18.03.2009 - 20.03.2009 20 °C
The monkeys stole my sunglasses! They jumped on me from behind, took them and went off into the trees. Damn them! I must have angered Monkey god by disregarding all the warnings people gave me and not paying attention to all the posted signs.
Anyway, Shimla is a great place in the mountains. You get there by bus using a road that seems to be quite often closed or by train from Kalka. The train is quite small and slow, but it takes a very scenic route and passes through 103 tunnels, all in all about a five hours journey. This section of the Indian railroads has been declared a World Heritage Site. Here's a picture from the train and a view down the valley:
It was a great experience to see and smell forest again after all this time in deserts and beaches. Just the smell of pine trees made me feel so good.
Shimla is a small city at somewhat over 2000 m altitude on the flanks of a hill (2300 m doesn't qualify yet for the term “mountain” in my eyes) in the outskirts of the Himalayan range. The flanks are however very steep and you therefore think twice before going anywhere (especially when you're not yet acclimatized), because there's a lot of going up- and downhill involved.
This is a picture of the center place. Shimla is the least Indian city I have seen in India so far. You could think you are somewhere in northern Italy.
The funny thing here is that the city is full of monkeys. So you really have to take care to always close your windows when you go out, or you might miss most of your shiny things when you come back. On top of the hill there's a temple dedicated to Monkey God. I'm not a big fan of the Hindu religion (to be fair I don't know much about it), but they do have the coolest gods. Here's Monkey god in full action. No turning the other cheek with this guy!
The temple is full of these little monkeys. Those are also the ones that stole my sunglasses. One more pair lost... I should have counted them.
Sorry about the bad quality of the pictures. It's my new crappy cheap Chinese camera. I'm still trying to rig it to take better quality pictures, but I think I'll just have to buy a more expensive one once I'm back in Delhi.
I am in Dharamsala now, the home of the Tibetan government in exile. It's raining and there are frequent thunderstorms. It's great!