There has been activity galore in the last ten days. While the Goa plan could not materialise yet another time, I did check two other trips that were pending.
Mother had been wanting to go to Chintpurni, HP since last summer. We finally managed to go there during the 19-20 November weekend. The highlight was the fact that Dad agreed to come along. I don’t remember the last time the entire family took a trip together. So, Mom, Dad, Bhai, the bhabhi, and me started by taking a long walk towards the Amritsar Shatabdi on 19th morning. As always, I was excited to get on to a train. But after having travelled by the Bhopal Shatabdi earlier this year, I was disappointed to see the uncomfortable seats and the badly maintained coaches. Maybe it was just an old coach of an old train, but I liked the Bhopal Shatabdi more. Nevertheless, the view of foggy mustard fields into Punjab made up for it all.
We took the train till Ludhiana, and then took a cab up to the hills. Highlights:
- Lunch at Baabe da Vaishno Dhaba by the state highway in Hoshiarpur was to die for!
- I saw the process of making jaggery at a small setup in the fields near the dhaba, and the smell & taste of the freshly made sugar was absolutely delicious.
- Our driver, Amandeep was hard of hearing and did not use his rear view mirror for driving. I think the gods did know that we were making the trip only for them.
- Evening is a good time to visit Chintpurni. At least you can breathe. Things were bad when I visited in the morning in 2006.
- The HP Tourism hotel at Jwala Ji is decent to live in, but wouldn’t recommend eating there. Their kitchen sucks.
- The evening aarti at Jwala Ji, on cold nights, is heart warming.
- Matar kulcha on the road outside Jwala Ji is also worth a try.
A goof-up on Sunday night led to a long, unwanted drive from Ludhiana to Delhi, but I did enjoy the little chill in the air and oh-so-amazing paranthas at Sukhdev’s in Murthal!
Some mobile uploads: