Every few months I tend to get this desperate urge to leave the city and travel, especially during the months of April and May when the Indian summer starts seeping into your skin with its suffocating humidity! Though we usually get away abroad to a European destination to avoid the heat, this year my family chose to make a trip within India itself and the destination we chose was Shimla. Nestled amidst the Himalayan mountains, Shimla is the capital city of the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. Interestingly, Shimla is the only city in the world, other than Rome, to be spread over seven hills. Despite being a growing city it has retained its charming character with its beatific views and ideal weather, especially during the summers when temperatures don’t rise above 25 degrees celsius and the sun is accompanied by the pleasant mountain breeze!
We stayed at the Oberoi Wildflower Hall, one of the best known luxury hotels in all of India. Ironically, the last time I had been to Wildflower was in 2007 when I celebrated my 12th birthday there on the 30th of May, and now I was back here mere weeks before my 22nd birthday. I had so many memories attached to the place and I was excited to be back here as an adult now to make some more – while sipping some wine and leisurely writing in this inspiring ambience!
Our days passed like a dream. The afternoons were spent either relaxing in the outdoor jacuzzi or finding secluded picnic spots to unwind at, while the evenings were spent playing croquet or going for treks to see the sunset. Almost every meal was had outdoors, so that we could take advantage of the weather to the fullest, while the music of the rustling leaves and chirping birds serenaded us. It really felt akin to heaven on earth!
It amazed me how peaceful and happy one felt when surrounded by nature, be it taking a stroll barefoot in the grass or sitting and watching the play of the sunlight through the tall cedar trees, all of it gave me such joy and I reveled in it while I was there… there was something about the summer bloom and the mountain air that inspired me to write:
Look at these mighty folds, with sage secrets enveloped in their arms, untold.
What do they say with their ancient wisdom, can you hear it?
In the comfortable chill of the breeze,
accompanying the chatter of the leaves,
and then the sudden silence that follows,
deeper and sharper than any before,
as though the skies, the mountains, the trees, are all awaiting my endeavor…
to strive and strain, to hear and understand the meaning behind nature’s theatre.
And so continues this banter – each trying to connect with the other, hours pass, days even, but not for a moment do I feel alone, for it is all alive throbbing with such awe-inspiring fervor!
This holiday was definitely one of my most memorable, and Shimla is a place I would highly recommend to both my fellow Indians and also people visiting India from abroad. Everything at the Oberoi from the property to the service and all the activities offered, is an overall experience that is impeccable and highly personalised. Especially for all the creative writers, artists, explorers and nature-lovers out there – this is the place for you.