This piece is different from usual travel guides. I wrote this narrative while exploring Mashobra, Shimla. In the write-up, I speak freely about my writing journey. You are taken to the nooks and corners of an itinerant writer’s life who manages her work on the go. 

Hope you enjoy the reality.

Oh, I have mentioned all the things I did in Mashobra throughout the piece, and you can find a list of them at the end too. Or go to the places to visit in Mashobra Himachal Pradesh now.

 

rainbow from mashobra shimla himachal

An Itinerant Writer’s Life in Mashobra, Shimla (Dotted With Things To Do in Mashobra)

Here in this wooden attic room in Mashobra village of Shimla (Himalayas) where we arrived five days ago, the noise is louder than usual. Our attic dwelling made up of a room, a sit-out, a bathroom, and a terrace is reachable by climbing four and a half staircase of a tall building standing on the pen-ultimate edge of a mountain. The floor below us and ours are part of a homestay that is accessed through the main door. But the two homestay floors are not separated by a doorway. 

In the absence of a door, voices from below flow unhindered to the attic.

Some tourists come from Delhi. Others are locals. Himachal guests stay for a day. They drink whiskey, eat fish kebabs, and blast Punjabi music while watching the lights dance in the valley beyond. Interstate travelers are taking a break from work or running away from enclosed pandemic-living.

Guests occupy the lower floor in full fervor. The previous tourists on the lower floor, a Delhi couple and their mother, invited their local family every day. Starting early morning, loud conversations amongst family members from the common area, deafening gym songs, and corrupt news from television freely rose to our attic. This casual disturbance went on for five days.

 

our attic in mashobra.jpg
Our attic in Mashobra.

 

Throughout the week, I felt I was stuck in a Thailand night market. I could go to the surrounding pine and deodar jungle and write from there. But we are new in Mashobra, and I was skeptical of venturing alone into the dense forest inhabited by wild Himalayan cats. My husband was breathing from call to call and didn’t have time to shift base to a pine-needle-covered forest patch. I don’t blame him, but we did fight over our circumstances.

We are a travel couple. We don’t have a home and we move in our car. Living at places for a week to months at a time, we make by. My partner’s life is governed by remote corporate work and tech news and mine by my writing routine and nature around. Given everything, we sometimes find it hard to fit into each other’s schedules.

Last Friday he barged out of our bedroom door at noon. He said he had just finished a meeting and has another one at 12:30. Could we please hurry and buy fruits, milk, and food and rush back within thirty minutes? Though the shop is five minutes away, the list of tasks seemed too many to do in less than half an hour.

We argued about him taking a 45-minute break (at least) so we can buy essentials. I asked if he could not tell his colleagues he was living in lockdown where shops only open from 10–1? He said he didn’t think about it. It was 12:20 in just a few arguments (wonderful how the clock ticks). I told him I would shop and he can chill.

I jolted out of our shelter. After buying mangoes, muskmelon, and milk from the supermarket we always visit, I walked further on. A small blue dhaba, which I will later come to know is run by one Jolly mama, caught my attention. I requested him to pack some food. 

Immersing myself in the Punjab Kesari newspaper kept at my table, I drank hot tea. The crumpled Himachal Pradesh Kesari passed on from hand to hand transported me to my childhood days. My parents still get Uttar Pradesh Punjab Kesari daily. 

The joy of sitting on a wooden bench in the blue enclosure was so overpowering, yet natural, I was assured I must have been a patron of some dhaba in the unknown past. You may call my discovery of Jolly uncle’s dhaba as my Proust madeleine moment.

I asked Jolly uncle if he had read the jokes of the day. When he said he read everything except the jokes, I read one aloud to him. Together Jolly uncle and I laughed about how the husband barred his wife from entering into his dreams by reciting bhajans before going to bed. 

Madhuri Dixit sang and danced on the old box-style television, and her innocent act brought a smile to my lips. The tea was a bit sweeter than I make it and it was how I needed it at that time. 

The light-heartedness of the dhaba and the routine acts of simple living — eating, reading the newspaper, watching tv — pierced through the cloud of my personal haze and penetrated within. I breathed. (Daily activities can pull us out of our suffering and direct us towards the significant.) 

Relaxed, I picked up the parcel containing jimikand (elephant foot yam) gravy, kadhi, chopped onions, two chapatis and rushed home. Back in the homestay, I served us the fresh lunch along with some heated leftover rice.

