Road trips with children have to be well planned specially while travelling to a hill station. So did we, while going to Dharamshala. Unlike political propaganda like the Gurmehar Kaur issue which ran the headlines with an honest ideology, where everything went for a toss like one of our very carefully planned parties but surely not with my travel plans! So the frills attached tragedy was simply but perception screwing up the entire plan. Now my Gumehar Kaur is played by my dear husband where his postcard reads-
My dear readers, I am sure we all have one of this kind either at home, or a friend who pulls out in the end, just like our protagonist.
While the others around can be recognised as the rightest wing in the show who have no choice but to fix a plan and bring it aggressively with no left right or center.
Here I can welcome, the ABVP or role played by my 7 year old! Who least cares for the dum postcard without holidays? It only gets worse with loud actions and demanding more every year. However, with my elder son, all campaigns are left regardless if there is any vandalism reported with the younger one, then all promises go in vein, even ice creams.
While I am writing this, it Reminds of the tea slogan that says : JAAGO RE! OMG, I guess some one must be overdosed with this tea! Why isn’t some reporting done to calm the matter rather than spicing it up? Guess what, just as old archives were in news I too happen to remember my Dharamshala holiday almost during this time of the year. They say a holiday is usually some break away from the hustle-bustle of the city. Look, I am already time travelling into my Dharamshala trip.
This trip was fun and actually an escape plan from a never ending wedding ceremony. Spontaneous and easily planned. Travelling a 450km by my new Maruti Suzuki Swift, from Delhi, was as smooth as butter, a good choice for road trips, including great capacity for extra luggage, great suspension and control that doesnt fatigue you out. Take a look at the features of the car and visit the link below.
Another popular idea is to take the bus that usually leaves in the evening and reaches Dharamshala by morning. Keep stopping for tea, as the news recommends being self alert, while on the highway although you are under vigilense according to the hoardings.
One of my favourite stops are at Rimzim dhaba, and we usually start hungry in the morning, so this is a nice stop for stuffed parathas, white butter accompanied with lassi or tea. For the more health conscious, there is subway in a food court right opposite from the adjacent underpass. Satisfaction comes with a good grub and high energy levels reache you to Chandigarh in no time. We avoided the city although if you want to buy cheaper booze you can take a diversion here.
Going forward, while we were reaching the Kangra valley, the temperature change and the picturesque landscape welcomes the excitement. It may be true but people who live in the plains start smiling, singing or suddenly feel love is in the air, as soon as these mountains come. It is just like acting crazy when heading a procession or trying to catch attention of the paparazzi. At least I love the mountains this much! I am sure some of you will relate to this feeling too.
Behaving like a child is so much fun and there is nothing like revisiting your childhood memories. This stone hurling in the campus incident, reminds me of our stop in the middle of the street, where we were aiming and hurling little stones at raw mangoes on the trees. We really enjoyed jumping over the slope of the hill and even our car roof. I will not forget to thank Maruti Suzuki Swift for its sturdy body. Imagine it is such an irony – same actions but refracted reactions, only because the purpose was different. Some cars also stopped to stare and give that look but nothing could stop us from having simple fun.
Probably stealing mangoes from the tree was not enough! There we took a two hour diversion to the engineering marvel and an achetectural achievement of that era… any guesses? Let me give you another hint;- the third largest reservoir and built by our first Prime Minister, described as the “New Temple Of Resergent India”- we were at the Bhakra and Nangal Dam on the Satluj River. This is about 20 kms from the Naina Devi Town, so just in case you are visiting the temple you are close and shouldn’t miss it. Also for the calm and quiet monkeys who seemed so stoned and elevated!
Reaching Una you can experience an undulating road stretch with potholes and dusty patches, but how is a road trip complete without being adventurous? This gave us our very first ‘off driving’ experience- boy we loved it!
Thanks to the excellent suspension quality of our Maruti Suzuki Swift, making it a very smooth experience even on these natural terrain and could just not wait to thanks the Himachal government for not the experience but for proactively maintaining the roads.
