When I arrived at Narkanda there was snow everywhere. I was so tired at the end of the journey that I was happy I didn’t had to walk through snow to reach the hotel. The taxi dropped me right at the doorstep of the Hatu which is a Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Development Corporation (HPTDC) hotel. At the check-in was a young boy who could see I was tired and cold. He completed the formalities quickly and assured me that chai and pakoras would arrive soon right in my room. But to my retreating back he did ask, “so are you alone?” To which I simply said yes.
Here is a short clip of the Hatu, Narkanda. The room I stayed in was clean though not fancy. At all times, I felt safe. The staff was courteous. After the initial curiosity even my traveling alone was no longer much of an issue.
Narkanda is a small town. There were a few small shops in the main market where I would sit down and have tea after my strolls. I had all my meals at the hotel. One day I asked for a local dish and I was given Gobhi Palda which was a kind of cauliflower kadhi. It was good. I had parathas for breakfast everyday! I think I paid more for tea than I paid for breakfast!
You can book a ski package with the hotel depending on the snow conditions. I was asked if I would like to ski but I was determined not to do anything on this vacation! I managed to keep my resolve till the end. I had many conversations with the guy I met at the reception, Pankaj Sharma and the ski instructor. I told them about my trekking adventures and they told me about the possible treks in the region.
When I was leaving on the last day, they told me, ma’am fir aiyega (ma’am come back again). I am already planning to take Chhavi and Vasu (my niece) for skiing next year at Narkanda. And if I can get a room I will surely stay at the Hatu again.
Last week I did another last minute trip, this time to Narkanda. Narkanda is about 64 kilometers from Shimla towards Rampur. I try to avoid main hill stations as they are too crowded for me. And yet as I have limited leaves I need to go someplace that I could reach quickly. I am no fan of driving, hence I also rely on public transport. Narkanda fitted the bill as I took the Kalka Shatabdi till Kalka and then a bus to Shimla from where I took a taxi to Narkanda. That was not the original plan but I will write a detailed post in a while.
I booked the Hatu, a HPTDC hotel. I saw that there was a ski package on offer but it still didn’t ring a bell! I was aware that it would be cold, so I packed heavy woolens and it was a good thing. As usual, I had to take avomine for my nausea on the mountain roads which leaves me quite disoriented.
I was surprised at how much snow there was even in March! The hotel is at a little height from the village and the path was completely filled with snow. I was happy that I was negotiating it in a taxi to begin with. At the hotel there was a young staff member at the counter. He checked me in quickly with the customary, “are you alone ma’am?”
I had missed lunch and asked for tea and something to eat.They offered pakoras to which I readily agreed. I was happy to be inside a clean room with a heater. In a few minutes my tea and pakoras were served. There was a TV in the room as well with a local cable connection. I was settled for the night.
I was expecting Narkanda to be cold but I did not expect it to be so full of snow. My adventure had started!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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