It was early in the morning we left to Kufri. It is located 13 km from the state capital Shimla on the National Highway No.22. The highest point in the surrounding region Kufri has a Himalyan Wild Life Zoo which hosts rare Antelopes, Birds and rare feline species.
We stopped for breakfast at Hotel Dawat, A roadside small and neat food centre which provides you a beautiful view of the landscape (It was where my friend Mr.A, who was sick with fever, shed his sickness in matter of seconds). We reached the base of kufri where we had to hire mule to reach the top(Rs 250 for a 2 way ride). It is an amazing 45 min journey on the mule which passes through dirt and stone filled track. At some places the slope is as much as vertical, for then you will know what horse power is! The kufri top was very foggy with clouds and fog occasionally giving way to the landscape view which stretch to infinity below the hill. There will be many people with telescopes offering you to show China border form that place amongst a few other places. We did not believe them anyways. This is the place at which we first saw The Himalayan Yaks. Both black and white with puffy hair, they will bbe with their masters who charge you Rs.10 for a photo with them. They’ll even have cowboy costume if you want to use.
Then we went for go-karting. The kufri track is the world’s highest go-karting track. It was a nice experience to race in that chilling cold! We had hot hot maggi for lunch in a shop within the Race park. We then spent some time shopping there as my friend was trying to find a keychain with ‘A’ inscribed on it!
We then came back to the place where mules will be parked. On giving a call to the guy to whom we had paid, he came and picked us. Unfortunately (or fortunately – for a change ) it started to rain heavily. The terrain is so skidding and slippery with all the dirt and stones and water, the mules will push their way through the steep slopes breaking so hard that can send a shock down your spine with every step!.
Finally on reaching the bottom of the hill with half broken back and dirt all over our rain coats, we got into our car, changed clothes and went to the nearby helipad. The helipad is a flat concreted land on top of the hill. We got down with our umbrellas and took a walk around the place in shivering cold.
We then went to a place called Naldheera. It is a beautiful 18 hole golf course at the hilltop with forest cover all around. We roamed around the place taking photos. Due to shortage of time, we dropped the idea to trek down the hill on the other side where we can reach the Yamuna river( its a 4hour trek altogether). We then asked our driver to drop us at the mall road and we would walk back to our lodge.
We reached mall road just before sunset and its a nice place to see the sun going down amidst the numerous buildings of the mountain city. The mall road is a 2Km stretch starting from the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan soudha. We roamed in the road almost twice along its stretch. (It is similar to our Brigade road @ Bengaluru but with lot more beautiful girls(tourists or localities?!!)). Shopping at tha Mall road is quite expensive, but in the midway, another road breaks out downward where you can bargain and shop provided you know some localities(It is like National market here). We then found one Dhaba in that road named Sher-e-punjab where we had a cheap but otherwise superb dinner! I’d suggest any vegetarian to visit that place for dinner.
Then started our One night @ ATM! We decided to draw some money at the ATM as we had to leave to manali early next morning. My friend inserted his card in the Axis bank ATM and just before dispensing the cash, the system hung!!! The ATM gobbled up his card and did not spit it out. The security guard restarted the machine but it refused to give out the card. We were not even sure if the money was intact in his account or not!( for we could no more trust their database commit and rollback algos and its atomicity) We called up customer care @ Mumbai and they said they’d block the card on providing proper card info. All the card info was in his house at Bangalore. Since he needed his card for the rest of trip, they gave another option that to came back the next day by 10 o clock to get the ATM machine opened. This was out of what we could afford as we had fixed our journey to Manali the next morning by 5AM.
We departed at 12AM with 3 of them staying at the ATM as we had to make final payments to the local travel dealer who was waiting at the lodge. Since I was familiar with the route(I had gone for a walk the previous day), i told the other two to come slowly and i’d go ahead as the agent was waiting. Unfortunately they did not understand what i said. It was pitch dark and a real narrow downhill route with multiple other routs. On not finding me they thought i had gone missing and started a massive search! For their bad luck my cell was not properly reachable. The strange sounds accompanied with the darkness and street dogs got their heart pump out of their esophagus until they found me happily talking to the agent on the road near our lodge. Finally the guy over there got the card blocked with his dad coordinating from Bangalore. They returned to lodge at 1AM! Day Done!