 

view of clouds from mashobra
Views from the terrace in Mashobra

I savored my meal on the terrace.

When I can’t understand myself, I go slow. Lost because of my reactions in the morning dispute, I stared at the Himalayan valley sprawled in front of me for an hour and a half. The mountains and the contained depths seemed immovable as if they stood there unchanged from the beginning of the time. The hills and homes sparkled in the strong mountain sun. 

Balanced precariously on the slopes, the colorful huts with slanted roofs were nothing more than tiny triangular markings on a satellite terrain. One cannot see even a single moving soul around the huts and their terraced farms from the distance I was at. It was just me, the mountains, and the triangular deodars for a long time. 

I became part of the stillness.

 

views from mashobra himachal pradesh

 

When I went inside the attic, my husband and I staggered towards a mutual settlement while fighting and weeping alternatively. I finished writing my collections from Proust’s Swann’s Way. Soon we set on our evening jungle sojourn.

All creators can swear by the fruitfulness of long walks. While walking, we are at ground zero. Neither can we sit and do the regular nor are we engaged in such a challenging activity that we can’t make sense of things. So we do end up making sense of things.

 

jungles of Mashobra
Walks around Mashobra

 

After walking straight for a few hundred meters, we crossed Talai, the tiny lake. Locals say bulls are fought at Talai every year as part of a festival. This year the celebrations have been canceled due to the pandemic

Next to the fluorescent green pasture enclosing the lake and the temple sits the two-floor Sharma dhaba. A Mashobra homestay owner — who had introduced himself to us on one of our long walks — can be found settled in the pasture with a retired guest couple who has been staying with him for more than two months. Every time Mr. S sees us, he insists on having tea. As we couldn’t keep saying no ( which was our standard response because of the traveler-tourist conversation the trio does ) we shared a cup and shot off.

 

roads of mashobra shimla

 

We stuck to the road curling at the periphery of the mountain for more than two hours. There was dense pine and deodar jungle below that rolled towards the depths of the valley. Parts of the mountain slope above us were fenced with spiky iron wires impressing that the higher parts of the hill were private (but with my growing knowledge of Himachal I know even government-owned forests are bounded by iron fences sometimes). Rare constructions on our right side couldn’t break the reverie of the bellowing green.

This forest was neither part of the Craignano National park nor of the Reserve Forest Sanctuary Shimla that lies between Mashobra and Shimla. But if we had kept walking on that road we would have merged into the Shimla Tattapani Mandi road. 

Our head spun from our argument but we were beginning to feel better. One has to go on long walks on winding roads and obscure trails fringed with pine and cedar to know how much of our fear and instability can be cured by the simple act of putting one foot after another. Let’s assume you have eaten two rotis. Now, what will you worry about when your eyes get saturated with green, your feet are comforted by the crunchy dry leaves of the fall, and your childlike heart relishes the shy langurs leaping from one deodar to another? (This piece about knowing what’s significant in life inspired by the Little Prince is a must read.)

 

sunset around mashobra village

 

The round-red sun setting behind the pines made us promise each other we would never fight over trivialities again. Such promises have been made and broken so many times we can’t even keep a count, and that’s okay. What’s important is we still have the faith to pledge despite us failing every time. And isn’t the attempt to get up after falling is the most important thing in writing and life?

While trudging back home, we bought a plate of cold onion and potato pakoras from a small dhaba opposite the Sharma eatery. I toasted the pakoras on the iron girdle and munched on a few while working on a personal growth guide. (Just a note, don’t buy those pakoras. They would mostly be cold and stale.)

Comforted by the crunch of the pakoras and the satisfaction one gets from being cradled by nature and with hours of finished work — all in the same day, we settled into the cold night (not before intermittently getting up to toast bread, make Maggie, and perform other silly acts only a Friday late night empowers).

 

night view mashobra
Night views from our attic.

 

But for those who are not used to peace, peace is fleeting. 

Saturday morning, our troubles returned. You see Mr. husband was supposed to book a place for us, or at least shortlist some well-isolated stays in Himachal. But by Saturday morning he only had three dismal Chrome tabs open on the name of homestay hunting. We had planned to leave on Sunday.

When I woke up at 7:30, the sun had already invaded our room piercing the wide glass windows. Despite the sunshine, I was weighed down under this burdening feeling of something not being okay. We had to leave the next day but we didn’t know where to go. And since we hadn’t been able to linger in the jungle on weekdays, we had planned to explore on Saturday. 

