To Punjab and Beyond: Our Next Travel Plans
Last week, I was living with my host family in a small village named Lingthem in Dzongu Valley. The valley – guarded by the mighty Kanchenjunga is located in North Sikkim. There, I met a group of local travelers from Sikkim. One of them spoke so fondly about his time in Punjab. “Vibrant, chatty, and full of smiles,” he would tell me about the people of Punjab. “I found them to be extremely helpful and generous. Moreover, the food is awesome,” my friend would go on. It was then that I wondered why I or Nathan had never made plans of visiting Punjab.
India! India is a country Nathan and I both love. Nathan called India his home for five years. As soon as he is available to travel again next year, we want to plan a big India trip, starting from Mumbai. I have Twitter friends in Mumbai who had always told me to come visit the beloved Maharashtrian metropolises. When I finished Gregory David Roberts’ book Shantaram, I was left with a strong desire to travel to Mumbai, to sit at Leopold Cafe, or roam freely in Colaba Causeway. We want to sit side by side with locals and finish a plate of pav bhaji but also head to chic, modern cafes dishing up fusion cuisine in the city.
So I feel like Mumbai would be a nice starting point for our trip, where we can spend a few days, and take the flight from Mumbai to Amritsar to start the second leg of our journey. Once in Amritsar, we can check out the Wagah border ceremony, and the magnificent golden temple and devour plates full of Amritsari biryani. We also want to head to Patiala and Ludhiana, and then visit Chandigarh.
I remember last year when I was traveling in Shillong, my host Anne told me her encounters with a group of Punjabis inside the train. She was showered with homemade sweets. They all sang and danced together. “It was like a party inside the train,” Anne would tell me. It is now our dream to visit the vibrant, bustling cities of Punjab and the rural countryside brimming with life.
The third leg of our journey would be the beautiful, mesmerizing Himachal Pradesh. We will travel to Dharamshala from Chandigarh – embracing the scenic views of the snow-clad hills. When we last went to Dharamshala, we stayed in a quaint Himachali hamlet named Dharmkot. Our cottage was nestled in a beautiful garden full of deodar trees, and every morning, we would wake up to the chirping sounds of the birds and watch the morning sun looming over the peaks. It was surreal. Next time, we want to head to Bir, and try our hands at paragliding. We are also planning to travel and experience the slow, mountain life in Chamba, and Jibhi.
That’ll be the end of our mainland India journey and we’ll fly to Guwahati, to experience life in Majuli and beyond. Nathan has never been to the Northeast region in India yet and I’m so excited to show him the pretty corners of Meghalaya.
So this is our next big travel plan. We would be flying to Mumbai from Colombo, and then taking another flight from Mumbai to Amritsar before continuing our journey on the road. Of course, planning a big, long trip isn’t easy! We’ll be boarding a few trains as well. The only time we both together boarded a train in India was the Gatimaan Express from Delhi to Agra and back. We booked our train tickets from Sri Lanka via Cleartrip and it was a smooth, easy process.
Now is the time to plan! We are so curious to know your travel plans as well. Let us know in the comments below.