Kufri: 15 reasons not to visit!

By: Varun Rattan Singh

Over the years Kufri has emerged as a must- visit place for tourists coming to Shimla. This year as well, lakhs of tourists will be visiting the place with much anticipation. After all, every travel operator and taxiwalla will refer this place to one and all who visit Shimla.

Mule shit scattered all over in Kufri

Mule shit scattered all over in Kufri

A quick search on Internet suggests that Kufri has been a preferred destination with honeymooners for number of years. And lets be honest, we Indians love to do the bhed chaal (sheep walk). “My chacha’s son- in-law went for honeymoon to Kufri, we must go as well.” So if you are planning your next vacation to Shimla,  here are 15 reasons why you should not visit Kufri

1. Kufri was a preferred destination when snow was in abundance in Shimla. However, for the last 2 years snowfall has reduced drastically and trust us, probability of finding snow in Kufri is extremely low now.

2. Tourism in Kufri is controlled by unions of daily-wage earners, seeking to maximise profits by duping tourists into taking mule rides. At the base camp of Mahasu peak, they will offer you a 14- km ride up for Rs 350/- per head. However, by the time you reach up you have barely climbed a 2 – 3 odd km. The same distance can be covered in 20 – 30 min while walking up and on a fairly easy trail. Here is a tip – if you start climbing up, after every 20 steps you take, the rates of going up on the mule will come down exponentially.

3. Certainly, a ride on the mules is exciting, but there have been cases of accidents where people have fallen from these mules. The problem is not the mules, but the trail, which have not been maintained over the years to carry such activity.

4. If you are the kind who wants to walk up and enjoy the forest trail, remember you will have to take the same trail as the mules and it is ridden with mule crap.

5. The trail will not smell fresh flowers. Instead, you will see dust and mule crap to take care of the fragrance to make up for your experience in Kufri.

6. When you reach the Mahasu peak, there is a Nag Devta temple, which is worth seeing and of course there are beautiful vistas which pan out at a distance but please don’t care to even look around your immediate environment. You will see huge dumps of plastic bottles and cups to give company.

7. The temple is adjacent to a ground, which is bereft of even single blade of grass. So don’t expect to see any garden or greenery at the top. Of course, there will be more dust to eat with your snacks.

8. If you are the one who likes to see nice architecture than all you will find in Kufri is shanties. A so-called modern market complex has come up in Kufri but all you see  are tin-covered sheds serving chai and pakodas. The other structures to be seen in Kufri are cemented ramshackle building of panchayat bhawan and of course a Sulabh International toilet.

9. Even if you are a picnicker and looking for a private getaway then Kufri for sure is not a place to visit as it is thronged by thousands of people every day.

10. If you are the kind who hates to be photographed as a Phoolan Devi with a gun sitting on a Yak, then please don’t visit Kufri’s Mahasu peak.

Phoolan devi and Mangal Singh in Kufri

A dare-devil in Kufri

11. Animals like Yaks and Python are openly mistreated day in and day out in Kufri. Remember, it is patronage by tourists which helps promote this business and certainly you would not like to be party to it.

12. Huge mobile towers in the vicinity of probably all the mobile companies will make you realise that your bosse’s email is waiting to be seen in your Blackberry.

13. If you are the one who is seeking peace of mind in the tranquility of nature,  certainly Kufri is not a place. Kufri Fun World, a supposedly high-end entertainment park blares loud music throughout the day from its gates to attract the visitors towards it. Wonder why the owners can’t just place simple and attractive hoardings to tempt the tourists.

14. To experience all the above, you have to pay an entry fee of Rs 5 per person, which goes into the kitty of the local panchayat. Two years back this seemed like a pioneering idea. I felt as if the money which I gave will be used to pay for the upkeep and improvement of facilities in Kufri, but haven’t seen much improvement since then.

15. And please, Kufri is certainly not a honeymooner’s delight, after all holding hands with your better half, amidst hundreds of tourists, whiff of mule crap and din of fun world music is not at all romantic

So folks, here are some reasons which I could gather in one sojourn to Kufri. Let’s see if you can suggest some more. The comments section is open. Fill it up with more mule shit.