Torn between merry-making in the forest and finding a cottage, I asked my partner why couldn’t I just lie down in the grass instead of browsing through hundreds of Himachal guesthouses on our laptops? I erupted over my husband. He apologized. But it was too late. We rattled obscurities to each other. I pattered to the bedroom leaving him alone on the couch.

While silently brooding, I made a list of things I couldn’t mind if we have to be happy. As Woolf suggested, we have to bring ourselves out of an incident and its injustices and find what we can learn from the event.

I decided I can’t hold my husband responsible for things that have to be remembered. Also, the pre-planning cannot be left to him. We both know about his nonexistent memory and his habit to procrastinate. And I’ve learned that if we try to fight someone’s innate nature we only win mutual misery. 

So I have to drive tasks and ask for help audibly. I also promised myself I won’t ask him to accompany me to the jungle or the shops during the day because, frankly, he doesn’t have the time — he has never understood how to take a break for lunch or anything else during the day. 

We can’t share responsibilities throughout the day because our days are different. Instead of assuming he takes my flexible schedule for granted, I would use my self-made routine as an advantage to run our lives. I will let ego dissolve, and with the pride, problems would wash away, too.

Empowered with benevolent and uplifting ideas, I requested we go for a walk. 

 

samosa at jolly dhaba
The only photo I took at Jolly uncle’s dhaba. I didn’t take any more photos here because I was scared to disturb the dhaba’s sanctity.

 

Within five minutes, we were at Jolly uncle’s dhaba where we ordered tea and dhaba-made namakpare (deep-fried flaky savory pastry shaped like a long quadrangle). As I recited my solution over a cup of hot tea, my partner cried, his eyes red from the pain. He didn’t miss on slowly sneaking one or two namakparas now and then though. Under the warm light of a new understanding and well-intentioned compromise, not to mention the plateful of namakpare, we both were revitalized.

We turned around from the dhaba crossing our homestay to walk towards Craignano Park. On our way, we crossed Talai. 

The homestay owner was sitting on the only empty table in the pasture. He invited us to join him or take his table but we declined his offer on the pretext we would parcel the food to eat in the jungle (we feared he may not get up and we will have to sit with him). But when the Sharma dhaba owner told us they had made chana and poori, we ordered one plate bhatura, one aloo paratha, and sugarless mango shakes (there was no fruit juice).

Despite the popularity of the place, the quality and quantity of the food were below average. Some places have a name but not the quality or pricing to go with it. But I often wonder if the owners themselves know about the mediocrity of their establishment, and if they do, why don’t they do something about it? If not, how have they still not realized the true image of their place in the crowd? It is like I keep on writing bad prose without ever picking up the ubiquitous energy that my writing is average. 

But possibly the dhaba doesn’t doubt the taste of its food or pricing because a lot of transient customers flock to the eatery daily. Sharma dhaba is located next to a tourist spot. The travelers come once or twice and then new travelers arrive and they leave too. Who cares enough to give honest feedback to two men smirking on their premises all day long?

The guest homeowner and the male member of his retired guest couple have started to look at Mr. Husband and me with awe. As we approach them or if we are away and they call us and as we move towards them, we see their eyes filled with curiosity, and their hearts beating a bit faster than they do usually. They are not completely comfortable with our presence, but if they don’t ask us what we have been doing, they can’t be at ease. They ask where we had been. What path did we take? What are the challenges we face when we travel? 

They talk about trails. If we mention Craignano park is closed due to COVID, they say we know how to get in. Take our number. We have befriended locals. If we can’t recognize a temple, they say you don’t know that walk? Oh, we know the path. Call us in the morning and we will go. Oh, that jungle behind Talai is known to us. Call us in the morning and we will take you. If we say we haven’t been to the bazaar or Kufri or that adventure park — they never forget to emphasize that there are ten more places near Mashobra.

In the lack of our request for suggestions to destinations in Himachal, they make an itinerary for us. It covers places they have seen, some beautiful locations our trip can’t be complete without, and knowing about Leh and Ladakh is as important as breathing. We wonder why are they telling us about all these places.

