Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kufri/Mashobra - Did someone order Snow!!


I had decided last year, this winter I am going to see snow at least twice. So here is the first one.




Republic day holiday was just at right time, a one day leave meant we had 4 days with us. The place decided was Mashobra, a little town 15 kms from shimla. Always plan to stay outside of main tourist towns if you want to experience the peace and tranquility of hills.

Left Delhi at 6AM, thankfully no fog. Reached Savoy Greens near Karnal at around 8 for a breakfast at McD and Subway. Started again at around 9 and reached starting of hills around 12. The highway was in great shape all through. Even the diversions due to construction work are well made and you are able to cover up miles in good time. The roads on the mountains towards Shimla is wide and smooth. It is a good starting point if someone want to try their hand at driving to hills.

It was very sunny and quite hot. We were not sure if we were gonna get any kind of snow in such clear weather, especially when it had last snowed almost 10 days back. We took a left through the Victory tunnel as soon as we reached Shimla, and there it was, at the back side of the town, where Sun was not able to reach, snow, lots of it. The sight cheered us up and we were sure to find more at Kufri the next day.

On the way to Mashobra

Our destination for the trip, Mashobra, is a small town on the road from Shimla to Naldhera golf course. Our stay, Whistling Pines, a nice cozy hotel perched atop a hill 5 kms before the golf course.

Whistling Pines

View from our Window
The hotel is at a secluded location and thus no noise from anywhere excepts for monkeys and birds. The rooms are well insulated and staff really well behaved and courteous. The food served was very nice and homely or in other words, easy on stomach. Overall a great place to stay.

By the time we were done with our late lunch, it had already started to get dark. So we decked up like an arctic expedition with atleast 4-5 layers of clothing on each and got down to the lawn for a bon-fire with some hot soup and crispy pakoras. :)

Some shots around the sunset.



Since we did not have any snow around hotel, we decided to go to Kufri next day. Got up lazily and were ready to leave only around 11 AM. Had to drive back towards Shimla till the point where we have to take the road going up towards Kufri. Due to the bright sun, the snow was melting and the road was full of muddy water. Also it was quite bumpy and broken. We reached a point where we had two ways to go. One went towards Chail via Kufri, the other went towards Fagu. The road going to Fagu was in a very bad shape at that point, with a lot of mud and undulations. Still we could see quite a few cars going that way, so off we went.

Road to Fagu
Anybody needs a truck-full of snow?

We drove for sometime and we found a lot of snow all through. Frankly we had not expected so much snow and were really excited. We were wondering how great it would be if we stayed at Kufri or Fagu for the night, but our luggage was at Mashobra, so we drove further and stopped at a point where a walking path was going up towards Kufri Fun World. Parked the car, rented snowboots for everyone and started our walk up the hill.




The view from Fun World was amazing. Snow all around in bright sunshine. 


There is a Karting track at Fun world, they say its the highest karting track in the world, but its not much as its just an oval track with Kart moving at glacial speeds. We took the entry only ticket for the fun world, which is 100/- per person. It was totally worth it since we got to make our first snow man(or snow-boy).

Meet Bablu
If we go further up the hill from fun world, we reach the same spot we would have come to had we continued toward kufri. Its a crowded dirty spot with lots of people and even more food vendors. Thank god we didn't climb from Kufri side.



On our way back to the car, stopped at a small shop for Maggi but as luck would have it, after waiting for almost half an hour, the stove mal-functioned and we had to leave. 

As we had a majority of ladies on our trip so a shopping spree had to be included and thus we set out for the mall road. Had our fill of Maggi and Aloo tikki on the way in kufri itself. Reached the lift to the mall after a harrowing time finding place to park. At the mall, after a bit of shopping we went into the restaurant of Hotel Combermere. Its slightly over-priced but a great place to eat if you want some quality international cuisines. We tried Burritos, Quesadillas, Pasta and Sandwiches. Everything was tasty and after the meal, price won't pinch you at all. Started back for the hotel in dark and reached within an hour. 

Next day was the return journey and we wanted it to start as early as possible. But some laziness in the morning again and we were able to leave only by 10AM. Drove at good speeds on the way down but due to traffic in Delhi and a long lunch stop, we were able to reach home by 9:30PM.

A special mention for my Car, this was its first stress test on hills  with 5 adults and boot full of luggage. Punto never dissapointed in terms of power and pulling capacity on inclines. Especially the climb from road towards the hotel was a steep rocky path, still it was managed easily without a single hiccup both times.

A few pics clicked early morning at hotel:

Before Sunrise


Sunrise from Hotel Window

A Crow or a Raven
Enough monkeys around hotel for a takeover!



Thanks to BCMTouring.com for the inspiration and encouragement in helping me make these trips. I owe you a lot.




Thanks for your time :)




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