Every old hill station has a Mall Road. The shops, the gentry, the tourists, the vendors, the evening crowds during summer, monkeys and horses—that’s what Mall Roads have in common.
Ranikhet is the exception to prove this rule. There are monkeys, a few tourists, and the gentry in their palatial homes.
Our Mall Road is old, old world charm.
Old mansions with British names and long drive-ways are scattered on the long, winding, shady, green and quiet road. Thick forest growth with creepers, blood-red rhododendrons, oaks , eucalyptus and pine trees takes over the road at places, and after dusk. Leopard sightings, lost pet dogs and garden marauding deer are the norm for this road.
Walking down the 5 odd kms of the Mall Road is a special treat for the dogs and me.Summer and monsoon walks are memorable…I stride past thick old tree trunks, hear the crunch of dry leaves under my feet, strain to see the loud bulbul, barbit, minivets and their bretheren, touch the dangling vines and flowers and sing loudly on the quiet road.
The Mall Road is a road which leaves me at a loss for words. And that is something which even the Taj Mahal couldn’t do!
A visit to the Mall Road usually ends with a visit to a friend’s home.
Each house takes my breath away. Thick old trees, large windows with tiny window panes, sloping roofs and gorgeous gardens…
It makes me drive home with a big, contented grin smeared over my face and soul! Did I tell you that I love living in Ranikhet?!