Well, I am back in Gurgaon and the first thing which came in my mind after coming home was to write a post on my blog about one of my best trips so far. I must say that I was extremely skeptical about traveling for the first time to the Himalayas. It was an unplanned trip and in my wildest dreams I never thought it will turn out so special that I’ll cherish it for rest of my life. All this started with the announcement of 3 days weekend in the office on 1st week of September and I did not want to waste my 3 days sitting at home as I did every weekend. I wanted to travel in a new world of nature and at the last moment and after seeing so many options, I opted for a trip to Shimla and before I proceed, I would like to thank my new colleagues and FRIENDS Raman and Shivali for all the planning they did for my trip and again a special thanks to Shivali for writing my travel plan for Chail, Kofri, and Shimla in details.
I had booked my tickets in Kalka mail which was around 9.40 Pm from Old Delhi railway station. I reached the station around 8 pm and had a lot of time to kill so I decided to go to McDonald’s for a Meal. After that, I did something which I never done before. I went to a book stall and bought a book of Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States. It was a shocking decision because I never used to spend anything on books. As usual, Indian railway kept their promise and the train was late by 3 hours so I started reading the book to kill time and believe me I liked the book a lot. I reached Kalka station around 5.30 in the morning and boarded my toy train to Shimla. The journey of toy train was amazing. By toy train, one can experience the grandeur of the picturesque Himalayas through some important spots up to Shimla. Route towards Shimla is gradually ascending, train was moving in zigzag way like sneaking through the valleys. Sitting by the side of the window, whole of the turning and bent train was clearly visible amidst the beautiful landscape of nature. It was very incredible journey for me.
According to the travel plan written by Shivali, I got down at Kandaghat to catch a bus for Chail. The bus lost in clouds and the views were extra ordinary. We reached a place called Sadhu Pal on our way to Chail and then there came a big surprise for everyone in the bus. Four foreigners girls climbed into the bus from ( they are Russians which I came to know later) sadhu ghat (I know I know foreigners girls aren’t surprise here) and the bus was full as usual and no seats were left for new passengers but due to Amir Khan’s appeal about Athithi Devo Bhava.
. I stood up from my seat and offered it to one of them and here comes the surprise she said “ Aap Kripaya Baithiye, Dhanyawaad”. I didn’t believe on my ears, her Hindi was as good that the Rang De Basanti foreigner may have asked her for some Hindi training.
We reached Chail by 11.30 in the morning or so and I guess only me and those four girls were there with the intention of a trip. I decided to give my self a try and ask her to travel together. As I would suggest everyone else not to believe on strangers, she did the right thing and called someone who was from Shimla itself to verify my identity. I gave him my introduction and they agreed to travel together. We decided to eat something before proceeding and went to a small shop in Chail market. They were not used to spicy food so they ordered paratha without butter, oil and Masala. (I am afraid I still say it Paratha: D) and boiled cauliflower. I ordered a normal paratha for my self and to be honest didn’t enjoy it much. We decided to go and see the highest cricket ground on the earth and Sidh Baba temple first and as it happens in most of the Indian cities, people’s eyes were glued on Hindi speaking foreigners or say on one Indian boy with 4 foreigner girls.
We came down and decided to hire a Cab and paid him 400 rupees for a trip to Kali Tibba which is a famous temple on hill. This temple is placed on the top of the mountain which is named after the Rajmata’s cottage, Blossom. Beautiful scenes of the renowned Shivalik range and the Choor Chandni peak are breathtaking from this top and felt like we are swimming in clouds. Anna, Walia, Yana and Violette decided for a photo session and it went really well.
We went to the Maharaja palace after that and Violette help us to get 60% discount by showing her student ID card. One thing I would like to mention about CHAIL is that there is no ATM in Chail so plan accordingly so that you don’t fall short of cash like me in your trip to Chail. We came back to the main market by 7.30 or so and it was dark by then. We started looking for some cheap options to stay there because I was left with only 400 rupees and there were no ATM’s. They offered me to pay the room amount but I politely declined and we then moved towards the gurudwara which was a little above the market. It was quite dark there so we just knocked a door of a nearby home. An auntyji opened the door and she was kind enough to send her son uptil the gurudwara. Rooms were not available up there and auntiji’s son called a few of his local friends to check on the availability of rooms. Then he took us in his car towards an old palace which was now under the army control. He had a friend working there who were a chef and caretaker for the palace. His friend agreed to give us with 2 rooms in just Rs.500! There a funny scene happened when the guy who had helped us in getting a room came out to me a good friend of one of my close friend. It was great fun with him then and we played a few good songs on the king’s piano. Walia sung some beautiful Russian songs for us. She has a lovely melodious voice.
We woke up in the morning and moved for Tatta Pani after breakfast. We had great fun there and we had an exhaustive photo shoot once again. Also, I won 3 bets as well! For example, I drank 1/2 soda bottle in one breath, throwing a stone across the river and lots more.
There we had to answer a typical Indian question again again when people asked about the country we belonged to. People were pretty shocked rather delighted to see foreigners speak Hindi with such fluency! We moved ahead for Simla and reached there around 10pm at night. It was raining heavily there and with one local kuli, we left for our everlasting room hunt and finally got 2 clean rooms in a hotel near Mall road for about 1000 – 1100 rupees. We went for a walk on the mall road early in the morning and took great pleasure in seeing the actual natural beauty of Simla. Yet another photo session was accomplished. Around 12 in the noon, we decided to leave for Chandigarh as I had booked my tickets through Shatabdi from Chandigarh. They also decided to go by my train because all of us were tired of the continuous bus journeys. We faced a problem for this. My tickets were confirmed but they did not have tickets and they had to reach their Hindi Sansthan by next morning. The ticket collector was kind enough and after our request he let them in after charging Rs.500 each. All of us sat on some boxes near the Shatabdi gate and reached Delhi by around 10. They had to leave for Agra from Delhi and we decided to take Metro for saving time. They took Rajiv Chowk metro from New Delhi station and I took the one to Gurgaon..Waving byes to my unforgettable trip, trip that I’ll cherish rest of my life.
In last a special thanks to Shivali, Raman from planning the Trip, Abhishek Tiwari and Shushant for making arrangement of stay in Chail and Violette, Yana, Walia and Anna for making it unforgettable
check my flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/20814950@N00/
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