The fragrance of the woods, the cold breeze, floating clouds and the breathtaking landscape became my constant companion as I traveled on the winding roads in the hills. Leaving behind the concrete jungle, as I was making my way up in the high altitude, I realized that I have come a long way to be amidst the nature.
I was travelling to Mashobra – a place with its rustic, old world charm and awe-inspiring landscapes. I was smitten by this gorgeous little town in Shimla District. Hardly 13 km away from the bustling town of Shimla, Mashobra will impress you with its captivating scenic surrounding. Situated at an altitude of 7,041 feet from the sea level, this place is encircled by the thick forest of Deodar, Pine, and Oak. Mashobra is mostly known for one of the two Presidential Retreats in India.
It was almost 4 pm. After a long drive from Chandigarh, I reached this enchantingly beautiful small boutique hotel called Mahasu House. As I stepped in, I was welcomed by descending mist with open arms.
The sudden change in the climate was a pleasant surprise for me. Soon I was escorted to my designated room. Like a happy girl, it brought a big smile to my face as soon as I entered my room.
The interior of the room was sophisticated with all the modern amenities. The transparent glass window, opening to the valley added to the much needed charm.
Like an old British Cottage, Mahasu House flaunts the royal look in every corner of the hotel. The beautiful blend of wood and stone, the architecture of the property is inspired by the traditional Khat-Kunni (Himachali architecture) style. From fireplace, furniture, exquisite artifacts to wooden stairs, it reflects the true English Retreats like feel in every sense.
While having a conversation with the owner Mr. Anil Walia, I got to know that the property was bought to build his Dream House in the forest, which later got converted into a hotel. For him, Mahasu House is truly a labour of love. Even I can vouch for this. The love for the property and the passion to maintain his love nest was vibrant in his talks. Not just that, you can also see the clear reflection of his personality in different corners of the house. For instance, Mr. Walia’s love for Golf can be seen on those photo frames of famous golfers from all across the world. And one will be surprised to find a Golf Kit in the hotel.
With this elegant setting, Mahasu House has 7 double rooms, an exclusive Attic room and luxurious suite with two spacious double bedrooms inside it. It also has a separate luxury cottage.
Apart from that, they have a Lounge area, Club room, and Health Club as well. The Lounge is the perfect place to have that hot cup of coffee, sitting next to the firewood and getting lost in the pages of your favourite book.
The Club room houses indoor entertainment area with a billiards table, table-tennis table, home theatre, etc.
If you are a health freak, you can have your fitness hours at the Health Club, which is a fully equipped gym area. If you ask me about the preferred place in the property, I would love to have my Sun-kissed hours in the lawn, admiring the breathtaking landscape.
The outdoor sitting area is one cozy corner, mostly used for breakfast and dinner for large gatherings.
Darkness had fallen in the valley by the time I woke up from my afternoon sleep. I could see a few scintillating lights in the valley from my balcony. The cold wind ran through my body as I decided to spend a few moments in the balcony with my hot cup of tea. The silence around me was loud enough to remind me that I was in the lap of nature. I lost count of the hours I spent in the balcony.
Soon it was time for dinner. Interestingly, you will not find a Menu Card in Mahasu House. They believe in customized and personalized services to their guests. You will be served according to your wish list. If I talk about the food, it was absolutely delicious.
The best part is that the food is prepared Home styled with fresh local ingredients. I could not have asked for a better ending for my tiring day with the mouth-watering apple pie. Not just that, the way the staff serves it with personal care is commendable. The guests are pampered and taken care by Walia couple themselves, which is one of the unique aspects of this property. The love and the warmth in their behaviour floored me to the core.
For the very first time I did not have a fixed itinerary to follow on this press trip. I felt as if I was literally on a luxury vacation. Being a wanderer, I can’t restrict myself from exploring the nearby places even without having a definite plan.
Soon after breakfast, as suggested, I decided to walk in the Seog Forest Reserve and explore it. Walking in the forest trail in the dense forest brings you to a water reservoir. There are 19 natural water sources on this stretch inside the forest.
The water is carried through pipes to supply to Shimla town. The sanctuary has a wide variety of flora and fauna. Walking on the trail, I enjoyed the serenity in the middle of Deodar and Oak forest. To my surprise, a day picnic was also arranged in the forest.
I was pretty impressed to see the Machan in the middle of the sanctuary, which was built to keep a close watch and also for visitors to have a better view.
Taking the leisurely walk, along with flickering run rays through the branches of the trees, I had a great time admiring nature. On top of it, having my packed lunch at one of the Machans was undoubtedly the highlight of my day.
My next stop was “WildFlower Hall”, one of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels in Shimla. The very first impression of the iconic property appeared like a castle from a Hollywood movie.
Situated on the hilltop, surrounded by dense pine and cedar wood forest, this property will leave you speechless with its astounding look. I was mesmerized when the blanket of mist suddenly covered it, leaving it to its glory.
It was pretty cold outside due to sudden change in the weather. And I could not stop myself from having roadside Maggie while coming back to my hotel. The unpredictability of the climate in the hills just fascinates me and that night was not an exception.
When the Sun peeped through the clouds over the hills, making its way through your window and you see this bright ray first thing in the morning , the day seems smiling at me with a promising start. I decided to step out to explore the famous Naldehra Golf Club. Located at an altitude of 2200m, is one of the highest Golf courses in the whole of Asia.
Known for its unusual terrain, the golf club was established by British Viceroy Lord Curzon in 1905. Though tourists are not allowed to go inside the course, but one can take a round. Visitors usually opt for horses to stroll around due to its narrow, hilly and slippery trail.
Being an adventurous soul, I opted to walk through the forest to take a close look of this 18 hole course. I must tell you that the green meadow looked like a well spread green carpet among tall cedars, which makes it one of the picturesque golf courses in the world.
As I started to hit the road again, I noticed a board saying “Local Himachali Food”, and I could not stop myself from sampling it. I love trying local food wherever I go. I felt good when I was presented Sidu and Babru for my lunch. I had Sidu earlier also when I had visited Fagu.
Sidu is the local bread made from wheat flour. This distinct bread is usually enjoyed with ghee or butter. I also had Babru which is a like sweet puri. It can complement well with a cup of tea.
After my tryst with the local food, I decided to take a walk in the main Mashobra market. Walking aimlessly, observing the lifestyle of the people, and interacting with strangers is my favourite job in any destination. While taking a stroll in the market, an age old wooden house, took my attention, which was converted into a shop.
Exchanging smiles with the locals just makes me high every time I do that. I still can’t forget the gracious smile of that old woman and her grandson, who were friendly enough to strike a conversation with me.
It makes me wonder about their simplicity and because of which I never feel tired of coming to these little corners in the hills.
As I was returning, the orange hue in the sky was slowing turning into blue. The unfolding mist started travelling through the woods, leaving behind the mystical aura. And the journey still continues, though the road seems blurred ahead.
Note : I was Invited by Mahasu House on a Press Trip.
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