Four days, four different moods. From gorgeous grey to pristine white, tranquil blue to resplendent green, nature is just at its best everywhere you move your eyes. Far away from the hustle and bustle of Shimla, Naldehra gives you a refreshing break from a typical tourist place, offering a majestic view of pristine peaks. The best time to come here is winter when you can probably catch beautiful snowfall like we did.
Day 1 started with a lazy car ride from Chandigarh. We reached our destination Club Mahindra, Pristine Peaks, at around 4:30 PM with a mild snowfall welcoming us to this heaven on the hilltop, as a prelude to what awaited us for the next few days. As expected, the hotel room offered an expansive view of the majestic mountains shrouded by dense clouds. Luckily I could capture the mood of the mountains before it was too dark.
Day 2 was what we experienced for the first time ever in life, a heavy relentless snowfall, turning the whole resort into a fairy tale winter wonderland. It was also our first wedding anniversary and we tried to make the most out of it. Starting with a buffet breakfast at Culture Curry giving us a side view of the ceaseless snowfall outside, to some fun games and activities that Club Mahindra has to offer. The day ended with me singing a popular Kishor Kumar’s song, ‘Rim-jhim gire sawan‘ for my wife on Karaoke that Club Mahindra had organised followed by a light dinner at their Pan-Asain restaurant, Pine View.
Day 3 started quite early for me in the excitement to catch the first light falling on the snowy mountain, ever since the snowfall stopped. I was already imagining how a snow-clad mountain in the dark hours just before the morning, would look like. Holding the camera in the spine-chilling cold wind indeed required some extra will power and steady hands. This time, I could not resist the temptation to head out and capture the sunshine falling on pristine white snow, even though it meant leaving my wife sleeping, back in the hotel room.
Our original Day 3 plan was to visit Kufri-Fagu-Narkanda and Hatu Peak which comes on the same stretch of around 75 Km (2.5 hours) from Naldehra. However, with the roads blocked in the entire Shimla region due to heavy snowfall, we chose to stay safe in our resort and have a more relaxed evening.
Where to Stay
Naldehra: If you prefer luxury stay, you can simply go for Club Mahindra, Pristine Peaks, at Naldehra which offers a spectacular view of the majestic mountains straight from your bed, with a balcony large enough to let you feel the real temperature outside. For a budget stay, you can also find many more options in the nearby area.
If you have an interest in singing, you can join the evening Karaoke session at Club Mahindra, Naldehra. If you love indoor games, it also has Snooker, Foosball, Table Tennis, Carrom, Chess, Ludo and many other interesting games. They also organize Yoga, Trekking and Zumba sessions for fitness and adventure enthusiasts.
Chandigarh: It is very likely that you may have to stay in Chandigarh for a while to catch your flight or start onward journey towards Shimla, in which case, you can stay at SC Residency in Zirakpur, which we found quite decent for a stay with your spouse and family. It is also very near to catch the connecting flight.
Day 4 was our last day at this beautiful place, mostly spent travelling through a longer and safer route (via Dhami) back to Chandigarh. The food bill was, as expected, close to ten grand, but totally worth every penny spent here. In particular, we thoroughly enjoyed authentic Asian food at Pine View. On our way back, we tried Chhole-Kulche on the streets, which is very popular in this part of India, followed by mouth-watering Tandoori Chicken at Haveli. Haveli is a Dhaba-styled restaurant in Dharampur, you must try on your way back. Later, in Chandigarh, we also visited the famous market of Sector 17 in the evening, ending the day with crunchy Amritsari Kulche and sweet lassi.
How to Reach
Take a flight to Chandigarh and then hire a cab (through Taxi Bazaar to save some cost) to Naldehra via Shimla, which is the shortest route. Alternatively, you can also reach here via Chail or Dhami which are longer routes. You can also call our trusted Cab driver, Pawan ji (+91 85447 44280) who safely drove us back to Chandigarh despite snow on the roads or Ravi ji (+ 91 98151 56566).
If you are in Naldehra, you can conveniently make a one day trip to Kufri – Fagu – Narkanda and Hatu Peak which is on a stretch of around 75 Km from Naldehra. If you wish to see more, on your return journey to Chandigarh, you can consider travelling via Chail instead of Shimla.
Where to Eat
Naldehra: If you are at Club Mahindra, Pristine Peaks, you must give its Pan-Asian restaurant, Pine View a try, which offers authentic Asian food, with a plush ambience. While the pricing is on the higher side and the portion a bit smaller than usual, the food is absolutely amazing. We tried chicken and lamb dumplings, along with three different types of soups here, which were truly worth the price. The food at their other restaurant, Culture Curry is also good and relatively cheaper.
Chandigarh: If you are in Chandigarh, you can try Pal Dhaba in Sector 28 which we really loved. The portion is quite generous (more than standard) and the price very reasonable for the truly delicious food they offer. We tried Garlic Naan and Roomali Roti with half-plate chicken curry (6 pcs.) accompanied by sour Lassi. Chicken pieces were quite tender and juicy despite the larger size. The Lassi was thick and creamy, and something we had never tasted before.