As we were getting prepared for our second tour to Himachal Pradesh, we received a shocking news all of a sudden. Our partner Partho-da’s wife was diagnosed with jaundice. Our journey was to start within next two days. Although we were in Kolkata physically, but mentally we had already reached the mountains of HP. The three of us decided to go ahead with this much-awaited tour despite all odds. We really felt sorry for Partho-da and Boudi who were very much involved right from the planning stage, but also had our gratitude to them for letting us to undertake this tour.
The first task was to cancel the bookings of HP tourism accommodations, followed by train and flight bookings. What a marvelous way to start the tour! The D-day arrived, and we boarded Kalka Mail at Howrah station. I want to take this opportunity to thank sincerely Mr. Sandip Thakur of HPTDC, Kolkata office. He was on leave at that time, but he did all the cancellation even from his residence.
Day 0 (24/03/2018):
At last we boarded on train on 24th March 2018 from Howrah Junction. Tickets were in 2 slots, 1 from Howrah to Delhi and next was from Delhi to Kalka. Surprisingly we got both the tickets in same coach.
Day 1 (25/03/2018):
A very sad incident occurred in train. A 72 years old passenger in our adjacent coach died of heart attack. The train halted for more than 2.5 hrs at Old Delhi station to complete all the formalities. His wife got down at Delhi Station with his dead body.
After few discussion with our driver we decided to get down at Chandigarh.
Day 2 (26/03/2018):
We reached Chandigarh at about 5:00 AM. Our driver Ravi was waiting at station with his new Innova Crysta. We had been travelling with him since 2016, when we toured to Dharamshala – Dalhousie circuit. He is a very good driver and a very caring person with polite attitude. We started our journey towards Fagu.
We took the first short break just before Solan at a dhaba for morning tea. As we have never been to Shimla, we decided to go via Shimla this time. When we were going through Shimla, the office & school hour had already started. We found it to be similar to Kolkata, except for the scenic beauty of the mountains. Without any trouble we reached Fagu and checked in HPTDC Hotel – Apple Blossom. Our initial plan was to stay at Naldehra, but because of refurbishment activity at HPTDC tourist lodge there, we planned to stay at Fagu. After freshening up and having break-fast, we decided to take some photographs – selfies at the long lawn there.
@ HPTDC Hotel Apple Blossom, Fagu
Apple Blossom, Fagu
A beautiful apple garden was there, just beside the tourist lodge. Our plan was to visit Kufri Zoo after lunch, and reached the Zoo at about 16:00hrs. The ambiance of the zoo was so lovely that all of us, particularly my son, wanted to stay there for a longer period.
We started for Tattapani at about 9:00hrs after having heavy break-fast at hotel. The road towards Tattapani was good. It took about 3hrs to reach there. We spent about half an hour at the bank of Sutlej. Due to the construction of new dam adjacent to Tattapani the Sutlej has lost its ferocity which it was once famous for.
First look of Sutlej
Our full team
With our driver Ravi
While going towards Naldehra, suddenly we saw that a cricket match was going on a field just beside the road. Being cricket fans, myself and my son got down from car and watched the match for about fifteen minutes.
Cricket match @ HP
Started again and found a small restaurant (small but very neat and clean) named Satvick Food Corner (mobile # +91 98166 47801 / +91 98165 47801), where we finished our lunch.
Reached Naldehra at about 15:00hrs. Had to pay INR. 10.00 per person to enter Naldehra hill at entry gate counter. We preferred walking rather than horse riding to explore that place. The ambience there was very serene. At the left we crossed HPTDC accommodation area. After walking for a few minutes we reached at Naldehra Golf Course on the right side. We visited that place outside and found a sign board where it was written that the charge of playing golf (50 balls) is INR 177.00 (including tax). We found out the golf trainer and with him entered one of the highest golf courses in world. My son’s name was enlisted as he wanted to play golf. For the first time we came to know that different golf clubs are used for right- handers and the southpaws. And they do not have any club for the latter. So my left handed son started playing golf with right hand. The trainer sincerely showed him how to take stance and hit the ball. 50 balls were hit, we paid the fees and the trainer gave us a receipt too.
We came down to the road where our car was parked. Had some tea / biscuits and started our return journey towards Fagu.
A small temple was there near Fagu tourist lodge. After reaching hotel we kept our belongings and visited it. Our driver also accompanied us. It was a small clean temple of Mata Durga. They gave us banana as Prasad.
After exploring the market area of Fagu, we called it a day.