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.
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.
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.