It’s been a while since summer has passed in India and we’re already three months in to the school year now! But the memories always linger on for long as it’s the time of the year to explore new places, catch up with family and friends and have a blast! This year, we managed to combine both- visit a new place and meet old friends. The first part of our trip took us to Dharamshala, nestled in the Kangra valley, between the gorgeous snow-clad Dhauladhar mountain ranges!
The road journey from Delhi to Dharamshala was an eventful and memorable one! The drive, which is usually 8-9 hours, took us 13 hours, thanks to 2 flat tyres and a driver who wouldn’t go beyond 40 kmph blaming the speed radars, while the truth was that he didn’t have a permit to cross borders before a certain time of the day!
This was my first trip to the Northern part of the country and I was very excited. The drive took us through the historic city of Panipat. The first Battle of Panipat in 1526 heralded the rule of Mighty Mughals over India, who brought with them great architecture, culture and food and changed the course of Indian history. My son, who had just studied about the Mughals, started rattling off the facts and stories of the battle!
We then drove through various cities of the state of Punjab, the agricultural capital of India. I was eager to taste some authentic ‘makkai ki roti’ (flat bread made from corn) and lassi (buttermilk) at an authentic Punjabi Dhaba (local restaurants located along highways serving local cuisine), which have been highly romanticised in food shows. But I was strongly advised against it (due to hygiene reasons), much to my disappointment!
We finally reached Dharamshala, all bleary-eyed, in the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, we were staying with a family of close friends and a grand reception awaited us! This trip was actually an impromptu get-together of 3 high school friends (my husband’s) and a prelude to the actual holiday at Ladakh with a much larger group of friends!
The highlights of our 2 day stay at Dharamshala were:
- The sumptuous and delectable storm cooked up by our hostess for 14 ever-hungry souls who made sure there was no food left over!
- The boys bathing blithely in a beautiful babbling brook! Their first ever experience of bathing in nature, one which they will cherish for a long time.
- A live viewing of the IPL (Indian Premium League) cricket match. I was more interested in capturing this beautiful backdrop of the stadium rather than the boring one-sided match, and ended up annoying the security guards who threatened to throw me out if I didn’t stop!
4. A visit to the famous Mcleodgunj, headquarters of The Dalai Lama. The streets were lined with stalls selling gorgeous antiques and artefacts such as Tibetan masks, coral-studded Buddha and Tara; a treat for connoisseurs of artefacts.
You can see other images of summertime blast here