 

views from the village of Mashobra trees of mashobra

 

Then I understand that they hold their travel memories closest to their heart — not their decades-long career or where they lived or what they did. They are proud of themselves for seeing what they have seen so far. They measure their life in terms of how much they have traveled — which is not much, yet, given their corporate and children-driven life. So they make us aware — and in the process themselves — of how many important and stunning places they have traveled to — because that’s the sum total of their life. If they don’t talk about the sum total of their life, they will have nothing to talk about to establish that their life is well-lived.

Eventually, we have to say we travel slowly and never visit places an hour away from one destination. We live at every destination we want to explore. And then we don’t say more because none of their thoughts can be coherent with even our obscurest idea.

But the information we provide is not being received. It is being evaluated — and we can see the calculation going on their faces. The wrinkles cringe up and down, and the faces go silent. The eyes set back deep. They acknowledge and say they understand, but the smile disappears and eyes twinkle with discomfort. Words of formality protest.

The world is full of so many of us eager to impress others about our greatness. We can’t help it. The silent coordination between my husband and me allows us to mutually disincline from the solipsistic amongst us. Though now with my study of emotion intelligence I understand the insecure people are only trying to make their place in a challenging world. Learning a lesson or two about our conduct, we move on.

 

hiking paths in mashobra things to do
The downwards trail we took.

 

Further ahead from the Sharma dhaba, we don’t go towards the Craignano side and instead take the road which goes a bit downwards. Once on the road, we again take a downwards trail in the jungle. A shepherd passed in front of us trailing behind his cows. He confirmed that all the surrounding area was jungle. We could walk around without the fear of trespassing. 

Carefully balancing ourselves on stony paths laden with dry and fresh pine leaves, pine cones, and a white-yellow flower that floods this Himalayan Valley, we climbed down. After climbing about fifty feet in the direction from where the shepherd had appeared, we saw a tiny green pasture on the top of a hill on our left. We trudged towards it.

The tiny pasture was as beautiful as it had seemed from far. Lying down on the grassy meadow I could see the clear cerulean sky. Mountains lay beyond and about. It was as if the jungle had consciously kept its distance from the empty patch, and it spread all around us. The sun reached us unhindered.

Curling on my right leg getting hit by the sun on my face, I fell asleep. As soon as consciousness had left me, my partner decided to caress my arm. And I woke up, startled. The next minute he was fast asleep. I was left alone to watch the mountain crows gliding through the sky, to marvel at the red-leaved creepers sticking to the pine and deodar trunks, and to listen to the human, animal, and bird calls.

Those moments of peace in the forest made me promise myself I won’t complain to my partner about going to the jungle to work or even to buy groceries. What’s the point of cribbing over having a better time when the pursuit of future pleasantness destroys the present?

In moments of clarity, no circumstance or trifle bears any importance. Calm and contentment take over. Carrying the quietness of the meadow and holding onto this clarity tightly, we walked home.

 

hiking trails in mashobra
pine-needle-covered trails

 

After pouring through pages of Himachal guesthouses on Booking, zooming in and out of Google Maps for homestays in Mashobra, and devouring Airbnb listings, we gave up and negotiated for our attic room for one more week on a 100-rupee discounted price per day. Culminating with crunchy onion-stuffed noodles and few hours of work, this Saturday night was even more pleasant than Friday evening.

Suffused with love and tranquility, we started Sunday by lazying around in the morning, gorging on parathas, mix veg, and tea at Jolly uncle’s dhaba, and finishing off the food with another new walk into the jungle. This time we walked further on from the Nature homestay and got onto a jungle trail there.

 

jungles of Mashobra walking around

 

In a small opening in the jungle, on a mountain slope, where a deodar had fallen, and one could see further ahead without getting obstructed by the trunks, I read The Last Lecture and Daily Rituals and my partner chilled on his phone. I won’t go into the details of how we ran into the retired couple and Mr. S yet again and had to drink tea with them because they wouldn’t even take my excuse that I had to write.

After the tea, we sprinted home, only stopping to buy two plates of vegetarian momos, and embraced the twilight with mangoes and momos on the rooftop. (You have to try Jolly uncle’s momos to start craving them as we do.)

 

rainbow in mashobra himachal

on the attic in mashobra
Evening views in Mashobra.

 

Change is the only constant and one feels this profoundly while traveling. 

The large family had left on Saturday. But just as we had started settling in the solitude and silence at the homestay, a local couple arrived for Sunday night. The guy was as loud as if he wanted to have his voice heard until the red moon of May. 

