One of the most overused words which travel bloggers use or say in their travel scribbles/diaries is : ‘incredible’. I have told Shivaji so many times that if I ever write my travel tales, I am never going to use this term. This was my thought before starting our Shimla via Chandigarh Trip. Read on to know what happens next.
Plan for Trip:
Hello ! If you are reading this it means you are one of my first readers on ‘beauty and the suitcase.com’. So first of all, thank you for taking your time to read my words. In the times when the entire world is going online and everyone is talking about their trips and uploading pictures of international destinations (well most), I feel like a sand grain on a sea shore. Before I jump with my over enthusiasm and take you straight to Manali experience, let me start from the beginning and slowly unveil my trip.
I have picked the hotels based on trip advisor reviews and googled many travel agents who could give us a driver and car for our entire trip. Most travel agents from Himachal/Delhi/Chandigarh region offer you package deals for stay and transportation. But I chose them separately, just to get the flexibility of choice and options. Do check the inclusion list very attentively if you are planning for a package deals.
My choices were as follows :
- Indigo Flight
- Ashtavinayak Travels (Chandigarh-Shimla-Manali- Chandigarh tour by Toyota Etios)
- Honeymoon Inn Shimla
- Hotel Apple Nest Manali
- Hotel Rajshree Chandigarh
What to Pack:
“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.” — Glenn Clark
- Clothing : All jackets which holds good for freezing cold (like seriously cold), Boots/Sports shoes plus some warm socks, Hand gloves, scarfs / winter-caps and Inner thermals
- Sun screen lotion (You will be in an altitude and if the sun in scorching at your face, it is going to make you tan; like seriously tan)
- Medicines (If you are prone to catch cold in a change of temperature and environment, medicines are must)
- Red/Plum/Wine lipsticks – looks beautiful with contrasting cold weather
- Neck Rest – Always comes handy in trips
- Regular make up- That’s the thing about hills they don’t demand fade proof or waterproof make up because you sweat less.
- Hair straighter/dryer with serum or spay in conditioner – Though most hotels provide it, carrying your own hair products is always a great idea as cold places tend to give static and frizzy hair
- Loads of moisturisers and body butter – This is for both girls and guys.
And finally grab a hand (might be a group or a lover or a family member) who is as crazy as you to leave the comfort of the safe haven called ‘home’ and jump into the unknown.
Trip Begins :
We drove to Bangalore airport and I just could not help but notice that the bright day was conspiring to give us a warm hug to go ahead and dive in our adventure for 5 days. We chose the Chandigarh route rather than the Delhi route, considering it will be shorter. Indigo flight, Bangalore to Chandigarh airfare might cost you typically between Ashtvinayak Travels depending on the advance no. of days you have booked your flight. As sun shone bright and warm we boarded the Indigo 6E-477 at 10 AM 26th Feb 2016. Yeah and we also posed for some cute selfies.
Chandigarh to Shimla
We landed in Chandigarh at around afternoon 1PM and met our driver from Ashtavinayak Travels. Though I always talk about my love for road trips after buying Blush(our red I-20 Elite), I would like to point out that I knew I am not going to opt for a self driven vehicle as I did not want to risk it too much in Himachal roads. Plus, I really wanted both of us to enjoy the views rather than following the GPS.
Ashtavinayak travels charged us around 11,500 Rs and provided a well-maintained Toyota Etios. The only thing I disliked about our driver is he stopped at roadside Dhabas where we knew surely that he was a regular and was getting a commission to bring tourists and being the nice people that we are, we could not just object to it through the entire trip.
Google map shows 3hour 27 minutes from Chandigarh to Shimla ; however considering traffic and a landslide we reached in 5 hours. Landslide however gave us an opportunity to click some fabulous pictures.
While looking at the mighty mountains and lush hills I was wondering if all great destinations lie beyond difficult roads.Numerous 90s songs later (played by our driver) with some of my on and off power naps I could feel like the temperature dropping really low. As cold breeze swept my face and my eyes lit up like a child like twinkle, our driver announced that we have entered ‘Shimla’. As it is near to Chandigarh, this remains the most sorted after honeymoon havens in India. I could see smiley newly wed couples all over the place.
While we were slowing down due to traffic, driver bhaia pointer us towards a hill saying –The tallest castle like thing on the hill ahead is your hotel – Honeymoon Inn. I looked up and found that tallest building in the town really was something with clouds floating against it; I exclaimed and opened my mouth to only say “Incredible” !
Honey Moon Inn, Shimla
After saying the word ‘incredible’ right in the beginning of our trip and getting a wink eye from Shiv, we arrived at Honeymoon Inn Shimla. Here is the thing about this fabulous hotel, you have climb a steep hill to really get there. They provide a porter to pick up your luggage and paying him a generous tip will be a good idea, I thought so because, while we were dragging our own body weight this guy managed to take our luggage twice as fast till our room. Check-in was really swift and it was such a relief to step into the cosy haven.
Our suite had tastefully done woodwork interiors, a cute swing and view overlooking the entire city. Room was spacious with heater and electric blanket facility (which is a real bonus in cold. There was a minibar with tea and coffee maker with thermos-flasks to store warm water(I particularly loved it as I was suffering from cold and sore throat right before we started for Chandigarh). Hotel discourages plastic bottles as ‘go-green’ initiative and boasts of providing clean RO filtered water.
The sunset from our room was an out of the world experience for me. While I marveled at it, Shiv took some really good pictures capturing them.
Shimla Mall Road
After a short break and lazying in our suite, we pushed ourselves to get ready and see Mall road as we were starting for Manali the very next day. Here is a thing I would regret – I did not get to see Kufri and I could not enjoy much of the luxurious suite in Honeymoon Inn Shimla. Coming back to the evening, it was freezing at 7 PM when we stepped outside. For someone like me who digs street fashion shopping, it was a treat to walk around in mall road.
Here is what I think is worth checking out :
- Warm and soft pumps (Starts from Rs 200 onward)
- Junk jewellery and floral tiaras (starts from Rs 100 onward)
- Wood work mementos ( starts Rs 500 – though I did not buy it, I thought it was really pretty)
- Ear Plugs (Rs 150 onward)
- Himachali Jhooti( Rs 250 onward)
- Fashionable boots and jackets – Really pretty collection which I could see of non-branded products.I could have said shawls but Kullu shawls are much more worth buying.
Finally, I think a good bargainer will really enjoy Shimla Mall road experience.
We spotted many good eateries like ‘Indian coffee house and Mehru’s sweet shop and stopped to have sweets.Even though cold air numbed my face but I could not stop smiling during our walk. We reached back to the hotel by 9 PM and had dinner. The only average part about Honeymoon Inn was food. Day was up and we headed to our suite. We were tired but we really looked forward for the next day which beckoned a long road trip to Manali.