Oh Shimla! Why are you so beautiful?

shimla

Near Fagu Valley : Shimla

Off-course I want to confess this…that I have never loved…anybody…anything…so deeply…and admiringly… as I love Shimla! Yes I do!

As far as I could remember it was a love at first sight. It was 2002, when a college trip allowed me to visit you. I remember there was a girl in our trip and we were kind of getting comfortable with each other, till I started developing a feeling for you. Rest is a story…that girl was not able to understand that how can a guy love to watch hills more than curves? But it was actually a choice. A preference of life long commitment over teenage infatuation…and I made my choice.

shimla

Shimla in 2002

Since then it was never ending desire to visit you again and again. Sometimes in a group sometimes alone, but still… I didn’t have enough of you.

flower in shimlaA beautiful morning of Shimla hills

I love you for hundred thousand reasons but most of all I love you ’cause you are you!

Shimla… I love you for your narrow alleys…winding roads…victorian architectures and mesmerizing environment…

shimlaMall road : Shimla

I am in love with your innocence, your fragrance and the beauty that bestowed around you

bird in water

flower in shimla

shimla

I love the lone walk…a joy…and also a kind of luxury…which I miss the most when I am away…

shimla

I love the freedom in the air…that liberates everything…

bird in shimlaEarly morning birdsong
monkey in shimlaYou can’t get away with them…

You might have too many admirers but I am the one who truly cares for you… who feels your pain while seeing you turning into a man’s zoo. I saw you adapting and accommodating…so many of your visitors…with the same love and affection…this sometimes makes me miserable as I am still nostalgic about those days when there were few takers of your charm.

shimla

You saw the empires bending knees to your beauty. Then you witnessed the struggle to drive your occupants away, for a greater cause. You were the center of many high profile activities and visits. The site of viceroy lodge up on the observatory hills are refreshingly pleasant. It was designed and built by the PWD (Public Works Department) department, which are otherwise synonymous to the ugliness to its structures. In the late 1800, this was the only building with electricity and central heating system.  This is the place where the decision was made to partition India. You saw the pain but then rejoiced with the site of freedom.

viceroy house shimla
The Viceroy House Shimla. Today, it houses Institute of Advanced Studies.
shimlaMahatma Gandhi in Shimla

Coming back to present…the path that leads to you are extraordinary, and my favorite too…

toy train shimlaUNESCO world heritage tag

First time when I was visiting you with my friends this piece of wonder used to be so isolated that we occupied a whole cabin for ourselves…and made it our little kingdom…where we sang, ate and had lot of unforgettable moments.

shimla toy train

I still remember we used to visited a nearby charm called ”Kufri” that was so peaceful with spectacular view of high hills in the midst of pine trees. Ponies were there even then but it was a mere facility and not a completion.

kufriKufri Fun World

This time I was so sad seeing this little paradise turning into a commercial nightmare. There was a fun world…which actually snatched all the fun and the pristine nature of this place.

kufri shooting point

The trees otherwise laden with mist are now used to hang bottles so that one can take the aim to conquer the peace of the surroundings. Everything was at stake…off-course for a price…something which is payable…and few things which can’t be recover now.

kufri

For someone it is more developed…with better facilities…eating joints…shopping venues…but for me something is missing. I tried to find those missing chords this time which compel me to visit you again and again. And I find few…

shimla

So, here I am feeling as fresh as dew. I can’t find you always like I want to…and also my pain is less than yours. I am also a part of this fight…fight between conservation and development…fight between growing expectations and nostalgic movements. Nothing can change my love to you. And I thank god for giving me Shimla.

8 Comments

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Hi! Amit,
    A very happy Dipawali at the outset. I just loved the way you narrated about your LOVE, which is actually a passion in every nature crazy’s soul. I experienced the paid and admits every phrase of your talk. I visited the place in 1997, 2001,09, 10,11,12 and lately during April’13 on a honeymoon tour. Gradually things seemed changing as very well described by you. Very nice post with relevance and adequate pictures. Thanks for sharing your feelings and making nostalgic to the readers.

    Keep traveling

    Ajay

  • Ashok Sharma says:

    your post is quite unique supported with beautiful photographs telling a lot in their silence. A very prominent imbalance between poor conservation and uncontrolled unplanned and blind expansion of concrete jungle is very much visible in not only Shimla but all the other places of tourist interest.Wish it could reverse someday.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    So a poetic take on Shimla. More practical details would have further helped. Wishes.

  • Great pictures Amit. I am also in love with Shimla as I was there for my Honeymoon :)

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Amit,

    We all feel your love for Shimla and also feel for its present predicament where it has turned into a concrete block perched on a hillside. I avoid going there now because of the crowds. Dalhousie and Mcleodganj are better destinations in HP now.

  • Trinetra says:

    “Why are you so curious?”, asked Jeet, with a hint of snideness layering his voice. “Not like you are coming along on this trip.”
    “Why not I added?”, referring to their animated discussion of a Leh Ladakh bike trip.
    “Girls do not do a Ladakh bike trip”, Abhishek added.
    And just like that, this girl was doing a two week long bike trip to one of the most legendary bike routes within the country, Leh Ladakh.

    We hired monstrous bikes from the city itself and left at the crack of dawn the next day after deciding on the routes, itineraries and doing some final checks.

    I was adamant about not riding pillion in the beginning itself and managed to convince the boys to be one of the earlier riders. I had been reading bikes for nearly a decade by then which instilled within them, and me, confidence.

    The cold desert, as it is often know, Leh Ladakh is a place unlike any other you will experience, not only in India but all over the world. Every biker in India dreams of traversing this stupefying and mystifying landscapes that has established itself as one of the most iconic bike rides in the country.

    We started off from our base in Delhi, riding north towards the idyllic city of Srinagar, moving on to the historic Kargil before finally arriving at our first destination, Leh Ladakh.

    Over the course of the next few days, we traversed the Ladakhi terrain, visiting the multi-hued lakes of Two Moriri and Pangong, the sand dunes of Sumur and Hundur hiding in the picturesque Nubra Valley as well as the historic monasteries that rivaled the natural allure that Ladakh had on offer.

    What makes a Ladakh bike trip so acclaimed within the bikini community are the open roads that snake through the terrain, extending to infinity and beyond. It was hard to keep our eyes on the road considering all the beauty around us.

    We made our way through the winding roads; engines roaring and riders howling. We rode during the pleasant days with the colossal snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas keeping us company throughout our journey.
    We spent our nights chowing down on local delicacies and animatedly dissecting the events of the day. I would go to bed every night, tired to the bone but looking forward to waking up and doing it the next day all over again. Such was the vibe and energy of Leh Ladakh.

    Two weeks roared by, moving faster than our Royal Enfields on the roads of Ladakh. The gang was already discussing the next adventure as we rode through the thriving green valleys of Manali on our way back to Delhi and this time they included me without even asking.
    https://www.thegreatnext.com/leh-ladakh-bike-trip/

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