Ω____(Himalayan Day Hikes: ‘The Century Old Trails’)____Ω
The Old Hindustan Tibet Trails:
The Old Hindustan Tibet Trails:
1) The Mahasu Ridge Line: Skirting the Shimla Water Catchment sanctuary and the Oberoi Wildflower Hall, nature on this one hour trail oozes a sense of soothing on the times that once were. Within the walk one is able to enjoy a carpet of wild strawberries; the waterfall like sound that echoes amongst the Cedars; a host of wild ferns; wild flowers to match every season; and maybe even come across a barking deer or two. This is one for the senses…
(Duration of Walk: 1 Hr. Grading: Easy)
2) The Cedar-Oak Vintage Trail: The trail initially follows from the lodge through the tarmac to the nearby Helipad: a hillock with a 360- degree striking view. This vantage point provides a grand view of the reserved forest mushrooming all over and one is furthermore able to glimpse parts of the Shimla town and the National Highway(22) leading to our village coupled with the Grand view of the closer by mountains and the Himalayan ranges. From the helipad, one blissfully leaves behind the sound of vehicles, the mob of clicking tourists and experiences the sounds of nature as you descend down on the trail which used to be in part the ‘Old Hindustan Tibet Trail’. The trail still remains a passage for the local villagers as a shorter access route (avoiding the highway) along with their herds on occasions. Visit the School for the blind, and start the loop around on this trail that remains untouched and is bountiful; where one finds nature in abundance and one is able to relax the senses and enjoy the sweet chirpings of wild birds, savor the wild flowers, the swaying Cedars, the rustling Oaks and some old colonial houses that mark the way. The walk provides you with a taste of the old village life, a peep at the times gone by and plenty of time to wonder away… until you reach the Presidential Retreat and return →Cedar Hill lodge again.
(Duration of Walk: 2 Hrs. Grading: Easy)
3) The Cedar Sanctuary Trail: Fondly called Cedar Mountain this is the Century old ‘Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary’ and encloses the Cedar Hill Lodge to its three sides. The duration spent in the forest ranges from an hour to three depending upon the temperament of the hikers that tread in this forest. A Cedar Sanctuary, this pristine undisturbed forest provides a home for a host of wildlife such as the Himalayan: Barking Deer, Leopard, Black Bear, Goral, Jackal, the yellow-throated Martin. In the lower belts of the forest and many areas around one can spot a host of birdlife toiling away such as the Himalayan: Woodpecker, Barbet, the colourful Minivets, Barbets, Cheer, Kokla and Khaleej Phesants. The forest also hosts a rich abundance of Himalayan flora and one can find self by spending the entire day exploring, taking to the sounds of nature and savoring the richness of the forest.
(Duration of Walk: 2 Hrs. Grading: Medium)
4) The Suburban Mashobra Valley Hike: The hike takes you into the rapidly changing rural countryside surrounding Cedar Hill and the Shimla town. The walk demands fitness to a degree and can be undertaken in three hours on a constant, relaxing pace.
The trail begins with a sudden loopy descend from our village Charrabra to Mashobra that continues halfway on —and one constantly finds the self focused on his footing in these stony narrow pathways. The Shali Peak stands steadfast to the front displaying the tricks of altitude that the Himalayan landscape has to offer until it disappears only to emerge as the ascent begins. All along every village crossed ( Seepur, Shali, Deothi Kanda; Mulkoti) is marked with old temples representing their cultural and architectural heritage with a wealth of folklore and hospitality and the occasional smiles to greet you along. From Mulkoti – some rest and a picnic enjoyed – one then begins his hour long gradual ascent back to the Mashobra village. Here, one can utilize his vehicle to take the twenty-minute drive to the lodge or continue the ascent for an added half-hour through the constant shelter of Cedars and Oaks back to Cedar lodge, the village Chharabra.
This entire trail is seeped in nature’s bounty with a whiff of the modern times to come. And though every traveler takes back soulfully his memories, one thing stands: the wonder that is these Himalayas; these mountains that stand dutifully diligent, preserving the folklore, a way of life, and the millions of years of evolution that now lays gloriously spread out just for you.
(Duration of Walk: 3 Hrs. Grading: Medium)
5) Hike to the Mashobra Valley & Back: The entire valley as seen from Cedar Hill below can be covered in this 4-5 Hrs. challenging hiking trail. This trail is an extension to ‘The Suburban Mashobra Valley Hike’: ( Seepur, Shali, Deothi & Mulkoti) and it further continues on to the villages of ( Kanda, Ghorna and Kotidhar). From Kotidhar, one then begins a steep climb back to the highway where not far the Cedar Hill stands. A handful of apple orchards, some wood and slate houses, tumbling tiny streams, old but renovated temples, bustling new schools, terraced fields of assorted vegetables: corn, wheat and potatoes; and glimpses of the famed cannabis mark the route during the hike in this valley.
(Duration of Walk: 3-5 Hrs. Grading: Difficult)
6) The Shali-Tibba Excursion: A full day activity, the Shali Peak, dedicated to Goddess Kali has all the elements harmonized for a perfect outing. This habitually mist engulfed Peak is the local highest peak in the vicinity of Chharabra and Shimla. On a clear day, the peak offers a breathtaking view of the entire Himalayan ranges as seen from the Cedar Hill.
One enjoys the picturesque drive crossing Mashobra, then Baldeha, leading to a dirt track in part towards the ever beautiful the village Gulshaini and then a steady ascent on a bumpy road to the village of Khatnol. From here one starts the three hour ascent to the Shali Peak. We presume, as one would see Cedar Hill as a tiny dot in the landscape it would excite our guests having been at two hilltops separated by nothing but by empty space.
After a frantic session of the digital eye and a well deserved rest & picnic, and the blessings of the Goddess Kali one begins the quick descent back to the village. By sunset you are on your way back driving to the Cedar Hill Lodge. We presume again from experience this is one trip that tends to relive, liven up the mind.
(Duration of Walk: 4 Hrs. Grading: Medium)
7) Mount Hatu Peak: On the National highway, the Hindustan Tibet Road, 50 Kms. from Cedar Hill Lodge lies Narkanda which is at an altitude of 2700 m. It offers a panoramic view of the Inner Himalayas; and 7 Kms. from Narkanda is the Hatu Peak, at a height of 3300 m. The drive into this countryside is scenic, relaxing and the ascent to Hatu is yet again in the cover of thick enriched forest of Cedars, Oaks, Spruce fir with the wild flowers and ferns spread across the route. There is an option of hiking from Narkanda if one chooses. The view at the top is soul searching which increases the experience of visiting the temple there. One can also visit the Apple country, the heartland from where the apple was introduced and has now spread in the entire state of Himachal - a village called Kotgarh. April is usually the month for Apple & Cherry blossoms, the sweet scent of which is stimulating to the senses.
(Drive: Chharabra → Kufri →Fagu →Theog →Nangla Devi →Matiana →Shilaru →Narkanda →Chharabra.)
(Duration of Walk: 2 Hrs. Grading: Easy)