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October 4, 2017

Weekend Diaries – Kasauli

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Are you bored of your daily mundane life? Stressed about your upcoming exams? Don’t we all just feel once in a while that we disappear for few days? Travel can be an expensive affair but there are few places that can give you peace without leaving a hole in your pocket. Kasauli is one such place in India. An year round tourist destination, Kasauli was established as a cantonment by the British Raj. It has no airport or railway station of its own but the closest airports are situated in Chandigarh and Shimla, and the closest railway station is situated in Kalka. I would definitely advice you to carry motion sickness medicine and comfortable shoes whenever you visit Kasauli.

We visited Kasauli in April and our trip was for four days. We took an early morning flight from Delhi to Shimla (there is only one flight per day from Delhi to Shimla). Instead of booking a taxi from Shimla to Kasauli, we made a reservation for toy train. The toy train bookings open a month in advance on Indian Railways website. Out train left around 10:30 AM and we arrived at Dharampur in 4 hours. The train only stops for 5-10 minutes: so be ready with your luggage.

Toy Train

Our taxi (arranged by our resort) was already waiting outside for us. We were extremely hungry and on recommendation from our taxi driver, we went to Sanawar for lunch. We had lunch at Giani dhaba (immensely popular food joint not to be missed!). We reached our resort around 4:30 PM. We had booked our room with White Mushroom Kasauli.

Whitemushroom Kasauli

The check in was extremely smooth and in no time we were in our room. Our room was valley facing on the first floor and we were told we could watch the sunrise from our room itself. The room was good in size and was well-kept.

Whitemushroom Kasauli

After refreshing ourselves, we left to explore the mall road. The resort is quite close to mall road and in 20 minutes we reached. We visited Anglican/Christ church, one of the oldest churches in Himachal Pradesh, known for its beautiful gothic architecture. The church is open everyday till 7 PM and there is no entry fee.

Christ Church - Kasauli

Most of tourist spots in Kasauli close by 7 PM and it is not advisable to go trekking/walking after dark. You could either relax in your hotel room or enjoy a drink at a bar/café. After visiting the Church, we headed towards the Sunset point. You could either go walking or take a taxi to the Sunset point. Like most of the hill stations, public transportation is not readily available so ensure you pre-book yourself a taxi. If you don’t plan your vacation like me then you could also take advantage of White Mushroom’s taxi on call service. On clear night, you could see Chandigarh and surrounding towns from sunset point. We were not that lucky but we were lucky enough to enjoy the shakes and sandwiches served by a café situated on sunset point. It does get chilly around 8; so do a carry a light sweater or shawl to keep yourself warm. After an hour, we retired back into our room.

We checked sunrise time and set our alarm. The bed was extremely comfortable and we were in such deep slumber that we missed the alarm. We woke up next morning around 7:30 AM and had the breakfast buffet at the resort. Our resort had organized a trip to Monkey Point and Kasauli Brewery. The Monkey Point is located inside the Air Force Station and you need permission to enter the station. For us, the resort had managed to get the permission. The trek to Monkey point started from our resort itself and can be done by anyone. The trek was peaceful and the fragrance of pine trees was soothing. Please remember that you will not be allowed to carry any gadgets inside the Air Force station so leave your camera, video cameras and mobile phones in the car. The Monkey Point is the highest point in Kasauli and is known for its hilltop Hanuman temple. The hike to the temple can be a little challenging for those who don’t like to walk. According to a legend, it is said that the Lord Hanuman had rested his foot on this point while returning with Sanjeevini booti and hence the shape of the area resembles like a foot. Monkey point also offers breathtaking views of Dhauladar range and River Sutlej flowing through the valley. After enjoying these views, we came back to our resort and left for Upper Mall road. Upper Mall road is a little bit more peaceful than the lower mall road. We were hungry and we decided to have Band Samosa. Kasauli’s specialty, band samosa is samosa served with bakery bun and spicy chutneys. We followed the signs to Gilbert Trail, which is right at the top of the Upper Mall road. The walk on the trail is easy and peaceful. You will only hear your own footsteps or birds chirping. On return, we had a lunch at Kasauli club. Our second-half of the day was booked for Kasauli Brewery.

Gilbert Trail - Kasauli

Kasauli Brewery, also known as Mohan Meakin Brewery, is Asia’s oldest distillery still in function. The brewery is popular for old monk, Solan no. 1 and lion beer. The brewery tour is about an hour and you could relax with age-old whiskey after the tour. We were done with tour by 5:30 and decided to return to our resort. We ordered ourselves dinner from a la carte menu and enjoyed the dinner with the views from our room balcony. From our balcony, we were able to see the Sanawar School.

Mohan Meakin Kasauli Brewery

On the third day, we visited Dagshai. A village close to Kasauli, Dagshai is the oldest cantonment from British raj. This sleepy town is not flocked by tourists as much as Kasauli and Parwanoo but is worth a trip for its magnificent views of the hills. We visited the central jail and left for Sanawar. If you love trekking, then you could replace your Dagshai trip with trek to Pandava caves. White Mushroom Resort provides a day trek to Pandava caves in Solan. The resort arranges the lunch and a cook will go on the trek. I am not much of a trekker so I preferred Dagshai. have time, then watch how terrace farming is done. Known to most of us, Sanawar is home to Lawrence school – one of the most prestigious schools in India. A co-ed school, the school grounds are open to general public. Enjoy the imperial buildings and the fragrance of deodar trees. Sanawar will take you back in time.

Lawrence School - Sanawar

Tired of walking, we went to have food at Giani dhaba. A very popular dhaba, we were not able to get a table. Since we were hungry, we decided to have food at Colonel dhaba (an equally popular dhaba in the region).

Gianai Dhaba

We had dinner at the resort’s restaurant, Shack. The resort also provides live barbeque option if you don’t want to eat at the Shack. At dinner, we bonded with an office group. As part of the team-building program, their office had organized a trip to Kasauli with the help of White Mushroom team. They told us about the team activities such as zip lining and net climbing. The resort had arranged a bon fire for them and had called a guitarist.

On our last and final day, we checked out of the resort and left for Parwanoo. An industrial town, Parwanoo is known for its wholesale market and productions of jams and jellies. You could visit Gurkha fort, Orchards or Timber Trail. The orchards tour cost around INR 2,000 but I would definitely recommend a tour to orchards. I was most interested in orchards and hence we had our resort arrange a tour of the orchard. From the orchard itself we purchased orange marmalade and berry jam. We spent half day at the orchard and then headed towards Shimla. If you are a non-vegetarian, then I would definitely recommend you to stop at Dhalli’s and buy non-veg pickles. We reached Shimla by the evening and checked in into a small hotel. We didn’t realize when but we dozed off.

Our flight was early next morning. We left Himachal with fresh smell of pine and deodar lingering in our thoughts. I have never felt was refreshed and calm after any vacation. The trip to Kasauli gave me the much-needed break and peace that I was looking for. The peaceful trip could not have been completed without the amazing arrangements that were made by the White Mushroom Holidays. We just had to book our tickets from Delhi to Shimla and the resort managed the rest.

Also Read: Budget Friendly Resorts in Manali

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