Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Himalayas Lap : Himachal

Finally I went on a vacation of this year last week. and boy!! what a trip it was.. Till last Friday, we were not sure of the place and also how will we go... moreover, whether we will be able to go or not.. It was supposed to be an all girls trip... Myself, my friend's wife, wife's sister and mother.. I had spoken to his wife quite a lot of times before but never got a chance to meet her.. The moment we met, we clicked.. Same goes for her family. It never seemed even once that we were meeting for the first time..

What transpired in the next seven days is beyond anyone's imagination.. Aunty is one of the most humble and friendly person I have ever met in my life. I never knew that I would hit off so instantly with her.. Friend's wife's sister is one of the most adorable and cute kid I have seen. She is a complete entertainer in herself. We went to Chandigarh first, got a warm welcome in a huge house in Chandimandir, which is the Cantt of Chandigarh.. Saw Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake.. It was a tiring trip around the Rock Garden but worth it. Its amazing, how someone can create such beautiful structures out of things we call as waste.. Hats off to Nek Chand for coming up with this brilliant idea and getting the Rock Garden created.

The next stop was amidst the lap of himalayas - Himachal Pradesh. Our first destination was Dharamshala/Mcleodganj. The trip by road was a smooth drive. While driving, we passed through Naya Nangal - the place where I have spent initial days of my childhood before we moved to Dehra Dun. Memories of days spent there, flashed past my eyes.. I became so nostalgic crossing the out-skirts of the city. I remembered that railway track vividly. The city has changed so much. Its been more than two decades since I went to that city...

The stop was Dharamshala where we stayed at YOL Cantt. Uncle had made sure that room bookings were done at all the places and in the best of the rooms.. This was the first time I stayed in Army Cantt, though I have stayed in Naval and Air Force Base previously. Considering my love and passion for the armed forces, it was the perfect place to be at.. I got the five star treatment. A beautiful room with an equally beautiful view and with 24 hours service at our beck and call.. The air was fresh and smelled nice. The lovely mist rising from the mountains, the sun playing hide and seek in the clouds, the clouds rising and engulfing the himalayan range, the colorful flowers blooming everywhere.. It was a dream. I could spend my life there.. Our stop was Dharamshala, where we stayed and then we roamed around the city visiting various places - War Memorial, Chamunda Devi Temple, Norbulingka Institute -the best monastery and a must visit place.

We drove uptil Mcleodganj and walked up and down the main road soaking in the beauty of the place and capturing as much as we could in our cameras and memories.

Two days over and we were off to Dalhousie - another breathtaking place.. The road trip to Dalhousie is a picturesque one. Its even better than the route to Dharamshala.
At times, you stop and think - Am I on this earth or is it heaven.. All you could see was green pastures, blue mountains, different wild flowers in the most exotic colors and variety, clear blue sky with white fluffy clouds, with sun playing among them.. I could not decide which part of the route was better than the other.. The only thing that was a drawback was my incompetency to deal with travel on such high terrains(which is actually not so high as well).. I was nauseatic all the way to Dalhousie. But once I was there, my eyes were wide open and I was again ready to soak in the beauty of the place. The stay was at 323 Brigade. And this time, it was a suite.. Can it get any better than this.. Staying in a Army Cantt and that also in a suite meant for Brigadiers and above.. The weather was at its best and it was pleasantly cold - something that I love. We roamed on the streets of Dalhousie gasping at the breath taking view every moment. The main attraction was the tiny market in one of the most tiny lanes I have ever seen and you get everything, one can ask for, under the sun.. We spent a day there and then it was bag packs. One thing that I really liked about the Himachal was : No polythene bags were used anywhere. Everywhere, people use pretty paper bags.. Another thing: None of the products sold are 'Made in China', which was such a big relief. Considering that the people in these places were mostly from Tibet, there were posters of Anti-China everywhere.. It was so nice to buy stuff 'Made in India'.

The next stop was Patiala - the place where my friend actually belonged to. We were given a warm welcome by my friend's Grandmother and their lovable labrador pet - Tasha. Nani was as affectionate as Aunty. She made sure that the meals were ready for us whenever we wanted and Aunty made sure to take me around the city and buy the best of the stuff, something that I proudly possess now. A day in Patiala and we were ready to go back to Chandigarh and spend a day there before the vacation ended. Late night chats, awesome food, pulling each others' legs, jokes, laughter - it was the perfect vacation one could ask for.. How one week went by, we didn’t even come to know..

It was a dream vacation for me. Infact I had not thought it to be so great even in my dream.. I dont have enough words to thank Aunty and Uncle for organizing such a wonderful trip for me. I was a complete stranger to them before this trip. They are the most humble, hospitable and loving people I have met. I sometimes wonder, how come I always have the best of vacations when I am staying with friends - whether it was in UK, Jodhpur or this time. Everyone made me feel so special.. My heart is filled with gratitude towards them and I have lovely memories of the trip.. and yeah, how can I forget the lovely gift given by Aunty just when we were about to come back home, much to my surprise. Thanks Aunty, Uncle for giving me such a wonderful vacation. Now I look forward to our Leh/Srinagar trip next year..


Pooja said...

Hi Poonam! Sounds like you had a lovely vacation. It does sound like a dream :-)
The pictures are so pretty, please do post more!

ani_aset said...

hmm lucky people :) nice yaar you been to dharamshala mcleodganj and all :)