Vacationing in Naldehra

If you want to rediscover the areas of Shimla, you can visit Naldehra, which still has some presence of the British culture. Find out more about Naldehra over here.

I had been to Shimla quite a few times, but somehow, every time, the trip remained restricted to Shimla, or at the least Mashorba and Kufri. That's why, when my parents, sisters, and I, had our annual family getaway to Shimla this March, we were desperate to do something new. As always, we booked a cab. Contrary to what most people might think, the Delhi to Shimla taxi fare is reasonable and economical, provided you find the right rental service. And there's nothing more fun than driving down this route in spring.

Discovering Naldehra
While we were all discussing and debating about what new to do this time, our driver made an interesting suggestion. The enthusiastic and experienced cabbie was the perk of booking a dependable and top-rated cab in Delhi. He suggested that we should consider heading to Naldehra than staying in Shimla. So, instead of ending the ride at our regular resort in Shimla, we drove for another hour further north and reached Naldehra. It was truly a gem of a place to discover.

Naldehra is anything but your quintessential Himalayan hamlet. An old colonial town, this place is so steeped in its British heritage that it still exudes the classic English vibes, albeit with the chalet-style properties and some heritage buildings to contributing to its energy. It looks no less than a classic Swiss hamlet with log houses, grassy slopes, and pine forests. Add the uninterrupted views of the mountains, and it had what it takes to be the perfect vacation locale. I was already loving this impromptu change of plans.
But there was more to Naldehra than what we saw at first glance. The town boasts the country's oldest nine-hole golf course. It was a contribution from the British official Lord Curzon when he lived here. We decided to definitely take a peek at that later, once I had satiated myself with the breathtaking views and gasping at the exquisite chalets.

It was still not the peak tourist season yet, and we easily found a lovely wooden cottage for our weekend stay. It was perched on a cliff, which overlooked clusters of alpine forests and a stream far below.

Trek to the tee
My father had found out that there was a trek route that led to the golf course. The trails passed through vast stretches of pine forests and meadows, which sounded the perfect way to spend the day. We started right after breakfast, from a valley near our cottage. A short walk led to the entrance of the forest. There were horses too for those who wanted to skip walking or were unable to walk, but my entire family loves to take long walks. There were designated picnic areas within the woods, where families were spending a peaceful Sunday morning. Although it was technically a trek, the terrain was one of the easiest to tread, with barely any sudden elevation anywhere. The March weather was perfect and made it easier for the long workout.

In some patches of the forest, where the trees were sparse, and there were open areas, we spotted families of monkeys, all lying in wait to swipe the oncoming visitors. Having visited Shimla multiple times, I had learned how to distract and dodge these smart minds. And soon, we were out of their line of sight and deeper into the woods. Halfway through, we found a narrow mountain stream flowing downward and along the trail. At one point, we got lost and deviated from the main path and missed where the stream turned, but soon, we were back (thanks to my compass app) on track and followed the stream. The stream broadened at the end of a slope and that was where the trail also ended. We could see a vast stretch of green fields, which looked like a golf course from far.

This golf course is a heritage pride of not only Naldehra but of the country. When Lord Curzon was the Viceroy of India, he commissioned the course with his own initiative. Earlier a nine-hole course, it was later expanded to 18-hole. Sitting at 2044 meters, this is also the world's highest golf course ever made. The greens are one of the main reasons why many people come here. While some come to play and enjoy the game, others, come to see what it all means.

And for those, like me, who don't find teeing to be their cup of tea, there's always the chalets to admire, the views to soak, and the long, alpine trails to walk and make your mountain holiday hit a bogey!

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