Shimla

In the early nineteenth century, the British in India found Shimlas 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

A trip to Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

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From Sankat Mochan Temple, Tara Devi is 20-25 mins drive depending on the skill of driver. This includes a steep uphill drive of 3 kms. This is a very quiet temple, you won’t find much crowded here except in Navratra or on special occasions. Height of Tara Devi temple is same as of Jakhu Temple; moreover you can see Jakhu Temple from Tara Devi. Temple has close to 100-150 stairs which are hard to climb for the person having breathing or knee problems. Apart from spiritual interest this place has great scenic beauty. We clicked lots of photographs here. After offering our prayers, we asked our driver to take us to some local restaurant for lunch. He took us to a road side dhaba at Shogi where we had Rajma Chawal , which were very tasty.

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The Great Himachal Circuit – Part 5 : Manali to Delhi Via Shimla

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With green mountains on one side and the beautiful Beas on the other side, we crossed beautiful places like Bhunter, Aut and Pandoh. We halted for sometime at the very beautiful Pandoh Dam on the river Beas. This is basically the end of Beas river with us and it diverts towards Punjab. From there on we reached Mandi in another 1 and half hours. Mandi is a plane area and is not very cold. The sun was really on its peak, but then it’s a lovely small town. There are numerous Dhabas enroute and in one such Dhaba we had our lunch.

Another 30 minutes and we reached Sundernagar. At Sundernagar, we took the Shimla Highway and dropped the excellent Manali Delhi Highway. Sundernagar is also a good small town. Around 4 PM, we had already entered the Shimla District. And again we started climbing up. The roads in Shimla off course not to explain are awesome. It was drizzling slightly and the fog was dense. That was one adventurous journey through the hills.

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The Great Himachal Circuit Part 1: Reaching Shimla

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In the evening, we started for a small walk up towards the Mall. On the way, The Grand hotel and the Kali Bari are located. So visited all and then finally reached the Mall. We spent around 3 hours in the Mall and Lakkar Bazaar right below the Mall. Took beautiful photographs and had our dinner in a cool restaurant. The Shimla Mall road is a real beauty in the evening, there is no doubt in it.

We got back to our hotel in the same route walking around 9 in the evening. Quickly I called up the cab we booked for the rest of the tour and everything was as per plan. The cab driver was on target for the next day and informed us about the time he would be in.
After this went in for a nice sleep. We had to cover a long and adventurous journey ahead.

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Shimla – Kufri – Jakhu Temple and Back Journey

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Early morning at around 6 o’ clock, when rest of the family members were still asleep, I attended to daily routine and then decided (as usual) to wander and acquint myself a bit with the geography of Shimla. The first important thing I discovered was the fact that you didn’t need to go through the Victory tunnel to reach other side of the town. The tunnel is for automobiles only (but you won’t get fined if you do venture into it). Even if you walk towards the Bus Stand, you would find lanes at your left side with very stiff heights to scale, which promise to leave you at other side of the hill i.e. Mall Road side. However, without going to the Mall Road side, I walked roughly 1 km. in the opposite direction of the railway station and discovered that I had reached Bus Stand. Well, I was as happy at my discovery as Vasco-de-gama must have been after discovering Bharat Varsh aka India! Regarding it enough achievement for the time being, I made a U-turn and arrived at the hotel. Since I didn’t find any group of pahadi girls singing as I often see in Hindi movies, I had to hum a song myself and that too without any tabla or dholak (no it was not Abida Parveen this time but someone else which I don’t remember! ) First rays of the Sun peeped into the room and blessed us with very exhilerating and invigorating feeling. Technically, these were not first rays of the Sun because when the Sun ascended high enough in the sky to defeat the hills and throw its rays directly into our room, our watch was already showing 8 a.m.

