I love travelling and so does my family. Since my husband loves driving, there have been many times that we have taken road trips. Every trip has been a memorable one.
Having said that the trip that was most memorable and awesome for many reasons was the one we took from Mumbai to Himachal Pradesh. The trip of 11 days traversing across 8 states was an out of the world experience.
My kids are born and brought up in Mumbai and we wanted them to experience other parts of the country. We wanted them to meet people from other states, have a feel of the rich Indian heritage and to come out of their comfort zone once. Without any doubts me and my husband are avid lovers of Himachal Pradesh.
We planned our trip during the end of December as my son’s birthday falls in that week. We wanted a different kind of celebration for him. We had started planning for the trip 2-3 months in advance chalking out the route we would take, deciding the halts, booked the hotels only in Shimla and Manali after a lot of research, the approximate number of days for the trip and so on. The kids were really excited.
Finally, came our journey day. We started from Mumbai in the evening with our car stereo blaring latest hits, we munching chips and chewing gums, nonstop chattering. By late night decided to stop over in Rajasthan. We stayed in a very small place there. Next morning, we started for our journey again. We could see how the landscape changed, how the dialect and dress of the people changed. My kids were exposed to Rajasthani culture for the first time. We all relished the authentic Rajasthani thali in the dhaba shivering in the cold at night!!
Our next halt was at Gurugram. We couldn’t wait any longer to reach Himachal; my daughter was very excited as she had never seen Himachal before. As we entered Himachal, we stopped at a very small dhaba and had aloo parantha with butter. The parantha tasted out of the world; it had that typical North Indian taste. Late evening we reached Shimla. We encountered the Himachal winters! For 2 days, we enjoyed Shimla, Chail Palace, and the other surrounding beautiful locations. Next stop for us was Manali. We had booked the heritage Naggar Castle in Kullu for our stay. When we reached Kullu the temperature was subzero. Naggar Castle was so beautiful that I cannot describe it in words. The view from the room was to die for. Our room overlooked the mountains, which were snow covered. We visited Roerich art gallery, Hadimba Devi temple, Manali Mall road, had garam jalebi and doodh, and strolled around Manali!
Then we bid adieu to Manali and started for our next stop, Agra! After resting in the night, we went to see the Taj Mahal early in the morning. Taj Mahal’s beauty needs no introduction, the kids were mesmerized. We got an awesome guide who made our Taj Mahal trip memorable. We also saw the Agra Fort. History has so much in store for us. After the sight-seeing we started our journey again, had a sumptuous daal-roti-sabzi meal in a very small dhaba but the taste was awesome! We got to hear totally different dialects in Rajasthan and UP.
Our last halt was at Udaipur, the city of lakes. We stayed in a heritage resort again, which was built during the British era. It had an old world charm. The hotel overlooked the entire Udaipur city. We visited the lake, the fort, and in general Udaipur city.
Now was the time to go back home to aamchi Mumbai. We didn’t want our road trip to end but our routine beckoned us. After all the new experiences of different highways, dhabas, languages, extreme winters, we entered our very own familiar Mumbai. The road trip was also memorable in that we as a family bonded without gadgets, without any tensions and stress of office, work, home, school, studies. We only had fun.
People were surprised that my husband didn’t get tired even after such long drives and that we didn’t get fatigued after such a long journey! When you enjoy something, you don’t feel tired!
Awaiting our next road trip to another new destination, enjoying the richness of our country’s history and culture.