Day 7 - Apr 11 - Kalka - Shimla - Part 1

Day 7 started very early in the morning at around 4.45am in Kalka. Thats exactly when the Howrah-Kalka Mail reached Kalka after an overnight journey which was punctuated by a lot of stops (Ambala, Chandigarh etc) before reaching Kalka. The toy train ride starts from here.

We booked in the Shivalik Delux express which starts from Kalka at 5.30am and does the climb to Shimla in about 4.5hours time. This narrow gauge train is unmistakeble in the the station with a smaller size than the normal trains with Shatabti style seating arranged at only about 20 seats per coach.

We boarded the coach which unfortunately was dirty and had some old curtains. The kids were all excited to see the toy train and board it. We were seated and there is an attendant for every coach and breakfast is served on board. The train started on time and started climbing within minutes.

There were a lot of small stations on the way maintained probably the same way as they were in the days they were built. It was fantastic to watch the sun rise and feel the slow chilling of air. As for greenery there is not much left as most of the woods are lost and one cannot see a decent mountain/valley view till the Barog station is crossed. Most of the mountain is now feeling the impact of terrace farming and the slash and burn policy that is being followed all around.

Breakfast was served in Barog (which is the only stop in the ride) and it was nothing to write about. The Barog station itself is beautiful with old-British style buildings and quaint little platforms.

Once the novelty wears off in about 1-2 hours, the travel becomes a bit taxing and I started sleeping. When I got up, we were nearing Shimla and the kids are tired and were either sleeping or were bored.

Shimla itself looks beautiful when the train approaches the station and Sibi was ecstatic after looking at the turntable in the station and was explaining what it is to my brother.

We were booked in the Hotel Holiday Home run by HPTDC and we took a taxi to the hotel. Mercifully, the check-in was smooth and after getting into the room, I just crashed. After sleeping for about a couple of hours, pulled myself out of the bed and started for the Mall Road.

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