Sunday, 24th April, was a sad day for the devotees of Satya Sai Baba. He was an enigmatic spiritual leader whose life had its share of controversies and fame. His death shocked many, including Sachin who did not celebrate his birthday which fell on the same day. While the day was sad for some, it was celebration time for many followers of another faith, because it was this day when their spiritual leader was resurrected. It was the time of Easter bunny and her eggs. Eggs and bunnies (female rabbit can conceive while already pregnant and gives birth to lots of litters) are symbols of fertility representing harvest time since antiquity. April is also the harvest time for Indians. Vaisakhi is a harvest festival celebrated throughout India, especially in the North and East. It also represents the first year in Hindu calendar. So it was time for celebration, and what better way to celebrate than spending the long weekend in the Himalayas. Our destination was Kasauli – a welcome break from the heat of Delhi.
Unfortunately even Kasauli is getting warmer every year. Earlier the snow used to fall in December, now it falls in late January and melts early. People might call it global warming, but I believe it is more of a local warming. With more crowd coming here and more human activities, these places are bound to get warmer. It has stopped snowing in Shimla now, which is at a similar height, because of the huge increase in population. I bet, if you take all these people away and leave the hills to itself, it will start snowing again within few years.
Kasauli is a colonial hill station in the Solan district one and a half hours from Kalka Railway Station (32kms). It might not have the beauty of Manali, but it is much more peaceful than Shimla. We stayed in Guns and Roses Resort opposite Kasauli Resort. It is away from the main city with a picturesque view of the surrounding Dhaula Dhar Ridges and Shimla. Legend has it that lord Hanuman stepped here for jumping on to the Sanjeevani hill creating Kasauli. His foot print is believed to be present in Manki Point on top of a hill. Locals call it Monkey Point. But unfortunately it is within the air-force radar station and base area and hence cameras and mobile phones are not allowed. But the view from the top is amazing. You need to hire a cab to take you there (we hired the cab from Bittu Taxi – 09816087119). Once you reach the gate of the air-force base you have to take a pass and then walk up the hill.
Kasauli is also famous for Christ church and the upper and lower malls which contains a small Tibetan market. If you are walking in the mall, do stop to eat the delicious 'pakoras'. They are finger-licking good! Also try the apple wine and the local pickles. They are famous in this part of India.
The entire town has a laid back relaxed attitude which is definitely going to get into you. It is a place where you would like to sit in the lawn, listen to soft music and read your favourite novel as you take a sip of your coffee. A lazy stroll on the roads of scenic Kasauli is going to touch your heart.