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Monday, September 30, 2013

Road Journey To Paradise……………….

Six months back, when I was about to join my husband on yet another sailing spree, my brother gave me a bouncer of relocating abroad. I knew we were not going to see each other for a long time. That night I slept with a heavy heart. But morning brought sunshine tidings from my sister. She along with her husband planned out a prompt farewell road trip before my brother pursues greener pastures. After a lot of argument, we rounded up on the Switzerland of India “Dalhousie and Khajjiar”in Himachal Pradesh.

Me, my two sisters and brother along with their better half’s and children designed to kick start our journey with the rush of dawn. But our best laid plan got doomed due to heavy rain. Anyways we hit the road at about 6:00 in the morning from Chandigarh.We followed the Hoshiarpur-Pathankot-Dalhousie route which was pretty good. We stopped for in-between breaks for snacks due to the children’s unruly demands of nature call. It was total of 8-hr trip and we were hoping to reach Dalhousie by 4: pm in the evening. But destiny plays its own game. Enroute there was a landslide a few feet ahead of us. We were almost stranded there for two hours and resumed our voyage after army brigade's intervention.

After the two hour hitch we reached Dalhousie without much of hiccups. Although the last 50 miles turned out a bit dreary to navigate. The best part of the whole journey was the magnificent views, scattered lush green meadows with plenty of deodar trees. We bunged on various bewitched places for posing and capturing the unparalleled essence of nature. Crazily, even did an impromptu gig which rewarded us whistles and applauses from fellow nomads.

At last we touched Dalhousie at around 6:30ish in the evening and went straight to our pre-booked guest house. After a hot shower and refreshments, along with over excited kids we decided to explore Dalhousie on the same day. Built on and around five hills, Dalhousie is located on the west of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. It has two main famous chowks, one being Gandhi Chowk, and the other  Subhash Chowk . The whole place was fully congested with tourist. After relishing hot pakoras and badam milk under sprinkles of rain, we call it a day.

The next day was full of leisurely strolls and trekking around the hills. Gorged on some sinful cuisine and visited the indo/Tibetan market. Spend money on useless things and bought a few souvenirs from the local shops. Explored Panchpulla, gurgling waters of Satdhara and beautiful architectures of St Francis church. By evening we were all dead tired and headed back to our cocoons.

Woke up early next day for the much anticipated trip to Khajjair also christened “Gulmarg of Himachal. From Dalhousie it was approximately 22 kms and the road run through Kalatop wildlife sanctuary. The road was bit bumpy but the picturesque landscapes thoroughly made-up for it. I was awe-struck and flabbergasted by my first view of the God send place. Panorama views of natural beauty. This saucer shaped green meadow, chimed by Devadar and long pines have a lake in the middle complete with floating island.

We all yelled at our allocated cottage run by HP tourism which was ideally placed in front of the main sporting grounds. Mesmerized by the clean, pristine surroundings, we headed out soon for exploring the combination of forest, lake and grassland.Hired horses and chased around the whole perimeter of the orbit.  Visited the famous Khajji nag temple, clicked pictures in traditional dress and enjoyed the roasted corn. There was a sarangi vala tuning the local folk songs. Enjoyed a few shakes and tip the man heartily. We ended our day with loud music, funny dancing, mouth watering food and inebriated cocktails.

At Aurora, we started our drive back home. Uneventful for the most part, the four day trip along with crazy road experience came to an end. Although due to my sailing life, I have been to many beautiful countries but this small memorable trip will always share a special place in our hearts.

Last but the most thrilling part of our journey was the travel media - my sister’s brands new Safari “Storme”. Though it’s usually recommended to bring small cars in hilly stations but not even once we regretted our decision. This SUV is a mixture of opulence and rowdiness. It’s an eight seater monster with lots of luggage and legroom. Due to its spacious and ultra comfy character, we are planning to repeat another crazy road trip to Leh  Ladakh during my brothers next India trip.

Post written for “I Am Explorer” contest hosted by Indiblogger in association with Tata Safari.