Some places in Shimla are not just tourist destinations, they are about some profound life experiences. In my case, one of these places is connected with a beautiful girl who stole my heart away more than twenty years back.
The Ridge Area
Yes, if you want to steal someone’s heart then the Ridge area is the place to be in. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this place has that magical feeling which cannot be explained. The Ridge is one of the places in Shimla which will always be etched in your heart. Won’t you be interested what it did to me in the winter of 1992?
I was a young man then and was traveling to this magical town but my travel had little to do with fun. This trip was more about learning- I was a trainee geologist. While I and my gang were waiting for a bus in the Ridge market, I saw a most beautiful girl having red cheeks! Those cheeks were like apples and I swear, I hadn’t seen cheeks like those all my life until then. Cupid struck me and for the remainder of my trip, I was always trying to locate that lass.
Today, the Ridge area is a lot more romantic place. Honeymooners make it a point to visit this landmark in Shimla and make it a part of their memories. If you haven’t visited the Ridge until now, then do it now.
Places in Shimla-read on…
My search for the beautiful lass took me to the Scandal Point. Some smart Alec told me that the best place for finding her was this scandalously named place. Scandal Point, hmm, I said to myself, here I come.
Alas, I did not find her here, either. But what I did discover was the fantastic history of this place.
Scandal Point is so named because from this place more than a hundred years ago the Maharaja of Patiala had eloped with a British girl! Now, this girl was the daughter of the then British Viceroy and this affair became a major scandal.
But, who was this Maharaja?
I did a little bit of research and discovered that he was nobody else other than Rajinder Singh of Patiala. This man had several wives and was quite evidently, a ladies’man. When this affair was discovered, the king was banished from entering Shimla by the British. Undeterred, Rajinder Singh founded a spankingly new town for himself, Chail, which is located 45 kilometers from Shimla.
My search for the fair lady took me to other places in Shimla too.
Jab We Met at The Mall
Every city has a road peculiarly named, The Mall Road. I think that the word, Mall, means a street lined with high-end shops. Is this why this road is named so in Shimla?
Ruskin Bond Uncle says that when the British came to the hills, they made roads that resembled the tree-lined promenades of London. They named these avenues Mall Roads.
Did you know that several Hindi movies like Jab We Met and Black were shot in the Mall area? Ah, now I can see you planning to visit this pretty area and checking all those sites that you saw in these movies. No?
By the way, there is a lovely property of Treebo Hotels in the Mall area. I found this hotel clean, fresh and warm in hospitality. The staff is polite, friendly and helpful. If you are visiting Shimla on your honeymoon, I would advise you to stay in this property.
Ring a bell at the Jakhu Temple
Monkeys greet you at this ancient Hanuman temple upon your arrival. This is one of the very few places in Shimla that give you an unhindered view of the Shivalik Hills. It is located just a couple of miles from Shimla and can be reached by taking a pony or a horse.
Do you know the history behind this amazing place? Locals say that when Lord Hanuman was rushing back to Lanka after carrying the sanjivani booti, he decided to spend a few hours in Jakhu to recoup his energy!
Did I pray to the Lord to help him find my beloved? Yes. And after visiting this temple, I was filled with a new found resolve to find her.
Annandale- Shimla’s own Scotland
If you are married, then you must not visit this pretty place which is located a few miles from Shimla. The woods of Annandale are dark, deep, and unspoiled by construction and human activity. Annadale hadn’t come up when we were in Shimla twenty years back but travelers now swear by this place. The Indian Army has made a museum in this place which is open on all the days except on Mondays.
All the coffee lovers rejoice! There is a pretty cafe in Annandale which will nourish your heart, body, and soul.
Annandale is truly a lover’s paradise.
Summer Hill- Reliving the 1960’s Romance
One of the best places in Shimla to rekindle your romance is the Summer Hill. A UNESCO heritage site, Summer Hill is one of the seven hills of Shimla. When the Brits came to this wooded place in the nineteenth century, they decided to make it accessible by laying down a railway line. The toy train from Kalka to Shimla chugs through Summer Hill and the nearby valleys and forests wowing its passengers.
Did you know that Rajesh Khanna romanced Sharmila in the epic, Aradhna while driving his jeep along this Kalka-Shimla railway line?
The surprise of the package- Summer Festival
Are you a music and dance aficionado? In that case, don’t forget to attend the Shimla Summer Festival. This is the place to go to enjoy local music, culture, dance and make new friends.
And who knows, you may meet your lady love here.
How to reach Shimla
You can reach this beautiful place by taking a bus or train from Chandigarh. Alternatively, you can also book a flight to Shimla from New Delhi.
For booking your train tickets, visit this website- www. irctc.co.in
So, that’s it , boys and girls. Let me know how was your trip to Shimla this June.