7:20 PM

The Snow Opera,The Infinite Flakes and The Frost Bites Part I

                                 Time stands till when I rather sit and admire @ Shimla

I took the road that many take but little did I know that I will get to witness something which many never got a chance to see in Shimla(may be Kufri or Manali but not Shimla).As I turn pages of my morning newspaper of the recent Srinagar Avalanche,the memories of my Jan trip to Shimla came back as a flashlight. The snow-The satisfactory,the playful,the harmful,the slippery,the pleasing,the tease.

"I think It's gonna snow tomorrow. Said my brother.I cuddled real hard in my bed,the footprints of snow wasn't for Shimla I thought.May be when we reach Manali,it'll be snowy and white washed.Not Shimla,no ways,I haven't heard Shimla snows out in recent years,may be years ago but not now.Snow is and was always famous in Kufri,Solang and Manali,but this year is different"

                                       I woke up to the view that many ain't aware of yet
                            The Shimla Railway Station Groomed In Hushy Mushy White
                                                And this is the first hour of snow!

India is a place of contrasts and that is why I love it so much.Recently one of the ladies I met from abroad,glanced at my visiting card and said "Which place is this,with so much snow?" and I said "Sikkim,India".India is a land where not-so-surprisingly every season is a discovery.Blame it on Greenhouse effect,but with the snow falling for months after it should stop,it makes me give a sheepish smile to God.Many of us,even me a few years back had cravings for snow.Even now,the snowfall brings excitement like no other.It is purity unparalleled,the only thing which perhaps gives us the childlike joy almost instantly.But as it is a boon for the people who are first-timers,it is a bane for the locals who live there.We,in Shimla for 3 days with half the time no electricity,chose to wander around slipping falling finding our way to some place.But for how long is the question for locals?With heavy snow,is the lack of basic food(mostly during snow time,the vegetables are from lower terrains) which you get.With that,most of the times,it is the potatoes which they survive on or the Maggi or the Tea.Snow teaches patience and tests your toughness.It can be soft,but it can also be unbearable.But let's today talk about the brighter side of the whitewashed Shimla,and my memories to make your heart feel a little light . After all,not all snow is heavy to the soul!

                                               Gaurav enjoys the hot Pahadi Maggi

My first snow moment was in Dehradun some 13 years back with my cousin and the memories I have is almost non-existent now.It is those old printed photos(yes! I love them more than digital prints) that I recall looking like a clown with loads of layers of clothing my mom had put me on.Ever since I gained my consciousness to the level that I remember to what I felt,Ladakh was the first heavy snow moment(with temperature at Airport at -3,and -20 at Pangong with the frozen Pangong at Sight).In Ladakh I reluctantly had to wear jacket of local goat fur(I prefer wearing not no many layers during snow,but this was cold in early April which is considered winters in Leh) which my driver had insisted on after he rejected my fancy yet to me thick urban Jacket which I got.Then there was unpredictable snowfall in Auli(Jan) where I had gone for skiing,and I chose to stay when other ran for shelter.Then was Sikkim(Feb) where the vehicle got stuck in heavy snow and I chose to climb a just there hillock for fun.Of all these places,North Sikkim was the first place,where I experienced severe snowfall,with it snowing every morning and night and every time in between.Everytime I think, Snow God got a chance to cover the city in Snow Blackout.Although my plans to Gurudogmar got cancelled due to severe snow,it felt just perfect to be there,eating the Pahadi Maggi(it's different) and almost indulging in snow.For all those who want their vacation to be snowy visit Leh(Oct End-Apr,sometimes even Early May),Srinagar-Gulmarg-Sonmarg(Dec-Early March),Sikkim & Arunachal(Dec-Feb),Manali(Dec-Jan),Auli(Jan) but these are just what I faced when I went there,falling of snow it's only by God's grace.I guess,when he's angry he pours more than what makes us happy reminding us of the superpower he has got,and when he's happy he shower his blessings in soft cotton like snow and when he's harsh,he throw hailstones.

