Amritsar Dalhousie Mcleodganj Travelogue May, 2017.

#1 Jul 10th, 2017, 00:36
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  • rohinton is offline
Travelogue Amritsar-Dalhousie-Dharamsala-Mcleodganj, May, 2017

We (family of four)webchecked in time for our Indigo flight on 23rd May, 2017 and not intending to eat horribly expensive inflight food, we had packed sandwiches which are allowed on low cost flights.The rule is; no liquids. Anyways, water is supplied free on Indigo flights.
We reached Amritsar Airport by afternoon and got a cab from the Megacabs counter at the airport for Rs.470/- for hotel Sahilinn, located close to the Golden Temple which I had booked through the website, after reaching close to the hotel, since big vehicles were not allowed near the Golden Temple and since a section of the road nearby was totally blocked for vehicles,we were forced to alight and catch a rickshaw paying Rs. 50/-.
We checked in the family room and left for lunch at Bharwan da dhaba which is a very utterly butterly nice vegetarian restaurant! Yep. Most dishes come with a dollop of butter!
We saw the small Partition museum in the beautiful municipal building right opposite Bharwan da dhaba.

Then , left for Gobindgarh.

We paid Rs.1000 (250*4) for entrance and 7D show. You can easily spend three to four hours here.You have a variety of activities to do here like horseriding, Segway,shooting balloons, Virtual realty etc.For the food lovers, there are various counters serving all varieties of food.The animated 7D Show shows the life of Maharaja Ranjitsingh.We also saw a exhibition of lifelike silicone models of Sikh warriors, etc which was still under process but we liked what was already there. At 18.00 you can see the cultural show which includes three or four folk dances and one martial arts exhibition. At 19.00 you can see the whispering walls show where the side of the fort is used as a screen. The MC speaks pure punjabi which we from Mumbai could barely understand.
my youtube links
After this we left for our dinner at Zyka, near the Golden temple which was a somewhat posh restaurant compared to Bharwan da dhaba, but still good and reasonable.
Day 2

We left for The Golden Temple through the back entrance which was closest to Sahil inn. Guys, you do not need to buy a cloth Rs.10/- to keep to your head covered because there is a big container of sorts with such strips of cloth just outside the entrance.Despite seeing the pictures of the temple before coming here, the sight still took our breath away.My youtube link
Seeing the long line for entering the inner sanctum, which we could estimate would take at least three hours we decided to skip it and try our luck at night. Since, we had to leave early at 14.00 for going to Wagah border in hired AC Indigo car (Rs.1200)arranged by manager of Sahil inn (If you go by shared non-AC vehicles, it may be much cheaper), we decided to see the Jallianwallah Baug adjacent to the Golden Temple.You can easily spend an hour here in the gardens here and look at the small museum showing pictures and tales of residents during the carnage which took place in 1919 on an arrogant generals orders.
We went for lunch at The Punjabi Dhaba which was not as good as Bharwan da Dhaba.Then left for Wagah Border.It takes atleast ninety minutes to reach the border. The cars will take you to the parking area. After that you have to walk. Do use the washrooms as you will be inside for two to three hours,though if you go during the hot season, you will sweat so much you won't need to! You will be checked thoroughly before entering. Nothing can prepare for you for the shock as you enter the stadium.Loud music,people sitting close to each other like sardines in a tincan and the unbearable heat(this was in May, 2017).You will be told by the armymen to sit in the stands specified by them.You cannot choose where you want to sit. Despite reaching by 15.45, it was already jam packed and we had to sit on the steps and that , too away from the gates where the actual action;flag lowering takes place.
You have to be really lucky to sit close to the gates.Apart from this,there is absolutely no shade at all from the hot sun. We finished off four 1 litre bottles of water during the time we were there. Small hand held fans were being sold for Rs.20/- Small children and women are allowed to run with the Indian flag, nationality no bar!
Children and women are invited to dance to patriotic songs. Style, no bar. I saw some ladies from Maharashtra doing Foogdi! After that the lowering of the respective flags takes place with the famous high kicks of the soldiers from both sides. Nothing arouses our patriotic instincts like a India-Pakistan cricket match but this parade does come somewhat close. Do carry an umbrella.Don't go on a Sunday. My youtube link. After that back to Amritsar with dinner at Charming Chicken, a restaurant about which I had read so much which lived up to my expectations.We went again to the Golden Temple but the long queue again deterred us from reaching the inner sanctum. We did click pictures of the Beautiful Temple in the night.