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24 Responses

Leave a Reply
  1. Vivek Thakur
    Feb 02, 2010 - 06:29 PM

    Dear Varun,

    Being a regular visitor at Himvani has always given me pleasure and feeling of belongingness. The 10 reasons given by you for not visiting Kufri according to me should be presented in a different way. I think it should be in a form of representation or charter of demands to the state government and administration for improvisation of the existing infrastructure and facilities. Year by year the tourist influx to shimla has been on the decreasing mode and articles like the one published by you will also add a nail to the coffin. Its my humble request to kindly consider it in the favour of the state and do the needful.

    Reply
  2. Sundeep
    Feb 02, 2010 - 06:53 PM

    Hi Vivek & Varun,

    Sweeping under the carpet does not rectifies teh problem ,… it just accumulates to turnout into a disaster one fine day. Please bring these problem to the notice of Tourism Dept before it turns into a tourism disaster.

    Regards,

    Sundeep

    Reply
    • Vivek Thakur
      Feb 03, 2010 - 03:07 PM

      Sundeep,

      My intention was not to cover anything under the carpet. Rather I suggested that the article though is true to best of my knowledege also but it should be presented in a way which would have acted as a representation to the State Government for early action to address the issues. Accroding to me it is hurting the tourism industry which is the highest employment and revenue generating industry for our small land locked state. We all should join hands for taking up these issues with the Government and one better option that I have tried in some other cases also is the "e samadhan and write to chief minister forums on the state government's website".

      Regards,

      Vivek Thakur

      Reply
  3. Sumit Vashisht
    Feb 02, 2010 - 07:19 PM

    A perfect description of the situation of Kufri is given here in this article. Shimla Administration please 'Jago' otherwise be ready to loose a perfect destination around this beautiful Himalayan Town.

    Reply
  4. Dr Arun Kapoor
    Feb 03, 2010 - 05:47 AM

    Dear Varun,…….The beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,your article create just a bad image of a scenic place,which cannot be compared with others,the lack of civic amenities or neglect by authorities can be there which can be taken with local authorities.The pony Wallas and other poor people are part of tourism and give strength to tourism industry,the only defect lies in disposal of waste,which can be taken care of.wherever any economic activity takes place ,there is bound to be pollution,which must be tackled.But to create a bad image in the national media is dis service to the state and tourism industry.You can follow numerous trails around Kufri where there is just pine and oak forests,and enjoy pristine scenery.Every tourist has a different taste,which is to be met by the tourism industry.

    Reply
    • NITYIN
      Feb 04, 2010 - 07:24 AM

      @Dr. Kapoor @Kotgarh

      This is the sad truth which has been brought out in this article. The responses here has been in the line of shooting the messenger. Here is what happens when a tourist lands up in Shimla:

      The moment a tourist lands up in Shimla, he is accosted by the various Kulis and Khans, which everyone must have seen around the various bus stops and parking lots in the city. Once they take a tourist to the hotel, they charge one day rent from the hotel owner if he stays for two days or half day rent if he stays for one day as comission. The hotel guy in turns charge commission from the taxi guy, who takes them for sightseeing around the city. Now, once the taxi guy lands up in Kufri, he recovers the cost from every rupee spent by the tourist. He gets paid for the pony rides, the shopping he does in Kufri like buying any shawl or souvenir and even from the local eateries where he stops for food.

      Kudos, Varun for bringing such an eye opener article. 

      Reply
      • kotgarh
        Feb 04, 2010 - 08:26 AM

        All said and done; now when can we expect an article on 15 reasons to visit Kufri from Varun.

        Reply
  5. kotgarh
    Feb 03, 2010 - 09:03 AM

    I do not know if to applaud or to lynch you. In you enthusiasm to uncover the open secret you seem to have crossed the thin fine line. It would had been nice if you could have titled it differently and could have as pointed by readers above used this info. to shake up the admin. Rather you seem to have thrown the baby with the bath water. Good Luck… Kufri.

    Reply
  6. Lata
    Feb 04, 2010 - 07:21 PM

    What should I call this article… depressing yet an eye opener or a 'Jhataka' to snap us out from our comfortable deep reverie..

