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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

The last days of 2012

Over the last week, while I enjoyed one last vacation before the year came to a close, I wrote posts reminiscing about the year gone by... the places we visited, the events we attended. It is now time to move on into the new year and enjoy whatever it brings. I do not usually make New Year resolutions, but have one in mind this year.... to write more often. Last year, I travelled a lot.... almost every month! and sometimes more than once a month!!! I hope I get more opportunities for travel this year, but I also hope I can catch up with writing about all the places I have been to!! 

However, before I move on to writing detailed travelogues,  there is one more post to add to "Memories of 2012" - Our Winter Vacation!

Shimla had been on my wishlist for years. Not only had I not visited any hill station in the north, but Shimla had a connection to me too... My grandfather spent his summers there, at a time when the town acted as the summer capital of the country. He passed on too early for me to know details of his life there, but the town always aroused my imagination every time I read something about it. So, while Samhith harped on going to Manali to enjoy the snowfall, I put my foot down and insisted on going to Shimla this year.. We could go to Manali or elsewhere in search of snowfall another time. However, as it turned out, the vacation was more about him than anything else. I did little for myself but walk around the town and relax in my room, reading books, while you can see for yourself what Samhith did....

He posed at the Rock Gardens in Chandigarh...

Father and son enjoyed swinging... also at the Rock Gardens...

He refused to pose at Shimla...

A trek to the mountains above Mashobra led us to the snow clad peaks, which, at last convinced him that yes, it did snow at Shimla and Mashobra too!!

He tried skiing at Narkanda....

and also played in the snow to his heart's content...

He tried ice skating at the oldest, and the only natural skating rink in India.. at Shimla...

And on our way back on the Shimla Kalka Railway, he posed on the engine...

In the engine...

In the luggage van....

and, while the train stopped at a station, father and son found time to enjoy a swing too!!

And that is how we brought 2012 to a close and ushered in the new year, in the sleeper coach of a train bringing us back home! 

I can only hope 2013 brings us all the kind of joy and happiness we see on his face..... and loads of travel too!!! 


  1. Enjoy, Beautiful Train , While going Shimla i will Travel with this train

    1. There are about 6 trains, Vishal... and some are much better than this one.

  2. Have been reading about all your memory down the lane for the year 2012.

    Hope you have a wonderful travel filled year ahead.
    And say Hi to the little hero. :)

    1. Thanks so much, Nisha! wish you too a grt travel filled year ahead!! and we really shd meet this year!


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