Beauties of Shimla

  
Indian Institute of Advanced Study, earlier known as Viceregal Lodge, served some time as Rashtrapati Niwas, as the summer residence of our President , currently houses scholars for research purposes. This imperial building takes you back in time and has got huge history associated with it. There’s a guided tour, about 20 min, which takes you through photo galleries, explains the rain harvesting mechanism used there, the fire extinguishing system established, the history of the building , the electrical fittings of the imperial times . The tour also takes you through the still functioning clock of those times, the antique furniture, the Kashmiri wood work of the ceiling and even the Partition table, on which the papers of our partition, were drafted. The top floors are now occupied with scholars and are not open for tourists . The ground floor has got a library too, which has got around 1,85,000 books, which is also not open for the tourists 😦 

But this place has to be seen for its majesty and history.

  
Jhakoo temple, according to legend, is the place where Lord Hanuman rested while carrying Sanjeevani mountain in Ramayana. This place is filled with so many monkeys that they are found in almost equal number as the tourists. We were advised to leave all our things, including spectacles in the cab, to stay safe from them. We did as suggested, except that V put his hands in the pocket of his jackets to keep them warm. One of the monkeys came to him, reached his pocket and only when he took his hands out of the pocket and assured that it’s empty, the dear monkey decided to leave us. Coming back to the temple, this is a very old temple but the 108 feet Hanuman statue is a new addition, one that is unveiled by Abhishek Bachchan and Manisha Koirala.

  
Doesn’t this look like a kid’s drawing of houses on a paper ? Apparently, lots of people park their cars on one side of the mountain and walk down to their houses on the other side of the mountain !

  
See those completely dried up trees ? They are none other than Apple trees, which are all dried up now. Leaves start showing up in April and they are going to be full of fruits by July, is what we were told. Also, a single tree is going to bear both red and green apples, of different sizes 🙂

   
Naldehra can be reached on horses, and this offers some scenic views, a perfect picnic spot, a look at golf course, some adventurous zip line activity and that experience of being on the top of a mountain , breathing in the fresh air ! See that road in the last quadrant, that’s the one which takes you to the China border, this is what that horse rider told me 🙂

Will be back with you with little more later !!!

Gastronomic Delight – Mall Road of Shimla

One reason I would want to visit Mall Road of Shimla again and again is for the food it offers. This is my third visit to Shimla, the first one around 20 years ago with mom, dad and brother, which I remember in bits and pieces, the second one around 12 years ago with V, which I remember quite well and now comes the third one, which was to re-live all those wonderful experiences. 
One of my college seniors posted her tenth anniversary pics, celebrating it in the same place, the one she visited first after marriage, only that they visited now with their kids. I was instantly attracted to that idea of reliving your first travel as a couple after a decade. We couldn’t materialise that idea at our tenth anniversary and it got extended by 2 years. We planned to make it happen this May, when we would be completing our 12 years, but bringing little economy into the picture, as we anticipated the rates would be little high in the peak season, and with the prospect of showing A the snow of Himalayas, we tweaked our travel plans and made it happen last week.
We booked the same hotel Shingar, where we stayed 12 years ago. The advantage we found staying at this place is that it is right on the Mall Road which makes you step onto it at your whim. We took the prepaid taxi from Chandigarh at 1:30 and reached Shimla by 5:30, stopping for lunch at Dharampur on the way. After an hour long break of refreshment, we stepped onto the Mall Road, the best part of Shimla for me.
Mall Road has been in existence from a very long time, in times belonging to Imperial Shimla too and the prominent feature of this road is that it allows no vehicles. This is lined up with varied shops all along and is always filled with people walking, chatting, shopping and basking in the scenic mountains. This place is an absolute paradise for food lovers.
  
Chole kulcha, where the bread is heated with butter and stuffed with chole and some spices in its pocket, which tasted awesome !

   
 
Fresh coconut sprinkled with some masala, given away in thin slices. Kiwis, Strawberries, all fresh and juicy.

  
Piping hot samosas in the chill air ! Tangy chats which are irresistible ! Hot soups and home made cakes with simple yet delectable flavours !

   
And if you look forward to some authentic pizza with live music, Willow Banks is the place to go !

   

Those little benches where you can hang out to have some memorable times.  

Screening of the India vs Pakistan match at every possible place !

