Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shimla in November

Continuing the momentum of an outstation trip every month, I went to Shimla for the weekend of 14-15 November. The trip turned out to be fabulous to say the least.

This was a group trip, and there were fifteen of us, including two lovely one year old kids. We went by Kalka mail on night of 'Friday the thirteenth' of November. On reaching the platform, we found out about new McDonald's outlet inside the railway station itself, and had a snacks party even before boarding the train.

Everyone was excited, and we started playing cards in two groups. One game followed another with people refusing to give up and go to sleep. Eventually, we found the train at Kalka at 5 am, with most of us still playing cards (for over 6 hours now). Next, we boarded the Kalka-Shimla toy train (Shivalik Express), which started at 5:30 am.

Weather was very nice. Train engine was having problems and had to stop many times during the journey. But no one was in a hurry. Whenever train stopped, most of the travelers got down, and busied themselves photographing the surroundings.

Breakfast was served at about 10 am, and we finally reached Shimla at about 2 pm, 4 hours behind schedule.

We did not book a hotel in advance, and some of us started the hunt for one, while others settled in the Cafe Coffee Day at Mall Road. I took a quick round of mall road, and found the surroundings extremely beautiful. It seemed as if we were in a European city. We found a cozy hotel, and went to respective rooms, with a promise to go out again in two hours. However, everybody was tired and when I tried calling people at 7 pm, everyone was asleep. So we (me and my wife) decided to go out alone. It was cold and misty, with slight drizzle. Fortunately, we were carrying an umbrella. It was perfectly romantic setting with two of us under a single umbrella sauntering on the Mall Road.

We dined at Himachal Tourism's Ashiana restaurant which has excellent ambiance and location. We returned at about 10 pm, told others about Ashiana, and called it a day.

Next morning, we went again to the Mall road and enjoyed bakery cakes/muffins and brownies at Mall road. 'City Point' has excellent variety of all of these.

Later at about noon, we set out for Kufri and Jakhu Temple. We took some memorable photographs all along the day.

We returned at about 4 pm, had lunch at Ashiana again, and did a photography session at Mall road, before heading for the Toy Train for our return journey. Some memorable pics of the Mall road are below.

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