There is Shimla, there is Mussoorie and there is Kasauli. Delhi is never short of destinations for short weekends to the hills. This proximity helps families escape the scorching summer and enjoy the winter snowfall in the mountains.
Now I add Kandaghat to the list of popular getaways from Delhi, thanks to Club Mahindra, India’s leading time-sharing vacation company, which has also given me some of the most exciting family vacations in the past decade. Other than being a member of CM, I have no other association, or any vested interest in promoting them. I am just a delighted customer.
How difficult can it be for a man, his wife and a kiddo to get ready on time, but the planned departure of 6 am happened only at 7:10. But once behind the wheel, the drive was smooth and we took our time stopping here, there and everywhere. First to refuel, then for breakfast and once we touched the hills, to take in the scenery at every curve. Our trips are as much about the journey as about the destination (can it be any other way!).
Driving in the hills is not as difficult as made out to be. You are mostly safe as long as you stick to your lane and slow down at the bends. Once in a while, you do get stuck behind a bus or a truck, unable to overtake for fear of oncoming vehicles, and soon a long trail starts forming behind as other vehicles line up. And with each twist and turn along the road, the trail sways left and right, like a serpent, as they attempt to over-take, but are reined in by oncoming traffic. And as soon as a wider stretch approaches, the vehicles suddenly accelerate to brush past the slow moving truck.
After one of the hottest Octobers in recent times, the weather changed overnight when we left for Kandaghat, and the chill was palpable as we checked in at Club Mahindra. CM Kandaghat is one of their best properties with awesome landscaping and gorgeous views from the hillside. The staff is more than courteous and the chef more than willing to cook a dish of your choice.
Kandaghat is meant to be a pure vacation, no hurried sigh-seeing, no destinations to check on your list. We spent most of our time watching the sun come up or go down the hills, taking in the freshness of chilly mornings and enjoying the soft warmth of sunny afternoons. When we got tired of this, we retired to the games room, which offered Table Tennis, Pool/ Snooker, Badminton, Air Hockey and similar other light games.
We’d be up by 6 am and sip hot coffee, and then step out for a walk in the lawns. I carry a camera and so does my wife, my son had his remote controlled monster truck. For a while, I’d chase my son and then he’d do the same to me, as we playing catching-catch, strictly barefooted, feeling the soft grass and dew on our feet. Post a heavy breakfast, we’d cuddle up in bed reading books of our choice or exchanging stories. Come evening, and we are out in the lawn again, several of them, which all face the setting sun. We click pictures for a while, and then play catching-catch, strictly barefooted:). Two hours in the games room and an hour over a sumptuous dinner, we are back in our room, as we look down at the flickering lights in the valley. After two and a half days like this, we know its time well spent.
The return trip is again slow and leisured. We stop at a temple (there are so many of them), at an HP government shop that sells all types of authentic pickles, local wines and juices, and curves & bends that offer the same views we saw on our way up. Our next trip is to Gangtok, and we are already excited.