Heaven on the Top Hill
- Part 1 -

Sanjoy Singh *

On the hill top, I found Himachal University. It's really beautiful and completely unique. The location was wonderful. After mission accomplished, I returned to my hotel around 12noon. The hotel check out timing was 12 noon so I have to report to the manager whether I would continue or not.

Finally, I say good bye to the manager and went straight to the ISBT bus stand. I personally booked my return ticket to Delhi. The timing was 9:20 p.m exactly, so, I have ample time to go anywhere. Eventually, I decided to enjoy the last moment with the Mall Bazaar on the hill top.

1:00p.m.(Mall Bazaar), Historically, Shimla city (at a height of 2,130 meters above the Mean Sea Level) rose to become the "summer capital" of British India. Even now, it exist the echoes of a bygone era.

Shimla's climate is easily accessible, well-developed tourist facilities and numerous attractions have made it one of India's most popular hill resorts. One can have unforgettable walks, a vanity of shopping and look at Anglo-Saxon architecture.

One can take the leisurely train journey. You have seen like mono railway tracks with narrow gauge type running at the middle of the hill slope. It was really a beauty. The elegant mall with its rows of restaurants, fashionable shops and colonial architecture is a place visited by every tourist.

Around the Mall, there is a statue of Lalalajpat Rai, the great patriot of Punjab, India(1885-1928) standing on the middle of the road, telephone exchange, Himachal emporium, the Franklin Air Hostage Institute etc... I went up further and found state library on the top hill.

Just close to library there is a sky point where you can see wide ridge, lakes, rivers, houses and many more beautiful gifted natural things. It was beautifully decorated by some shopping complex, statue of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Nation and of course Ice-cream points.

Ice cream-Oh Yea! I remembered when i left my room, the manager had just jokingly shouted sir, don't forget ice-cream if you are here, "Yahaki ice-cream bahut famous he". I got a softy just for Rs. 15/- only-oh yes indeed, it's terrifically delicious. The beauty of the ridge has the neo-gothic structure of Christ church.

The town's other important church is St. Michael's Cathedral, which is just off the Mall. When I was on the way to the mall, I got a chance to chat some beautiful Punjabi girls whose age is around 24 to 26 years old.

Mind you, they are really beautiful and have round face with rosy cheeks. Why do they have rosy cheeks- because they live at high altitudes so the red cell concentration becomes considerably above the average in response to lowered oxygen pressure?

I just say hi! Are you all belongs to Shimla?
- Yea.
"I just take a long breath. You know up above the hill".
- Do you feel lethargic to climb up the hill daily?
- Why not. But it becomes habitual with a big sensitive smile.
"I wonder myself that how could their old parents climb the terrace when they becomes too weak? Just wonder!!"
- Ok. Let me know when will snow falling be happening?
- At the end of December month.
- Oh! Not Now, I just mute!

Culturally, 90 percent of the people of Himachal Pradesh speak western Pahari dialects, popularly known as Pahari. It is an Indo-Aryan language which is more akin to Sanskrit and Hindi than Punjabi. But now a days the beautiful indigenous tradition of this people (Himachalian) have been destroyed by mixed up with Biharis, Nepalese and Marwaris.

The dress codes of men and women of this hilly state also vary from place to place and from valleys to mountains. Men mostly wear pyjama and kurta with a boat-shaped round cap. Women, on the other hand, wear Salwar, Kameez and Dupatta or Chunidar pyjama, Kameez and Dupatta. But now everybody loves to wear anything because you know world has changed a lot.

ISBT 9:20p.m. (Shimla), Inside the bus, I just kept thinking that the state is so well-developed, well maintained sanitary system and hardly to find any beggars and scavengers. But one thing let me remind you, every corner of the shopping centre, I can see a lot of stray dogs, it's really awkward feeling!

Looking back to our Manipur, my native state, the state is boiling day by day with fighting & killing each other, murderer, raping, terrorist, corruption and of course draconian act of Armed Special power act of 1958, where Army killing innocent people in the name of this act. We need more responsible and we need political parties should be more transparent otherwise our state should turn into the mirror inward one day!

You already know, according to the 2001 census the total population of Himachal Pradesh is 60, 77,900 but where in Manipur we have 22, 93,896. The word of Himachal is derived from two Sanskrit words, "Hima and Achala", literally meaning "The land of Snow".

This land of snow state became a full flag state on 25th January, 1971 as eighteen state of the Union of India. For better organization and better development the state is being divided into three divisions. These three divisions are further divided into twelve districts i.e. Bilaspur, Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kinnaur, Lahaul, Shimla, Sirmour, Mandi, Kullu, Solan and Uma.

As per census 1991, four major religions are there in Himachal which is led by Hindu 95.9%, Muslim 1.7% Buddhists 1.2%, Christian 0.1% and Jains 0.02%. The literacy rate is 76.48% (85.35% for men and 67.42% for women).

Apple production is famous in Himachal as we heard a lot but production is much dependent upon weather conditions, elevation, age of the plant etc. We already knew that Shimla is famous for Apple production but this time (during my visit) I haven't seen any apple plant ha! ha!

In my topsy-turvy life, I could make up for my lost time very hardly. Take a long breath; let's go back to Delhi, the hell where I have a bitter unforgettable memory in my life. Bus is kick-off the start and moving. I can't see anything at the window except deep dark nountains and beetles like electricity bulbs.

Roads are fantastic but they are stingy. I have only one night and 12 hours in Shimla and to write about the experienced have been a formidable task. But it was simply unforgetable moment in my life.

My mission has accomplished but let me honest my journey it's remain unfulfilled. I kept promised to my hotel manager that I will be back next summer with my friends. My bus is moving downside of the hill.

I just remembered that on the hill top of the Mall there is a "Public sitting stand" just opposite of the Himachal Emporium where it was written brightly "Our built heritage is Our Identity, Let's preserve it" and "Work is Worship".

Shimla, simply rocks. Amen!!!

Note:- Any feedback I welcome with a pleasure, thanks. ( through:- sanjucvc(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in )


* Sanjoy Singh (a resident of Delhi) writes to for the first time. This article was penned on 20/XI/08 . The writer can be contacted at sanjucvc(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
This article was webcasted on October 12th, 2009.

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