There is something about road trips that cannot be offered by other means of travel. You’re your own boss, you throw in a few things and hit the road with friends at the crack of dawn and drive through an empty road admiring the nature around you as the fresh air hits your face. You can stop any time you like and a hot cup of tea from a road side tea side tea seller is nothing less than divine. Road trips with friends and family are absolute fun and if there is one place you should visit by road is Shimla. One of the most visited routes is via Delhi and the Delhi-Shimla road trip is nothing short of epic.
I recently visited Shimla with my friends and it was a thrilling adventure. Shimla is about 372 km away from Delhi and a road trip takes about 8-10 hours depending on the amount of time you stop on your way as well. We got our act together at about 6 am to avoid early morning traffic. The roads were slightly misty but this just added to the adventure. It had just rained at night and the smell of fresh grass and mud was nothing short of enigmatic. We got into my friend’s Swift Desire which is quite a comfortable car for long journeys and just hit the roads. We crossed the Red Fort enroute the ISBT to head out of Delhi and the view was magical.
We took NH1 and as the day progressed we started facing a little heavy traffic but the ride was still comfortable. We were out of Delhi which took almost an hour (thanks to the heavy jam at the by-pass) and were now cruising down the roads towards Sonepat and Panipat with eucalyptus trees welcoming us from either sides of the road. If your group of friends doesn’t have a friend who’s comfortable driving, just book a cab using ola cab coupons that will make your journey all the more convenient helping you reach in good time and save money through discounts and cashback.
The roads were fairly open and comfortable and we got a wonderful view leading us to the heart of India: its villages. With open mustard fields still waiting to hit full bloom, there were tiny huts and cement houses strewn across the road making it quite a sight to admire. The music in the car was on full blast but everyone was mesmerised by the simplicity and beauty surrounding us as we passed vast lands of cultivated farms with the fresh air doing more miracles than a cup of coffee.
It was almost time for breakfast and by the raucous in the ca r it was safe to assume everyone was hungry. We stopped by at Haveli in Karnal and it was quite welcome as we could stretch our legs.
It had a typical Punjabi feel to it with mannequins and statues strewn across to further highlight the ambiance. We ordered piping hot aalo parathas that were gobbled in minutes. We drank masala chai and were once again ready to hit the road.
The roads were smooth with minor bumps here and there. We passed various travelling companions and the roads played host to motor cycles and heavy duty trucks. Reading the text behind those trucks elicited a lot of humour and this just made the journey all the more appealing.
We raced on making good time leaving behind beautiful fields and trees and this was one of the most mesmerising moments of the trip. We get so busy in our day to day lives, we rarely take a moment to stop and admire the beauty around us. Road trips connect us to life again, watching people as you go by, observing them as they go on about their lives, women walking with pots on their heads, children running back home from school, labourers children playing with bricks- it’s something you pass every day but don’t quite notice due to the busy rush of your own life. However, a road trip helps you get a third person perspective to revisit life again.
We arrived at Chandigarh and the heat had turned up. We hit Sector 17 as we’d heard a lot about it. The shopping arcade was bustling with people and we explored the surroundings. We hit the Indian Coffee House for lunch and treated ourselves to some authentic South Indian cuisine. It was exceptionally good and quite reasonable too.
We were now entering the gruelling but the most exciting part of our journey. From here the roads turned more adventurous as we got the first glimpse of mountainous terrains that lay ahead of us. With every passing moment the roads took a deeper curve which completely blew our breath away. From Parwanoo onwards we had entered the hills and watching the sun kissed hills and mountain peaks was nothing less of a miraculous beauty. We were on the Kalka by-pass which was a very comfortable drive and we witnessed the true beauty of nature at every turn.
As the night lights starting setting in, our speed slowed down as the roads became slightly risky to drive too quickly. Of course the HRTC bus drivers are experts at taking on those curves but for novices like us it’s advisable to drive cautiously. The air had now become nippy and we could see Shimla from a distance. As we inched closer, the well-lit hills of Shimla took our breath away. It seemed as if we were in a different time and place all together.
The road from Shogi to Shimla seemed never ending as the traffic was heavy at this hour and the roads were considerably narrow. However we made it in good time to Shimla.
It was an exhausting yet an enjoyable journey with adventures waiting for us at every corner. It became all the more enthralling thanks to the scenic mountains hills that looked absolutely spell binding. It is a trip I advise everyone to take at least once as it’s surely a thrill not only to the eyes but also the mind and soul.
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