Published: July 30th 2011May 27th 2011
Got up at 4:40am and we all got ready by 6:15 and settled the hotel bills and when we were about to take the luggage to our bikes there was a huge down pour and delayed our start. Luckily it got reduced after about 45 minutes. Though it stopped raining we loaded the entire luggage and wore our rain coats and got fully suited up and left after taking a few snaps in front of the hotel.
We finally left at 7:30am. We drove through the well structured roads of Chandigarh and Mohali. A few minutes into the ride and rain gods decided to come back again. Once we were out of Mohali we rode through kharar, Morinda, furore, Khamnon, Samrala and reached Jullandar by about 9am.
At Morinda though the gate at the railway crossing was open we did encounter another kind of crossing “A buffalo crossing”. A herd of buffalos crossed the road around 50 of them, so we had no choice but to stop our bikes and wait patiently until the last buffalo crossed on to the other side of the road.
Though the road from Chandigarh to Jallandar NH95 is still one of the old 2 lane highways which is un divided it was smooth and fairly wide but we had to be very careful as any undivided highway as there were many vehicles which would come to our lane while overtaking.
One thing I noticed on all the boards on the shops was that all of them have their owner’s names and their mobile nos on them unlike our area where the address is displayed on them. All the liquor shops are called “English wine and Beer shops”.(commando RUM )
At jallandar took a right from NH 95 onto NH1 (Grand trunk road). If I remember this was one of the oldest and longest highways in India. It starts from New Delhi to Attari at the border between India and Pakistan. Orginally the road started from Lahore in Pakistan. The present day NH 1 passes through Amritsar, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat and Delhi. It runs for a distance of 456 km (283 mi). The Delhi–Lahore Bus travels on NH 1 in India. At Jallandar we had to do some guessing game as the board on showing directions was covered with an election banner with some photos of netas.
After getting on to NH1 just past Jallandar stopped for Breakfast in one of the dhabas “Highway Vaishnodevi Dhaba”. Had piping hot Allu paranthas with butter, Channa masala and curds. I always enjoy Allu parotas but an authentic Panjabi Alu parota is something out of this world.
After breakfast took off our raincoats as the rain stopped and it was bright with sunshine. We rode at an average speed of 75 kms and drove through Phagwara and Beas and reached Jandiala guru where Sunil’s nephew’s friend Mannu (Santosh Jain) met us on the highway. He took us to his palatial farm house which is attached to his rice farm and his huge rice processing plant.
We had refreshing cold Rose Milk soda and sat and chatted for a about half an hour. We left his farm at
2 pm and reached Amritsar and Jallianwala bagh and checked into our hotel “Hotel golden tower” at 2:30pm.
We all ordered lunch, freshened up and by the time we finished our lunch our transport to Wagah border arrived by 4pm. Mannu Jain had sent his innova along with his driver to take us to the border. An 7 footer “Shukram Singh” Punjab plolice escort with an AK 47 took us to the border and made sure we were well seated in the VIP part of the stadium. Thanks to JP’s neighbour in the Bangalore-Delhi flight who had told JP about the need for the VIP arrangements to visit to wagah border.
The ceremony of retreat and joint flag unhoisting is definitely a life time experience. I always wanted to visit the border and watch this ceremony but never knew that Amritsar was just 30 kms from the border until I started planning this trip. Lahore is just 29 kms from Atari. Sitting at the ceremony a new idea came in my mind that I need to visit Lahore someday. May be being a Rotarian can give an opportunity someday. A big thanks to Sunil Bhaglani, his nephew Pavan from Bombay who helped us in organizing our trip to the border with VIP passes without which our visit to the border would have been a big fiasco where we had to wait in the queue of some 14,000 odd people.
By the time we finished the ceremony and came back to Amritsar it was 8pm and we requested our handsome Satram singh to drop us off at the Harmandir Sahib (The world famous Golden temple). Before we entered the temple another senior Panjabi police who saw us spoke to us. He called us and explained us what all to do while inside the Sanctum sanatorium.
We went to the stall where we give keep our foot wear and we were humbled by the people who were sitting there to polish everyones shoes. Ravish reminded that our Ex President Gyani zail Singh once came and did the same during his presidency.
We went for a stroll around the lake inside the campus went into the temple by 8:30pm and came out by 9pm.
Later we took a cycle rickshaw and went to the one and only “Kesar Da Daba” inside the Market town. The roads were like a maze, narrow with innumerable lefts and right turns. The ride on the rickshaw was a torture as we had decided to go on a single one all three of us that is. We ordered the famous Amritsari parantha, Allu da parantha and what they called Chapati which was almost like our Kulchas. We were served these with Black dhal fry, Channa masala, raita made of besan ka bundhi, achar and onions. We shared all 3 kinds of breads as we wanted to taste all of them. The breads were oozing with butter and the curries were drowned in oil. JP was a little hesitant seeing so much of fat. Ravish and Myself being foodies of “Highway on the Plate” kinds ate the whole thing without a second thought and I can tell that I thoroughly enjoyed the taste. It was heavenly. I always heard about the taste of Panjabi food, though I have eaten quite a lot the so called Panjabi food in Bangalore. But eating a parantha in “Kesar da Daba” in Amritsar the heart of Punjab is the best thing.
We then returned to our hotel “The golden tower” and saw some snaps which we took that day and decided to retire a little early by 10:30pm. What a day experienced all the lovely Panjabi Courtesy extended by Mannu, real authentic Panjabi cuisine started and ended the day with mouth watering Alu paranthas. Moovva
All in all the Day 2 went better than the original plan and another curtain fall until the next day starts.
Photos of Day - 2