Third Day

We set off for Dalhousie in a Etios hired from Shiva Travels Mr.Vipan Mob no. 919814282186 landline no.01835099333 and driver Mr. Niranjan Singh (Rs.17500 for 7 days all inclusive).We stopped at Chennai Express,a restaurant for breakfast. We took around five hours to reach Bali's villa , a Airbnb place run by Deepshika and Vinay, a husband and wife team.
youtube link We had a late lunch ordered from Old Sher-e Punjab which was nice and reasonable.After that we visited the bazaar area. Here you can get your picture clicked with a rabbit.We had dinner at Mongas about which , too I had read nice things.That, too wasn't disapointing. Pictures attached.
Here, I would like to mention that parking in this bazaar area is a drivers nightmare, especially on a holiday though a paid parking lot is there close by.

Fourth day

After delicious breakfast (included in room price)at our Airbnb homestay, Bali's villa, we left for Khajjiar and Dainkund.
On the way, we saw a road leading towards Kalatop but did not stop as I had read that there was nothing to see there and that it would be a waste of time.
We reached Khajjiar within a hour. We negotiated for paragliding for two people @ Rs. 3500 which included going to the cliff, paragliding and coming back to Khajjiar in their vehicle but then decided to wait for a while before deciding finally. Then, we got busy clicking snaps of the beautiful meadow. Here, you can do horseriding,
and Zorbing and also do some sort of paragliding with hardly any elevation in the meadow itself, which we avoided. Then the rain Gods decided to spoil our trip. We had to take shelter in the enclosure built over the lake.
Instead of wasting time, we decided to have lunch there at a restaurant and then set off hoping that the rain would stop and we could proceed to Dainkund.The rain did stop but only for a while and soon hailstones were hitting the car roof.We had to cancel going to Dainkund and were forced to return to our homestay.But that was not the end of our troubles. Soon after reaching, the lights went off in our area . Our host, Deepshikha of Bali's villa was nice enough to bring candles.
She informed us that this was a rare occurence. Only because lightning had struck some electrical wires, this had happened. We ordered food again from Old Sher-e Punjab and they were nice enough to send it in pitch darkness. Mercifully, the lights arrived later.

Fifth Day

It was a sunny day as we set off for Dainkund reaching in forty-five minutes.Here, after reaching the parking lot we have to climb around 1500 metres. But, unfit people need not worry as there are lots of benches on the way where you can rest and then continue. I found the view while going up was much better with the snowclad dhauladhar range on your left as you climb, then the one at the top.
My youtube link. From there, we started for Chamera lake almost 30 kms away.The winding road leading downwards to the lake from the dam made all of us dizzy.We had lunch there from the plethora of options available.Then booked a motorboat for a thirty minute ride around the lake. The guy who operates the motorboat acts as a guide and points out interesting sights.
my youtube link. Rates for the boat rides are shown in the video.While going back, the security guy was nice enough to allow us to take a shortcut and we reached the top fast.We had the option of going to Panjpulla for some mild adventure activity as we had reached Dalhousie early but decided not to. Instead we went to the market area and decided to buy dinner from Kwality restaurant and Bon Appetit.
Food from Kwality was just about ok but the chicken items from Bon Appetit were lovely.