I must say that the first 12 hours of our weekend getaway were already full of enthusiasm and nostalgia where music had an important role to play too. The one touch Bluetooth connectivity of the Maruti Suzuki Swift was quick, clubbed with excellent speakers that set the mood throughout. My battery and maps were on the constant go, I had to least worry about as there’s the USB Charging Port.
We reached Dharamshala by 6:30 pm and checked in our hotel that we had already picked from Yatra.com. Although our trips and itinerary is always curated by our own choice but pre-booking the hotel was a good idea then, as it was summer time already. Our room was super comfortable with all basic amenities including in-house restaurants but we preferred ordering in the room.
I came across some lovely and comfortable travel plans and even Home-stays on their website. I am posting a link for the same and you too can book your stay.
Dharamshala welcomes you with Colourful flags with bells and chimes in the background which is quite calming. Monks running the streets are a fancy to watch. Planning your day is a difficult job, there is so much to do here. We started our day by trekking up to Bhagsunag waterfall, for two hours before we reached the top of the fall, all to hear about a Shiva cafe which is a ‘420’ friendly cafe, offering herbal refreshments. In spite all this fun around there are families enjoying and also hippies who can be happily avoided.
After walking down the falls we strolled around Mcleodganj for street shopping. This is a hub for Tibiten carpets, handicrafts, garments, thangkas, and sovineers. Most importantly don’t forget to lay hands on the trendy colourful clothes, jewellery and pick stuff related to yoga and meditation.
There are streets with musical instruments, hand bags and backpacks. One thing very popular is the singing bowls made up of different metals, it is said that these when made to resonate using a stick in circular motion create a special energy and also used for therapies and meditation, singing and even well being. It is better to shop at cheaper prices close to the Dalai Lama residence, markets extending towards Bhagsu are comparatively expensive. I chose to pick some jewellery after good bargaining.
Since you are out at most hours of the day, food comes easily too. There’s a great variety of Tibetan food with some delicious thukpa, Maggi, momos, filled with Himalayan pak choi and potatoes.
There are a lot of cafes on the main Kotwali Bazaar. And most are extended to the footpath, where you can drop your shopping bags and eat with a larger view of the market too. We enjoyed Irish coffee with brownies. I picked some incense sticks from here.
From Dharamshala you can further take your trip to Triund, for trecking which is hardly nine kilometres away. Also Palampur for tea gardens and paragliding.
Our next destination was Dalhousie from here, also booked on the same itinerary. We reached by evening and rested. Next morning it was Dal Lake, Maggi shops right opposite the lake and the temple above these shops. Although it’s a small lake but with a well forested mountain as its backdrop, some at the Maggi shop say that it has a trekking stretch until Naddi.
So if you wish to ‘experiment’ adventure enveloped with ‘here says’ and feel goosebumps from getting lost somewhere in the mountains, then only think about it, but certainly not recommended by me. We drove to Naddi, it’s a very busy market with lots of people and traffic jam too. This is the single road that takes you out and let’s you in Dalhousie from kajjiar. Also the huge parking lot designed right under the market makes it difficult to drive in this patch. Good street food and a great variety for shopping makes a good combination. I remember paying ₹60 for a plate of golgappas which were really mouth watering. We also visited the St. Patrick’s Church here.
The next day was a drive to Khajjiar popularly called the mini Switzerland. We spent the day there in the open fields amidst green mountains and a narrow petite stream.
This place was like a set up from a dream only to be perfected by butterflies and small wooden bridges over the flowing stream. It’s surely more fun for families to bond together over frisbees, Maggi, playing, running or may be just sitting in the sun, smiling, for being pampered in the arms of nature.
Summers vacations are here, so why sit back? if an extended weekend can fetch you such joy and happiness. I wish life was like a holiday too with lesser of these made up political issues and more of honest smiles and happiness for a living. I hope you enjoyed reading, while I shared most of what I remembered from my trip. If you have bagged longer holidays then there are places like Palampur and Triund which must be visited too. True to being usual, I might just again switch on the T.V to hear the same news nth time, while you must plan a vacation here soon.