Reliving My Childhood On A Road Trip from Delhi To Shimla
The best holiday, in my opinion, is a Road Trip with your family. Recently we went on a Road trip from Delhi to Shimla the Queen of hills and summer capital of British Raj in India.
When I was in school Shimla, Mussoorie, Darjeeling and Ooty all claimed to be the queen of hills. For depending on which part of the country you lived they were the favorite summer holiday destination for desi families. I too have fond memories of visiting Shimla and Mussoorie as a child and also later during a college trip to Darjeeling. So sometime back during a long weekend, I decided to go on a Road trip to Shimla with Wife Jee and kids. The kids were a bit puzzled first that how come I am asking to go to touristy Shimla? But I had a plan in mind as I had booked a quaint homestay in Shogi about 50 KM before Shimla and the plan was that while we stay in Shogi among apricot orchards we will visit Shimla for a day trip.
In the wee hours of a Friday morning, we left our home to hit the GT Road before the mad city traffic clogged the city road. If you start before 7 am from Delhi or Gurgaon you can hit GT road in less than 1 hour but if you start after 8:30 you may take more than 2 hours just to reach the bypass. Just as we crossed the Delhi border the kids started a chorus
“ We are hungry, please stop the car, we need to eat something”
Now when our kids say we are hungry outside of the home, they mean they are hungry for Pizza or burger. But I had no plans to give them junk food. So we stopped at the famous Gulshan Dhaba near Murthal to the dismay of the kids.
“Papa we don’t want to eat at a Dhaba, Please take us for Pizza Papa”
In our home, it is their mom who is the discipline enforcer and one look from her, the kids were reluctantly following me to the table. Soon our Parathas and Missi rotee with dollops of white butter were served.
Our teenager squirmed “Look at all the butter, I am not going to eat it” But the moment she saw us licking our fingers, she changed her mind and reluctantly took a bite from the Parantha. You should have seen the change of expression on her face. And then she uttered
“Wow, these parathas are like Wow” soon the parathas, as well as Missi roti, was gone and a second round was ordered. So much for Pizza and burger, let me tell you, dear reader, the real comfort food is a desi Aloo Paratha with dollops of white butter along with some pickles.
After breakfast, we were on our way to Shimla. Soon we were in hills and the straight roads of the planes gave way to the winding roads of the hills. The kids were dozing off in the back of the car while I and wife jee were listening to our favorite Bollywood songs in the car.
Our guesthouse was near the highway on the outskirts of Shogi and our host was waiting for us and welcomed us with a strong extra sweet ginger tea.
After refreshing he suggested we go for a short walk in the hills nearby and he and his wife volunteered to show us around. On hearing the word walk the resident pug gave a growl of approval and started circling in excitement. The pug soon made friends with our kids and we were on our way to climb a nearby hill.
The winding Pugdundee in the woods presented pleasant surprises at every bend. We found little wild flowers smiling at us at every corner; we could see the Kalka Shimla Toy train line in a distance. Soon it was sunset time and there is nothing more colorful than a sunset in hills. The colors of the sky changed with every passing moment and we could see many colors at the same time on the horizon beyond the tall pine trees.
Next day we decided to go to Shimla in our car but our host at the guesthouse suggest to not go from the main highway but go back to Kandaghat and then go toward Sadhupul as there is a nice picnic spot on the river bank. He suggested that after picnic we can continue on the same road toward Chail and then go to Shimla and then come back via the main Shimla highway. We liked the suggestion and headed towards Sahdupul for a picnic.
Just like we were told the Sadhupul riverbank is wide with shallow waters and the shopkeepers on the bank of the river had put in many rocks into the water slowing down the flow. Although the weather was cold the excitement was too much and not worrying about cold the kids decided to play in the water just like everybody else. But ultimately the chilled water won and the kids came out of the water and we headed straight towards one of the roadside shacks and ordered some hot soup.
Rejuvenated with the soup we continued our journey towards Shimla. We parked our car near the lift below Mall Road and walked up to the Christ Church, that was glowing in the bright Sun.
As I got busy clicking pictures, the kids wanted to go for a horse ride just like everybody else on the mall road. I am not sure about the horse but the kids sure had fun riding the horse and were soon giggling and shouting, clicking selfies with the horse while my focus was the reflection of the horses and horse riders in the puddles around.
The mall road in Shimla is now very touristy friendy and no vehicular movement are allowed during the day. So we could move around freely without worrying about traffic. While the kids were busy checking the shops around I was remembering my own time as a kid when I visited Shimla as a 10-year-old and walked holding hands of my mother.
Time sure flies. This one was a short trip but will be remembered for a long time for on this family road trip we had a good time exploring the hills together as a family, playing in the cold waters and bonding over a bonfire in the hills. When I told the kids that I too had come to Shimla with my parents they were even more excited and wanted me to show all the places I have been earlier. Like I said earlier there is nothing like a family road trip in the hills to bond with your family and remember the good old days and one day trust me these will also become “The Good Old Days”
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