Today I arrived in Shimla.

Shimla is in Himachal Pradesh.  It is an old British hill station, and is now a bustling town.

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I landed here.  I was hoping for hills, greenery and a cooler temperature.  I definitely got all of those.  What I hadn’t expected was a town where smoking is banned, cars are banned in the main town area and littering is banned (and it actually enforced).  This all makes Shimla a very clean town with little pollution.

There are no horns beeping for no reason, or any reason at all. The people walk through the town, which given the steep hills, makes them quite fit I am sure.

There is virtually no litter, unlike the other towns I have seen in India, plastic bags do not line the streets and provide a breeding ground for feral animals.  There are some animals here, but I haven’t yet seen a feral dog, just plenty of monkeys.

I can walk through this town and breath in the fresh hill air, without inhaling second-hand smoke.

I love this town!

It has  lovely relaxed feel. I don’t have the same angst and frustration that I feel in other towns I have been in. This is quite a feat given I have been up since 4am, slept in a train last night, had another train ride this morning that broke down and then had a very hairy bus ride to my destination.  There has been plenty of reason for me to be in a bad mood tonight.

Instead, I feel quite calm. Probably because I haven’t argued with a rickshaw driver today or felt distressed by watching environmental pollution everywhere I step.

Shimla has done a lot towards ensuring its town is beautiful. I hope it stays this way, and maybe it will become an example for other Indian towns in the future.

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