Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Weekend in Himalyas : Naldehra and Kufri


Our Chalet
Chalets at Naldehra
After being eight hours on the road from Delhi we had finally reached Naldehra, a small village, few kilometers uphill from Shimla, once the summer home of Lord Curzon. It was an overcast day with clouds hovering over the mountains and by the time we had checked in at Chalets in Naldehra it had started to rain. The resort, as the name suggests, had a cluster of small wooden cottages with tall conifers overlooking them. Surrounded with nature all around, an immediate sense of calm took over as we settled in our “Chalet”, the sound of the drizzling rain outside was another soothing element. Tired from a long journey the first thing we did was to take our lunch in the revolving restaurant which the resort had. As we enjoyed a much needed meal we watched the rain pour over the majestic Himalayas, nature’s dramatist had scripted a perfect beginning to our trip.



Sunset at Naldehra
Rain, which had afforded us a much needed rest, subsided before sunset. It was not yet dark so we decided to go out and explore the serene resort. Some clouds were still hanging around and sky had a peculiar mix of orange and grey. The Chalets at Naldehra is perched on a small cliff from where we could see the rest of the village, still fresh from the showers, probably getting ready to wrap up another day. It was amazingly peaceful and quiet, a kind of space which has become extinct in our urban lifestyle today. Only if we could get rid of our cellular network, the mental detoxification would have been complete then. We walked around and went along a trail which led into the woods, also a part of the resort. It was fairly simple to realize that life was different here, sure there would be hardships but it was yet to be corrupted by the clutter we deal with. The sun now had disappeared and we returned to our cottage as it grew dark. Rest of the evening was spent relaxing in our room with some coffee and our books. The day was rounded off with a nice dinner in the resort’s restaurant.


The Golf Course
The next morning, we were up early. We wanted to make the most of our time in Naldehra and went for a little stroll along the road outside. The sky had cleared and sun was out with full aplomb. There was no restless haste around and life here was being a little leisurely like us, soaking in the warmth, slowly getting ready for the day ahead. Shutters of a few shops by the road were being pulled up. Some villagers were out with their stock of mules and horses, a full day’s of work lay ahead of them as horse riding is a main attraction at the tourist spots in this region. A few plots away was Naldehra golf course, probably India’s highest, built under the supervision of Lord Curzon. He was enamored with the beauty of this place, his favourite camping site near the summer capital Shimla. His love for the place was such that he named his daughter after this place, Alexandra Naldehra. The entry to the golf course he built was however restricted to the members only so we could only look from the other side of the fence. It was a picturesque venue and we could only imagine the experience of playing the sport in such a beautiful setting. We returned for our breakfast after which we went back to the trail leading into the woods. Amidst all the trees we found ourselves a neat little space to sit. Silence there was blissful, broken only when a vehicle would pass on the road below. For some time we sat there underneath the tall Himalayan Cedars, not needing to speak, not wanting to break the silence. This was rejuvenation in true senses in confines of nature.

Horse Ride
By noon we had to check out from Chalets, in sync with our whirlwind itinerary. We were now headed to Kufri. We went downhill, crossed Shimla and again started climbing up to this famous tourist spot. After a few kilometers uphill from Shimla layers of snow started appearing next to the road and on the slopes of the hills. There were some vendors who sold tea and Maggi, quite a tempting combination for such a weather but we were pressed for time. After a drive of almost an hour we reached the Kufri Fun World. Unlike Naldehra this was definitely a more popular destination, the decibels had risen with hundreds of tourists. All the commotion was for the horse ride which would take us into Fun-World. The ride was an adventure in itself, a stiff challenge for us to keep our balance on the saddle as the poor animal paced itself along the muddy and uneven path. As we went up and down the slopes a look below was an extra dose of motivation to hold the reins tight, after all who would want to go to a laundry in Kufri. The ride lasted for a few minutes after having reached an open area, which almost looked like a fair. This was the Fun World, probably the highest amusement park I had visited, snow-capped peaks on the horizon. Full of people, it offered quite a few activities to them. We tried our hand at the Zip line which was the most popular one. It also had Go Karting and I could not resist taking some laps. But for all the fun we had there, one thought just perplexed me .Why create such artificial attractions when you have natural splendor all around. Is this the kind of tourism which should be promoted, based on activities rather than the place itself, isn’t the aura of the Himalayas good enough to leave anyone spellbound. In the meanwhile, time had flown by and we were well into the afternoon. We headed back, however we took a different path and walked down to the highway instead of taking the horse ride. Once on the highway we realized we had come out almost two kilometers away from where our cab was parked. We enjoyed walking down to our car, perhaps a day in the mountains had energized us. The last thing we did up there was to take lunch at one of the hotels in Kufri, built right on the edge with a great view of the mountains, another freshly cooked and delicious meal.
We were happy with the 24 hours we had just spent as our drive down to Chandigarh began!


7 comments:

basu said...

That's like an ideal weekend.....and very well written with nice shots!

Samanvay Sinha said...

thanks Basu !

Samanvay Sinha said...

thanks Basu !

Priyanka said...

Interesting blog. There are so many beautiful places to visit in naldehra, shimla like golf course, mashobra hillsetc. If you want to stay at hotels in naldehra, The Chalet's Naldehra is the best option.

valentino Tj said...

Nice Blog.Keep it up.
If you want to visit shimla, Buy Shimla Weekend tour Packages and explore picturesque hill stations, gushing waterfalls, abundant wildlife.

Chavi Dawani said...

Himachal is totally situated on the foot of Himalaya that is the reason that the place is totally capped with the snow. One can visit this beautiful scenario by visiting the most snow capped area like Naldehra and Kufri. You can visit this exciting place from https://www.shimlapacks.in/shimla-honeymoon-tour-packages-ahmedabad here. The place is generally visited during the time of summer but it is suitable to visit entire the year.

gaurav kumar said...

The Chalets Naldehra extends from a thickly forested mountain spur and has a view of a deep valley. This is a place for leisure, recreation, family and corporate bonding, adventure, golf and a select venue for conferences. This is not just a place where the 'room has a view', but where every window has a different view.