A Journey From Blissful Amritsar To Dalhousie


It all started when I felt I needed a break from my regular 9-5 and as the Himalaya were calling me “again”. "Again", because I've spent most of my childhood (if not all) in the laps of the Himalaya, in a place that is at the ultimatum of specialty to me, but I'll keep that a secret for now ๐Ÿ˜Š as it holds a completely different story which I will cover in my future writings. The Himalaya have always been with me, ever since I was a kid. However, I realized the true value of the Himalaya when I moved out to other cities, leaving it behind for my future endeavors. This was the turning point of my life making me appreciate the treasure that I lost to gain the so-called "Urban Lifestyle". For me, this graduation of rocks is the most prestigious of all-natural assets. Once this sunk into my persona, I could not help but travel more in search of my true self. So this time, when my elder sister and my cutie niece came back home to spend time with us during the summer vacation, I thought it is high time for me to get back to the ever-rising mountains. Now I know that's way more for an intro, so let's dig into my trip details. 
For a start, it was a challenging task for me to decide the destination. My first choice was Ladakh and Spiti Valley. But after considering factors like high altitude, extreme weather, and the monsoons, which would not suit my dad well, I dropped the idea completely. Yes, my dad was also joining us for the trip and is clearly not as young as I am.
So, after lots of research and roaming around various travel agencies, I decided on a 3-nights & 4-days trip to Amritsar, Chamba, and Dalhousie. The travel package of the places which we were about to cover was a complete combination of cozy yet scenic and breathtaking views of the Himalayas. It also comprised of some great historic as well as holy places. I will be sharing the detailed itinerary, so stay with me!

Package Details:
We were a total of 4 adults and 1 child. So accordingly, the package details are as below:
- AC Cab facility end-to-end i.e airport pickup to drop 
- 2 Supreme deluxe double bedrooms in a 3-star and above hotel with breakfast and dinner inclusive

Hotel Details:
1)Hotel Popular in Amritsar (http://www.hotelpopularamritsar.com/)
2)Hotel Aroma's Palace in Chamba
3)Hotel President in Dalhousie
 (http://presidenthoteldalhousie.com/)

Total package price: Roughly between 40-45k INR. I give a range as the prices may vary depending on the season you are visiting in.
Whenever I fly, I always try to book my flight in such a manner that we can reach our destination early in the morning. This way I get sufficient time to rest and enjoy our day later on. This time we were traveling from Pune to Amritsar and were ready with our bags packed..!! We boarded the flight at 1'clock and here starts my voyage. 
Day-1 (Amritsar)
We reached Amritsar at 6:30 in the morning. Our driver came a little late ๐Ÿ˜ก. Well, I would not totally put the blame on him because there was some miscommunication between us about the time. So in the meanwhile, we waited outside Amritsar Airport, roaming around the food stalls following the delicious smells that made our mouth water. But all is well that ends well right! After 30 minutes, the cab driver picked us up. These were our hungriest 30 minutes of the journey for sure! We then went to one of the Dhabas, because guess what, we were in Punjab right! Chole Kulche is a must when you are in these parts which were followed by Puri Sabji. After our bellies were filled, we then checked-in to our hotel at around 8 am while the standard check-in time of most hotels is in the noon. So, I spoke with our trip organizer about the early check-in way before while confirming the package. Our stay was at "Hotel Popular" which was situated at a prime location and is just a mere 10 mins drive from the major attractions of Amritsar. The hotel was good with all facilities, a top recommendation on my list.
Hotel Room
After a quick nap, we then left our room at 10am as per our plan. We started our day by visiting Jaliawala bagh which witnessed the bloodshed and slaughtering of thousands of Indian Patriots back on 13 April 1919 on the occasion of Baisakhi. A public garden is now built upon it in memory.
The Golden Temple is just a 5 min walk from here. The best part about it, although it is a shrine of the Sikhs, devotees are welcomed inside the temple irrespective of religion, caste, creed or sex. The only compulsion here is that you have to cover your head in respect to the divine. I was mesmerized by the beauty of its shining Golden Top from which it derives its name. Once you enter the temple, the dust of distraction seems to settle down making room for peace and calm. The way I felt there is how I want my life to be like, in peace and calm.

Daytime View 

Everything about the place was well managed. People from all ages volunteer and actively participate in all the activities. For instance, it was a hot sunny day and there was a proper arrangement of cold drinking water and fans to create a comfortable atmosphere. It took us 2 hours to visit the temple and we truly connected spiritually.
Then it was time for "Langar", meaning a communal feast, which is prepared in one of the biggest kitchens in the world. It feeds around 35,000 people a day for free served by volunteers of the temple. Food provided in langar is good and served in a well hygienic way. If you wanna experience authentic Punjabi cuisine, try langar and tell me you didn't love it!!
Our next item on the list was Wagah Border (friendly Border between India & Pakistan) situated in Attari-Wagah, an hour drive from Amritsar, which already made us clock 3:30 in the afternoon. And there was a long queue, so approx another hour to reach the stadium. A parade ceremony is organized by the  BSF (Border Security Force) every day. The timing depends on the season you are visiting and it is totally free of cost! The stadium was full with more than 5000 people in the audience. We were a bit exhausted due to the heat, humidity and the crowd. But, that was only for a short period till the BSF Jawans started to show-up. Once the ceremony began, we started to feel energized. It was a purely patriotic moment and love and respect for the country and its protectors was overflowing.

