Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Day 5 of the Great Indian Road Trip @ Shimla
Day 5 : April 7, 2013
Finally after our most adventurous journey from Bangalore to Shimla, it felt very good to be at one single place even if it was just for one single day. I was wondering that if for three and a half days I felt like this, what must people who have to travel a lot as a part of their work or sailors, defence personnel feel after a long amount of time away from home. It also felt good to be on terra firma instead of moving constantly.
We went trekking in the morning. The trek was led by a local guide called Rajan and he was a very informed person. He was very knowledgeable about the local history, the flora and fauna and kept a continuous chatter going which kept us all very entertained. The trail was very easy and not very steep except in a couple of places. We went all the way to the President’s Orchards and back. Rajan also owned a dhaba and we immediately jumped with joy on hearing this. We told him that we wanted to have breakfast at his dhaba instead of at the resort. He immediately called his house and made arrangements for the ingredients to be kept ready.
On reaching his house we found that his father was running the dhaba along with his mother. Rajan ran into the kitchen and started making the parathas. His cousin brother served the hot aloo parathas along with aam ka achar, nimboo ka achar and dahi. We were ravenous and gobbled up innumerable hot parathas. His father served us hot elaichi wali chai in glass tumbler and we asked for a second round of chai. The home cooked parathas were so delicious and healthy without unnecessary masalas or oil that we all had three parathas each.
The best part of the road trip is the delicious street food that we are eating continuously. After returning to the resort, we had some Ayurvedic therapy and massage sessions. In the afternoon we set out to see the Shimla town. We went to the Mall road. We had to park the Scorpio in the town in one of the parking lots and go to the Mall road by the lift that is maintained by the Himachal Government. We had lunch at Baljeev’s Dhaba on Mall road and then went shopping at Lakkad bazaar. We get great stuff made out of wood at very dead cheap prices. I bought a lot of spoons, ladles and other kitchen appliances like a pestle and mortar, chapathi making board and rolling pin and many hair clips, key chains and other gifting items.
We returned back to the Mall road and I took a ride on a horse. It was a Jakkad Hanuman Temple which is very famous. They have a story that when Lord Hanuman was carrying the Sanjeevani parvat from the Himalayas to Lanka, a part of it fell on this spot and that is how the Hanuman temple got established at this place. The temple has a lot of monkeys around it which are very aggressive and are known to attack human beings, pick pocket them, snatch the items that we carry in our hands and scare people. We were warned both by the people in the resort and our guide to go empty handed to the temple.
The drive to the temple was very steep and there were some very tricky and difficult hair pin bends. Ashok managed them and negotiated the Scorpio with ease. The guide, Rajan, who travelled with us amazed and impressed and told Ashok that he is driving like a local which is supposed to be the highest compliment that they can give anybody. If you are compared to a local, it seems you have arrived in Shimla scene.
We heeded to the advice given and went to the temple empty handed. We had an uneventful darshan. We saw many monkeys at close quarters, but, none attached us. The guide, Rajan kept chanting Hanuman Chalisa as he is mortally scared of monkeys since his childhood when he was attacked by a monkey in this very same temple. He told us that since then he never comes to this temple and always takes all the visitors to the Sankatmochan Hanuman temple and came here only because Ashok insisted that he wanted to come here.
We returned back to the resort, had an early dinner and packed up our belongings and settled early for a good night’s rest as we were tired and needed to get all the rest we could get as we had a tough drive to Manali tomorrow.