    This article provides the food for thought, why there is hardly any snow left in Kufri? Ain't we all responsible for it in some way or the other?

    Whom should we blame for piles of trash instead of snow in Kufri?… The answer is 'OURSELVES'.

     Now its high-time that we all as responsible citizens must think of 15 ways to make Kufri a better place and not be dependent on tourism department for it.

    Jaago tourist jaago…

    Reply
  7. varun
    Feb 04, 2010 - 08:30 PM

    I am sorry it took me 4 days to come back to respond to you all. Have been reading and thinking what readers have to say about this piece. I agree with what all of you however, I don't think there is any harm in presenting a true picture. By publishing this story HimVani has done its part to make people aware about the situation Like Lata says, the idea was to bring us all out of slumber. I suggest we all take this article as a reference point and send grievances

    to the CM, Tourism minister, Tourism Secy and the Director. Their email ids can be gathered from tourism dept website.

    I am not against tourism Industry and my only concern is that tourists should not be taken for a ride. I am sure Voice of Himachal, our non-profit will also take up this issue but we all need to react to this in a manner that those who can make the difference listen to us. Any ideas on that front ?

    Reply
    • Vivek Thakur
      Feb 04, 2010 - 10:02 PM

      Dats really what i really want to suggest

      Reply
  8. VIVEK MOHAN.
    Feb 04, 2010 - 09:18 PM

    "YAHOOO" – CHAHA KOI MUJHE JUNGLEE KAHE…Shammi Kapoor famous no. was shot there…the Yahoo gen should know!

    Reply
    • Vivek Thakur
      Feb 04, 2010 - 10:41 PM

      Hope to see some more such songs shot in the paradise

      Reply
  9. vikram s rawat
    Feb 05, 2010 - 01:50 PM

    Dear Vivek

    , I on behalf of our farmers group wrote dozens of letter and representation to the Government officials for the betterment of farming community. All our letters have lost somewhere.I didn't get a single reply .If it would be an article of positive nature,few have responded. You can't do anythings when unions grow.Every politician, beaurocrate knows the fact better than us.

    Did you see news about Bhopal's IAS couples , tonns of thousands rupee notes recovered………………….

    Reply
    • Vivek Thakur
      Feb 05, 2010 - 05:38 PM

      Rawat Jee,

      My experiences on the same are contrary. I have made requests on E -Samadhan and Write to Chief Minister forums of Government Website and have got the replies from the concerned department also and my requests also got materialized. It is possible that the replies and actions varies from sector to sector because I wrote to Public Works Department and Forest Department most of the times.

      I would rather suggest that you please keep track of your complaints and greviances keep on putting reminders time and again.

      Regards,

      Vivek

      Reply
  10. Abhishek Sharma
    Feb 10, 2010 - 04:53 AM

    Problem is not only with Govt., it is with so called tourists also. Varun has rightly said 'And lets be honest, we Indians love to do the bhed chaal (sheep walk). “My chacha’s son- in-law went for honeymoon to Kufri, we must go as well.” We people actually don't want to check out any other place. We want everything just a step away from our car, our hotel. we don't want to live the experience we just want to see it or taste it and tell others that yes we did.If they want to experience the snow why don't they explore further. There are number of other small & better towns with adequate facilities but natural vistas are in abundance. But who cares.

    We all know that our already choked tourist spots i.e. Kufri, Shimla, Manali, Kasauli cannot accommodate the kind of rush we get on weekends or holidays. And at the end of all this we come to hear that place was filthy, dirty, choked and what not. Tourists come and go but it is the common people/local public who bears the brunt of all this unplanned activity and sad part is they have to live with it every other day. We cannot expect Govt. to take all the pain in such a scenario. Need of the hour is responsible tourism. it is high time our Govt. must take measures to promote tourism in other towns to ensure an all round development of sector.

    And thankfully i have never visited Kufri though i prefer going beyond Narkanda always on this circuit. Last November my office trip zeroed in on Kufri. I boarded it off & went biking towards Rajgarh-Baru Sahib-Renuka circuit. Night halt was at Baru Sahib Gurudwara in ultimate peace. Next day the road (off roading) towards Renuka was one of it kinds with broken trails and unfamiliar vistas all along Giri river. May be I'm subjective in my views.

