Kandaghat – travel journal by Vernika Awal



Imagine waking up in the morning to a steaming cup of coffee, at a place surrounded by lush green hills, chirping birds and a nip in the air. Wouldn’t it be an ideal setup for all of us who’re craving for simplicity in the hectic urban lives that we lead? Well, you know you deserve a break like this once in a while. So head to the hills and breathe in some freshness into that exhausted body!

As wanderlust took over me once again, I chose Kandaghat to be my holiday destination this time. A quaint little town tucked away in the Himalayas, it is lost absolutely from the mayhem of tourists. Located on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway, it nonchalantly springs up on you before the capital town of Shimla. Freshly bloomed flowers, the mountains beckoning us and the perfect weather – I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome!

The avid reader that I am, I somehow look for places that are away from the hustle-bustle of the city and give me the space and time to indulge in my books (which have been lying ignored thanks to corporate slave that I am now!) and when not reading, I turn into a tourist who likes to explore the destination, indulge in food and pick up conversations with the local people (Isn’t that the best way to know a place in its true sense?)



As we drove through the countryside, soaking in the freshness of the air and visiting the small villages, I realised how friendly Pahadi people are—so hospitable and full of warmth. We visited a Saadhu Pul, about 10 kilometers from Kandaghat and were greeted by the local shopkeepers, and tea stall owners who insisted that we stay back and enjoy some hot tea and pakodas, while overlooking the stream of river that flowed… This place is on the way to Chail.

Coming back, I wished to see the rustic, yet dainty railway station of Kandaghat. It is a tiny station nestled in the hills, with just one room where the station master sits, with his pet dog, right outside. The historic toy train that connects Shimla to Kalka passes through this station and halts here for two minutes. One must try to board one of these trains and take the scenic ride… However, getting a booking isn’t that easy! So well, I spent about half an hour at this station, waiting to catch the glimpse of the passing toy train and boy it was worth every minute! Straight out of a Ruskin Bond novel, eh?

There is not much for you at Kandaghat, if you are a tourist who is looking for the conventional touristy attractions. But, if you are looking for a place which is an ideal getaway to connect with yourself and catch up with your friends over coffee and lazy mornings, this is the place for you. Travel may mean different things to different people, but it is the slow travel that touches the soul and leaves you refreshed. Next time, try doing nothing on your holiday and letting the destination seep into your bones!

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