The duo ordered fish kebabs and fifteen chapatis and drank Scotch. The guy insisted on cooking sabji himself because he said he can’t digest gravy cooked from outside (how about digesting the fish kebabs and Scotch?). Then he asked the caretaker if he had mustard oil as refined oil also causes indigestion and no one should eat it. I had a hard time restricting myself from saying if he wanted to avoid gastric problems, he should think about eating earlier, rather than steaming the cabbage at 10 in the night. (In my guide to a purposeful and healthy living, I tell it all.)

While cooking, the guy loudly declared he didn’t hang out with girls because he can’t tolerate them. But this one (his current company) was cool so he had made an exception. I wondered if the girl felt privileged or insulted or should have left immediately. It was hard to imagine the guy seeing her outside the light of her femininity and his limited experience with the female gender. To both of them, he was doing her a favor.

Now if I’ve to preoccupy myself I can go on worrying about how he used our groceries without asking us — he boasted to the caretaker — his friend and who had let him stay without informing the owner — no-one would come to know so let’s use it. Seated in our sit-out reading Daily Rituals Women at Work, I heard everything (how do you think I know the above conversation? 

As a writer, I overhear others’ talks. Sue me. (Here are my 27 writing tips for new writers.)

 

pine cones himachal
Essentials on my writing table. These wild flowers stay for quite a few days.

 

I can fret over their abduction of our curd without mentioning it to us. Or how their plates laden with leftover chapatis as dry as papad, stale fish kebabs swimming in oil, dry cabbage sabji, and the empty box of the yogurt stank when I walked into the kitchen in the morning. Or I can get saddened by the plight of the half-peeled onion lying on the slab — along with all her peels — waiting all night to be cleaned and cut by someone loving and respectful.

But instead of traumatizing myself, I packed our spices, jaggery, soy sauce, and other stuff in our food bag and brought it upstairs. That must give them a hint, I thought. 

Why do we care so much? My husband and I agreed we don’t care about the quantity of the things being used but the thought of someone rummaging our belongings discomforts us.

Either I can get overwhelmed by the momentary circumstances of the house or I can focus on my writing and take my life along as planned. I decide to do the latter.

 

views from Mashobra

 

Now I am seated right inside the attic roof. Icy pebbles and chilly big drops fall from above. I like to see this grey un-illuminated color of the sky and the even darker clouds scattered in nameless shapes. Plants are bathed and fresh. Birds sit in silence. I wonder why they never talk when it is raining. As soon as the rain stops, the incessant chatter of the gursal, crow, and the sparrow again fill our ears without giving them a rest. Cedar-filled mountains are so densely dark green they look almost black. A lone pine stands in front. The sound of thunder thrills us for a moment and then we put our head down again.

Oh, the pebbles fall in abundance. They patter on the roof and I feel as if the building is crashing upon us. I can hardly hear my thoughts.

 

hailstorm in mashobra
You can see tha hail if you look closely.

drying clothes in mashobra

 

But as the sky clears up a little bit, the trees become more lighted and visible. Some are dark green, some light, some red-brown, some mehndi. I see the big green wall they form separating us from beyond. Clouds are still shedding their weight. The red tiles on our rooftop reflect all the light and look illuminated. The red pot with a green show plant is so clean and tidy now it shines with luminance, incandescent almost.

A bright sun was just out for a second. I saw it coming and disappearing, like a fleeting thought, clarity of mind, which if not noted down, disappears leaving us more bewildered than before. I hear hammering on tin sheets. The construction workers nearby must have picked up their work again. A car sped by but its voice was drowned by the thunder.

 

monsoon in mashobra mashobra

 

The rain falls incessantly, and the gudsal chirps. Thunder is the loudest thing I hear. A cup of hot ginger tea comforts me. No substantial worries are even near my heart. I have a roof above my head for the next five days. A few hours of writing done right from the morning and a few conversations from the street vendors about the weather and food rest in my pocket. Just the right amount of human interaction, if I may say.

What a perfect day to be! What a perfect life full of imperfection to live!

On this note, my must readEverything I have learned in life so far.

 

What we really did in Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh? – Places to Visit in Mashobra

We cooked. We ate. Our work went well. 

 

making food in homestay in mashobra

 

We walked a lot in Mashobra. Himachal Pradesh was in a lockdown at that time so we didn’t take out our car even once. 

From our Mashobra homestay, we could go in at least six directions all of which would take us to different places. 