    Reply
  11. Abhishek Sharma
    Feb 10, 2010 - 05:11 AM

    And still if somebody want to be near to Shimla want some real nature they can try Shalli Tibba (peak) ahead of Mashobra. It is a two-three hours trek from Khatnol village. Road till Khatnol is pretty much drivable after that you have to rely on your legs only. There is also a Forest Rest House on the way where you can get some tea i think. Carry your own food/water. I bet, it will not disappoint nature or Shimla lovers and you will not come back and say it was choked, filthy or what not.

    Reply
  12. Manish
    Feb 10, 2010 - 07:03 PM

    it always been a tricky situation whenever my friends ask me for advice before a trip to the state. I always prefer manali to shimla, as it is relatively better and still holds it natural charm. For shimla I do include a word of caution – "don't expect much" . Its better to go for places beyond shimla if you have time, otherwise a day or two is more then enough for shimla. a walk to jakhu temple or to advance study is more enjoyble then going to kufri. I even recommend walking through jungles from taradevi station to taradevi temple. Its likely to result in more positive experience than to completely ruin it by going to crowded places like kufri..

    Reply
  13. Sampathkumar
    Feb 11, 2010 - 03:19 PM

    what is the present situation now, is there any snow due to the recent snowfall

    Reply
  14. harshwardhan kumar
    Feb 20, 2010 - 03:36 PM

    i have visited kufri six times and the only problem i faced every time was the ill treatment at the hands of the khaccharwallas. it may be because i preferred to walk up the hill. i dont have any complaints regarding the facilities as i believe providing  facilities means destructing the environment. and i think the state and  central govt should take such initiatives that would bring down the number of tourists(indians) visiting hill stations. i may sound hostile but its a fact that very few indian tourists have tourist sense and environment sensitiveness. in fact what facility means to us is  the freedom to do whatever silly we want and someone there to take care of the shits. in india more tourists means more shits, more disarrangement and ultimately more harm to the environment. 

    Reply
  15. Dr. Suman Gupta
    Feb 23, 2010 - 03:36 PM

     Hello, I was, rather am, planning to go to Kufri, because my 7 year old wants to go to "Shimal mirch" and see snow. I was on the net to see when it snows in kufri or near by. I along with my friends do go for trekking near Bangalore and get quiet depressed to see plastics in those places. We have "adopted" a place ( not officially) and plan to go with other fellow trekkers pick up all the plastics and polythene.

    I think this article is written more to awaken the local public and a faint hope that some government official may also read it and do his/her little bit. I dont think it is written with the intention to discourage tourists, or, to help the tourist as there is no alternative suggested. Will appreciate if there will be such suggestion. 

    Reply
  16. Arase Gowda
    Mar 18, 2010 - 05:50 PM

    It was wonderful trip to Manali. There is nothing good in Kullu except the airport. Better go to manali and stay instead of Kullu. From manali you can plan your trips to Nearby Places like Manikaran, Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, Clubhouse, buddhist temple and vaishnomatha temple which can be covered in 2 days. From manali you can catch buses to Dharamshala, chamba and Dalhousie. Using taxi services is good only nearby manali. Stay in manali for 2 to 3 days…its really wonderful….you can also go to Hadimba temple, Gatodhghaja temple and museum which are walkable from Manali. we stayed 3 days in manali and had wonderful memories in manali. Negotiate for everything you buy, eat or travel so that you wont feel cheated. Manali is really a beautiful place to njoy with snow.

    Reply
  17. Atul Sharma
    Mar 29, 2010 - 05:52 PM

    Just feeling so sorry for this condition of Kufri . In the Video of "Chahe koi mujhe Junglee" you can see so much of Snow in Kufri . It was shot in 1961 . And now in 2009 not even 10% of that snow could be seen in kufri .

    Reply
  18. Deepak
    Feb 24, 2014 - 10:10 AM

    Narkanda is better. very less crowded. We enjoyed a lot in Tethys Resort. top class.

    Reply

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