Sixth Day

We left for Mcleodganj reaching our hotel Greenwoods Inn, close to TIPA (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts) , my youtube link booked through in five hours delayed by one hour because it was a Sunday and the narrow roads do not allow 2 way traffic. Two traffic cop stand with walkie-talkies at two places and direct traffic.It was too late for any sightseeing that day so we just went to the market area after checking in and walking one and a half km from our hotel and had cakes (nice) and tea(okay) at Woeser Bakery. We walked back and relaxed in room. Later we had dinner at restaurant in Greenwoods Inn.This restaurant is really good for punjabi food.
My Mcleodganj youtube link
Seventh Day

First , we went to see Dalai Lama Temple Complex.It is a beautiful temple full of worshippers. In fact, we felt as if we are intruding into some peoples space. The adjacent Tibetan museum was closed as it was a Monday.
We left for Bhagsunag Waterfalls reaching in less than a hour.After reaching the parking lot you have to walk quite a distance uphill to reach the falls.We went in May and the falls was just a trickle.Very dissapointing. my youtube link. From there, we went to Naddi view point. This viewpoint is a little ahead of the dull lake, oops Dal lake which we did not bother to stop as I had read about it. Religious people can stop here to pray at the temple. You can enjoy the view at Naddi view point but you may want to avoid the guys showing some points through telescope. .Guy shows some random bungalow and says, "That is a village" ! He will also show some more points. But, do take some pictures of yourselves wearing Tibetan dress through the extremely sweet, polite Tibetan girl there.

We also saw the old church "St John in the wilderness" .

After that back to Mcleodganj market area for lunch at Tibet Kitchen.We loved the crispy chicken honey chilly and the momos and the lamb thupka. We just wandered around the market and visited Krepe Pancake hut and had waffles with icecream even though we were so full! We also visited the Kalchakra temple which is located in the middle of the Jogiwara Road.Then, back to the hotel walking.

Eighth Day

We left early for the beautiful Dharamsala cricket ground after delicious spanish breakfast at Hotel Greenwoods Inn.

From there to the Norbulingka Institute where we saw the beautiful temple and also learnt the tremendous effort the artisans make for their creations. The japanese inspired gardens with fountains, fishpond, etc leave you with a sense of peace.Tickets are Rs.40/-
my youtube link

After that, we saw the Gyuto Monastery picture and lastly a short visit to the Tapovan complex with the giant Hanuman statue and also a temple.
Then, back to Mcleodganj for lunch at Jimmy's Italian kitchen.We had Alfredo chicken mushroom, grilled chicken salami and cheddar sandwich and baked penne with mozarella (all lovely dishes) and apple crumble (just ok) and Chocolate super fudge brownie(lovely).
Then, we visited the free Tibetan museum which we had missed because of it being closed on Monday. The Museum depicts the struggle of the Tibetan people in trying to assert their rights against the Chinese occupation through pictures and short videos. After going through the museum(especially the self-immolation pictures), ones heart bleeds for the Tibetan people.
For dinner, we visited Trek n Dine in Dharamkot which is around three kms away from Mcleodganj and one and a half km from Greenwoods Inn where we were staying. We missed eating at the Morgan's Place which is a stone's throw away from Trek n Dine and had good reviews.We had Cheese pizza,basil bruschetta,chilly con carne and chocolate brownie and shakes which were all very good.

Eighth day

My apprehensions about missing the flight from the Amritsar Airport were totally unfounded as we left Mcleodganj at 6.45 am and we had enough time to have breakfast at Chennai Express outside Amritsar and shop at Bansal sweets in Amritsar for chocolate barfi and other sweets by 12.00 and then reach the airport by 13.30 for Vistara flight at 15.15 via Delhi.
Here, I would like to mention that Vistara is a full scale carrier with budget prices and serves nice meals even on short flights.

Hope you enjoyed reading and watching my videos. Questions and comments including criticism for any mistakes made by me , welcome.
I will post pictures later.
Last edited by rohinton; Jul 10th, 2017 at 00:42.. Reason: Forgot to add kalchakra temple in the travelogue
#2 Jul 14th, 2017, 00:24
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  • rohinton is offline

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