Paul and Rita - India and About, 2005/6 - Shimla


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Shimla, a favourite hill station of the British Raj, the place where they moved to en-masse during the hot Indian summers, making it the summer capitol of British India.


Itinerary - click link to jump to day

3rd Oct - Chandigarh to Shimla
4th to 6th Oct - Shimla



Mon 3rd October, 2005

We took a taxi from the hotel in Chandigarh to pick up the early train to Shimla from Kalka. This is a famous route on a narrow gauge line, which has been in existence since 1906 and carries the passenger up to the old British hill station of Shimla. Today is 3rd October Paul's birthday, so we aim to travel up to Shimla a journey of about five hours, then pick a suitable hotel for celebrations.

We had hoped to be in Corbett National Park for this date but find it is closed until the15th November, another plan bites the dust.

We had the pleasure of meeting an interesting Indian couple on the train called Vishal and Anju Prabakash, with their little girl Videka who was causing quite a stir with other female passengers as she is a cute little girl. Interestingly I noticed they were eating packets of crisps where we had decided to try the train curry!!! They later told us they wouldn't touch the curry with a ten foot barge pole or the Indian equivalent, for not knowing the place it was prepared. We enjoyed this dhal and rice although motions were loose the following day.

We got chatting anyway and found they were on a short holiday for the duration we were there and arranged later to meet, exchanging mobile numbers, there's another story!!

On route we passed through lots of little stations, e.g. Solan, Bagor etc which are all prettily painted, tidy and well kept and look a bit British to tell you the truth.

Although the journey is only miles it takes a staggering 5hours because we climb from 600 ft to2000metres, some climb.

On arrival it was just about sunset and we unloaded bikes and pushed them up a very steep incline, the type you always find near stations, until the road flattened out and then cycled the rest of the way to a hotel called Combermere, taking directions from vendors on the way.

The approach to this hotel was up 2 flights of steps and a lift to the 2nd floor to find the reception, just to find if rooms were available, fortunately they were. After a half hour struggle with bikes we were finally booked in and back in the bar for a beer as I told you it is Paul's birthday.

We normally have a 3 day event for birthdays and this was no exception. We started the great evening with a few beers before ordering our fill in the restaurant, together with a bottle of sparkly the price of which made me drop through the floor, dearer than UK at 35 pounds per bottle, and not even Moet!!!

(more details to follow)


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