Shimla – HP
Reached Shimla HP at about 6:15 pm, it was extremely difficult to find a Budget hotel after spending about 35-40 mins with our luggage we settled for Hotel – Vatika @ INR 350 which is below the market area of Manali, about 15 mins walk. The hotel was undoubtedly the worst budget hotel we stayed in the mattress below the sheets had stains there was graffiti inside the cupboard doors, the wiring for the mains in the rest room was exposed, since it was a question of one night so we decided to tough it out.
The next day Sep’28 we explored the area near the Shimla market also called as the Mall, visited the Trishul bakery for some tasty treats, the Rendezvous Bar and the Christ Church near the Ridge, unfortunately it was closed at the time, it is the second oldest church in Northern India. This was the only place during our journey that we spotted a pizza shop; the area is very similar to the Fort area in Mumbai in terms of Architecture and people density.
On the previous evening we had booked the Train (Paschim Express) from Kalka – Haryana to Mumbai @ INR 1577 + INR 200 Agent fee (Tatkal).
The Train was scheduled to leave on Sep’29 but since we did not want to stay in Shimla, we check out from the hotel in the morning, after exploring the Shimla market area, we boarded the bus from Shimla Bust station to Kalka -Haryana @ INR 100 – 70km, we reached Kalka - Haryana by 5:40 pm, instead of staying in the hotel for a day we decided to try the railway quarters (Retiring room) which is located inside the railway station, to our surprise the room was well maintained with all the basic amenities the cost was INR 400 for 12hrs.
Sep’29 we boarded the Train – Paschim Express @ 10:20 am reached Mumbai @2:30 on Sep’30Overall the trip to Himachal Pradesh was excellent with a lot of first times like commuting through the Delhi Metro with its color coded tracks and insane rush during the evening, awesome trek through Kalatop followed by the Diankund trek which brought me to the limit of my trekking abilities, interacting with Tibetan Monks and the exquisite local food in McLeod Ganj, the view of Cannabis plants in their natural habitat in Manali, the face numbing cold and snow fall in Rohtang pass, the grotesque hotel stay in Shimla and the surprisingly spacious and clean retiring room in Kalka.
Himachal Pradesh is one the best places in India and a must go for any and all nature and culture lovers.