During a relaxing holiday in Mashobra with my family, we spent a day in the busy town of Shimla. While my parents and sister went to the Radha Soami Satsang in Shimla, I set out for an extended exploration through the famous Mall Road. Here’s a photo essay of the escapade.
Mall Road, the upmarket shopping street in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh was obviously different from what I remember on our visit, over ten years ago. While it was much less quaint, much more crowded, I did manage to catch a few glimpses of her old world charm.
Brands of Mall Road as seen from the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex
While a lot of Mall Road has changed, what with most of the latest brands occupying prime space at the stores, this sight is a classic – School Kids in Shimla Mall Road. The kids were just about leaving for lunch when they obliged me with a giggly and happy candid picture.
I waited for this book store to open for quite a while, even though it said on the board they would open post lunch, no one came by for at least a few hours. I called on the numbers mentioned on the board, but received no answer at the other end. I wanted to check it out for the intriguing old world charm and the rare maps and books they claimed to have.
They did not open so I ended up heading to the nearby Minerva Book House and stocked up on quite a few of Ruskin Bond’s nature themed books. The Mall still has some of its legendary stores – including a hand-made leather shoe store of yore run by a 4th generation Chinese man. I know if I stayed back I would have found quite a few more gems and perhaps traced a bit of Shimla’s history through them too.
While looking up through all the things I wanted to explore around Shimla’s Mall Road, I really wanted to spend some time here – at the Shimla Library. I walked in and was promptly stalled by the librarian with a stern, “ONLY FOR MEMBERS.” I did try reasoning with her that I just wanted to take a round of the place, but alas..
So after being shooed away from the library, my feet took me to the beautifully restored Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, where I was lucky to see the dress rehearsal of a school play!
Worth a mention is this calm in the chaos – Wake & Bake Cafe, great food, good wifi and a super view of Mall road, I happily finished a minestrone soup, a banoffee pie and a book on travels by Roald Dahl. They have a nice, inclusive community culture too with information, contests and posters about other social, cultural and funky things happening around town.