The Crowd At Wagah Border

BSF jawans were involving random female audiences for activities like flag hoisting and dancing. We were sitting among the top rows. However, we were enthusiastic enough to make our way to the ground. We were dancing thoroughly and enjoying the whole experience. The entire ceremony lasted for around 45 mins in conjunction with the neighboring country's parade. Patriotic songs, Indian Flag and energy of BSF jawans will make you feel a proud Indian. Give it a try and I can bet that you won't regret it!

 Moment at Stadium

We were all tired by the time we left the border and then went back to our hotel rooms, had dinner and fell asleep very soon. It was the perfect start to the trip! After all, what's a day in travel if you are not exhausted in the end ๐Ÿ˜‹
2)Day-2 (Amritsar to Chamba)
It was not even 6 in the morning and I was already up out of excitement! We were checking out really early so the breakfast options were limited. We had our tea with some parathas at breakfast. We left the rooms at 8 am and started our journey towards Chamba.
Chamba is a hill station in Himachal Pradesh which is a 6-7 hours drive from Amritsar. It was a bright sunny day but pleasant enough considering the temperature drop as we were gaining altitude. One thing which took my attention in Punjab was the design of water tanks at the top of roofs. They make the shape of an eagle, a plane and even a man. While talking to our driver, we came to know that it is considered as a symbol of status. I'm sure you'll encounter it once you're in Punjab. Pardon me as I missed clicking some good pictures ๐Ÿ˜ž
After 2-3 hours more, we stopped for lunch at Mama's Rasoi Resort located at Pathankot. The resort was good with artistic ambiance along with indoor and outdoor dine-in options. Ohh! That's the play area! ๐Ÿ˜‹ My niece got excited after seeing it and the child inside me too woke up. I accompanied her and we both had lots of fun. The whole experience took me back to my playful childhood days.
Soon after leaving the resort, we entered Himachal Pradesh. It felt like we are on the Roads of Heaven and that its beauty resides in every turn along the ghats. The view of the sun, filtered by clouds sliding over the looming mountains is still afloat in my eyes. The bumpy, rocky and twisty roads were so pleasuring for the mind. I was lost in the magic and charm of Himalayas. 

Scenic
At 3 PM, we reached Chamera Lake situated at about 40 km from Chamba. The lake is famous for aquatic activities like cruising and speed boating. Thanks to our trip organizer, we were uninformed about the activities being temporarily closed. Yes, that was sarcasm! So make sure to double-check such things in advance from different sources. Still, we adored the calmness of the lake.
After a few strides forward, we were surprised to see a waterfall. We got super excited and ran towards it. We started splashing water on each other. My niece really enjoyed there and went inside the waterfall. It was a memorable moment captured in my heart.

Waterfall
Another 20 mins drive forward took us to the famous Maa Bhalei Temple situated at a height of 3,800 feet. It is an ancient temple dedicated to Maa Kaali that radiates a certain divine serenity. It can be reached by climbing a few stairs while your car is resting below. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking.

Beauty was all around us and within us
After half an hour's drive more, we were thrilled on seeing "The Kandipul Bridge" which is built over Chamera lake. The bridge is at a high altitude and is a bit scary too. We were standing there below the shining sun enjoying the breeze. Suddenly, I felt a vibration in my body. But that's how the bridges are built. There are actually bearings underneath to accommodate the movements of the bridge๐Ÿ˜„. Well, I totally loved the blissful time we spent there. If you are not acrophobic, you can try this place for sure without a thought! 
Our stay in Chamba was at Hotel Aroma's Palace situated in the center of the town. The hotel was of an average kind having all the necessary facilities. But to contrast, the dinner arrangement was mouth-watering. It was at the terrace of the Hotel with an amazing view of the entire town. End of another tiring, yet a beautiful day of our trip!
3)Day-3 Khajjiar and Dalhousie
We started our day visiting the riverside of the town. Sound of a raging river of mud flowing over shiny stones was too loud. We could hardly spend 10 mins since the water level was expected to increase anytime. However, it was an intense experience. 
River-side
We then returned to our hotel rooms and had breakfast. Breakfast was really good with all the options starting from fruits, juices, milk and cornflakes, sandwich, Upma, Parathas, and Matke ka Dahi. I would definitely recommend this hotel based on their good management and quality of food.
Chamba is famous for temples as well. We visited many temples nearby and got a chance to see many ornate stone carvings there. I was feeling truly blessed.