I don’t remember the perfect details of all those morning and evening walks we did. But I do recollect well that we hiked in the Craignano park direction a lot. The road from West End homestay to Craignano goes via Talai. And at that point, one can decide to either go to Craignano park or take the other side roads. One of those roads goes further on to the village of Baldeya. And another one goes through this forest where various forest training institutes are located along with some houses. 

On this forest road (that I have mentioned earlier too and which becomes the Shimla-Mandi-Tattapani road) we saw a beautiful sunset amongst the pine trees. We walked on that road even after sunset and held tightly onto each other because wild cats roam at night. After dark, the path becomes too surreal. But as the sun sets and the twilight fades away, the road made for a good walk. At that dusk hour, in that evening silence, we saw a big group of langurs jumping from one deodar to another. Those were beautiful moments to hold. Even animals were returning to their homes. 

 

jungle roads of mashobra himachal

 

All around those roads several small trails went into the jungle. We would take any of those paths to venture inside and would then sprawl on the grass. Another direction to explore is the way to the Nature homestay. Further on from that homestay, rich forests thrive. 

The walk from Westend to Club Mahindra Mashobra was also relaxing as it was fringed with trees on both sides. Further ahead Club Mahindra, near a school, we took a downwards path once. The stone path from the school would lead to a kaccha road. One road goes up there and one further descends. 

The ascending road will take you back to the main Shimla Tattapani highway. From there one has to enter into the lane behind a temple to get to the Mashobra market. 

And the descending road will further go to many nature camps, including Mashobra Greens, and other stays. We didn’t complete that walk to the homestays the day we discovered it and decided to head home. 

The path doesn’t have to be completely retraced for one can further walk while crossing multiple homes. If you ask the locals for the way to the Craignano road, they will point you to a staircase at the end of the mud path. We climbed those staircases and arrived between the Westend homestay and Club Mahindra. 

 

 

There is also a temple walk which was one of the best walks of Mashobra. To arrive at the two temples our caretaker had told us about, we took the path to Mashobra Greens again. So from the Shimla Tattapani highway, we descended (one can also go down near the school). The road goes on for a while and then one can even take jungle shortcuts. So basically instead of walking the entire road, we walked on trails through the forest. 

I have written in detail about those temples of Mashobra. Read the linked guide if you would want to do those walks. (Coming up soon.)

One of the things to do in Mashobra for many travelers is to visit Fagu. But we went to stay at Fagu so you can read all about our Fagu village stay.

view of the hills from fagu village
Views from Fagu.

 

I’ve mentioned Jolly Uncle Dhaba (in Mashobra main market) many times in the narrative. But those who couldn’t read the entire thing can know that Jolly uncle dhaba was a great place to not only hang out, read newspapers, and have tea, but he makes some of the best food of Mashobra. His thalis were delicious and cost 80 rupees, and his momos were overstuffed, just as we like. 

sunset from jolly dhaba mashobra
sunset from outside Jolly uncle’s dhaba

 

Because we stayed on the fourth floor of a high building, another one of our favorite things to do in Mashobra was to watch sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, stars, and the moon. Read my story of watching the super flower blood moon from our attic home in Mashobra Shimla.

super flower blood moon May 2021 from Mashobra himachal.jpg

 

Craignano park would also make for a good visit. The park has a lot of space to sit. You may choose to enter it from the front or you can decide to drive or walk around and get to it from the rear end. Several hiking trails would bring you from the back to the front. We often sat in the Craignano jungle from the backside. There is a market outside that lesser-known entrance. I don’t have the Google maps location but the drive is from the Manla Homes Mashobra towards the Craignano Park. This alternate pathway is used amongst locals so feel free to ask a shop further on the road.

Mashobra Presidential Retreat also has a dense jungle around it. Permissions are needed to see the Retreat. So when we went there (the path to the Retreat goes right in front of a temple in the Mashobra market) we only hiked to the point where further entry wasn’t allowed. We just hiked around the hill, clicked photos of the nag phani herb, and returned.

 

nag phani herb.jpe

 

Oh, another direction I must mention is the walk towards the Regional Horticultural Research & Training Station, RHRS, Sharahai, Himachal Pradesh. From West End it took us half an hour to arrive at this institute. When open one can go inside. But walk further from the center and find yourself on a beautiful trail through almost empty mountains. Terraced fields cover those hills but there aren’t many homes. We saw a stoat there on one of the hills, and if I ever return to Mashobra, I would surely explore that area more.

