03 March 2019•Lalita
In the summer of June 2017, I went to visit Shimla, with my hubby and baby. After my marriage in December 2014, I go to visit Ujjain as my first trip that too with my in-laws. Though it was I, who wanted to visit Mahakaleshwar, Ujjain, I longed for our honeymoon. Finally in the summer of 2017 we go the opportunity to go to Shimla for a week’s stay. We took Kalka Shatabdi to Kalka – which was a short journey of around 5 hours, spent eating and eating – and from there onward took toy train. Everything being a first for me was extremely enchanting and memorable. The slow moving train was rapidly taking me to a world of wonder and joy.
While the journey of the toy train filled me with joy and excitement, discomfort of my daughter took all that away in a moment. As she predominantly stayed on milk – and milk became a commodity difficult to procure on the trip – she ate some pop-corns offered by some fellow passengers. Upon reaching hotel; The Grand, on the Mall Road, we took hot milk from restaurant and gave to her. The hotel – The Grand – is perhaps the biggest hotel in Shimla, which is open to people working in government sector. My husband works as an accountant in Ministry of Finance and he had booked a room for 5 days @ ₹180/Days. Pretty cheap! Haah! The room was grand just like the name of the hotel.
The room was neat and clean but the service was not up to the mark. After repeated calls the room service answered. The restaurant inside the hotel served good food at affordable prices but lacked variety. Anyways you will have a hard time finding good food in hills. Delhi-ites have been pampered with such variety of food, delicious food available even on the streets that we keep the standard a little too high.
On the first day we went to mall road of Shimla and started our trekking to Jakhu temple. it is situated in Jakhu hills, Shimla’s highest point. It is at approx 8054 ft. height above the sea level. This temple is dedicated to Hindu deity Hanuman ji.
And there is a giant idol of Hanuman Ji 108 feet high. There were many monkeys around the temple; had to be as it was their boss’s abode – the monkey lord, and there was Hanuman Chalisa written on every step of that temple. My husband being an atheist took charge of looking after my sandals (a great responsibility) and I went in for ‘दर्शन’. There were few swings in the park around where Chikki my baby played for a while.
On the second day, we could not go anywhere as it rained continuously. Even after the rain the road were not muddles and water logged as we often see in Delhi. Everything looked even more beautiful after the rain, the charismatic cloud formations and the cool breeze were enchanting. We went to mall road and had our lunch there. A little food fair was being run by local authorities, where we ate छोले भटूरे. And in the evening, we went to the market which was a little downwards to the mall road. Shopping was expensive as the items available were overpriced. We did our ‘Window Shopping’ and came back to the hotel.
The third day, we started our second track to find a new place for a picnic. Upon asking the locals we got a name ‘Annadale’, and we started our trekk. It was a long trek, passing by local towns. It was mostly downhill and easy. After an hour and few minutes we reached our destination Annandale – a military ground. There was an army heritage museum. In this museum, there were so many dresses of Indian army, navy, and airforce. One who is interest in learning about our army might find this place exotic, but for us it was a short tour. We grew bored of it and came out of the museum. There was a large ground which I think was known as Annadale playground. It is a famous playground and race-course. We saw some people playing golf. There were small tea shop you can buy Maggie, noodles, and cookies from there.
We bought Maggie and sat on the terrace of that little shop. It was a moment of leisure and peace. Greens and tranquility surrounded us and imparted a sense of luxury. Meanwhile, an army helicopter landed on the launch pad of Annadale ground. Just like a child would be, I was glued to the scene looking at the helicopter making its decent. I was extremely happy.
On our return we took the road less traveled. I mean my husband took us to the jungle trek against my wishes in order to feel the thrill of the jungle trek. I was extremely scared and kept praying the whole way for our safety. Despite constant reassurance from my husband that there are not any wild animals in that jungle, I was not at ease. Only when we came out of that jungle onto the main road, did I breathe easy. It was actually a shortcut which saved us our time and energy. It was a thrilling adventure for me.
This trip was my first encounter with hills and it was love at first sight. I long to go back and every time a holiday plan is being discussed I always put Shimla as my first choice. All thanks to my love (Arun Ji) who made everything possible.