This post has been long due and KC beat me to it. We went to Shimla last weekend and it was great. Initial plan was to go to Mcleodganj and Dharamsala and I was looking forward to it. I have visited Shimla as a kid and don’t remember much about it. KC was insistent on Shimla and we made the bookings.
We took the overnight volvo from Himachal Bhawan at Mandi House. I freaked out when they distributed puke bags on the bus. I hate hill station journey. I spent 7 years of my schooling in a hill station but the journey few times in the year always got to me. Surprisingly, the journey was very comfortable. We reached Shimla at 7 am and the hotel cab picked us up. It was quite chilly. I had not expected cold weather and had packed light woollen. The hotel was British Resort located few minutes away from the mall road. It is located on a steep inclined road… very difficult to approach. But, the hotel had free pick up and drop service. The room was quite nice.. so were the surroundings. We could hear the birds chirping outside… That is the view from the room.
After a short nap, we took the cab to Army museum. It is also called Annadale and has a cricket ground behind it. Awesome.
The next stop was the Viceroy Lodge where the Shimla agreement was signed. It is now an Institute for Advanced Studies (post PhD).
We decided to go for lunch to Cecil at Oberoi Hotel. They looked at our appearance (casuals) and told us the restaurant is closed. Since KC and I don’t have any interest in temples, we skipped those. There are 3-4 temples in and around Shimla. We then headed to Mall road for lunch and shopping. One memorable place was the ‘Wake and Bake Cafe’. It is a tiny cafe, very tastefully decorated and serving awesome hot chocolate, pizzas and carrot cake.
We spent hours on the mall road. There is an old renovated theatre which is worth a visit. Shopping was not too great. The winter wear was strictly ok. We headed back to the hotel in the evening for dinner and I was asleep by 9.30 pm.
Next day, KC had a stomach upset. We cancelled sight seeing plans. Anyway, we had covered most of it. We lazed around at the hotel and then went for a stroll on the mall road. At night, we packed our bags and waited for the private volvo. It did not turn up. At 10.30 pm, they informed us that the bus had broken down. At 11 pm, they arranged for a non AC tempo traveller. We decided to book a cab instead. To keep the long story short, it was a horrible journey and a scarring experience. We reached Gurgaon in one piece at 7 am exhausted, hungry, broke and pissed off. I am still following up with makemytrip.com for the refund. Worst customer service by the way!!!
Some tips about Shimla trip:
– Book only Himachal travels volvo. They depart and arrive on time. Don’t even think about booking private travels
– Stay in a hotel away from the mall road… somewhere quieter where you can enjoy nature
– Everyone says Shimla is commercialized. I found it very beautiful, green… with tiny streets. Mall road is crowded and commercial… not the rest of the city
– Carry woollens even in summers
– You need 1-1.5 days for sightseeing. If planning more days, you can cover surrounding areas like Chail, Kufri etc
– Shops are closed at the Mall road on Sunday. Plan accordingly
I will leave you with a few pictures.
Despite the unfortunate end, I really enjoyed the trip. Worth a visit… maybe two or three… or maybe more.