Our school organised a tour to Shimla during the summer vacation under the guidance of our physical education teacher. A group of twenty students left for Kalka by train. A metre gauge line goes up from Kalka to Shimla. It is a hilly tract of sixty kilometres that the train covers in about three hours. The train winds its way on the zigzag rails very slowly. It has a small engine and has only eight or nine compartments. One can easily catch the running train. The mountains were bathed in the glory of the rising sun and everything looked majestic. The trees were so high that they seemed to be receiving messages straight from the heavens. There was greenery everywhere. We had left the scorching heat of the plains and felt the need for warm clothes.
Our teacher had booked rooms for us in The Grand Hotel that is located on the Cart Road near the bus stand. We had to bolt the doors and windows very carefully because sometimes, the clouds enter the rooms and wet beddings and clothes. When we sat on the ridge, the clouds passed by us and made us cool and we felt drenched.
Shimla is one of the most beautiful hill stations and the British had made it the summer capital of the government of India. The governor’s lodge has been converted into the Centre of Advanced Studies. Now, Shimla is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh.
It has become overcrowded and one does not enjoy those lovely hours on the Scandal Point or on the Ridge, There is a steep height that takes us from the Ridge to Jakhu temple. It is on a mountain peak surrounded by very tall trees. It is said that Hanuman had carried Sanjeevani for Lakshman from there. There are monkeys all around and look at the tourists with angry eyes. One has to carry grams to please them. There is a skating rink on the Mall Road where young people enjoy skating. There are some beautiful places around Shimla that attract tourists. The snow-skating rink at Kufri is barely ten kilometres from there.
The days passed so fast that we forgot, we had to go back. The manager of the hotel reminded us that our booking days were over. As we drove back to Kalka, we wished that we could have stayed there for a few more days. The visit was very refreshing and I enjoyed a lot.