I recollect the memories of the tiring but fun 10 hours of my bus journey.I know you would say why didn't I choose Kalka Shatabdi,which was oh so convenient.If you remember, my trip to Kasuali had a very convenient Kalka taking us just almost there,Shimla was unplanned at 10:00 am.10 am and a bus service.It took us 45 minutes to reach ISBT from our home.And at 10:45 am,getting a Volvo bus to Shimla was impossible.The great and comfy buses leave early by around 9.The almost broken and slow buses leave by 10:45 am.A little disheartened,we chose to board the Volvo to Chandigarh which he promised will take no more than 4.5 hours.With a pitstop at KFC,we reached Chandigarh.From Chandigarh,we took a Non-AC small bus to Shimla(it was the only option we had considering our time we reached).

                               The Aww look that says it all.Picture Coutsey: Gaurav Sinha

When we reached by our bus to Shimla it was around 8 pm.Instead of getting down at the bus stop which is downhill and a little far from the mall,almost opposite ends and some kms which I'll tell you how we walked the last day out of no choice,and then took a lift to reach fast.We got down at a highway juncture few minutes before the bus stop because we had to go towards the mall.Idea was to catch the local bus from that very point.And then the wait.It was very very cold,almost freezing.The lights at the juncture was non-existent,with we with a mere hope looking for signs of dim lights of our bus which might come anytime,which for 45 minutes didn't.Just then the bus arrived,and instead of taking a lift from the several taxis which were passing by,we hopped into a overcrowded bus.The best way I guess to examine a population density of a place is to get onto a local bus.And then you wonder,really so many people exist!We had to walk then from the railway station to the mall.

For those who are travelling Shimla for the first time,the regular stop is quite far from the mall.So if your bus reaches late,its best to get down at the juncture and take a local bus.You can ask the driver to stop where the local buses run on highway.Don't fret,almost half the bus passengers get down there,so you wouldn't be alone

As I said the night was cold,and after about 10 hours of journey,I was barely willing to go hike uphill to the mall but with the hunger for food I dragged myself up.I remember my brother saying "Come fast,the shops will be closed,can't you see its freezing cold here!".

So for the first timers,note the important places to eat and stay at Shimla:


  • HPTDC Hotel Holiday Home(The Best By Himachal Tourism)
  • Hotel White(Rs 1250) , Lakkar Bazaar
  • Kapil Hotel(Rs 1700) , Lakkar Bazaar
  • Krish Rauni Resort(Rs 2200) A little far from the main town,but quite a good option

Baljee(the Mall,Rs 15-100) for Omlettes,Toast and Dosas.Indian Coffee house(the mall,Rs 20-35 for breakfast,cheap dosas and coffee),Ashiana(the ridge chinese,thai rs 40-170).Embassy restaurant(the mall rs 80-190,indian chinese,tasty chicken curry).Cafe sol(the mall,rs 120-400,mexican italian,crispy prawn and enchiladas),Barista,Himani's(casual drink with chicken tikka),Devico's bar(rs 30-100).Middle bazaar and lakkar bazaar for shopping.

                                    Meet another of my travel companion after the Kindle.
                                                              The lightest Backpack

It's quite easy to explore Shimla like Kasauli. Tomorrow we experience the snow,trek to Hanuman Temple with falling bright snowflakes,have tit-a-tat with the monkeys,explore road shortcuts and get back to where I was.Also,you will see a short video(we didn't use much of camera,because every time we took that out,it snowed out!) and also admire the new Wildcraft Rock and Ice backpack which is the best backpack for snow,because its super duper light for its capacity.

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  1. So much snow right at Shimla! It looks magical.

  2. Seriously, I'm jealous now. Here you are witnessing snow in Shimla and here I am who has always been eluded by snowfalls. I was in Germany (Dusseldorf) throughout January and February when it usually snows, but this year, nada !!

    How I wish to watch snowfall some day.. some day when this curse is lifted ;)


  3. I have been to a snow world in my town and I enjoyed a lot there by that I can imagine that how fun it would be to enjoy in the real snow in some open place.

  4. @Mridula:Thanks Mridula.Yes,that was something I never expected,but yeah this year has been great for snow!

  5. @Shivani:Amen! With this your curse is lifted.Try going Leh,it snows 6 months a year there :)

  6. @lenskart:Then you must because falling snow is very different from snow which is there.It's incredibly soft,like cotton,even softer than that and it's such a great feeling not to be missed.How about North India this winter for you?

  7. Wow! What a wonderful experience!

    Re your query n my post, the Dwarkadish temple has a row of sages placed on the 2nd level of the outer wall, all in different positions.


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