Saturday, 4 February 2012

Day 4 - Himachals in Winter - Narkanda to Shimla - Return to the Capital


The next day we woke up and looked through the window the first thing. The weather was cleared and a perfect sunny day was waiting for us outside. We quickly got freshened up, had the breakfast and boarded the car which was waiting (we arranged this via the hotel manager the previous day) at around 9 am.

Bidding adieu to Narkanda was not easy by any means as we embraced its beauty with all our emotions more than it embraced us. With a really really heavy heart we left Narakanda which faded gradually into the background.

I will not bore you with my monotonous cacophony of the road description since it was the same road through which we came on Day 2. But the route was more scenic this time due to the snowfall. But the ice was melting so quickly that it made the roads even more horrible which I did not believe to be possible anyway.

At one point (I could not recall the name of the place) we saw loads of cute Yaks and Ponies – unfortunately the Yaks did not pose for us but we managed to get a snap of the ponies. Marvelous creatures they were, I must say.

After the same bumpy and painful ride we reached Shimla at 1 pm. The patches of ice which we saw on Day 2 had disappeared completely – apparently Shimla didn’t receive any snowfall. We didn’t plan anything apart from roaming around the mall that day. Even if we did, we could not perhaps do it after that journey like a Jumping Jack in the back of a car.

We booked ourselves aptly in the Honeymoon Inn for 2N 3D package. The hotel was situated at the Mall Road, where no car was allowed to enter, to keep Shimla clean and green. Once we left the car, I asked a local fellow about the location of the hotel. He just smiled at us and had a sad glance at the luggages. I became curious obviously. But he left. I gave a call to the hotel and they advised us to wait where we were as they were sending a porter.

The hotel turned out to be located above the mall road in reality. You have to climb (and by climb I mean a really arduous climb) for 15 mins to reach the base of the hotel. Now we certainly realized the meaning of the impish grin of the local fella as we both were gasping, without carrying the heavy ones!!!

We checked in and a sweet surprise was awaiting us. We were upgraded to a costlier suite since it was an off season. Not bad!

We quickly settled into the room and then after having the lunch (which was awesome), we proceeded towards the mall. It was a good 20 mins walk from the hotel. We passed by the cluster of shops at our sides – it felt like we came to a market instead of a hill station. It was so crowded that we wanted to get out of Shimla as soon as possible. Such was the effect of that isolated place called Narkanda.

We reached the mall and were surprised to see that the mall nowadays had become an entertainment arena. Horse riding, balloon shooting, shopping – the place was full of fun activities. I could not match that peaceful quiet mall which I liked when I was there during my childhood days with this overcrowded modernized place.

Anyway, everything has its own pros and cons. Shimla’s positive was that it kept itself up to date with the world. And since it was the capital of the state, the din and bustle were granted. But it did not loose its charm in the context of its natural beauty. The same old tall trees provided the shadow, the same wind used to breeze, the same valleys were overlooked by the mall.

We roamed around till 6.30 pm and then it was my time to be the walking ATM. I won’t surely bore you with the way I fulfilled my role of a mute cash dispenser. The weather became cold and so did my wallet.

After a couple of hours of haggling, negotiating and bargaining we headed towards the hotel. Again through the steep climb, this time with shopping bags in my hands, we reached the hotel. I threw away (read ‘kept’) the shopping bags on the sofa and went to dinner.

The meal at the hotel was so delicious that one was bound to be overstuffed. After having the sumptuous meal, we returned to the rooms. Feeling awfully tired after the journey and the climb (and the shopping as well) we sunk into a deep slumber.


Pictures -

On our way back - Narknada to Shimla

View of the hills from the car

Cute Poines

Yaks - cute but camera shy

Way towards the Shimla Mall

The most sought after place in Shimla, the endless main market

All amenities are present

The Mall - overcrowded even in Off Season

A view from the Mall

Church the name of which I have forgot - The Mall, Shimla

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