Shimla – Part 3

Hi. Ok This will be very brief (yet informative..dont worry!). Listing a few hotels available within main Shimla itself which are excellent choices if you are not in a position to live at the outskirts.

All reveiws are based on actual interaction with the property with respect to all its areas of function.

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Woodville Palace

If you are here then you are about 10 minutes WALKING distance from the mall. Right in the centre of town and you have access to most tourist spots. The exact network of roads which run around this property also house the Chief Minister’s Official residence and are sealed roads i.e only cars with special permission are allowed to ply , hence walking is unrestricted and not inconvenient.

Originally a British Raj Palace it is now , if i remember correctly, with the heritage group of Hotels , an established chain in India. Slightly on the expensive side but an experience in itself. Close to 28 rooms with all modern facilities and amenities. The grounds are on the smaller side but beautiful and green nevertheless. Tennis and Badminton courts.

On the other side i.e opp the direction to the Mall is an area called Chotta Shimla. It is essentially a small market offering lots of small places to eat and shops catering to daily needs. Its a sharp walk downhill , and where the market finishes the residential area begins with a colony called Brokhurst which houses Bungalows set between thick greenery and massive deodar trees. Well worth the walk which will be about 40 minutes , round trip.

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Shimla – Part 2

For those who have reached this directly please look at my earlier post titled Shimla – PArt 1 to get clarity on what i am writing about. For those who are coming from that post read on..! All reviews are based on personal interaction with the property and its various aspects.

The following are resorts which are found on the other side of Shimla i.e driving stright through the town towards Mashobra and Kufri.

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Chalets Naldehra

 If you are reading this then you have just discovered one of the best properties in Shimla and its surrounding regions. A relatively recent property it is located at a 45 minute drive from the main town. Post crossing the village of Sanjauli , the drive carries on through a back-road taking you right into the heart of the reserve forests , past the Naldehra Golf Course and onto the Chalets.

This place scores high on everything , the architechture, accommodation , food , staff , location , facilites and activities . The resort comprises of cottages , apartments and Suites spread over an acre of pristine forest land. The resort offers facilities such as a Billiards table, swimming pool, Spa and jacuzi , Bar and a children activity centre. Host of activities and games available including but not limited to – Bonfires, Barbeques, Cultural evenings, cards, croquet , a putting green and many more.

There are numerous walks and treks available. This side in General is very low with respect to polulation density and the fact that it is reserve forest land makes it absolutely breath taking.  Is close to the Catchment area which is accessibly by advance permisson from the government and Kufri , another hot tourist destination- but if you dont enjoy the smell of horses and rubbing shoulders with tons of people skip it.

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Shimla – Part 1

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I consider myself lucky to have been born and brought up for a large duration of my life in Shimla. For most, a frequented holiday spot, a sought after tourist destination , a place to get away from it all , for me home. All my reviews are based on personal interaction with the property and its various aspects.

There is a fair amount of criticism on Shimla now. Overcrowding , traffic is a mess , too much development and other typical tourist problems which crop up such as lack of accommodation at times , over charging  etc etc. But despite this it still remains as tempting as it ever was.

Most people, when they think of the place, tend to think of the Mall , roughly about a . 6 km walk on a slight incline with shops bustling on one side. Off roads from the mall are the ridge (excellent views) , lower Bazaar (the less fancy day to day item shops , wholesalers) and the tibetian bazaar ( on the ridge).  As a result anyone and everyone who stops in Shimla finds him or herself and take about a 100,000 such people with families and cars and the overcrowding problem “why” is solved.

While the Mall is a must see the actual beauty of the place has always been towards the outskirts. Most superficial tourists are content with the Mall and the bars and few photos with the monkeys and holding hands and thats it , but many a times have i had to console a genuine traveller on the “charm” factor.

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User Generated Content

Alootechie carried an article a few days back by an anonymous write with respect to UGC , and how most of it sucks- http://alootechie.com/news/2736.asp

The article spoke essentially on the irrelevancy of UGC and focused on networking sites , Blogs etc. The article attracted a lot of comments , more hostile than positive and in in typical style more emotional than thought – out

I agree with the writer in what he says , what he fails to do however, and this is why the hostility, is to suggest that , generically, UGC is crap and though big is , or rather should not be, a significant part of this industry.

