Shimla - A Colonial Feast

Discussion in 'Travelogues from North India' started by Yogesh Sarkar, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    A trip to Shimla has been in the making for quite some time now, as I had been dreaming of traveling in the Kalka - Shimla toy train. I knew if I wanted to undertake this journey, I had to spend a day in Shimla, and due to this, I had avoided making this trip until now. Because every time someone used to mention Shimla, I used to get a picture in my mind of a place filled with touts, jams, tourists and acres and acres of concrete jungle.

    Finally I decided to bite the bullet and decided to head off to Shimla and ride in the lovely toy train, I had heard so much about. I was also excited about seeing and photographing some of the old colonial architecture, Shimla is famous for. Since this was going to be a train and bus trip, my sister decided to join in as well.

    We had planned to take a bus from Delhi to Shimla and from there, take the toy train back to Delhi. After a bit of contemplation, we booked our seats in the HPTDC Delhi - Shimla Volvo bus, which runs daily from Delhi at 8:30pm and arrives in Shimla at around 6am, which fit in well with our plan.

    The journey begins...

    With all the luggage packed, it was time to go auto rickshaw hunting, thankfully found one soon enough and we started our journey to the Chanderlok building at Janpath, which houses the HPTDC marketing office and from where the Delhi - Shimla Volvo and all other HPTDC buses start their journey.

    Here is a small video of our auto rickshaw ride I shot en route



    We managed to reach the Chanderlok Building an hour before the schedule departure of our bus and had to wait in a dark alley, thankfully the HPTDC guys opened the bus around 30 minutes before the departure. They also started the bus at the right time and gave a complimentary bottle of mineral water to each passenger.

    After a brief halt at Himachal Bhawan to pickup more passengers, we were finally on our way. Here is a brief video I shot of our journey in Delhi.



    With little traffic en route, we were soon out on the highway and the Volvo was doing speeds in excess of 90kmph, according to the GPS I was carrying.

    First stop came at A New World restaurant near Karnal, at 11pm.

    HPTDC Delhi - Shimla Volvo

    [​IMG]

    After 45min break, it was time to move on. Just before Ambala, HPTDC Volvo got off the main highway to Shimla and took a smaller and rather bumpy road. Which I later found out, was the NH-73 and it took us to Panchkula, bypassing Ambala, Chandigarh and Zirakpur. From here on the bus was traveling on the familiar route, though in the cover of complete darkness.

    Rest of the journey was uneventful till the outskirts of Shimla, as the night started to turn into day, we rolled into the town, here a small video I shot en route.



    When we reached Shimla, we found out that the HPTDC Volvo, drops its passengers just before the Victory Tunnel. As soon as we got off the bus, we were surrounded by taxi drivers and touts/porters. Even though we avoided them at first and walked off, my sister decided to hire a porter for the luggage. It turned out to be a bad decision, as the bugger basically took us first up to the Mall Road and then tried to take us towards the very end of it, to a hotel that he gets a good kickback from.

    At this point we got a bit pissed and decided to check out a few hotels around, one of which was Hotel Classic, which had a cramp room to offer for Rs.880 a night! We decided to look elsewhere and went in search of Hotel Ghar. After a nice long walk and worn out legs, we managed to reach there, only to find out that all four of their rooms were occupied. Also saw a couple of more places and didn't like them at all.

    The porter who had been largely silent till now, suggested Hotel Mayur, which was located behind the Christ Church and was straight up from where we were standing. We took the short cut and reached the hotel, and were shown a room which was pretty ok and was going to set us back by around 1000bucks a night. Negotiated a bit with the nonchalant receptionist and got the room for Rs. 800 a night.

    Christ Church from our room

    [​IMG]

    We called room service and had our breakfast in the room and decided to rest till afternoon and then begin our exploration of Shimla.

    Shimla: Jakhoo Temple and Baba Balak Nath Temple

    Shimla: Viceregal Lodge (Indian Institute of Advanced Study)

    Shimla: Mall and Ridge Road

    Shimla - Kalka toy train journey
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  2. rkbharat

    rkbharat Guru

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    good good, keep rolling YS, it may not fill the leh lacunae, still entertainment looks guaranteed :)
     
  3. joie de vivre

    joie de vivre Guru

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    Good good good. I was expecting customary photo as always, so what if it is of an autoriksha with YS inside! :grin: Ab upload kar hi do bhaiya!!
     
  4. anupmathur

    anupmathur Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hehe, why was this Volvo unable to do higher speeds as they customarily do?! :grin:

    And when did you buy a GPS I? Which one? We want a full review of that as well!! :p
     
  5. aamien

    aamien Member

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    pix of church just an example of what is about come. keep goin YS
     
  6. pushpinder

    pushpinder Guru

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    goody!
    more please!!!
     
  7. hvkumar

    hvkumar H V Kumar

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    Surprising that the Volvo took this detour, the Ambala-Chandigarh/Panchkula expressway is so good and a pleasure to drive on, that alternative routes do not make any sense.
     
  8. suman

    suman Member

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    Good beginning & nice bus. I take it that the Toy train ride was on the way back & then the Shatabdi?

    (Sorry for jumping the gun, curiosity killed the cat you know :p)
     
  9. kamikaze

    kamikaze 111 Horses in the Stable

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    And wonder what happened to the auto! :grin:

    abhi bole to YS bhi tourist ho gaya hai!
     
  10. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Thanks Rajiv

    Sadly none this time around, that is why I shot the video :D

    Sir I was only checking the speed till Sonipat Industrial area, beyond that it could have certainly hit higher top end.

    Didn't bought any GPS, got a MapmyIndia Lx130 GPS for review for a few days.

    Thanks Aamien

    Thanks sir

    That is what I have been thinking, I guess they simply did that to save money on toll as there was no toll booth on this route.

    Yes, took the Himalyan Queen from Shimla to Delhi, later to came to know Shatabdi looks much better and is faster :(.

    #%@%@#
     

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