Food Trail in Queen of Hills!

Finally! I was able to hit road in 2015. Well! Never the late, it was a short weekend trip to erstwhile ‘Queen of Hills – Shimla’. It was more of a leisure trip. I remember an Italian phrase from the movie ‘Eat, Pray and Love’ which says – ‘Dolce Far Niente’. It means ‘sweetness of doing nothing’. And Shimla is exactly the same!

Shimla!

Shimla!

 

If you are not pleased with the first sight of Shimla, you are not the only one. It is over built and overcrowded, forming layer on layer on mountain. Its first look is little tacky. But once you begin to unmask its layers, you start feeling its rich history. You will start enjoying it. Its grandeur buildings will make you fall in love with every layer of it. Its amazing past lives on in the cobbled lanes and celebrate it. No matter how the time has changed!

 

During British rule in India, Shimla was marked summer capital of India. It is one of the densely populated hill stations of India. The first thing to do upon reaching Shimla is to hit ‘The Mall’, the happening street of Shimla. As the title says, this blog will only be about food and restaurants in Shimla which we were able to cover in 2 days of our stay.

 

View from Hotel Flora, Shimla

View from Hotel Flora, Shimla

There are many budget hotels in Shimla. So, a backpacker like me need not worry much about staying options. You can get quite a comfortable room from Rs800 – Rs1500. It is around 6-7 hours drive from Delhi to Shimla. But since we had chosen to drive at night, it took 7-8 hours. Highway NH-1 from Delhi to Chandigarh as well as highway NH-22 from Kalka to Shimla, both are amazing. There are lots of dhabas (roadside small kitchen) on the way. Even at the odd hours of the day. On reaching the hilly area from plains, you can also stop on the way, move out of your car, feel the cool breeze and watch sky full of stars. A rare sight in cities!

 

 

The Mall

The Mall

Shimla has its own charm! Its people walk with pride of its past. The buildings tell a story of its great history. After getting fresh, we were ready to hit heart of Shimla, the mall. But before that, we stopped at the end of Lakkar Bazar at Sita Ram’s shop to devour Shimla style Chole Bathure which had a tinge of sweetness in it. Quite a unique taste! Then we headed to Honey Hut for a perfect cup of coffee and lip smacking finger linking walnut pie. It was divine! I mean it will leave you satiated with no more desire. Well! At least I felt that. Taking a stroll on mall will leave you amazed. It has very old book shops, eateries, bakeries and coffee shops. I always wonder why hill stations have great bakeries and that too those which are years old. Anyways, walking on mall made us thirsty and we headed to HTDC’s shop under a huge tree to quench our thirst with fresh apple juice. It’s on the upper mall. And you can watch people riding horse, clicking selfies, taking family pictures. One can also wear Himachali dress and get clicked. After a long stroll, we went to Indian Coffee House, one of the oldest coffee houses in India.

Strawberry Jelly Cream at Indian Coffee House

Strawberry Jelly Cream at Indian Coffee House

It is famous for Indian style filter coffee and Strawberry Jelly Cream. The taste of strawberry jelly along with cream and little crystals of ice melted in mouth and tasted very good. The day was retiring and we too were tired after a long stroll. There are benches on mall where one can take rest. There’s a little area at the middle, we chose that place to sit and sooth our eyes with changing colors of sunset. We then headed to Goofa and Ashiana for dinner. The amazing thing about this place is that if you decide to sit in the outer area of the restaurant, you will get to see amazing view of lit up houses on the hills. The food, the cool breeze and the view are enough to fulfill your visit to Shimla.

 

Gurdwara at Shimla!

Gurdwara at Shimla!

I woke up little late next day as I was enjoying being in bed more. I got ready till early afternoon and along with my friend, went out to try out a new restaurant for breakfast. So the restaurant to hit for breakfast was Wake $ Bake. It is a very small restaurant on the mall. The yellow window panes let you see the outside building and the people on the mall. It is best in all ways. Be the ambiance or the service or the food. I loved being there. You just can’t miss it if you are in Shimla. I then wanted to visit Gurdwara in Shimla. This is ritual that has been inculcated in to me by my parents. Where ever we go, we make it a point to pay our homage to a Gurdwara at that place. One need to cross many stairs downwards from mall to reach Gurdwara, we actually got worried to climb all those stairs back to mall. But we were determined to pay our homage at Gurdwara. Thank god! My friend found out about lift which goes up till mall. There’s a nominal charge of Rs10 per person for the lift. We took a breath of sigh on reaching mall 😛 :).

 

We then headed to ‘Thakur Brata’, a famous shop for pickles and murabba’s (traditionally sweet). It seemed to be a very old shop. You can also get pure honey of hills and ayurvedic medicines. As I mentioned hill stations have very good bakeries and Shimla is no different. It has three famous bakeries, Krishna Bakers (being the oldest), Trishool and Baljee’s. You can try different breads and pastries at these bakeries. Baljee’s have Indian sweets too. I bought some freshly baked biscuits for my parents back at home. We then spent some time on the mall. We watched people talking and walking, mothers waiting outside school for their kids, lovers walking hand in hand, oldies enjoying post retirement with their friends. Everybody was happy being there! God damn! There’s so much to observe and write.

 

View from Dining Table at Goofa

View from Dining Table at Goofa

 

I am very fond of watching plays. The lighting, the stage, the actors and the perfectly written stories can sometimes give you goose bumps. And we got a chance to watch a play ‘Chanakya’ by a renowned TV actor Manoj Joshi. We were lucky enough! After having dinner at Goofa, we headed back to take a sound sleep for few hours and start our journey back home.

 

While writing this blog, I am back to my daily routine. And I’m missing being in Shimla. I think that’s the best thing about travelling. After coming back, you have stories to tell; you have things to write about, you have pictures to share.

 

I’m about to end this blog but there’s a feeling that a lot more has left unwritten. The feeling of being there has not been expressed well in words. Anyways, there has to be end to a vacation and this blog too. But now you know your next destination for leisure trip and to enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing:). It will rejuvenate your soul!

Sunset from Mall Road

Sunset from Mall Road

 

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. theoldfellowgoesrunning
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 19:16:13

    Looks like an amazing city or town. Not too sure if this is the same area, but my wife remembers taking the hill train up to the hill country. She lived in India until she was 9 (that was 40 years ago) Thank you for sharing! 🙂
    ~Carl~

    Reply

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