 And the endless shopping options for all kinds of people !

p.s. Yes, am back from the vacation, all set to show you the places 😊

When this happens !

  • When you try to wear 2 watches instead of a watch and a bangle
  • When you try to select something on the white board at office using a mouse
  • When you try to pack rice for lunch in a box that’s supposed to be used for dal
  • When you try to give piping hot tea to A instead of giving it to FIL
  • When you try to proceed to the wash room instead of break area to fill your water bottle

You know you are in need of a break. 

And therefore, here I take a break and proceed to the Himalayas ! 

Himalayas = Shimla + Manali 

Before Saturday morning, please please give me all the tips you can, for the journey / trip !

After a week, I’ll show you the places as much as I can through the posts !

Expression of love !

A gives us these little surprises once in a while and she is one who is very good at expressing. 

I remember coming across somewhere , sometime, that we don’t express our love most of the times, which we should be ideally doing, and we keep expressing our negative feelings, which we ideally should not be doing. I do not know about the latter but A follows the first one religiously. She makes it a point to appreciate any dish cooked, be it a simple curry or dal, ensures that she offers a piece of whatever she eats, a chocolate or whatever, makes some drawings or greeting cards for special occasions , displaying all the love.

And yesterday, after a long day at work, when I came home and opened the cupboard to put the handbag, this was what welcomed me !

  
This just came out of the blue, there was no special occasion, nothing specific about the day, nothing special that we talked about. I just couldn’t resist smiling to myself on seeing this 🙂 How better could a day end ?

Small surprises that make big differences !!

Little wonder !

Little things always attract me and when those little things do some wonders, I just get mesmerised .

A got this kit from her Atta as a birthday gift. We couldn’t lay our hands on this in the last couple of weeks owing to some busy schedules, exams et al. When we found some time for ourselves over the weekend, I sat down with A to explore this little thing.

  
We assembled a solar module and a gear box with the miniature sized parts given with the kit and the clear step by step instructions provided. I found this a great way to introduce concepts and experiments to kids. I could keep A engaged for quite some time ignoring the last couple of minutes when she started feeling bored.

We were not very confident if this would actually work and all, but we tried the solar puppy first

  
And the puppy actually walked 🙂

It was exciting to see the puppy move with solar energy. We controlled start and stop of puppy movement by allowing and disallowing the solar energy 🙂

Definitely a good one for the kids to have some fun, learning, activity, all clubbed in one !!

Kudos to the designers who come up with such little wonders .

From the kitchen

Here are two recipes of what got executed in the kitchen at home , yesterday and today.

First one is an age old one, MIL’s recipe, that has been on since a very long time and is much loved by everyone at home, for the simplicity and the freshness that the taste offers. When I mentioned  it to my brother over the phone, he loved the ingredients and wanted it to be recorded here. So here it comes.

Second one is something which we tried for the first time. V heard about it from his mama and was keen on trying it out at the next available chance and that chance opened up today. We planned it for lunch, but eventually it got materialised for dinner.

1. Kashmiri Malai

  

  • Grate the coconut and make a paste of it using a mixie
  • Chop the onions and make a paste of it too
  • Heat the pan with some oil, add the onion paste and fry till the raw smell goes off
  • Add the coconut paste now and let it fry for some more time
  • Now add some salt, garam masala powder and green peas to it
  • Winters, we take advantage of the fresh peas that’s available , and in other times, we manage with the frozen peas
  • Let everything cook for a while and transfer it onto the plate to be served with hot rotis
  • The rotis and the curry will vanish for sure in no time !

2. Mirchi curry

  

  • Slit the green chilis , deseed them and blanch them in hot water with salt 
  • Dry roast peanuts and make a powder of it along with cumin seeds, coriander leaves and salt
  • Stuff this powder in the chilis and tie a thread around them to make the stuffing secure
  • Shallow fry the chilis and serve them hot with piping hot rice

What’s cooking in your kitchen ??

Women’s Day

Though this day doesn’t mean anything to me, surprises at any point in time for anything in any measure mean a lot to me…

So here was my FIL’s surprise for this day

  
And this was a surprise at work, dairy milk silk wrapped up !

  
So Mr.Husband, where’s the surprise from you 🙂

Happy Women’s Day !!! Did you have any surprises too ???