart.” – Ruskin Bond
While on our way to Mashobra we stopped near Solan for lunch, though I don’t remember the restaurant’s name but it was right opposite to the Solan bus depot, the food was great we had our lunch and resumed our journey, at around 4 in the evening we reached our hotel in Mashobra. The room which we booked had a lovely view and one can see the entire valley from the large window panes of the room. After resting for a while we left for evening walk till the local market. We fully enjoyed our walk as we were all alone nobody around us surrounded by tall deodar trees, fresh air and heavenly atmosphere. The local market was a very small one and had only few shops selling goods of daily necessity only, we had tea at a tea stall run by a lady, the pleasure of sipping hot tea while standing at a place from where you can see the entire valley and twinkling lights is inexpressible, it is one of the things that can only be felt. We started our way back to the hotel as it was getting dark. After reaching the hotel we ordered dinner and after that we all went to sleep.
The next morning we woke up to beautiful weather and lovely sights of fluffy clouds flowing over tall deodar trees. We quickly got into action, readied ourselves for the day had the heaviest breakfast and the yummiest aalo ghobhi sabzi and puri. We stepped out of the hotel and as the weather was so beautiful and at its best we decided to take a walk till the market and from there we will take the cab and move forward. We were literary walking into clouds, the air was filled with hymns of tree leaves, chirpings of birds. With every single breath we felt the pure and fresh air getting pumped into our lungs and mind. The creativity of the Almighty God, who created everything with such perfection that by merely seeing we can rejuvenate and renew ourselves. Nevertheless Coming back to the trip, we reached the Mashobra market strolled around the by lanes. The beauty of Mashobra lays in its simplicity.
After our stroll we came to the tea stall located near the Mashobra bus stand and there while sipping hot pahadi tea we negotiated for our taxi, at this shop you will find ample number of taxi owners or drivers and one can negotiate to their best of the capability. We took our taxi from there and our first stop was Kufri. Kufri welcomed us with heavy rain which forced us to remain inside the car only and wait for the rains to over it rained for almost an hour.
After the rain finished and mist cleared we noticed small patches of snow all around us, the snow was in small patches but our excitement was at the highest level we all were seeing snow for the first time and were so happy about that we got out of the cab and everybody started clicking photos after our photo session we found a roadside tea stall and quickly placed order for some tea and snacks. After tea session all of us jumped for another photo session. After that we went to the parking area from where we had to take a pony for our further journey to Kufri fun world. I was against the idea of riding a pony on the hilly trail but had to succumb to the pressure of Lucky and Ada as for them it was a hell of an adventure for them and they were adamant on taking that ride. So again the rate negotiating started and we came to know that they have union rates which cannot be bargained so we took three ponies for our ride which costed us around Rs. 600. After all the troublesome uphill climb on a pony we reached the Kufri Fun World, it is a point where you will find shops, ponies, people and all the trouble. Although Lucky was interested in doing some more adventurous apart from the pony riding so he decided to take a Zip Line ride as I am not comfortable for all these activities I stayed out and chose to roam around. We spent about two hours there and believe me I found nothing that can enthrall me except the view from the point.
The charm of the whole area was lost due to the heavy commercialization, the unplanned development of shops, unhindered number of travellers and the uninterested tourism authority. I was seriously disappointed after seeing the conditions prevailing there and felt more stimulated about people accepting and following the principle of responsible tourism. It is high time that the state authorities should develop an action plan to protect these places from undue exploitation and not only the authorities but we as a traveller and the local people must play an active role in promoting and adopting responsible tourism. After my ordeal at Kufri, we moved towards our next destination which was Green Valley which was on our way back to Mashobra.
The views at the Green valley were mesmerizing it seemed that the Almighty has laid a green carpet over the valley and on can see only green trees covering the entire valley. We clicked few photos there and carried on our journey. We reached our hotel and decided to call it a day. Next morning we woke up early and after having those heavenly aaloo ghobhi and puri once again we left for Shimla, we boarded a Himachal roadways bus for Shimla.
We roamed around the Mall and Ridge and has some road side food there. After the Mall strolling we took a taxi to Kalka as we had to catch the train for Delhi and this is how another trip with my best buddies came to an end. I personally feel that travelling with your friends or family or your loved ones bring you closer and developed greater bonds.
Zindagaani hai ek safar, aur abhi zinda hu main……
Have you been to Mashobra or Shimla ? I hope my log was able to refresh your memories of the place.