RAJEEV KHANNA | 27 SEPTEMBER, 2015
Mashobra, a village of peace
Have you ever visited a place that is lost in time? These are little remote corners that bring such a sense of peace, that it leaves one wondering about the rush of modern day life, dominated by anxiety to outperform, enslaved by gizmos and a bank balance.
Located just 12 km from the Queen of Hills Shimla, is one such destination, a little village with the melodious name Mashobra.. One needs to go there as a backpacker to experience the simplicity of life. And can then become a ‘tea taster’ spending endless hours at the local tea stall sipping cips of steaming chai laced with heavy doses of ginger. The tea comes at a very nominal price, and the information charged conversations with the tea stall owners comes free. Add to this the lilting melodies being played on age old transistors, and life is complete. Who needs a smartphone in such surroundings?
“Obra in local parlance means a stable or shed for domestic animals. This place had lots of them and hence got its name,” informs a tea seller, a mine of information like all others in this region.. It is an absolute delight talking to the locals who have so many tales to tell. And if one starts the topic of the supernatural the session can go on for hours and hours.
Small treks around the village are something else. The routes are marked by lush green surroundings and springs that gush cold, clear water that can beat any water cooler marketed on the LEDs and LCDs. If one carries a notebook or a camera, the day can be spent capturing the natural delights.
Food at one of the run down dhabas is always recommended. The taste that a simple plate of black gram and rice accompanied by farm fresh green chillies and cucumber beats the best of A-la-carte menus at the best of the restaurants.
The place has had its brush with modern day developments which have sort of unsettled the local residents. “Although new flats, cottage and resorts have come up in the vicinity of the village, they do not contribute at all to the local economy. The residents bring their helpers from the plains. They procure their daily needs from Shimla. They maintain a distance from us,” says a local shopkeeper.And they destroy some of the natural beauty.
The place has recently been in the news because of Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra purchasing a piece of land nearby to build a cottage. It also has the President’s Retreat in the close vicinity.
The locals also rue the lack of any economic activity around the village that does finds a mention for its famous picnic spots. It also has a couple of government institutes including the Central Potato Research Institute.
“Those who left Mashobra are now rolling in crores. And those of us who have stayed back are just whiling away our time,” a local tea seller told this reporter. “But I bet that we get a far more sound sleep than all of them,” he added with a twinkle in his eyes.