Tuesday

Simla a summer retreat hill station





Up in the mountains city
Rudy complexioned people
Crisp fresh cherry apples
Snow. Cold
Smoky breath because of the cold
Heaters and fire places
Monkey caps

I had all these romantic visions of Simla - and my learning started immediately on entering Simla –Impressive! The road starts to hug the mountain side and houses appear nestled far above and below the road. The traffic was terrible - it seems like there's only one main road for vehicles in and out. I soon discovered people call it ‘Shimla’ – they indeed are all rosy pinked cheeked people here- the children look delightful with their chubby red cheeks and one is very tempted to go up close and feel those rudy cheeks of the lil children on the street

Mall road in Shimla is "maal" road and is the so-called fashion street of Shimla. Everybody hangs out here- and I mean everybody. It’s a crowded street for shoppers, sellers, tourists, locals, lovers, grandparents and all. A happy buzzing place this main street of this colonial town. Mind you all this I am witnessing from afar. I have yet to venture into the crowds and am not sure am in Simla for that. The novelty of Simla's layout still excites me - the main area, a pedestrian-only road full of shops and eateries, is about 10 floors higher than the vehicle access to the city, connected by many lifts, stairways and steep lane-ways

The place we stayed in was an Oberoi property – Cecil, looked humble from the outside but is a haven inside. All wood and classy. The interiors echo of the Raj with modern day refinement – I instantly fell in love with this gorgeous place which was to be home for the next week.

This property dates back to 1884, so there is much history and stories to soak here which I did partake in most delightfully. The other great attraction for me was the delightful indoor heated swimming pool, steam and sauna facilities, fitness center and the spa. The stay got very promising indeed.

One late evening we went for a drive around Simla and landed at the Wildflower Hotel, one of the other grand Oberoi hotels. The hotel is perched on a hill with a lovely view, the hotel itself looked a bit like a Swiss chalet. We had a brief tour of the ground floor, including the massive child-size gingerbread house, and had hot chocolate and muffins in the warm lobby.

Besides soaking in the gorgeous Himalayas from the room, we went horse riding, played in the snow and got all mucky, walked in the ‘maal’ and shopped for curios. Also went to the ‘lakaddi market’ to see some beautiful hand crafted precious things. Overall preferred to stay in and around the hotel during the day and stepped out late at night when the world was sleeping to walk the streets in quiet; absorbing the peace surrounding us. My only ‘want’ was I wish we had come to Shimla in off peak season – summer sees plane loads of tourists thronging here for the cooler climes - it's easy to see why it's a popular place for everyone - the cool, refreshing air. And for us it was the clean, car-less streets that were good for a change. But perhaps the next trip will be better planned.

12 comments:

rajindermakkar said...

Ah, I long for the hills, the cold, the chubby cheeks, et all!!

Shimla always reminds me of Darjeeling. Though I can say I'v been to Shimla, hv never really stayed there! Just before one reaches there ('bout 12 Km out)there is a small hamlet by the name Shoghi. This is where I've stayed and enjoyed the charms of the place without the commercial trappings/nuisance of the main township. Yes, always better to try it off season - loved my Divali visit - cold yet not the winter unbearable type.

gita said...

Simla for us was an excellent break, the view was breathtaking, and watching the sun rise every morning was an experience of a lifetime.

The food there had a freshness was simply mouth watering and the pickles became an addiction

The plants, the flowers, the warm people- everything about Simla had a come home feeling which was heartbreaking to leave behind

RavneetSingh said...

For us it was the ultimate summer retreat - we indulged (and how) in all sports it offered. We trekked to the Kullu basin, did trout fishing at the Pabbar River, went skiing at the Narkanda and Kufri also played golf at the nine-hole Naldehra. Swell wouldn't you agree:)

VDNotes said...

Somehow never liked the place. It's OK if all one wants to do is stay in one's hotel, but I've never been that sort. Get out on the roads and it becomes one endless hustle. I'd first been there with expectations of a nice Himachali town, but it turned out to be closer to Chandigarh. An escape to Mashobra, Kasauli or Chail, all next door, is highly recommended :-)

melinda said...

Hey Mee not like you to shy away from the outdoors! So why did u stay more locked in than fancyfree?:)

I personally love shimla, but like you prefer it during off tourist months.

Payal said...

This brings up so many memories!! And i completely agree with you on it being better during off season...its way too crowded otherwise...

Did you try Manali?? I loved it much more than Shimla though I hear that it's gotten rather spoiled in the last decade...

Jim said...

Did they mistake you for a pahadi girl too with your rosy pink complexion?:) hope you got snow while you were there? Sorry missed you this trip-next time you come we plan better!

sheila said...

If you love the hills then must visit Kufri, Dalhousie, Mashobra or even Ananda. Less populated far more serene, less touched by commercialization.

Mee said...

@RAj-my idea of a holiday is not Simla either. Or at least not during peak tourist season. Shoshi sounds very nice and we will hereon stick to the not much traveled path:)

@Gits: Its the mountain air, makes one hungry all the time:) hehee

@RS: U do sound for once like you had a serious tryst with nature (wink):)

@VDnotes @Mel: completely agree- a workshop kept one bound indoors unfortunately:(

@Payal- Manali, Simla, Ooty have all sadly got too populated for my liking:(

@Jimmy: hehehee yea:) For sure will plan btr nxt trip

@Shell: Done Dalhousie and Kufri-must write about them, untouched pure magic:)

kanaguonline said...

Its been in my list of must-visit destination for a long time.. more than me my mom wants to see it :)

The interiors are so cool.. why didn't you uploaded any snow pictures.. it would have been good considering the heat here...

Mee said...

@kanaguonline-ty for visiting my blog:)

Would be a good idea to go to Simla in the winter mnths-that is if you and your mum can embrace the cold/snow

As regards why no pics of snow- given we were thr in end April- we were lucky to see some rare snowfall (all night)hence no sexy pics becos by night. By morning the dirt and grime had mixed with the snow -while I have pics they are not pristine white soft flaky snow pics:) I'd rather only post the romantic images of snow if I had some nice ones to share:)

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