It was twilight when the greenery merged into the picturesque hill station of Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh. The driver told me to roll down the car windows as soon as we spotted habitation. He switched off the radio and started humming melodic Punjabi songs. The cool wind added to the music. The brilliant silhouette of trees shimmered with silvery splendor in the darkness. Like all hill stations, Kasauli sleeps early and by the time we hit the town it was nearly midnight.
With much difficulty I found accommodation in a small cottage located near the mall road. After dinner I came out and sat in the small garden. A large cemetery stood facing the cottage. In the moonlight, the landscape gleamed. I looked at my watch, it was almost 1. The caretaker had lit the fire to make the room cosy and comfortable.
Sleep came easily in the small cosy cottage. Situated at a height of 5,900 ft, Kasauli is a small hill station in Himachal Pradesh that takes one into the quaintness of the British era.
The colonial ambience is reinforced by its vintage mansions, tiny shops lining the roads and old churches.
Kasauli may not have much to offer in famed sight-seeing spots but it is the perfect rest stop in between the many popular hill stations that Himachal Pradesh has to offer.
Kasauli is still the ideal stop for those who want to stop and just relax without having to bother about the bustle of markets and the erratic pace of tourists.
The next morning as the sun rays stained the window panes, I went out and sat in the small garden in front of the cottage. The hill station was waking up from its deep slumber.
Children in bright school uniforms played on the narrow roads. The town bustled with their economic activities for the day. The caretaker served me a steaming cup of masala chai and I settled in a big chair to enjoy the view.
After a quick breakfast of cheese sandwiches I walked to the mall road. With the typical Tibetan shops offering junk jewellery and clothes, the mall road is the best place to kill time before lunch. I bought a plate of steaming momos from one of the shops and sat by the side of the road. There is no hurry in these small hill stations unlike the big cities.
Old men sat talking, women happily finished lunch and children played stapu with coloured stones. Students from a well known boarding school stood in groups, giggling and eating icecreams.
My next plan was to take a walk on the beautiful roads of Kasauli. I spotted a huge house and as I read the name plate, my face lit up. It belonged to the author Khushwant Singh. My next stop was the Kasauli Club. This club made news when it burnt down in 2001. Even after a lot of effort the authorities have not been able to restore the old British touch. It was almost evening by the time I came back to my cottage.
As the night fell, the hill station came alive with the many glittering lights. Coming to Kasauli is like coming back home, it is the perfect place to just sit back and relax.