My Solo Trip to Shimla and Kufri

I have been always passionate about traveling new places. And this time, i added another trip to my list. This one has been special, reason being i travel Solo for the first time in India. So this is how it starts. Working in Gurgaon, does has its negatives, specially if you are living all by yourself. So it was first weekend of May, and as usual scorching hot Gurgaon, was taking its toll on me, and i made this resolution this year to travel new places. Shimla was on my list for a long time, knowing i never visited this place before. So perfect timing i would say and perfect settings for me to explore this new city. So I booked my hotel from “Makemytrip” and Volvo bus from “Red Bus”. Everything was done in a hurry, while sitting in the office late Friday afternoon made this plan to go out, no matter if i was unable to get any company.

I had to catch my bus from Volvo bus from RK Ashram metro station. I reached there in time and was able to board the bus in time. The bus was comfortable and was fully occupied. I got water bottle in the bus, the bus was held at few stops for break and we reached Shimla by 6 am in the morning.

Man, the place had fresh and cold air. After leaving the bus, I quickly wore a thin jumper and Walked all the way to the hotel. The views were breathtaking. Loved it all. Thanks to the google map application. I reached the hotel in time, well too early I would say. 

View of Queen of hills Shimla

View of Queen of hills Shimla while walking towards the hotel


I booked my hotel on MakeMyTrip and the name of the hotel was Hotel Vaikunth on the mall road. The biggest problem of this hotel was that I was unable to find the entry gate to the hotel. Took me 20 minutes or so to find the place. Reason being that the hotel receptionist guys closed the shutter gate. Ones I found it then the reception guy told me that you can only check in after 12pm. Which meant that I had to wait for bloody more then 4 hours or so to get a hotel. I was able to freshen up and leave hotel around 9.30 am to get some breakfast, as to my surprise the breakfast was not included in the hotel booking. I then went to this nice hotel named Hotel Combermere. Where I had hearty breakfast and then I went back to my hotel and then got freshen up and went to see the mall road.
And then after freshening up I asked the reception guy about the places to see in Shimla and what other places I can go to around Shimla. He suggested me that I should go to kufri and temples Jakhu hill. So I booked a local cab and went to these places. First went to Hip Hip hurray adventure theme park. Had awesome zip line and rock climbing experience. Then I left for Narkanda, enjoyed lovely views there and then went to Kufri. 

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Bengali Market Mandi House

Last weekend we went to Bengali Market. From east Delhi it took around 20 mins. The plan was to have lunch at Bengali Sweet House. I have know this place ever since i was a kid. I used to come her with my family, and loved the “Dahi Bhalla” and “Tandoori Roti” and “Dal Makhani” a lot. For the past 20 years the placed as hardly changed. Few new shops have sprung noticeably Costa Coffee. Having those fond memories it was my visit to this place after a very long time. Also the prices of the food have increased nearly 20 fold. Bengali market has been a culture hub for a very long time, and still is thriving with new generations. The food offered in Bengali sweet varies from north, south indian, Chinese, continental, american, italian pizza’s namkeen, dry fruits. The seating arrangement limited to max 200 people. The restaurant does gets crowded on the weekends, keeping up to its name. The restaurant is open all 7 days. The food is delicious and freshly made. The service is in time and waiters are friendly. The desserts are incredibly tasty and you must have some to treat yourself.

Bengali Sweet House

Bengali Sweet House

Mandi House Market Round About

Mandi House Market Round About

Other old restaurant’s which are famous in the area are “Nathu Sweets”. They offer delicious cakes, bakery products and snacks. The cakes are delicious, and the snacks are mouth watering.

Costa Coffee Tansen Marg

Costa Coffee Tansen Marg

DLF Cybercity Gurgaon

One of my friend lives near Sikanderpur metro station. I went to see him yesterday and as usual i had to travel by train and it was not an easy journey. Delhi metro trains are over crowded even it was a weekend afternoon. From Preet Vihar it took 20 mins to reach Ragiv Chowk metro station and then a switch to yellow line towards Huda City Centre took 45 mins to reach sikanderpur metro station. After recalling all the old memories and where we stand in the career, we popped out and went to Sikanderpur Rapid Metro (walking distance from my friends home)

Rapid Metro Sikanderpur Station

Rapid Metro Sikanderpur Station

The station looked brand new, i guess it had been open to public less then few months. I remember watched the news that it will be similar to Delhi metro. Truly from inside it looked very modern and also had a tv screen, which is not available in any Delhi metro as of now. The journey from Sikanderpur Rapid metro station to Vodafone Belvedere Towers station took less then 5 mins and we reached the DLF Cybercity. To my perception, i felt it will be another pile of towers and concrete. I was surprised to see that this cybercity has grown from leaps and bounds and had a nice modern feel to it. The praise won’t come high, i might compare DLF Cybercity to Canary Warf of London. The city was well made and made me a feeling that i am not in gurgaon but strolling around the high street of canary warf.

DLF Cybercity

DLF Cybercity

The city is getting populated with big names already, to name a few KPMG, Deloite, Honda tech, Lufthansa Airlines, Google, Bain and company, Oracle, Accenture had their offices. The biggest attraction to my eyes was how well DLF has catered to the people of Cybercity food and shopping needs in the area. I saw a nice food court, and worth a mention. They had Starbucks, the wine company which is not open in many posh areas of Delhi yet. Truly Gurgaon has grown surprisingly fast and its a phenomenon which has forced and pushed the envelop of growth in the developing India.

