The hills are alive…

Think lush green vegetation, pure fresh air, and clear blue skies…Think Mashobra…

About a three-hour drive from Chandigarh and 14 km northeast of Shimla, lies this idyllic little locale of untouched natural beauty. Somewhere between a village and a small town, Mashobra is perched at a height of 7,700 feet, and is away from all the touristy hustle-bustle of Shimla.

Mashobra
Mashobra

So what makes Mashobra such an attractive hideout? If you’re looking to escape the unpredictable weather, the noise, and the pollution over a long weekend, this could be the ideal spot. No wonder so many city dwellers have invested in little therapeutic summer retreats here, where they run to every time they need to recuperate, perhaps introspect, and slow down their fast-paced lives.

I spent a relatively sleepy weekend here recently, and figured that it had all the necessary ingredients: misty windows, heavenly sunsets, cups of steaming hot tea, samosas, and jalebis from the neighbouring dhaba, delicious apples, cozy bonfires amid tunes from the local radio, languorous cream puffs, and thick wool sweaters—sometimes that’s all you need!

Mashobra2

There isn’t a whole lot to do here except to absorb the town’s charm, complete with its strolls overlooking pretty old houses, monkeys swinging from tree to tree in the beautiful deodar forests, or the numerous walking trails and romantic drives. You know you’re in the hills when the sound of buzzing cicada insects—nature’s very own background music—is all that surrounds you …

Mashobra3

Favourite memories: Watching the morning sunlight streaming through my window, chatting up a neighbourhood tailor, and eating kadhi chawal in the lawn.

Sightseeing highlights:

Bekhalti: One of the most picturesque drives or walks in the area, this 18 km long level road is laced with the occasional waterfall that springs out of nowhere.

Craignano: About 3 km from Mashobra, a meandering path leads up to this beautiful spot amid groves of trees and wild flowers—ideal for picnics.

Naldehra: The highlight here is an 18-hole golf course that’s said to be the country’s oldest.

St. Crispin’s church: Atop Mashobra, on a small hill among a copse of trees, is this church that’s now been converted into a dormitory by the YMCA.

Col Grover’s fruit pickle outlet: Located on the main road, this is your stop for some of the yummiest jams, pickles, and squashes this side of town. Don’t forget to take home some lip-smacking mushroom pickle!

Shivalik Food Products: Run by Mrs Jain, you’ll find this eatery on taking a left turn from Mashobra’s bazaar. It has some of the finest fresh fruit, ice cream, and fruit juices. The strawberry jam was my favourite!

Where to stay:

Wildflower Hall: The castle-like ambience of this hotel is every bit elegant and tasteful, and likely to remain with you long after you’ve checked out.

Club Mahindra’s Whispering Pines Resort (Gables hotel): A perfect place for families to stay, with fun activities and animation for everyone.

Garden Resort: Well located within the Sabina Orchards, this residential complex offers five lovely furnished apartments with kitchens for rent.

Photos by Neha Kirpal

Neha Kirpal is the author of "Wanderlust for the Soul", a collection of short stories based on travel in different parts of the world. She has worked in the print, electronic and online media, and currently freelances for various publications. Her hobbies include reading, writing, travelling, listening to music and watching movies.

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