Saturday, 4 February 2012

Day 2 - Himachals In Winter - Shimla to Narkanda


We took a cab just outside the Shimla Railway station towards Narkanda. Not many people were heading towards the same direction which really was a relief. The cab driver assured us of loads and loads of snow on the way and at our ‘Final Destination’.

On our way, we could see traces of snowfall in Shimla itself as in 2011 the city encountered one of the biggest snowfalls in many years. The snow changed its whiteness to darkness to become ‘black ice’ making the roads difficult to drive on.

The road towards Kufri and Fagu were pretty bad as there were a lot of constructions going on. But the sheer beauty of the nature would surely take one’s breath away. Our cameras were clicking incessantly to capture the nature but no camera in the world may be able to capture the same beauty which can be enjoyed through the eyes. Tall Pine and Apple trees at both sides of the road creating a hide and seek atmosphere with the Sun was certainly a sight to remember through the whole life.

All of Kufri and Fagu were covered in snow – but again, the roads became too muddy and slippery due to the ice melting continuously. The tree-leaves were covered in snow and the tiny water droplets falling on the ground with a gentle sound – you can hear it only if you want to – heavenly, in a nutshell.

Once we passed Fagu, the road turned out to be much better one and we could relax, but not for long. There were innumerable numbers of bad patches throughout the whole journey as the roads eroded as a result of the reaction with ice.

After the bumpy ascending ride of 3 hours including many stopovers for photography, we finally reached Narkanda. It was a small cute village with only a few shops and houses of the local villagers. For the same reason, serenity and calmness were assured. This quaint little village was nestled at the lap of the mountains, with a non-hastened lifestyle. The narrow roads penetrating through the woods, the paths bearing the marks of heavy snowfall were enough to make anyone long for coming back again and again.

We booked ourselves at HPTDC’s Hotel Hatu so we started looking for the same. There was a narrow slanting path through which you have to drive on 1st gear to reach the hotel at the top. The path was fully covered in snow – the ice didn’t melt because sunrays could not reach the ground due to the presence of the trees. Immediately after we tried to drive through this road, we sensed danger as the car could not move forward as the road was too slippery and it started going in the reverse direction towards the edge of the road. We both had to get down and push the car from back!!! Gosh, and it was our honeymoon!!

Anyway, the car finally started moving upward and we started walking down the narrow path. After a walk of 15 mins through the thick woods and heaps of snow, we came to the top which was a smooth valley overlooking the cliffs at all sides. The Hotel stood in the middle with loads and loads of snow at the backyard. The lawn as it faced the sun directly didn’t have much snow left, but the patches were sufficient to convey what it could look like under the snow. The view from the lawn was magnificent – the snow-capped hills stood with all their prides as if touching the blue azure above. The trees were swaying with the gentle breeze and the dry ice was falling on the ground from the leaves. I wish I could really play with the words to describe the feelings we had. But back to the reality now – that gentle breeze was carrying such coldness which could make anyone freeze.

We quickly checked into the Hotel and were shown to our room. The room was cozy and at the top floor just over the lawn – so the whole view from the lawn was accessible easily from the room which was really encouraging. From one of the windows the PWD rest house was visible. There were not many options to stay in Narkanda apart from these two arrangements.

We got settled and after freshening up, we went for a quick stroll to explore the place. We went to the market below through the narrow path, had much needed hot tea and walked through the narrow roads inhaling the purest of oxygen. It was so cold outside because of that wind, we had to quickly retire to our rooms.

In the night, when roaming around outside was not possible, we sat on the chairs beside the window and enjoyed the view of the electric-lit hills at a distance.

We never knew what was in store for us on the next day, but that will be a separate post.


Pictures -

In between Kufri and Fagu

On the way to Narkanda

Approaching Narkanda - so scenic a route

From the car once again

A quick shot from the car

The valley

Crossing at Narkanda

Way to PWD Bungalow

This path lead to Hatu Peak

Hotel Hatu
 
The Valley Down

Through the woods

Way to Hotel Hatu


The Lawn of Hatu

Next - Day 3 In and Around Narkanda

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