Sunday, May 6, 2012
Kufri World, Rafting In Satluj, Shimla Rain
My brother-in-law Tabbi joined us in Shimla. The day's itinerary included Green Valley and Kufri. I've been to Kufri before. The guides claim that several movies have been shot here but I am sure it is a bit of an exaggeration. A few films have been shot here but too many names are randomly rattled off just to hype up the place. This place is way too commercialised and it seems that the uneven hilly road (tourists are packed on horses to reach the scenic point) has been deliberately soiled so that the tourists are unable to trek on their own and are forced to rely on horses and their masters. An old couple made delicious customised (less oil please, was the request) parathas for us. The scenery from Kufri World (an amusement park) was breathtaking but the promise of Apple orchards was a false one. There was a small bunch of Apple trees in the name of 'Apple Orchards'. The restaurant was closed but the owner was kind enough to treat me to a glass of Green Tea.
May 4, 2012
It was meant to be a long excursion and hence we started off early in the day. Our first stop was at Naldehra. Once again we had to take the refuge of horses for reaching the scenic point. We were told that it is going to be a 5 kilometre ride but Aarefa felt that it must not have been more than a kilometre. I chatted with the horse owner as we slowly glided through nature's magnificence. He told me about the voracious diet of the horses. In winters, the Pahadi Horses are fed home made Ghee so that they can combat the extreme cold. The top of the scenic point boasts of a Golf Course built by the Britishers in 1905. Once again, movie names were spilled out that had been supposedly shot at this point. A few of the of the names were Shahrukh Khan's Deewana, the song Chappa Chappa Charkha Chale from Maachis (unverified) etc.
Tattapani is at a distance of 50 kilometres from Shimla. The vegetation changed once we headed out from Naldehra towards Tattapani. We went downhill to discover a place famous for hot sulphur springs emanating near the bed of Satluj river. We got down at a pace called Sunni. Satluj was before us in all its fantastic glory. The plan was to raft our way to cover the 6 kilometre distance from Sunni to Tattapani. Himachal Tourism has made proper arrangements for rafting in the Satluj. Our guide and navigator Rishi was a good natured guy. He is from the North East state of Meghalaya. We were given rafting gear and oars. Rishi gave us basic instructions about what needs to be done once we were in the middle. Along with me Aarefa, Tabbi and even Insha hopped on to the raft. There was a couple apart from us and Rishi on the back of the raft. As soon as we started off, a gush of rapids engulfed us. We were drenched and Insha panicked. Rishi assured us that there's nothing to worry and we should just follow his instructions. All of us enjoyed the experience tremendously. Even Insha sportingly joined the party (though she asked, "kab ayega Tattapani"). The landscape at both the sides of the river was marvellous.
We got down from the raft at Tattapani and stepped on to the stones. As we walked a short distance, we saw small natural enclosures. The water is hot and a sharp Sulphur odour permeates the air. Aarefa, Tabbi and Insha clicked pictures and collected stones. I lay down on the ground at a spot with water gushing past me. The unique thing was that there was a confluence of hot and ice cold water. It was a memorable experience, something that I shall never forget in my life. You can find enclosed a picture of the Satluj river at Tattapani.
May 5, 2012
We decided to go to the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies once again since we wanted Tabbi to take a look at this inspiring place of learning. I had a couple of cups of Green Tea at the Fire Station Cafe and bought a book. On a spur of a thought, I decided to make a video of the guided tour and the entire ambience near the Institute on my IPad. I plan to edit this video and post it on my YouTube channel soon. Later in the day, we whiled away our time at The Mall Road. It started drizzling and the weather turned even more cold. I went for a run on The Mall Road. This time I managed to pull off quite a distance. It is great to run up and downhill.
May 6, 2012
It is early morning and I am sitting on the Hotel terrace enjoying the music of Nature. Bird songs, a Temple bell ringing at a distance and a serene quaint silence inside my heart... It can't get better than this. We are going back today after an extremely relaxing and re-energising holiday.