A Visit to a Hill Station:
My father had lived at Shimla for a few years. He narrated how he enjoyed himself there. This naturally aroused our anxiety. We planed and the father agreed to take us to Shimla in the summer vacation.
We had a good guide. We packed up our warm clothes. We carried our rainproof coats and good looking umbrellas as well. We took care to make all possible arrangements. We started our journey by train from Ludhiana. We reached Kalka early in the morning. We had to change at Kalka. It was a narrow-gauge train. It had very small compartments which looked strange to our eyes. The train ran at a very slow speed passing through greenery all around. The journey looked very dangerous but worth enjoying. There were high hills standing on one side and deep down slopes on the other side. I felt suffocated passing through tunnels but still, it was funny.
We reached Barog Station after about two hours. We had our break-fast. It was a novel experience. The guard whistled but some people were still enjoying their break-fast. They requested the guard and the train did not move so long as they did not finish their job. We had to pass through about 100 tunnels before we reached Shimla 1 O’clock. We hired coolies and reached Hotle Clarke situated at the Mall. We had a prior booking.
We were awfully tired. We took our lunch and laid down for rest. It was very difficult to leave the bed. But we wanted to be out on the Mall. We began experiencing a change to cold. How pleasant it looked to be in bed with blankets in summer! The long pine trees were whistling. They were moving their heads in the cool breeze that was blowing.
We took tea at 4 p.m. and steeped out of the hotel. People in large groups were strolling about at the Mall. By and by the rush went on increasing. People of all ages, clours, castes, religions and sex were moving about. The new wedded couples roamed merrily and happily. The Mall and the Ridge gave the impression of fashion parade. All the hotels, coffee houses and restaurants were full of tourists. We took our dinner at Baljee’s and returned to the hotel. At the gate we paused to see back. Shimla presented the most beautiful scene. It looked as if every house was twinkling like the stars in the sky.
We stayed at Shimla for full one week. Everyday, we visited tourist spots such as Jakhu Mandir, Prospects Hill, Glen, Chedwick Falls, Mashobra, Kufri and Naldera. Both Jakhu and Prospects Hill are situated at the two extremes of Shimla. Jakhu has a temple of Shri Hanuman. Ohter spots are at some distance from Shimla proper. Kufri is known for skeing that is enjoyed after snowfall.
We started back home journey by bus. It was no less thrilling. We were fascinated by the enchanting music of tall trees, far-stretching hills and stony rocks. The bus moved whirling on the zig-zag road. At one place, both the road and railway track runs parallel for a few minutes.
It was our first visit to a hill station. But it has lingered in our memory ever since. Shimla is indeed the queen of hill stations. That is why it was selected as the summer capital of India by the British.
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