So it all started when one of my friend asked me if I would like to go to Shimla with her and my immediate response was ‘YES’. I consider myself a self-proclaimed best budget trip planner without compromising on the experience. I know that might seem a bit narcissistic but just get over it! LoL.
Shimla is the capital city of Himanchal Pradesh, India. It was selected as summer capital during British rule in 1864 and one can witness the neo-gothic architecture and pleasant weather here during most of the year. Snowfall can be experience during winter months December – March. It’s 345 km away from Delhi which takes roughly 6 hours to drive.
I found that from Delhi going by Volvo bus is the best option. There are buses run by private operators as well as Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) & HIMACHAL ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION (HRTC). I personally preferred Volvo buses run by the state government which can be booked online and much more reliable than private bus operators. Buses operated by private companies can be booked online on Redbus or makemytrip or other third party websites.
Buses run by HPTDC & HRTC are much more reliable and time bound compared to private bus operators. HRTC bus can be boarded from ISBT Kashmiri gate bus terminal, Delhi. HPTDC bus can be boarded at Himachal Bhawan, Mandi House, Delhi. Vovo bus is called ‘Himsuta’ and is very comfortable. Blankets are not provided while a bottle of water will be provided. If you opt for private bus a blanket will also be provided.
6:00 AM we arrived in Shimla, hired a taxi from taxi stand just few meters away from the Shimla ISBT. Taxi was Rs. 400, prepaid, to drop us at our hotel in Summer Hill which is about 6-8 Kms from Shimla bus terminal. Sun was rising and it was mesmerizing to see sky getting red from the car’s window. We were surprised how hotel “Shimla Heavens” was pretty remotely located contrary to what they claimed on the internet. Also, their charges were pretty high for the service they provided. However, I enjoyed the quiet location and the peaceful sleep that I had the following night was priceless. Not to mention, last night in the hotel was awful as a group of young boys and girls came to the hotel who drank alcohol, kept shouting and played loud music all through the night. It left sour memories of the last day with us.
So our first day was really interesting, we left our hotel at around 1pm and started walking. We barely walked 200 meters and we were already panting for breath. Yeah city life with sedentary job takes its toll on your stamina. We continued moving and decided to walk all the way to ‘mall road’ and reached after a 2 hours walk. Mall road is like the most happening place in any hill station in India. Shimla is no different. You get to rejuvenate your eyes with beautiful British architecture and the ridge also welcomes you with mesmerizing scenic view of distant hills and valleys.
In the middle of this visual treat I had some disagreements with my girlfriend over a small matter. I realized that being in long distance relationship and going to such a beautiful place with a good friend may cause some unwanted problems. However, if you have a trusting relationship then such problems can be easily overcome.