A few weeks ago, I was reading about sudden and heavy snowfall in Shimla and that stirred up the wonderful memories of my first-ever experience of snow in the beautiful hill town. It was exactly a year ago when I was on a weekend trip to Shimla. While my parents and grandparents would always talk about how amazing it is to experience a snowy winter in that city, our generation grew up amidst serious global warming, leading to shorter winters and warmer summers in the hills. So when I read about the season’s first snowfall, I couldn’t help myself to experience the magic of winter.
Shimla is every Delhiites favourite getaway and the best way one can travel is to book a quality taxi from Delhi to Shimla, especially when the weather outside is chilly. I reached in about six hours from Delhi. Before that trip, most of my Himachal trips have been in summer or at a time when there was no snow.
But when I visited last year, I was in awe of the completely different avatar of the Queen of the Himalayas. As the car neared the town, I saw it for the first time! The otherwise bustling town, bathed in the summer sun had turned into a grey and white landscape with an inch of snow and cloudy sky. And it was beautiful in its own unique way.
A winter wonderland
The light flurries barely covered the ground and the trees, making them look like sugar dusting on a cake and locals were anticipating a better snowfall in a day or two. I must recommend that if you want to explore Shimla in snowfall, don’t forget to rent a car in Delhi from a reliable vendor with multiple vehicle options which can tread snow and slippery roads.
Perfect timing, I thought to myself! I left my cab at my hotel, and instead of checking in, I went out to take a walk on the snow-covered streets. I head straight to the Ridge Road, or what we know as the main Mall Road. Standing on the promenade, I saw the images from a travel magazine come alive right in front of me! The spire of the Christ Church, the red-tiled roof of the bungalows behind, and the cottages lining the lower valleys were thinly lined with snow, making the town look like a Swiss hamlet.
The next day, I headed out to try my hands at skiing. Kufri, at about 16 Km from Shimla town is one of the best places that I knew of. For beginners like me, the Mashu Ridge was the best option to explore the snowy slopes. An hour and a half of trying to ride through the snow-clad forests of cedar and pine was the most rejuvenating thing that I had ever experienced. I fell a few times but even that felt amazing, to just lie on the soft snow and look up to the sky.
Post my morning exploration, I came back to the Mall Road. The temperature was hovering around 3-4 degrees (Celsius) and called for a warmer. The Wake and Bake café at the town hall is where I found my spot. A cup of steaming hot coffee with their house-baked pie was the perfect company on a chilly day. I sat there enjoying the views of the surrounding, excited tourists, playful kids, and the warmth despite the freezing weather.
After spending almost the entire afternoon walking and cafe-hopping, as I was heading back to my hotel, the real snowfall started. The frozen rain felt like tingling powder on my face. It was an inexplicable feeling. Some kids were rolling on the ground and making snow angels, making me want to join them. And so I did. With snowball fighting, feigning skating, and then piling up snows on one side, made me feel like a child all over again.
Post By Aditya Narayanan