Thursday, September 13, 2007


This time the Executive First Class Train leaves from Track 1. The seats are comfortable. A steward brings a fresh newspaper, chai, breakfast. Heading north this time, the passing farmland looks almost prosperous, the villages are just dirt poor, not horribly stenching cesspits. The A/C breezes past our faces.

We get to Kalka and transfer to the 'Toy Train', a narrow gauge railroad up the mountain. 'Coach Car' now refers to tiny, vinyl covered seats. We sit crammed with other westerners, middle class Indians, and a ton of backpacks, etc. Five very slow hours up, up, and up.

India is famous for its Hill Stations, towns built literally on the tops of mountain ridges so as to escape the heat of the summer. I had been to Mussorie years ago, and it was a relatively small town, consisting almost entirely of cavernous old Victorian buildings where you would go in and there'd be a waiter in an old faded colonial uniform formally asking you, the stringy haired backpacker, if you would be taking high tea.

I had therefore always wanted to see Shimla, which had been the summer capital of the entire British Raj. Unfortunately, time has marched on, and not only is Shimla much, much bigger than Mussorie, and not on nearly as ridgy a ridge, but it's a lot more modern and well kept than I had hoped for. Moreover, although you're at 7,000 feet, you're at the top of pine covered hills, and you're not seeing any high snow capped mountains.

It is a lot cooler, however, and that means a lot right now. Especially when the five day forecast for Amritsar (where we go when we leave the mountains) is 108, 110, 109, 107, 109. And humid.

So this afternoon, having determined that Shimla is not our Himalayan cup of chai masala, we purchased a couple of 8 hour bus tickets for Manali, which is further up towards Yeti-Land.

(Hope you get the reference.)


At 3:11 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Shimla provide you a luxurious place for your time spend. This place is giving you a beautiful time spending with the attractive surroundings. I preferred this place most to visit during their weekend. Shimla is the dream destination place of the India that you can easily visit.


Post a Comment

<< Home