Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Everyone has something that they dream of till now, and when it happens, they term it as their first time. For some, it is going to a sea beach, for few, it's boarding a flight. Well for me, it was seeing and stepping on the snow.
It was a Wednesday noon and I was in deep sleep after a long day in office, when Ayush called asking me if I wanted to go to Shimla. Listening to that, the wanderbug had bitten me and without a second thought, I said "Yes".
So here's how it went...
Day one.. We were scheduled to leave for Shimla on Friday. We had our tickets booked at Howrah-Kalka express from Old Delhi. So all of us met at a particular metro station and after the introductions to each other, we proceeded towards Old Delhi. The train was completely on time as per Indian railways ( just 20 minutes late ) and we boarded the train, It was mostly empty and this was probably the first time I was travelling in an uncrowded train. The journey was overnight and the night passed with me, Ayush and Ayushi chatting with each other except a few interruptions in between. At pre-dawn, we reached Kalka station and I have to admit, the cleanest station I had seen in a while.
Since it was early about 4:00 am, there were very few souls here and there at the station. We inquired and found how to reach Shimla, you need to either take the bus or hire a cab to Shimla.
While deciding what to do, we decided to pass a bit of time sipping warm tea.
At the end, we decided that taking a cab would be best and indeed it was the best.
At the morning in Kalka station, we decided to take a Cab to Shimla. The route was a winding route through the hills and this was the time I missed my trip with Kanishk and Kartik most. I felt every leaning curves and determined that we will definitely come back here-on bikes. On the way, we had the chance to witness the most colorful Sunrise. We stopped at a place to take pictures but the camera didn't justify the scene.
After sometime we reached the location of our pickup by the travel organizers car and from there we went to our hotel for a quick freshen up and for a sightseeing around Shimla. The hotel was atop a hill with the best view of the surrounding hills and the snow covered peaks in the distance.
View from the hotel room
For the first time in life, I experienced stepping on snow here in Shimla. The sound of crunching snow beneath my feet was just awesome.
We rested for a while and then decided to go out to see the local attractions in Shimla.
The first place we saw was the Green Valley. Although we didn't stopped here, we passed by the green valley and indeed it was a nature's blessing. The whole place from the top of the hill to the valley below was covered with green forest cover. It was a mesmerizing sight to watch from our cab window when we passed by it.
Our first stop was at Jakhoo Temple.
Also known as the place to visit in Shimla. This place is famous for the tall statue of lord Hanuman standing at 33 meter tall surpassing Christ the redeemer statue (30 meters) in Brazil. To reach here you need to climb a steep climb by road with tight hairpin bends which is enough to make a professional car driver sweat out. Once you reach the car park, the temple courtyard starts. To reach the main temple, you need to take a flight of stairs and reach the top. You don't need to be a worshiper to visit this place and I am sure that the natural beauty of this place is more than enough to pull you. One piece of advice, Don't carry anything that can be snatched, including your cell phones, cameras earphones, caps, even spectacles and loose fitting shoes. The monkeys here are very notorious and professional at snatching stuff. Also, there is no guarantee that whether you will get the stuff back or not. From there we went to Indian Institute of Advanced studies (IIAS) in Shimla.
It was formerly known as the viceral summer palace and currently serves as a museum/academic institution/tourist attraction.
There are paid guided tours for the museum every hour. While you wait for your trip to start, the well maintained gardens and the lawns outside are great to take some awesome pictures and not to forget the palace like building.
Also, if you find carefully, you will find lovely views of the hills and the valleys.
The tour itself was brief, and our guide Raj, was a really nice and informative person who explained us the history and the importance of the place.
The mansion was well maintained and was sprawling with artifacts and even someone who isn't a history buff would go "wow" seeing the works and the inside of the building. Oh, there is one rule, "Be silent, keep your phone silent and don't take pictures inside the building".
After this, we went to the most famous place and the icon of Shimla, Christ Church in the ridge.
We spent our whole evening there wandering about and having our food. This is the place that you see online where it is mentioned "Shimla". This is just a couple of tourist friendly places that happened to be near each other making it the hub of Shimla. You can go to the base of the ridge by car which will drop you at a certain point and from there you can walk through the market to the scandal point and the Christ church. You can spend your whole evening here watching the city below turn to specks of light.
There were numerous things to do here. For the first, getting snow gears like caps and winter gloves if you are planning to visit Kufri next. You can head to the handicrafts market (Lakkad Bazaar) past the church to get some customized gifts from Shimla for anyone. It will also remind you of the old market of Shimla.
We spent our evening here going around the market and the ridge. When we got tired, we headed to our pickup point and from there back to the hotel. When we reached the hotel, we were dead tired but still after a bit of freshening up, we gossiped abut the day over the dinner. And as usual, after the dinner, I plugged into Nirvana a