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Day 21: October 22nd: Manali to Shimla.

Time to visit the old Colonial Hill Station and summer capital of India for some R & R

storm 18 °C

Up early again for my 8.30am departure from Manali to Shimla by ‘luxury coach’, I think that term is a little over the top, but certainly better than the state run bone shakers. The Hotel Kunzam staff had been so helpful and had looked after me so well, I bid them farewell, a man even carried my bags to the bus station.

We departed bang on 8.30, and the only other passengers where an Indian family of four, so we had loads of space. The weather had been changing over night, I had seem clouds moving in, and over the high ridges and peaks last night, snow had fallen, this morning was cooler, the winter season had started. I had been very lucky with the very good weather trekking and on the motorbike tour in the Himachel and Western Himalayas.

The journey to Shimla was about 240km, and would take about 8 hours. I settled down and relaxed contemplating my journey and adventures so far, “all’s well that ends well”. The weather then really changed, heavy rain, hail stones, thunder and lightening. It was like that all the way to Shimla. Going though the Larji Gorge at the southern end of the Kullu Valley was spectacular. We emerged at Mandi, and then the road slowly climbed again to wards Shimla through some stunning scenery, despite the weather. The last hour or so though the mountains up to Shimla was very bad weather.

Finally we arrived at Shimla, and my tourist hotel, The Hotel Peterhoff, a splendid former Colonial building. I checked into this wonderful place, my bags carried in, and then the biggest, loudest and most spectacular thunder and lightening storm hit Shimla. The winter season had arrived. My room was very comfortable as settled in and relaxed with a hot shower, followed by dinner and a cold Kingfisher beer, and an early night.

The storm banged and flashed through the night, but by morning it had blown out, and Shimla was in bright blue skies. I looked out over the long crescent shaped ridge in the Himalayan foothills that Shimla is built on at 2200m, with the snow capped Himalayan peaks in the distance, with the panoramic views of Choorchandani on the front side, Dhauladhar ranges on western side and Kinner Kailash on the eastern side. ...time for breakfast. The Peterhoff was a building in Shimla which has housed at least seven Viceroys and Governors General of India during the British Raj, and now I am in residence !

Posted by Mike Casey 03:59 Archived in India Tagged shimla

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