Soon we started our journey to Kajjiar which is known as Mini Switzerland of India. The route was a scenic one through the forest. The subtle drizzles and music added charm to the whole experience. There is plenty of wildlife in the forest and the area has been now considered a sanctuary for the wild famous as Chamba Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sanctuary
We reached Kajjiar at 11 am. Khajjiar sits on a small plateau with a small stream-fed lake in the middle that has been covered over with weeds. It was a perfect picnic spot.
There were a plethora of sports activities for kids. I did a zorbing with my niece. That was an exciting experience and a perfect aunt-niece time. I had planned to do paragliding but the activity was closed due to the heavy prediction of rainfall๐Ÿ˜”. It is still in my bucket list. However, we spent good quality time there and left the place with bundles of memories.
After  20 mins drive, we reached Kalatop hills. We climbed the hills through the sloppy ways making our own way and enjoying every moment of it. The blue sky with a few patches of clouds, green pine trees, the breeze of air made the entire surrounding soothing. That place was so calm with just a few tourists. There was not a single piece of litter to put dirt on the beauty. It felt no less than a heaven.
Beyond The Clouds!
We moved further towards Dalhousie which is a small and a beautiful hill-station offering picturesque views of pine and oak forest. We checked-in to our hotel "The President". This was so far the best hotel of our trip and we got a luxury family suite room. The view from our room balcony was fascinating. It was evening time. We thought to roam around the town. We walked through the narrow roads surrounded by trees listening to the sounds of birds and bees. This was a perfect moment, ever imposed in my thoughts!
View 
The clock showed 8 PM and it was time for dinner. Dinner was amazing too, so as was the hotel. We were totally satisfied with the hotel's service. We enjoyed the dinner, soon hit the bed so that we can get proper rest and enjoy the last day of our trip to the fullest.
4)Day-4 (Dalhousie and Amritsar)
Standing in the balcony, holding a cup of tea with breezes touching my face was the sign of a perfect start of the day. Sun-rays kissing the foggy mountains were unforgettable.
Breakfast was nutritious enough that included puri bhaji, sandwich, and parathas with curd. It was altogether a king-size breakfast. We checked out of the hotel with a good experience.

Breakfast served
I was sad the other day because I couldn't do paragliding. However, I didn't know some other unplanned rope-crossing and zip-line experience is waiting for me at Punchpula to compensate for the loss. I was extremely happy and excited while doing it. There are many options available based on the difficulty level. I left the place feeling content.

✅✅✅ Bucket list

Then we were traveling back to Amritsar to fly back to Pune. I wish I could have stayed there for some more days. But deep down in my heart, I knew that this is not the end but a continuous journey which will always be a part of my life. Keeping all the memories and insane beauty of Himalayas in my heart we moved to Amritsar. We all knew this memory will last forever in everyone's heart.
En-route Amritsar we stopped to some random Dhaba at Pathankot for lunch. I took a glass of lassi to beat the heat. It was a kind-of hot day once we reached Punjab. I remember enjoying the World cup match between India and England there for some time. Yes boys, I love cricket!
While traveling to Punjab, I witnessed great acts of humanity, spirit, and kindness from the villagers. Since the temperature was high ranging between 35-40 degree celsius, they were serving the crowd with refreshing drinks like cold water, sherbet, and Jal jeera. Also, they were using steel glasses considering the cleanliness factor. Pedestal fans were arranged to get some relief from the heat. There were multiple stalls in every village. We stopped at one of the stalls and enjoyed the drinks.
Our cab driver was really nice. He took us to some of the agricultural farm areas and gave us a glimpse of rural Punjab. Agriculture is one of the important occupations and most of the people depend on it for their livelihood. 
We reached Amritsar at 5 PM and were left with plenty of time since our flight was scheduled to depart at 11 PM. We made a sudden plan to visit "The Golden Temple" again to get its evening and night view. The fountain outside the Temple was attracting the pigeons around it. The Temple along with its magnificent structure surrounded by a pond was enough to amaze us again. You need to visit the Temple twice to experience two different views. Firstly, during the day time when the sun shines and second, after sunset. I am sure you will be left mesmerized and stunned. Try it out!

Waheguru ๐Ÿ™
Here comes the end of our trip! The driver dropped us to Amritsar Airport. We flew to Pune with tons of memory which will be cherished always.

This time I traveled with Aroma Travel Desk agency. I had a wonderful experience with them and would recommend you guys also. On a scale of 10, I  give them 8.
Aroma Travel Desk
Whatsapp:91-9418223615
Phone: 91-1899-225177
Email:aromatraveldesk@yahoo.com

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Website: www.gogirlltravel.com

Comments

  1. Very nice pics dear.. Enjoy๐Ÿ˜

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for bringing the memories in a blog's form ๐Ÿ˜Š

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amazing content.
    First ever travel Story which i have loved. Learnt alot for it. Will also take break and visit and try to write something like this. Motivational
    Kudos

    ReplyDelete

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