In the fall of 2014, we visited Shimla in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, hoping to see the Himalayas without actually climbing them. Instead, we were merely terrified passengers in the car that climbed to Shimla about 2200 meters above sea level. (We had traveled from Amritsar to Shimla in one day, with the last three hours of the journey being 85 km of steep zig-zag road, thankfully arriving before pitch black night.) The hotel for our three nights in Shimla was Wildflower Hall, the former residence of Lord Kitchener, commander-in-chief of the British Army in India (1902-1909). On our last night there, we found this lovely sendoff on a small table in our room.
See You Soon
This photo was taken on October 28, 2014. Specs are:
A favorite shopping street in Shimla in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is the Lower Bazaar. It is easy to wander here from the Mall Road and there are many shops to see. In the photo below, the shop Beauty Palace on the left has sold ready-made garments since 1970 to ladies, gents, children, and babies. Expect to see Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, and more well-known brands here. Almost directly across the street is Dayal Sons, also a ready-made garment retailer. And every other shop in view seems to be in the same business. ( Levi’s® anyone?) Their signs are more diverse than their merchandise.
Shopping in Shimla
This photo was taken on October 27, 2014. Specs are:
These photos were taken in Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. Shimla is at an elevation of 7,467 in the foothills of the Himalayas. Featured in the British TV series The Jewel in the Crown as Pankot, Shimla was a hill station for the British Army in World War II.
In October 2014, we visited Jakhu Temple in Shimla, a temple dedicated to the monkey god, Lord Hanuman. The drive uphill to this temple on the top of Jakhu Hill, the highest point in Shimla, was terrifying. Our guide explained that he could not find a local driver willing to drive up that hill, but the driver who brought us from Amritsar said, basically, “no problem!” As the guide said, the saying is “good driver, good brakes, good luck.” The driver went as far as practicable, and then we and our guide walked up the rest of the way, later walking back down by another route.
When we reached the bottom of the steps, we found this sign grading our physical fitness. We were pleased to see that we were “absolutely fit.”
The Hanuman statue is 108 feet tall, orange, and visible from as far away as 6 miles.
These photos were taken on October 27, 2014, with an Olympus TG-3 camera.
On 28 October 2014, we were visiting Shimla in northern India. We were staying high in the mountains (8,250 feet above sea level) at Wildflower Hall with views of the Himalayan mountains. We hiked the Wild Strawberry Trail, on the ridge line, a distance of 1.7 kilometers (about a mile) with maximum ascent and descent of 30 degrees. The gate pictured is the entrance to the trail from the Wildflower Hall property.
The trail is also used by horse sellers, who join the trail somewhere else.
Wild Strawberry Trail
Wild Strawberry Trail, looking back at gate to Wildflower Hall
The estimated walking time is 1 hour, but with multiple stops to take pictures and rest, the trip took a bit longer. Fans of the BBC series The Jewel in the Crown can imagine that Sarah Layton and her father Colonel Layton were looking at these vistas during their horse ride in the mountains.
View from Wild Strawberry Trail
View from Wild Strawberry Trail
The flower and fruit of the wild Indian strawberry (mock strawberry), for which the trail is named, are pictured below.
Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, a state in northern India. Fans of the mini-series The Jewel in the Crown, based on Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet, will know it better as the hill station Pankot. Those who have viewed the scenes set in Pankot, especially scenes at Rose Cottage, will have admired the range of mountains in the distance: that is Himalaya.
When we visited Shimla in late October, 2014, we were fortunate to stay for several nights in the Wildflower Hall hotel, once the estate of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, set high in the mountains (8,250 feet above sea level) with a wonderful view of the Himalayan mountain range. The hotel had a telescope for viewing the snow-capped Himalayas, but it was not available while we were there. In addition, we were told that (1) there was a lot of mist hiding the mountains, but (2) the viewing had been excellent the day before we arrived and (3) would be excellent again the day after we left.
The night before we checked out, there was a heavy storm, with thunder and lightning, lasting about a half hour. At dawn the next morning, before the sun was fully up, we saw that the lawn was covered in hail stones. Downstairs on the breakfast terrace, we could clearly see even more mountains behind and higher than any we had seen before. The storm had cleared the air and gave us the view we had come for.
This photo was taken on Tuesday, 28 October 2014, with an Olympus TG-3 camera. Settings were f/6.3, 1/320 second, ISO 100, and focal length 18 mm (35mm equivalent focal length of 100 mm).