High into the shivalik mountains….
I m lying in a hammock, under apple trees, at the height of 6500 ft from sea level, in the beautiful shivalik mountains. Life is slow, serene and green here. I just feel like staying here forever.
Yesterday we reached shilma around 11am and had breakfast at buddys resturant near the famous st. Beads. Ankit and nandini decided to join us for the trip to Thanedar (80 km from shimla). We started around 1530 from Shimla and reached Banjara camps and retreats by 1800. The drive was absolutely breath taking: tall, green pine trees, misty peaks and the cold mountain breeze. On the way we stopped briefly at Narkanda (very popular for skiing during the winter season and one of highest skiing places in India).
We are the only the guests staying at the retreat, this a means we have the whole place and all the staff just to ourselves :-). After looking at a couple of nice rooms we decided to stay in the tents. The retreat is located in an Apple orchid, the trees with red apples are all around us. The mountains are covered with vibrant fresh greenery everywhere, the monsoon has given a new life to the mountains.
We sat in the lawns and had evening tea with pakoras, soon after that there was a bon-fire. After enjoying a few drinks by the Bon-fire, we had dinner and then moved into the games room, where they have all kind of indoor games and a bunch of books/magazines. We played ludo for a couple of hrs before retiring for the day.
Today morning we got up around 0630 am and drove to a small lake by the side of old temple for the nag devta ( the snake deity). After reaching the lake we decided to drive upto the peak of the mountain, after going up we parked the car and just went around for a walk, meeting nice locals and taking in the beauty of mountains.
The whole area around thanedar is full of apple orchids and since the proper connnecting roads were built around five years ago, the apple trade has brought a lot of prosperty to the whole area. Most people have built cement houses going up two floors and many houses have a car standing outside. It made me happy to see that growth of country is reaching the ordinary people of mountain as well. Himachal pradesh has become particularly good with roads that go thru the mountains and connnect many villages and towns, opening the doors to trade, tourism and many more things.
Our original plan was to head back to shimla today, but the mountains have captivated us and instead of going back to shimla, we have decided to go higher upto to jalori pass and shoja. The road is dangerous and rains could make it worse…..