- 1.Vacation time – part 1
- 2.Vacation time – part 2
I remember the week that passed before the schools holiday began. In the swety heat of Gurgon, the thought of going to the hills itself brought cool breeze in my mind. This time my parents had chosen the hills in Shimla for the vacation trip. Previously we had been to Ooty in Tamil nadu, Munnar in Kerala, Wilson Hills in Gujarat, Coorg in Karnataka and Awana Genting in Malaysia. But the hills in Shimla was the little sister of the Great Himalayas so it would be special, I thought.
Come 1st of July 2016, we were ready with packed bags – one bag per person. It had our clothes, shoes, soap, toothpaste & tooth brush and other stuff like inflatable shoulder pillow in each of our bags. My parents had additional stuff like first aid kit, battery bank for phone charging, small torch and snacks like biscuits, juice pack etc . We also had an additional empty bag to bring back our shopping and collectables. Each one of us had a water bottle each.
Off we went to Khandaghat – our vacation destination for a weeks stay there. Here we did small stuff like trekking on a mountain, 3 Km one way. Me and my brother throttled with energy ahead of our parents, climbing fast the twisty tracks, over the small boulders, around the bushes and shrubs, at safe distance from the slippery slopes that can be dangerous if we skid and fall. Sometimes it was too steep and sometimes gentle. But soon like the hair and tortoise story we had to rest down before a huge steep climb. This is where our parents caught up with us. Our guide was watching us from a safe distance.
The view from the top was a joy to behold, pine tree forest that was so symmetrical and dense, spread over several mountains, untouched for the last 250 yrs so said the guide. Far away like a table top was the upcoming airport, hotels and civilisation all down on one side of the slope. Seemed that people will need to enter into their houses through the terraces or upper most floor and take the stairs to go down. Reverse of what we have in cities, a huge statue of Hanuman, the great god of strength standing on a tall mountain. All of a sudden I was on the top of the world. I imagined that in the night the far away house would be lit and would look like small glow similar to how it is to look at the starry sky. If I had not seen this during the day I would have thought that it’s the stars on the mountain by the night.
Then it was cloudy and signs of rains, I shivered with excitement and fear of being stranded on mountain in rain. We now moved together, shouting loud to my brother on what I saw and what he saw, the stones and its wave, layered pattern, the soils with different colours, Pine Cone flowers, and then…WOW! a goat jumping easily and galloping on slopes, then from far we saw an old lady with a huge bundle of grass on her head walking with hands free on even a more slopey part of the mountain and easily and perfectly balanced.
Two hours into the trek my thighs ached, ankles were wobbly, I was gulping up all the water reaching the top was going to take some more time, but going down back to our hotel seemed so tough and tiring. We rested with our parents. Cracked jokes, teased each other, had our snacks, took photographs with our mobiles and sprayed Volini spray on our knee and ankle and back so that we feel less tired and then resumed our journey to the top.
When we reached there we saw a temple, partly constructed partly under construction, the deity here is said to be overseeing the people of the mountain and valleys so that they are protected from all disease. We prayed there. Had water and filled our water bottles. Took more phots and started our climb down. Our guide showed us how to walk down the slope, cross feet, ankle first and then the feet. It tires less when you climb down like that. And so we did atleast to begin with. But the slope was exciting and beckoning us to run downhill. In some time I and my brother started increasing our speed, sometime in control or our steps on the slope and sometimes the slope controlling our steps. And then one incident – I tripped and fell. Thankfully our guide knew this was going to happen he was prepared and caught me in time. I had bruised my knee by then. But good I did that for the rest of the climb was with me on our guides shoulder.
The next day we did the zipline, archery, pitball shooting in our resort and spent most of the time resting. Then the day after that we were ready for another journey. This time to the president’s summer resort, the military museum and the temple of the huge Hanuman God. On the way we saw a real over view of the famous apple orchards of Shimla nested in the valleys between huge slopes. Also saw small apples that was budding to be a grown up apples in some months from then. Lots of travel and lots of interesting things about how this place was.
I also learnt Glass Painting at our resort, painted 3 nice pictures the way glass painting is done. A painting without brush one smooth glassy surface, shades to be varied, bubbles too can be made and so much other things.
The day after that we had the shopping trip on the Lakkad bazzar and the mall road. We saw a band playing on the market street and had fun eating out ice creams, fruit burfis and riding horses.
Like all good things this too came to an end soon.