Shali Peak ascent

Shali peakAn isolated pinnacle crested with Goddess Kali temple on its top is the highest peak in the vicinity of Shimla. Visible from the famous walking pedestrian The Ridge, in Shimla, a single day hike or overnight stay at the peak can enhance one’s Himalayan experience.

Two and a half hours of a picturesque drive passes through the village of Mashobra, which remained as weekend resort for the Viceroys and Governor-Generals since 1840’s till independence in 1947. The drive further continues through valleys, dotted with quant villages and the houses appear to be clinging to the cliffs. These fertile terraces on the slopes produce wide range of cereals, pulses and vegetables. The gushing streams, waterfall and rivers add music to these silent valleys.

Leaving car, at the base, summit becomes clearly visible however it still seems an intricate task. A century old trail, built by the local Raja in early 1900, unfolds up on the mountain slopes shaded with coniferous cover. Diverse Himalayan flora carpets the trail with numerous wild flowers and plants.

Silence of the forest is repeatedly been broken with a gush of mountain breeze or a shepherd playing a melodious note on his flute. Walking for two hours to the mountain pass which connects Sutlej valley with Shimla, base of a small temple, here inscribes marble slab with the year of construction of road to Shali Ghat.

Ascending further, the forest covers changes as the sweet aroma of Juniper trees invigorate the surroundings. This final climb now rewards the patient visitor with stunning views snow capped Himalayan ranges and numerous folded valleys which preserves a rich Himalayan culture here.

The pace of steps accelerates and within few minutes, this is the top of Shali peak. It takes some time to imbibe the natural bounty and the spiritual power of the place. With a visit to the ancient temple and being blessed by Goddess Bhima Kali, it’s now time to enjoy a well deserved packed lunch. Bidding farewell to the place, it takes about two hours to descend to the car.

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