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After a hot drive through Rajasthan and Delhi we finally arrived to chill out in Shimla (not a jug of beer😜). Temperatures gradually dropped as we moved from Jaipur to Shimla. The day peak temperatures of each city were:
Jaipur – 45°
Agra – 44°
Delhi – 42°
Amritsar – 33°
Shimla – 16°
Manali – 12°
We reached Shimla after taking 3 connecting trains out of which the journey in the toy train from Kalka to Shimla was the best in our life.
The 96Km long journey, in it’s six hour journey passes through 102 tunnels, 886 Arch Bridges and several picturesque stations. This Hill passenger railway was opened to traffic in 1903 and was included in world heritage site in 2008.
If you ever plan to visit Shimla do not forget to take the toy train from Kalka to Shimla.
Our heart was thumping with excitement as we never experienced such cold temperatures earlier and Shimla being the first hill station to visit. The beautiful view from Shimla towards valleys and mountains around was just amazing. You regret to blink your eye while roaming around Shimla, may be the reason to be called “Queen of hills“.
Local transport of Shimla is quite amazing to navigate within the city. The best local points to be covered were:
1. Mall Road
3. Jakhoo (Hanuman temple located at the highest point in Shimla)
But the night life excluding Mall road gets closed by around 8 pm. We stayed at a place called Mashobra little away from Mall Road and we weren’t aware that it is difficult to find local transport after 8 pm. Local cab drivers told that they would charge 200 rupees for just 4 kms and we were forced to choose that, having no other option.
With a wonderful experience we had in Delhi we thought of travelling in a sharing vehicle so that we could cover more number of places at a very low cost. But after booking a package for 3 days from Shimla to Manali we learnt many lessons in life. We had the most bitter experiences of all times with the travel services as they have not shown us atleast half of the places which they have promised. We would have planned ourselves in a better way covering large number of places within the budget, but we have opted the package as government permit is required to visit the places we have planned to visit(Rahla falls, Marhi, Rohtang Pass etc).
But the frustration and pain of our loss was overtaken by the fun created by the company of Mr and Mrs Bhaskar, the most energetic couple of all time. He is an English teacher who doesn’t know hindi but gathered his guts to roam round North India for this summer vacation. We really had great fun for 3 days moving around Manali together cracking jokes and sharing our experiences.
The journey from Shimla to Manali was quite interesting with the intermediate attractions Pandoh dam, Rewalsar lake, Mandi and Kullu. From Mandi onwards you find Beas river following your pathway towards Manali. You can really enjoy 4 hours of journey from Mandi to Manali as the scenic landscape would be really amazing with the river flowing along the road between huge mountains.
It is quite difficult to cover entire Manali in one day during summer as Rohtang pass would be opened during this period. First day we can organise our trip to Hidambadevi temple, hot water spring, Solang valley where you can also enjoy adventure rides, van vihar and mall road. You can find local taxis going towards Rohtang pass and make a deal the before night near mall road. Thereby for the second day you can manage to see Rahla falls, Marhi and Rohtang pass starting your day early in the morning around 5 am. The roads in Manali are pathetic, but the vehicles are following traffic rules very well as they couldn’t reach their destination if they voilate it.
Upon interacting with local people we got to know new things which we have never given a thought about. Ice is not really as enjoyable as people living in normal areas think about. This area suffer from serious landslides, hail storms, darkness without sunlight, severe cold and many other issues. Passes remain closed due to snow and people stay on the other side without interaction with the rest of world for 6 months. They carry their food and essentials which they need to survive before the snow starts and remain in exile for half of their life. Sometimes there would be no power supply for a stretch of about 2-3 months, also sometimes no signals to convey messages to the other part of the world.
That’s all for now!!
Next up we will be coming up with the article on Haridwar and Varanasi. Stay tuned!!