Mashobra is a hamlet situated at a height of 2146 m (7041 ft), 14 km north of Shimla. In the colonial times it was the home of the first-class Britishers. Those who wanted to stay in the vicinity of the summer capital – Shimla – without being a part of its hustle and bustle chose Mashobra as their haven. And even today it does the same job. It offers a tranquil stay in the Shivalik hills to those who want to stay near Shimla. The activities you can do here are pretty simple. Either you can walk around and gaze at the hills and colonial bungalows, or you can just relax and be with yourself. Given its unique character, Mashobra deserves to be considered amongst the unexplored hill stations in Himachal Pradesh.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Mashobra
Mashobra’s thickly forested slopes are very inviting for rambling around. Walking under the shade of the oak and pines, while breathing in the crisp air, is an invigorating experience. And the views of the surrounding hills and valleys would make you stop often. You can also walk up to the helipad, especially around sunset, to enjoy the scenic vistas.
While there are several colonial-era bungalows in Mashobra, two properties are very significant. One of them is ‘Wildflower Hall’ which was built by Lord Kitchener, commander-in-chief of the imperial army. And another is ‘The Retreat’ built by Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of British-ruled India. They had associated these properties with their pride, hence both of them have a grand appeal. While ‘The Retreat’ is now one of the presidential retreats, ‘Wildflower Hall’ is now a luxury hotel. Another beautiful property is ‘Dane’s Folly’ which is now called ‘Hemkund’, it is now the summer residence of the Punjab Governor. A church, more than a century old, overlooks Mashobra. Called as St Crispin’s Church, it has now been turned into a dormitory by YMCA.
If you are ready for a gentle trek, climb up to Craignano. It is just 3 km from Mashobra. Situated at a height of 7700 ft, Craignano is a picturesque place. Named after an Italian Countess, this place was a summer retreat. It is surrounded by forests, orchards, and gardens full of multi-coloured flowers. Some of the camps situated nearby host a few adventurous activities here which include rock climbing, valley crossing etc.
Reserve Forest Sanctuary
If you are a nature lover and enjoy short treks, you should visit this place. It is called Seog. To reach here, you’ve got to take a detour on the road to Kufri. You’ll have to walk for about 7-km, under the shade of the tall cedars, to reach the destination which is a water tank built in 1901. In fact, it is a huge reservoir with a capacity of 24,00,000 gallons and was built to serve Shimla. It is suggestible to go well-stocked with water and munches as you might not get anything on the way. Beware of monkeys, they might approach you for their share of food. If luck favours, you might spot some of the exotic birds on the way.
Note: To visit this place, you need to obtain a permission from the office of the Municipal Commissioner of Shimla. Your hotel can help you with this.
Mahasu Peak is the highest point in the nearby town of Kufri. During winter, the skiing enthusiasts climb up to Mahasu Peak to slide down on its slopes. In other seasons, it is crowded with tourists who are eager to take in the views of the Himalayas. There is a temple at the top. Many makeshift stalls serve food and beverages on the lower slopes. The best way to reach Mahasu Peak is to climb up through the thick forests of Deodar. You can also ride on a pony.
Excursions from Mashobra
Kufri, situated a 1000 ft higher than Shimla, offers an activity-filled holiday. Originally, a skiing destination with a picturesque panorama of the snow-capped Himalayas, Kufri has emerged as a hill station. It is loved more for the activities on offer than the scenic vistas. You can choose from rock climbing, skiing, tobogganing, trekking, and pony rides. For children, there is Himalayan Nature Park (zoo) nearby. Kufri also has a go-karting track which is said to be world’s highest. The nature lover in you would enjoy walking through the apple orchards covering the surroundings. The stepped slopes around the town are draped with the potato plantations.
Shimla has to be first on the list of the popular hill stations in Himachal Pradesh. It has historically enjoyed this status. In the last few decades Shimla has seen rampant constructions which has led to the significant deforestation. But that hasn’t deterred the patronage the town enjoys. For it is the most urban hill town in Himachal Pradesh. Its legendary mall road, the historical ridge, and many colonial era buildings have kept the charm of the town intact. Lately some of the hill towns and villages around Shimla have seen the development of resorts, retreats, and camps. So now there are many who base themselves somewhere in the vicinity to explore Shimla.
When to Visit Mashobra?
Mashobra can be visited any time during the year. Monsoon begins from June and lasts till September; you can skip this season if you want to avoid rains. However, showers can be expected even during the summer. And in the winter months (November – February) sub-zero temperature is recorded often. During summer, the temperature remains moderate; it ranges from 10 degrees Celcius to 30 degrees Celcius.
How to Reach Mashobra?
Road: Mashobra is 13 km east of Shimla. It takes about 1 hour to drive to Mashobra from Shimla. And if you are driving from Chandigarh, you’ve got to factor in at least 5 hours.
Rail: You can reach Shimla on the popular ‘Kalka-Shimla Toy Train’ and from there you can do a road journey until Mashobra. The nearest broad-gauge station is at Kalka, 98 km southwest of Mashobra.
Air: While the nearest airport is at Jubbarhatti near Shimla, it is seldom operational for passenger flights. Chandigarh, 135 km southwest, has good connections with major cities of India.