Have you ever aspired for a little place nestled in the hills? Till you pocket it, check into Aamod at Shoghi for a prelude.
Picture this: A forest in the hills... the elegant oak racing up to the skies, a burst of shy rhododendrons somewhere in between, a poker straight deodar commanding attention and the ubiquitous pine preening unstoppably. Step on the edge and what greets the eye is a panoramic view of rolling green hills, happy flowers of the untamed kind, a few hamlets yonder, terraced fields tip-toeing up the slopes, lots of squinting blue skies, and oh! the sparkling sound of silence. So capturing are the environs it almost seems someone's pressed the pause button. It's a feeling so typical to the hills. It's a feeling Aamod at Shoghi induces.
Aamod's USP is its location. On the NH 22, at Shoghi, a few km short of Shimla, and deep inside a reserved forest. Yes, you read that right. It's a lovely woody forest and not a tree was chopped to make place for the cottages which are quirkily placed at varying levels, most of them requiring you to hike and catch a breath as you make your way up towards them. The reason, this is not a place for wobbly-kneed elders or unfit juniors. On the flip side, should you decide to come here you are bound to feel a whole lot agile at the end of your stay. Nature has a way of cajoling you to do the dare and feel triumphant.
For those with an adventure bone there are easy trekking trails and hikes in the vicinity, mountain-biking, rock-climbing and rappelling, besides a host of team-building games. I opted for the railway trek which was literally round the corner and provided the thrill of walking along the century-old meter gauge track of the Kalka-Shimla toy train and seeing it whistle past me as it entered the tunnel. Quite fairytale like, that. The trek also gave me an insight into forest wealth besides clear morning views of the hills and its picturesque homes.
I challenged myself to a bit more off-roading and joined my group on a cycling outing. Not having sat astride a bike in years I thought I'd be all rusted. That was not the case, though, and I covered the 6-km distance quite alright. To be true it was all downhill, thus! The reward at the end of the pedal-pushing was lunch at the Nal Thalak village home of Roshni Devi and Hemanand. It was food prepared with dollops of passion and regard and was delicious in its simplicity. What further sent the tastebuds soaring was the 24-kt liquid gold a.k.a. home-made cow-milk ghee, which Roshni Devi streamed onto our thalis. Fragrant and bursting with flavours, it got most of us asking for repeats.
My tryst with adventure did not end there. Aamod has a comprehensive in-house 10-obstacle course, which includes flying fox. I would put this down as an absolute must-do. Considering my bulky profile I didn't think I would be able to go past the first rung of the hurdle. The fact that I could do it all and quite effortlessly goes to the credit of the two instructors Ravi and Jeetinder whose faith in their abilities and the equipment inspired confidence.
Where: On NH 22, at Shoghi, 13 km short of Shimla
Tariff: Rs 5,600 onwards
The visit was on the invitation of Aamod at Shoghi via Escape Route.