Travelling with a kid to Naldera-Mashobra by Supriya Sharma

Travelling with a kid to the hills may not be the easiest task. Avid hopper and road trip pro Supriya Sharma suggests how to best enjoy Himachal Pradesh with a kid.

Sunnymead Bead and Breakfast outside Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
A hilly vacation… in peak rains… with a temperamental two-year-old… umm didn’t seem such a doable idea to begin with. But we have always visited hills in the rains and it’s incomparable. So, we set out yet again — this time armed with enough supply of dinky cars, bedtime story books and rhymes on the loop — to the Himalayas.
The itinerary this time around was unfussy — Delhi-Shimla-Naldehra. Old favourite Uttarakhand would have been nice if it wasn’t for the kawariyas congestion enroute.

Shimla Himachal India
The Wildflower Hall, Mashobra, HP, India

Delhi to Chandigarh was a breezy drive and we did it in flat 3 hours (perks of starting from Delhi before sunrise). Our breakfast halt was Shan-e-Punjab, bang opposite the hallowed Gyani Dhaba in Dharampur, near Kasauli. The latter lost out to Shan-e-Punjab and other competitors in the vicinity long ago. The drive up to Shimla, our stopover for the night, was just another two hours. Sunnymead Bed & Breakfast sits perfectly on the main road, a little ahead of Taradevi and outside the chaos of main Shimla. It is a charming refuge in an otherwise concrete neighbourhood. 
An ancestral British bungalow converted in to a cozy B&B with three gorgeously done up rooms, a common living and dining room and a sprawling garden, Sunnymead makes you fall in love with it at first glance. The host, Madhavi Bhatia, is one of the friendliest we have met on our various travels and goes out of her way to make you feel at home. She is a great point person for leads on other routes, retreats and restaurants to try out in Himachal… stuff you won’t find on the net.
Next day we started for Naldehra, an hour’s drive from Shimla and a beautiful one at that, especially upwards of Mashobra. You could take a slight detour for a meal at the Wildflower Hall while going or come back another day, like we did. But do make a trip. Mashobra is a beautiful village which was built in 1850 by Lord Dalhousie. It has an average elevation of 8,000 feet. It is around 10 kms from Shimla. The entire valley is covered by dense woods of oaks and pines. 

The Chalets, Naldehra, Himachal Pradesh, India 
We made it to our destination, The Chalets, Naldehra, well before lunch and had plenty of time to choose the best chalet with the best sit-out space. The property is one of the few to offer a seamless feel and view of the deodar cedar forest bordering Naldehra on both sides. The three days we spent in the unruffled environs of these hills was enough to renew our tired nerves… till another trip of course!

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