Our DDLJ Weekend! ~ Gurdaspur, Punjab

Throw the backpack on your shoulder and give a break to your tick tock mechanical life. Forget the mountains or the sea, why not head to our very own Punjab ke khet! 

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It was the Independence Day long weekend and I was going to be in Delhi right before that for work, so I of course seized the opportunity to extend my stay. Just as run of the mill as it could be, my friends and I started figuring out which hill station we could get to. The figuring out went on till the very last day and so of course getting an accommodation at this super short notice was out of the question. It was then that my bulb lit, a little research and Gurdaspur it was!

Almost 500 kilometres more or less, more if you take the route via Amritsar and less if you go via Jalandhar. We took the latter on our way there and former on the way back.

The hour’s drive from Amritsar to Gurdaspur is an absolute must. The gleaming expanse of green till as far as you could see was calming to the senses.

And after a bit of struggle with the GPS, we finally arrived at our destination – ‘The Kothi’ quite simply named so after what it really was. A huge bungalow typical of the old ancestral style that you see more so in the northern belt.

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Scattered around were cherished pieces of memory in the form of old pictures of the family and collectibles. The entire place had a warm sepia charm to it. The owners have an excellent cook at your disposal and boy, do they not cook up a storm!! They prepared simple home style Punjabi meals which were so finger licking good. One of the best home stay food I’ve ever had. The rooms were big and spacious and with bigger terraces all around.

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The Kothi reminded us of that same house in Punjab, where Kajol was going to be married in DDLJ, all that was missing was the ‘mehndi laga ke rakhna’ song! So a little posing was inevitable 😉

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For those bored of modern hotel luxury and like me are a fan of home stays, a personal touch and delicious homely food, The Kothi with its rustic aura ranks high on my list. A  wonderful experience except for the fact that the owner sitting in the US charged us extra taxes which she graciously returned to my account on being pointed out later.

Our evening was spent walking along the canal and as the sun gradually set so did the mist on the water which felt a little spooky as if spirits had congregated together and formed a blanket all over.

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The next morning, we took the tonga ride in local style and headed towards the ‘sarso ke khet’ minus the ‘sarso’ because we went in August and those beautiful mustard feilds bloom only in winter. None the less the lierally golden glow on those green fields surrounding us on all sides were such a relief from the maddening city life we left some 7 hours behind.

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We did quite a bit of I would say non city stuff including eating sweet guavas straight from the tree, reminded me of the days when we climed and plucked guavas (my favourite fruit) at my grandfather’s house in Patna during our school summer holidays.

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Here’s the equally sweet man who helped us with those guavas 🙂

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And I couldn’t resist gettingg close to those innocent little calves.

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With this kind of romantic setting, now of course a DDLJ pose was an absolute must! The only one missing was our Raj 🙂

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Having read its reviews earlier, we drove down to ‘Punjabiyat’ early evening just to see what it looked like and have dinner as an excuse. It was a tiny resort sort of a place with individual mud cottages smack in the middle of the pretty fields and also a tiny library where we spent some time chatting and soaking in the much needed serenity and peace.

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The dinner room had just one table, very nicely done up though with cozy vibes. We eagerly awaited dinner having sky rocketing expectations already. But just one bite and it all came spiralling down to a crash! Just as good as the place was, the food was as bad. I mean how could a Punjabi meal go so wrong!

And when the bill arrived, coincidentally so was a reminder of our Independence Day in a town which was at the eye of all the partition struggle. It was 1947!

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It had starting raining outside and we somehow rode back through the field in pitch ‘deep black’ dark! The only source of light was our car’s headlights. If someone in white would even casually cross our path, we would take it for a ghost and probably suffer a stroke. It was that dark and scary! So if you happen to be there be sure to remember ways, your 3G might not come very handy, even if so, definitely not the GPS.

The little weekend trip came to an end with a hearty breakfast of punjabi aloo and gobhi parathas smothered generously with ghee.

For the journey don’t forget to try the mouth watering amritsari chhole kulche from the small vendors selling on their bicyles. Cheap and very very tasty, you’ll be left wanting more. That was on our way there and back, I couldnt resist stopping at one of the Gurudwaras for my all time favourite kada prasad, the halwa dripping in ghee. It was my ‘no sugar’ challenge month which I was religiously following all this while but when it’s Gurudwara’s halwa in my hand which we shamelessly asked for more, I didnt care! I gobbled it all up! Haha!

Will be back again in winter for ‘sarso ke khet’ and to relish ‘makkai ki roti’ & ‘sarso ka saag’ made the pure Punjabi way.

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….. and oh did I mention that a friend told me that one of the rooms at Punjabiyat is said to be haunted. Guess it’s correct for we did spot ghosts there….who looked a bit like us 😉

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This one was the scariest though!

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Published by Geetanjali Prasad

For a decade or so, I worked as a television news reporter, producer and anchor and dabbled in genres like entertainment, business, real estate, sports and travel for different television channels. Currently since the last five years, I am taking care of the subject of climate change and green buildings by visual storytelling through digital platforms for an American organisation. I have started this blog purely for love of writing and pursuit of extraordinary stories (as the name suggests) by looking for people who have done immensely inspiring work or overcame situations that demanded exceptional grit and determination. I want to document and share these stories with the world in the hope that it motivates more people including me to be just a little kinder to everything and everyone (including animals & environment) around us, a bit more fearless to fight for what is right and the endurance to achieve what we envision.

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