A trip to Shimla-Manali-Amritsar in November 2011
It was 2001 January end - February while myself and my wife touring Delhi around, a day planned to go out of Delhi, I preferred to go to Shimla but my wife rejected the idea in anticipation of cold weather, may find covered with snow. However, we decided to avail bus services from ISBT, whatever destination would be available first, we would avail that. Unfortunately for me we could get bus for Jaipur first and as per our plan we had visited Jaipur-Agra and back to Delhi. Since then we could not go to Shimla till 21st November’2011.
After obtaining Club Mahindra membership we planned to visit Shimla-Manali in November ‘2011 and booked their Resort at Mashobra for 21st to 23rd November at Shimla. We commenced our journey from Kolkata Airport by IndiGo Flight 6E 235 to Delhi reached at 14:05hrs at Delhi. Our nice was waiting at Airport with a cab. Our next journey was by Kalka Shatabdi from Newdelhi station at 17:15hrs, on the way we took some fast food from KFC at Connaught place and entered to station overcoming the rush at frisking machine.
We could have planned to go to Kalka via Howrah - Kalka mail which departs in the evening and on 3rd day early morning it connects the narrow gauge train at 05:30hrs. In such planning we would have to embark train on 19th evening. We avoided such planning because we had a bitter experience earlier, in the year 2006 we desired to go to Darjeeling through toy train and booked our ticket from Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri and then NJP to DJ. The Darjeeling mail was late by one and half hour, by the time the toy train departed. These train was not connecting train, but till travelers rely on their service. Howrah – Kalka mail and Shibalik Express is connecting service. Howrah Kalka mail reaches at 04:30hrs and Shibalik Express departs at 05:30 hrs.
The Kalka Shatabdi Express was delayed from New Delhi around 1 & ½ hr and reached Kalka at 23:30hrs. Our hotel booking was in Hotel Navrang, advertised walking distance to station, but found 2/3Km away from station. After reaching hotel via an auto rickshaw we could get only dal - roti at room service. However, we asked the same auto rickshaw to pick up us at 04:00hrs, we had gone for rest at 01; 30hrs, thus hardly any sleep as we had to wake up at 03:00hrs again. Ultimately we could avail the small narrow gauge train Shivalik Express with seven bogies, probably 26 seats in each bogy. We reached advance in the station and could find number of people asking for a ticket in the same train but could not get as all seats were booked already. While our journey commenced, we found only seven passengers in our coach, the reason was Howrah – Kalka mail was running 5/6hours late and Shivalik could not accommodate such delay. Thus though being a connecting train of Howrah Kalka, the toy train commenced journey at schedule time with less number of passengers. We appreciated our decision to come to Kalka on previous day to avail the desired train.
It was an amazing panoramic exposure of foothills of Himalaya once the Sunrise occurred and we rejoiced the journey. Numerous tunnels are there on the way added a different thrill to the entire journey. Passengers, particularly the new couples were enjoying the journey more than the others, getting down at each station, taking photographs with the train in station with request to the co-passenger to take them in one screen of their own etc etc. We were in a state of drowsiness as explained earlier of last night spending.
The train was supposed to reach at Shimla at 10:15hrs, but it remained stuck up at “Summer hill” station, 3km before Shimla due to a down train engine failure. KLK to SML is narrow gauge single line with crossing points are only in stations. The down train was stuck up in between Summer hill & Shimla. However, we reached at Shimla at 13:00hrs took a cab, reported the reception of Club Mahindra Resort “The whispering Pine” at Mashobra. Our room was quiet cozy and with a view of valley of pine from large glass covered window. The valley view was eye soothing and leisure pass time.
Day two in Shimla we programmed to visit Kufri, enjoyed the views and horse riding, though riding horse at this age without practice was a different adventure for us. The day’s tour continued to Nauldawhara, the famous film shooting place. On return to resort spent the remaining time leisurely for relaxing.
23rd morning at 07:30hr we checked out from the resort at Mashobra and commenced our journey to Manali by cab, reached Manali Snow Peak Resort of Club Mahindra via Kulu Valley. We were quite delayed to reach the resort as the car we booked through an agency at Shimla was old one and not suitable for such a long journey. Moreover we spent some time at HP Govt. weaving centre purchasing gifts articles for relatives.
On reaching there at Snow Peak resort we were welcomed at reception and provided a Studio suit with a small balcony facing towards peaks and valleys views from where was sumptuous.
Next day that is on 24th we commenced our journey towards Rotang pass, snow fall occurred few days back and scattered deposition of snow was visible. Patches of snow were quite large for amateur skaters.
After returning to Manali city area we visited famous Hirimba temple and the Garden. Amazing large & tall pine trees are found around the temple and in the rock garden.
25th We spent leisurely in the resort, watching movies in the note book and listening music, the TV connection was not restored in the suit we stayed.
26th early morning, at 5:00am, we commenced our journey to the next destination – Amritsar. Our booking was with Hotel Shiraz Regency, near Amritsar Railway station.
1st time we visited the “Golden Temple” – mesmerized by the atmosphere, the calm environment though so many holy people offering their religious rite.
Next morning on 27th again we stepped in to the temple to see the devoted pilgrimages and then visited the historical “Jallianwala Bagh” where on 13th April 1919 the British Police fired on unarmed people gathering by the order of Brigadier General Dyer and approximately 1000people were died. In protest of the act of British Raj, the Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore returned the Knighthood from British crown. The spots / holes of bullets on the brick wall is there still visible and kept protected for peoples viewing.
Next part of the day we visited the Wagah Border to observe the march-past by the soldiers of Indian army & Pakistani Army. The area is too small in respect of the gathering happens there thus it was practically not visible for the peoples joining late hours. I tried to get some photographs by forcibly entering into the gathering and by that way I lost my Black Berry set. Though I made a complaint to the local police camp but nothing happened. Afterword we understood that these pick-pocketing is a very common phenomena here at wagah border. Authority should make proper arrangement for the number of people visit there every day and should protect from pick-pocketing their personal belongings by keeping close vigilance on the local miscreants.
At night we availed the Golden Temple Express from Amritsar to reach New Delhi Nizamuddin Station in the morning, the day we spent with our cousin sister’s house at Delhi and again embarked Rajdhani Express from New Delhi to reach Kolkata next morning 29th.