There is just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you are special.
13th of January’17: We started our trip by boarding the Himsuta. We were getting updates from the news that after 25 years, Shimla is experiencing snowfall which has led to the inflow of a huge number of tourists. We reached Shimla the next day at around 4 a.m. It was extremely cold outside. We took the public transport to reach the bus stand. Next, we booked a cab and then headed towards the hotel. It was dark and the cab driver brought us near the Ritz.We called the hotel reception to inquire about how to reach. He guided us by mentioning the shortest route. So we climbed some stairs and landed on the Mall Road. From there the steep climbing began. There were numerous monkeys jumping over the trees. The roads were cleared off from the snow. Blankets of snow covered both sides of the road. I was just awestruck to see every tree and every structure covered with white sheets of snow.
As soon as we reached the hotel, we were allocated the rooms. And then we were informed, the electricity has been restored just the day before and we have to manage with the limited amount of warm water that was available. The view from the hotel was the first glimpse of the snow-covered extended valley. We had breakfast and then headed towards the Jakhu Temple. Mythology says that Lord Hanuman saw sage Yaku on his way to the Himalayas to get the Sanjivani Booti and he stayed there(Jakhu Hills) for a while gathering more information about the herb.
The road leading to the hills had pine trees with snow. There was an old mansion which resembled the Victorian Architecture. We took snaps in front of it.
The trek to Jakhu Hills soon began. The steps were covered with ice all over. It was difficult to climb due to slippery nature. Throughout the way, we met tourists rather enthusiasts who were struggling to make it to the top like us. There were people who were easily climbing the steps. I was just wondering about their strong foothold and their technique. One of the elderly persons on the way told me not to put a lot of force on the ground. The lighter you put your feet on the snow, the convenient it is to move. Nature gives us myriad examples to apply in our lives. With force, you can’t win anything. It’s the kindness, gentle attitude that wins people’s hearts. Love, trust and friendliness can never be obtained by force. They are all voluntary in nature. I followed the instruction and could find the ascent to be easier. I thanked the elderly person for his words of wisdom. And he was like “ Beta hum to hiss raste se roz aate jaate rehte hain, yahi raaste hume hamare manzil tak le jaate hain.” Earlier I was thinking how difficult it was to walk on the slippery ice covered snow, but after learning the simple method to walk on it, I felt grateful to be there to witness the beautiful surrounding. Gradually climbing the steps, I reached the hilltop where a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman has been constructed epitomizing the mythology.
A grand statue of Lord Hanuman is present just near the temple. A lot of monkeys joyfully play with each other in the premises. In front of the temple, a garden with a pool of snow is situated. I took hold of some. They are light as cotton and not at all cold. Many children were playing there by throwing snow on each other. We stayed there for a while and then the descent began. It was pretty much easier.
We had lunch and then we visited the local shops of Mall Road. Mall Road is the heart of the city with all the hustle bustle being concentrated there. By afternoon, the sun was shining brightly and we had all gathered near the Church. It was a very beautiful view from there. We sat there for a while on the benches that were constructed on the Mall Road watching the street crowded with tourists from all places.
Next morning we set out to visit the museum. On our way one of the cab drivers asked us if we intend to go to Kufri. Kufri is another 20 kms from Shimla and is home to all kind of adventure sports. We decided then and there that we will go. Thus all four of us boarded the cab and we headed towards Kufri. The road to Kufri seemed like a journey to fairyland. Green Valley with pine trees covered with snow presented an altogether different look. We were told this path is beautiful because of the snowfall. We crossed Sanjauli, another small town in between and reached Kufri. We reached Kufri in around 2 hours. On the way, we could see Yaks and stacks of snow on the roadside. It was freezing cold there. We stayed there for a while and had Maggi. The temperature was so low that we were eating it after being served directly from the cooking vessel and didn’t feel a pinch of heat in it.
We started our return journey soon and on our way back we stopped for a while to get pictures clicked with the Yak. Meanwhile, snowfall began. And I was mesmerized with the tiny snowflakes falling on our clothes. It was a pretty view. It lasted for a few minutes. We reached Shimla by 4:30 in the evening and then walked towards the Indian Institute of Advanced Research where the Shimla Conference took place. The path to the place was scenic. On our way, we could see the State Assembly, the Secretariat, The Office of the AG, the head post office, other government offices and mansion of retired army personnel. By the time we reached, the Institute was closed. But we didn’t regret because the path leading to it was worthwhile. We walked back to our hotel, packed our luggage and started on our journey back to Delhi.
It was the first time I had seen snowfall in my life. I panicked at the extreme cold conditions there but nature’s bounty compensated for everything.