We took a trip to Shimla in the monsoon of 2015 to avoid the tourist crowd in summers and enjoy the misty greens of the hills. We also experienced our first toy train ride and that too amidst soft drizzle and beautiful Himachal terrain!
Our destination was Ma Taradevi mandir located in Tarav parvat. We had taken tickets till the Taradevi halt but was advised by a gentleman to get down at Shogi instead and take a cab up to the temple. A sound advice in monsoon and for people who do not indulge much in trekking.
You need to be punctual, rather before time, to be able to get seats in the toy train as most of it is unreserved. Since we did not check the timings we missed the morning train and had to wait for the next one in the afternoon. The station has a canteen that serves simple veg thali. One can also buy some toy train related souvenirs from a little shop there.
Our beautiful joy ride began from Shimla to Shoghi and while we chugged along I sat back to enjoy the journey and nature at a leisurely pace. We had an interesting co-traveler, a local of Shoghi who had many interesting things to share that we may never find in any books / notes. The child like joy of seeing the train turn (now a rarity from the closed AC bogeys) and passing thru numerous tunnels is captured in a couple of pics shared.
This is a must do for all traveling to Shimla. The Kalka Shimla train track is a narrow gauge and it takes 5-6 hours to reach Shimla. The Kalka-Shimla route is 96 km long, which includes 102 tunnels. Every tunnel has its own story and the longest tunnel of Barog takes around 3 minutes to cross.
P.S. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka–Shimla Railway have collectively been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe