Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Shimla -Queen of Hills
Summers and hill stations were synonymous for us as Father worked in the Railways where many facilities were provided to employees and their families.We visited Shimla several times and its still my favourite holiday spot!
The Britishers missed their English climate and found the Indian weather hot and humid. They discovered these scenic locales and developed them into lovely hill resorts complete with structures, churches and the layout like back home in England. The lords and ladies moved to Shimla to escape the summers and spent their holidays there.
There are plenty of stories about the events, happenings, and some view points like Scandal Point which needs no explanation!Its easy to imagine Victorian ladies and promenading on the Ridge,there is also an old Theatre where plays were staged for their entertainment. We can catch a glimpse of a long gone era in Shimla as the town has many buildings dating back to the last century. Christ Church ,located on the Ridge is a tourist landmark and has beautiful stain glass work .
A horseride was mandatory for us , as usual my Father being an expert rider cantered away while we kids had a stableboy leading our horses!The best part was staying in a hotel and having resturant food , we could order exotic stuff and have icecreams everyday!The view from the Ridge is picturesque and one can see the awesome mountain range.A walk on The Mall or bazaar is an experience by itself and has shops selling coffe, snacks,woollen clothes and local handicrafts.
We heard strange haunting stories circulating about an empty horse drawn carriage moving on the Ridge at midnight, and also about the myriad tunnels built between Kalka and Shimla. Maybe all these stories were concocted to make a small hill station seem exciting and mysterious!
We always went by train and enjoyed the gradual changing landscape and the looming mountains getting closer and closer!Coming back was depressing as it meant coming back to routine humdrum life and leaving the beautiful Himalayas.The narrow gauge railway track connecting Kalka and Simla has a small toy train being pulled by a small engine for ferrying tourists, it's now a world Heritage site.
Shimla is still a beautiful hillstation and is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh. It snows in winter and the summers are mild as compared to the plains. Winter sports like sking are popular in Kufri. Mashobra, Chail, Wild Flower Hall are all panaromic picnic spots full of pine trees, orchards and flowers!My recent visits to Shimla have been roadtrips from Delhi which were equally enjoyable as the previous train ones.
My sun sign is Pisces and I am supposed to love water but my heart belongs to the mountains. Given a choice I would always opt for a trip to the hills that explains why I have never visited Goa as yet!