My traveler instincts make me a very restless person when it comes to sticking to a place for a long time. Gets unsettling for sure but I am blessed to have a partner who knows my idiosyncrasies and handles them well.
During one such moment when I was staying in my home town-Gurgaon, I felt so distraught with the hectic city life that I decided to pack my bags & head to the hills. It was almost like a divine call, I wanted to break out of the monotony and breathe.
We are quite a nomadic family, it’s just not me but also my husband and daughter who are equal travel freaks, and it’s a part of our DNA. My young daughter is a complete outdoor person and hyperactive. In most cases, she is the drive behind the travel expeditions.
Planning a short getaway on the holiday weekends post Diwali, we decided along with close family friends to venture out to Shoghi, a quite destination located in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. Largely unexplored and unknown to most tourists, its USP is its serene and close connect with nature, being away from the rush and buzz of Shimla. Being with friends, especially kids, makes the escapade much more fun & exciting. We had our bags packed to head out for our new adventure.
A long, enjoyable drive, stopovers for some spicy breakfast & cup of tea and the ride up the hills, here we were at our destination, deep down into the woods.
Around Shoghi, there are numerous temples, unexplored country sides and spectacular views of the hills of Himachal, especially during the winter season with snow clad mountains & a beautiful sunrise. Few landmark spots that are worth visiting are Hanuman Temple (The Monkey God) located in the green belt & famous for its colored wall paintings.
Jakhu temple is another interesting point, known for notorious monkey’s which requires one to be watchful.
The road trip to Shoghi, enroute to Shimla is the ideal option to enjoy the scenic beauty around. You will come across lots of bikers on way; some of them part of specialist biker groups riding some amazing looking machines.
Deep, wavy terrains with carpet flora & fauna around make the drive to Shoghi a feast for the eyes. Nostalgia & an old world charm cuts across you on seeing small tea corners, food joints, hawkers selling fruits especially apples which are a specialty and the railway tracks leading up to Shimla which reminds you of popular Bollywood numbers, especially “Mere sapnoki rani kab aayegi tu” featuring the India’s first Bollywood superstar- Rajesh Khanna. The scenario looks straight out of a yesteryear Bollywood movie.
We checked in to a small, adventure resort amidst the hills in Shoghi. In fact, it’s quite cut off from the main highway with a narrow lane down the hill leading you to the resort.
The moment you enter the resort, you are struck by the rustic, natural and peaceful aura of the place giving you a first-hand experience of what it’s like staying close to nature. You can feel & hear every breath.
The resort has cottages of different categories depending on your choice- for couples and large families, surrounded by tall oak & pine trees and can find a variety of herbs in the botanical area of the resort.
Birds & parrots chirping at your doorstep every morning, some retiring at night in these adorable looking nests done up by the resort. Small cats & rabbits hovering around the place are centre of attraction for the kids.
The rooms were made of bamboo and named after various migratory birds; you could literally hear every knock in the room.
It truly was very quiet and peaceful, perfect for meditation.
The little gypsy traveler was excited & amazed at the experience of living in a bamboo-made cottages, tiny bathrooms, natural settings and the warm, cozy environment.
It was like sleeping in Mother Natures’ lap. We decided to do a born fire dinner on the first night with drinks and music on the house and shaking a leg to some popular dance numbers.
The next day was relaxed as we went around exploring the resort, chatting over small sessions of tea and snacks.The kids were in an adrenalin rush post the long drive and relaxed sleep, excited to play in the vast, open spaces trying their hands at pottery making and some adventure activities like rock climbing, tree bridge walk and treasure hunt available within the resort.
And the icing on the cake was a beautiful sunset and full moon making it a romantic and enchanting evening for all. One of the highlights of this resort was mouth-watering buffet spread served through the day, completely home-cooked; we were biting our fingers at every meal. It was value for money!
Next morning being a Sunday, post breakfast, we headed to Shimla for a stroll on the mall road which is around 20 kms upwards from Shoghi.
Famous for several eating joints and shopping including woolen clothes, local jewelry, pottery, handicrafts and antiques, it’s the most famous part of Shimla buzzing through the day.
Even after so many years, you don’t feel bored moving around the mall road in Shimla with its picturesque Victorian setting of the English era. The clock tower, old monuments, boarding schools and the hilly roads make you fall in love with the place. We decided to try some local cuisine for lunch followed by some local ice cream spread around in kiosks in every nook & corner of the mall road.
The kids were relishing the atmosphere and decided to try their hands at some horse riding and clicking pictures in local attire which is a hit amongst tourists.
Being a traffic free zone with no vehicles allowed makes the Mall road, the best place to spend time with family in Shimla.
Half a day well spent, we decided to head back home with my thoughts already rolling on our next destination.
If you’re a nature lover, looking for a peaceful setting, try your hand at Shoghi.
It truly is a date with Life!