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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 4: A day in Shimla

INDIA | Friday, 9 November 2007 | Views [923] | Comments [2]

The Ridge, Shimla

The Ridge, Shimla

Saturday 10th November

The old saying that 'things will be better in the morning' definitely rang true the first day in Shimla. I awoke to find a beautiful blue sky and rolling hills in the distance as I looked out of the window of my hotel room.

I got myself together and ventured in to town in search of a laundrette. The geography of the town bore little resemblance to the map provided in the guide book, with the result that I got lost in the maze-like narrow streets of the bazaar, only finding the centre of the town after finally giving in and asking for directions.

There I saw a funny sight, old colonial style buildings, including a town hall straight out of any English village. Since the 1800's until the end of the period of the British Raj in India, Shimla served as the 'summer seat' of the British-controlled Indian government. The remnants of this colonial time are evident, giving some parts a quaint feel. However, statues commemorating important figures of the past are exclusively Indian: a gold-painted Mahatma Gandhi being the most prominent.

As the festival of Diwali was being celebrated that day, most of the museums and tourist attractions were closed. I settled for a trek about the town and it's a nice place to walk about. There are some seriously steep streets here but, having been brought up on the treacherous gradients of Shipquay Street in Derry (steepest main street in Europe FIYA), I found it a relaxing stroll. No, in reality, I wheezed like an old man. I felt even more tired when I passed some of the local men carrying a variety of heavy goods on their backs: 2m high fridges, wooden sofas, a chest of drawers, a washing machine. These people are hardcore!

There was a great atmosphere about the town, with families strolling, shopkeepers putting candles on their shop-fronts for Diwali, and kids letting off some of the loudest bangers I have had the pleasure of walking past (difficult to spot in the dark!). The sound of bangers and fireworks echoing off the hills made the place sound like Baghdad after the Americans had arrived. I returned to my hotel room after a good day, with a 9-hour, 260km bus journey further north to Manali ahead of me the next day.

Tags: Mountains

 

Comments

1

just catching up on the story so far...whats FIYA?

  jen Nov 21, 2007 12:35 AM

2

Sorry...should have been FYI ('for your information')...last time I try any internet shorthand!

  Mark Nov 21, 2007 11:38 PM

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