DLF cybercity View from terrace

DLF cybercity View from terrace

Essex Farms Aurobindo Marg

Me and my office colleagues had a plan for a  fun hangout place last weekend, and it was a tough choice, as we planned to go for a karaoke night. One of our friend suggested us that for a group, Essex farms is a nice place to go and hangout at. As we had our office in Okhla, we decided that it won’t be far from office to go there and chill. We left office and reached the place in decent time, keeping in mind the terrible traffic conditions in Delhi.

As I was going to Essex farms for the first time, i was sceptical about the food, environment and overall experience. The most important thing for any place to give a good experience in Delhi, is that it should have decent space for parking. Parking in Delhi  is becoming a big issue these days. Mercifully the parking space in Essex farm was adequate.

Future Bowl Essex Farms

Future Bowl Essex Farms

Our plan was to do bowling and play pool. And indeed when we went inside the place was adequate and nice environment. I would say the cost of bowling was bit expensive as per our budget, but then we had to try it ones for sure, as we were already there. We had a great time playing bowling and then pool, and enjoy some yummy side snacks and later had dinner at the restaurant. The place has games for kids, and elder both and for group it was a great place to hangout. I would love to come here again to Essex farms again in the future.

Inside Future Bowl Esses Farms

Inside Future Bowl Esses Farms

Shopping Malls in East Delhi

We all know India is a developing country and to believe this how fast the country is growing, the middle class or people who are above the poverty line are spending crazy. They are the one who are multiplying the profits for some retail companies and all the international chains are betting on the Indian middle class growth. Briefly to give you an idea how the Shopping mall culture is expanding. As per Asipac Consulting “India doubled the number of shopping males from 225 operational malls to 570 by may 2013.” This astonishing growth is a clear hint of how we accept organised retailing.

Living in East Delhi, gives me opportunity to go shopping on weekends. East Delhi is connected to Noida, Gaziabad and there are some good shopping malls where you can go and have a decent time. If you are looking for daily grocery shopping well you can get that done near by your home, if you have a big family and feel like that you need to buy a lot, you can always go to the shopping malls. In East Delhi, there is The Great India Place (GIP), EDM, Pacific Mall, V3S Mall, Shipra Mall and Angel Mall to name a few good ones worth going. All these malls will give help you get all your shopping done.

The biggest and varied one among these malls is GIP. GIP is the biggest mall in EastDelhi NCR. Its’ not actually a part of Delhi, but it does come under the satellite cities of Delhi, which are called by Delhi NCR. The mall is so big you will be tired exploring all what it has to offer you. Parking facilities are good, and all the basic amenities are well covered. It does have a entertainment ground behind it named Worlds of Wonder Amusement Park consisting roller coaster rides and rain dance.

Great India Place Mall View from Centre Stage Mall

Great India Place Mall View from Centre Stage Mall

Worlds of Wonder Amusement Park

Worlds of Wonder Amusement Park

Shipra mall is bit far, but its always worth going there if you are bored with usual malls with less options to choose from. Open parking, no basement park, the best part, they have mc donalds, haldiram, and nice shopping shops available with cinema hall at the top floor.

Shipra Mall Ghaziabad

Shipra Mall Ghaziabad

Then there is Angel Mall in Gaziabad, which is not exactly complete yet, but the best of all there is Haldiram, which has beeb open for a while now, i would say more then a year now, and these restaurant is so famous in this mall, that you will see it packed everyday. Angel Mall is next to Radison Blue Hotel, so if you are staying in this hotel, grabbing a bite from Haldiram, is a nice Indian treat.

Radison Blue Gaziabad

Radison Blue Gaziabad

Haldiram Angel Mall

Haldiram Angel Mall

There are few good another malls, which are worth mentioning here. V3S is the one which is always crowded, due to the area next to it and being a tourist you might not enjoy the condition in this area and mall. But if you are those types who want to go and see and feel in depth, then you can go and see the Delhi culture unfold.

V3S Mall Laxmi nagar

V3S Mall Laxmi nagar

Traffic Conditions in Delhi

This post may say a lot about Delhi the good the bad’s. Most importantly i will try to highlight what you might face or experience when you come to Delhi for a business visits, or as a tourist. These are my personal experiences and therefore, not necessarily very accurate.

Delhi is a capital city of India, as we all know. The number of people live here is absolutely staggering. Nearly 20 million people more or less people live here. Delhi is connected to many sub growing cities namely Gaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida. This make the city a very very crowded place. For Instance the the distance between one corner of Delhi to another corner of Delhi is an average 45 km. On a normal day traffic it should take not more then an hour to cross such a distance. at peak times of traffic which is early mornings . The office rush starts by 7 am and stays till 11 am. Literally 40% of Delhi’s cars are on road inching towards the offices, factories and shops etc. Like any other city everyone wants to reach office in time.    Delhi has developed every year, but the road conditions in Delhi has remained same. even if the growth has been going on, the growth rate has been so slow its almost unnoticed by people who live in Delhi and Commute on daily basis.

If we talk about the Delhi Satellite Cities, Gurgaon had rocketing growth and this city is simply untamed in all manners. More then usual 3 lane system, in some highway road, and toll roads thee are more then 6 lanes, still the traffic has grown so astonishingly it is simply unprecedented. Advise – So, if you are planning to to travel to Delhi or any of its satellite cities, be prepared and take a water bottle, well charged mobile phone, and surely internet enabled phone, if you get stuck.