Searching for Truth at the Embassy Hotel, Shimla

Besides the great weather, beautiful mountains, temples and monkeys, the other thing great about Shimla is the food. I have been feasting on non-veg here for the past few days. My two favourite places being the Shere Punjab Hotel and the Embassy Hotel with a Cake and Icecream Shop. These are situated on the Mall Road just after you pass Christ Church.

I walked into Shere Punjab for lunch and ordered a plate of brain curry and naan. It is a basic place with typical dhaba style tables and seats. The menu is handed to you as soon as you arrive. Meat and chicken are the delicacies of the day, butter chicken and keema being the speciality. The place is run by a Sardar, so it’s a bit laid back. The windows in the seating face the mountains and give you a clear view of Shimla Hills. The brain curry is typically spicy Punjabi style with thick yellow tomato and chilli gravy. It is very filling with plain naan. A fresh lime soda to digest the meal and you are ready to go on ahead and explore this jewel of a hill station.

My next food stop was the Embassy Hotel which is also on the mall road. The hotel has an ice cream, sweets and pastry shop at the front and a restaurant as you enter through the pastry shop gates inside the hotel. The whole place is wacky as on the walls are pasted quotes from great philosophers and books like the Upanishads and Life Story of J. Krishnamurti. Wisdom from philosophy and motivational words are pasted on the wall. I was amazed and realised the owner must be a very learned and wise man, someone who is interested in the true meaning of life and is in search for the truth just like me. He too is on a journey to discover himself.

I was greeted by an elderly man who was sitting in the kitchen. I told him that I was a travel blogger and wanted to review the hotel and the feature it on my blog. The gentlemen agreed and served me a chocolate cake with vanilla and hot chocolate sauce. “This is all homemade recipes, sir. The chocolate sauce and the cake are all made and baked at home, no stuff from the store or the bazaars.” I was pleased and I dipped into the full plate of dessert. “You are a big fan of J. Krishnamurti Sir. He is all over your wall. Was he as good as they say? I personally am fond of OSHO, I have been heavily influenced by him.” I said with the sauce dripping from my spoon. “Oh OSHO, he was just a wild vagabond, he is still attached to things like his Rolls Royce. He made an organisation around the truth, like all of them, he made a business out of the search for truth. No No, Mr. J was the real thing, he never made any organisation and made it clear that you cannot seek truth in groups, you need to find it on your own. You have to go alone and drop the false. When the false is dropped, the truth will emerge and that is different for different people. Listen son, I have made lamb and potatoes for you. You will love it.” Having said that, he served the dish to me. Funny, I had never asked for it nonetheless it was tasty. The lamb was cooked well and had a thick coating of gravy, not too spicy but very juicy and chunky. The flavours mingled in the mouth as soon as I took a few bites of it. The potatoes were roasted and well done and complemented the lamb adding to the flavour.

I thanked the old man and took some photos of the hotel with his son too. I told him about my trip to Tibet to see Mansarovar. “You should read that Vikram Seth book. He has spoken about his journey to Tibet in that. Maybe when you come tomorrow, I will give it to you.” He waved to me and I wished him luck. Embassy hotel indeed a must go for everyone who comes to Shimla!

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