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Shimla by Toy Train

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While clicking through the window of my compartment, I couldn’t help admiring the beautiful curves. (Again, don’t get me wrong please! I am talking of the curves our train was taking ! ) The sharpest curve our train took was of 48.12 meter radius. As regards fastest speed of the train, please don’t ever think that it can compete with Chinese Bullet Train. It can run at the maximum speed of 25 km. per hour. In case you are not happy with this speed, try the Rail Car which has an admirable speed of 30 km. / hour! From Kalka to Shimla, in all there are 20 railway stations. Although our train was labelled as Express train, it stopped at most of the stations especially in later half of the journey. It was as if it was a private bus wherein the cleaner had the moral obligation to halt the vehicle to enable an old lady to disembark. I think the guard of our train was going an extra mile by accompanying her up to the road and seeing her off before flagging the train to move on.

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Kinnaur-The land of apples (Part 2)

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After about two and a half hours we reached Reckong Peo,or Peo, as it is popularly known. Peo is situated at an altitude of around 2200 metres above sea level and is at the base of the Kinner Kailash massif. From here, Kalpa was a short 20 minute drive and by lunch time we reached Kalpa. Our plan was to halt at the PWD rest house, which turned out to be a cottage with an excellent view of the mountains. Staying in Kalpa can be compared to living in the lap of nature. Overlooking the Kinner Kailash range, this is one of the most picturesque  hill stations one can ever visit. This quaint town was once the headquarters of Kinnaur district before it was replaced  by Reckong Peo. The collector’s office has now been taken over by the HP Irrigation Department while the old SP office is now a small police outpost. The old building of the District Hospital is visible behind the new building of a recently constructed Primary Health Centre.  From Kalpa, one can spot the famous Shiva Linga, nestled in the middle of the Kinner Kailash massif. It is a 2 day trek from Kalpa for the strong and sturdy.

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Blue sky country

Kinnaur-The land of apples (Part 1)

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On day 3, before starting off for Sangla, we were in a dilemma on whether to make the short trip to Hatu peak or not. As we had to reach Sangla before it was dark, we decided to skip Hatu peak, which is about 8 KMs from Narkanda. Thus, we hit the NH22 directly and road conditions being good, we reached the town of Rampur in about 2 hours. We refuelled the Ertiga here and noted a mileage of 15-16 KM/Litre in hilly road conditions.  After, Rampur, the highway, which was once known to the British as the Hindustan-Tibet road, leads you further on to Jeori before entering the district of Kinnaur at Chaura. After entering Kinnaur, the road, cut into sheer rock, rises steeply above the Satluj River. It follows the Satluj and is one of the most vertiginous roads in the whole country offering a spectacular view of rugged mountains.

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घुमक्कड़ी – कुछ खट्टी…कुछ मीठी (3)

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नारकण्डा में कुछ देर रुकने के बाद हम लोग वापिस चल दिये. चारों ओर बरफ पड़ी हुई थी, हम लोग धीरे-2 स्कूटर चलाते हुए, गाने सुनते हुए वापिस शिमला-दिल्ली की ओर चल रहे थे. ठियोग ठीक ठाक निकल गया और अब हम फागू वा कुफरी के बीच कहीं थे. प्रदीप आगे चेतक पर था और मैं पीछे अपने सुपर पर. अचानक देखा, प्रदीप लड़खड़ा कर नीचे गिरा… विजय सड़क पर पड़ा था और प्रदीप स्कूटर के साथ घिसट रहा था…मैने जोर से बोला – प्रदीप क्या हुआ, और ब्रेक लगाई… बस हमारा स्कूटर भी लड़खड़ाया और मैं और अवस्थी भी जमीन पर घिसटने लगे. किस्मत बड़ी अच्छी थी कि हम दोनों का स्कूटर ऐसे कोण पर गिरा था कि हम और हमारे स्कूटर खाई की ओर न जाकर पहाड़ की तरफ फिसले और साइड पर पड़े बर्फ के ढेर से टकरा कर. हम रुक गये…
कुछ समझ में नहीं आ रहा था कि हुआ क्या है..

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