What i believe he was trying to say was that a majority of UGC is nonsense , not that there is no good UGC at all. People will get exposed to 10 instances of nonsensical UGC’s before hitting a good one leading to a prejudice against that platform. People who know where to look will not have this problem.

To involve Networking sites into this argument in my opinion might not be fair. An Orkut is not UGC in its literal sense , i will not classify a “helloz will you be freindship with me” message on orkut as UGC , neither a profile picture not even a sane exchange of scraps. However i do concede that it difficult to rule them out alltogether either keeping in mind a site like Linkedin with it Answers platform.  In my experience networking sites need to develop niche direction to really start making a meaningful impact. I agree i managed to meet a lot of “forgotten” pals through them but at the same time i probably got a 1000 scraps for friendship , whether i was married , and if not would i marry…

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ICICI – Excuses Galore

I have been a customer with ICICI for over 5 years, and never have I faced the degree of frustration than I have at their hands. But now when I look back at it, I am almost glad it happened, if not banking services they did atleast supply a lot of laughter over the years.

You may ask , why 5 years with a bad bank , well , being an outsider in Delhi I had all acceptable documentation proofs at my Shimla address, and it so happened that ICICI was providing a student account which did not require these , hence the fall.

A day before newspapers carried the story of ICICI servers crashing, ATM’s not working and the possibility that it was a terrorist attack I had the misfortune of having to call them. While my account there is more or less redundant I still have one tiny attachment which still constitutes towards them being a part of my life – A Credit Card from Hell!

I was having a nice quite evening with my wife when I suddenly get a message informing me that my new Airtel bill has been generated and it will be cleared by ICICI Visa Bill Pay by the 20th…now this came as a surprise since no authorization to this effect had been given my me…nevertheless I needed to call and cancel this process otherwise there was a chance that I mite have paid Airtel double the amount (and unfortunately this happened to be rather high bill as well)

So once home I called ICICI and went through the entire phone menu to be told that they can’t do anything….system is under routine maintenance, please call back… I did about 10 times without success…… here are some of the excerpts from the actual conversations

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Heavy Rains Cut off Shimla

Anything to do with Shimla interests me and we havent made it onto the headlines as agressively as we have today ..and what a plot it is!!!

Torrential rains, cloudburst …… just the kind of weather i would love to be in at there! But coming back to the point, massive rainfall resulted in landslides all over the place closing down roads and disrupting the Kalka- Shimla toy train.

Anyone who knows the are would know that there are limited roads leading to Shimla, essentially one and if that gets blocked then one is looking at a total cut off atleast with regard to supplies and daily commodities. Traffic will be restored in about 24 hours or so.

The train station is a different story – the Kalka Shimla line was poised to entered into some kind of a heritaghe status (i forget the exact details) , and i hope this will not hinder it. The train was more of a toruis attraction than a vital transportation line so impact there will be next to none.

The station is the concern. Anyone who has taken this trip would agree with me on the that the stations are some of the cutest one would ever lay eyes on. The degree of the damage would govern whether the restored station retains it British- era charm or turns into a modern , no character , building.

The exact details of this event can be read on any of the news lines.

Cell Phone Cross Connection , Airtel frequency

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I was not even aware that this would happen.

Walking back to my car yesterday , speaking to my sister about something and then suddenly out of no-where i could hear these 2 guys chatting away regarding a consignment of furniture to be delivered to Jaipur.

The connection with my sister was totally cut off , and when these 2 finished their conversation then my phone tuned into some one else. I did for a minute think it might have been a police transmission , but then the content obviously did not support that (Not that i have any doubts that our cop’s would be talking about something like this)

Eventually after 3-4 conversations i was finally back in the loop , but this time with some other guy all together..who in this case could talk to me.. really strange..?

I guess the logical explanation would be that someone managed to touch that frequency while i was making the call…. the question is what… CB radio….in India, unheard of.

The second question would be that was i the only one affected or anyone using Airtel at that point / location. I did a google on it but failed to come up with any solid answers , but i spent all of 5 minutes looking so maybe i missed something. Maybe my handset?

Location GK 1 , Time 18:30 Hrs , Provider : Airtel , Handset : 6681, Nokia

Anyone? Hellooooooo?