Himalayas Calling III

Day 4, March 5th 2005
Getting up early in the morning had become a habit on this tour. All 4 of us got ready at 7.30, as if we were up for a 8 o'clock class of MJK. We had decided the earlier night that, we shall leave for chandigarh by the narrow gauge train in the afternoon. So we had the morning for local sight seeing. We planned to vacate the room at the dharmasala and keep the luggage at their reception. But the manager was very adamant about the rules - "Luggage cant be kept at the reception". So we decided to dump in our luggage at the cloak room of the shimla bus stand.
Then we got onto a local bus to Kufri. It is a small town some 9kms from shimla. It is famous for apple orchards and very good scenery. It has become a known tourist place because it is the place where one will find snow throughout the year. As expected the sight from the hill top in the morning sun was really picturesque. But we couldnt enjoy the snow. What will a few snow here and there enthuse us when we were coming from Manali and Solang Valley, that had knee deep snow. We didnt spend much time at Kufri and returned back to Maal Road. We roamed around basking in the sun which had become hotter.
At last, after an early lunch, we were at the station to catch the toy train from Shimla to Kalka. We caught a passenger train. The tickets are really cheap, Rs 20 for a 5hr journey. The train was punctual (unusual with Indian Railways). The journey is very relaxing as the train travels very slowly. The route is very beautiful with a lot of tunnels and bridges. We can see the roads below taking a long curve and travelling a lot of distance. The train just cuts through the hills. The total journey is 79kms by rail and 130kms by road. On the train we kept ourselves busy with playing cards. I had a slight head ache and slept for some time.
By the evening we were at Kalka railway station. Ankur had to return to Delhi on the same day as he was to go to Bhopal on the next day. So we had his ticket booked by Kalka Delhi mail. Now the group had reduced to 3, Raja, Khandu and myself. We left for Harsh's house in Mohali.

Day 5, March 6th 2005
The reception at Harsh's house was actually in the moring. Last night when we reached there it was late and hence Harsh ushered us to our beds. His parents gave us a very warm welcome and we had a very delicious Punjabi breakfast. Our tour plan was to cover a few sites in Chandigarh. We preferred homely food and got our lunch packed. Then off we went on Harsh's car (Maruti 800) to the Rock Garden. This is a huge place with a lot of crowd. I am not describing much as events are very evident from the large number of photos that we clicked here. Next we ventured to Sukhna Lake. The climate was getting hotter, but the cool breeze near the lake was pleasant. We went for a boating trip on the lake. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly with a few boat chases and a few beauties around. Afternoon sun was scorching and we found a shade quickly at our next destination, Rose Garden. We finished our lunch and did a quick tour of the roses. Then we had a few rounds of various Chandigarh markets and Punjab University. By evening we were back at Harsh's place and got our bags packed for the departure back to Delhi.
Our train was at midnight from Chandigarh station. All we remember of the train journey was the first 15min after we boarded the train. We were exhausted of the heat. Our eyes opened to the Delhi Rly station and within minutes we were back at our hostel rooms.

This trip was the longest of all the tours so far. The number of photos taken came to 400. Imagine this number without a digital camera!! Thanks to Raja for capturing the memories of this wonderful tour.

If you plan to make a trip to Manali, I would suggest you to do it at this time of year, when there is plenty of snow. Only disadvantage is that you cant visit Rohtang Pass, which is a very famous tourist place that opens only from May to August.

Thats all for now in the Himalayas Calling Series.
Next One in this series in October 2005.


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