 

views on walks in mashobra
Crazy views on the stoat walk.

views on walks in mashobra jungle views on walks in mashobra jungle nightsight

I still have to go to Shali Tibba, a trek which is doable in a day from Mashobra. So I can only write about it when I go. Meanwhile, read this if you are interested in doing this one-day easy to moderate trek. 

Another place to visit from Mashobra could be the Dhalli and Sanjauli market to buy local fruits and vegetables. Mashobra is a small place and all the farmers around sell their produce to Dhalli. So most Mashobra shops don’t sell many fruits and vegetables. It was even worse in the lockdown. There are only a couple of grocery shops where you can find limited produce. If you are cooking your food or just miss fruits, drive to Dhalli or Sanjauli and buy whatever you like. But let me warn you these places are crowded, and you would have to take a breath to stay calm.

 

What really is Mashobra?

Oh, we should have handled this question in the beginning. But as we are doing everything differently in this piece, let’s get to it now.

Mashobra is a village outside Shimla. It is about 2146 meters high and is slowly getting overcrowded day by day. So head there soon before it becomes another Shimla.

sunset in mashobra shimla
View from a trail around Mashobra

 

What is the shimla to Mashobra distance?

Mashobra to Shimla distance is about 10 km and the drive is about half an hour long.

 

How is Mashobra weather?

Mashobra hill station is pleasant almost year round. During summers Mashobra turns into a green and sunny valley with rainfalls in between. But in winters, Mashobra receives snowfall which covers the hills with a white carpet. The road to Mashobra is a main highway so the snow is continuously removed to make way for traffic.

 

Where to stay in Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh? What are some of the good Mashobra hotels?

Hotels in Mashobra Shimla are of many kinds. You can find camps in Mashobra. Then the village has homestays, hotels, resorts, apartments, and other type of stays too.

Here are some good options to stay in Mashobra in all price ranges.

 

Shanti Jungle Cottage — Two bedroom apartments, with no WIFI, property is surrounded by farms and forest, budgeted

Zostel Homes Mashobra (Shimla) — Rooms with balconies, breakfast included, and a pool table (;), prices slightly higher than normal

Wildflower Hall Mashobra, An Oberoi Resort, Shimla — The iconic Wildflower Hall is one of the most luxurious and indulging resorts at Mashobra. Once the Wildflower Hall was the residence of the Viceroy of India under the British rule. Then the Oberoi’s took it over. Expect high prices, comfortable and ethnic rooms, and all kinds of facilities available here.

Ridge View Mashobra — Private rooms, budget pricing, and private car parking.

Regenta Resort & Spa Mashobra — Swimming pool, large rooms with balcony, and a beautiful lawn with an in-house restaurant. High prices.

Star View Cottage — Private rooms with beautiful view and apartments. Prices slightly higher than normal.

 

West End Homestay in Mashobra

I stayed at the West End homestay in Mashobra. I can’t find the booking link for this homestay. Though the colonel who owns the property doesn’t live at the homestay now, he has a caretaker who receives the guests. You can book an attic here or get a room on the lower floor.

The kitchen at the property is shared. The attic has two rooms, so if you book both, then you will get a private bathroom and seating, else it will be all shared. The attic does get noisy from the voices below as the floors don’t have a separation. The views are panoramic from the top.

If you choose the lower floor rooms, they both have attached bathrooms. And then the outside seating will be shared, and the kitchen also is common.

As the owner doesn’t stay at the property, you will have to ask the caretaker to clean and put toilet paper et cetera. And be prepared that he might not do any of this.

 

How did you like my Mashobra Shimla narrative? Be honest and tell me in the comments.

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2 Comments

  1. Piyush Kushwaha August 6, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    I have been there recently on July 11. It was such a nice experience been there. Today after reading your, melodious writing, I delved into the picturesque scenery again. Thank you for sharing the stories with us.

    Reply
  2. Purnima Chauhan August 6, 2021 at 2:20 am

    Wow! I lived your journey and each experience….I live in naldera beyond mashobra and an blessed to savor these natural delights every day with family and a daily number of walk in friends who are waiting for us to start our home stay that we share with jungli murgas, langoors, birds, golden eagles and whispering winds… That is the name of our place… And wet live it and love it…. It is an open house for all those who want to tell their kids where the organic apples and Kiwis grow in abundance with millions of flowers underfoot and in the shadow of pines and cedars caressed by the wind.

    Reply

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