If I would be granted one wish, I would ask for the liberty to travel all the time. The traveloholic in me would have been such a gratified and contented soul. Each and every trip that I take, leaves me yearning for some more. But that’s how it is with most of us, isn’t it? Who doesn’t like to travel and dream? Just as we were getting over the hangover of our short vacation in Singapore, we set out for yet another one. This time though, we hit the roads and drove 2000 kilometers to reach Manali, the most popular hill station in Himachal Pradesh.
Driving 2000 kms, that too with a four-year-old sounds difficult. But let me tell you, for us, the pleasure of driving on the highway is worth it. Our first halt was Allahabad which is about 790 kms away from Calcutta. This was quite a distance and all we did upon reaching was relaxing in the hotel. Our next stop was Agra, where we spent two days.
Agra, the city on the banks of the river Yamuna and home to one of the seven wonders of the world, The Taj Mahal. This mausoleum or makhbara was built by the Mughal king Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz. Well, The Taj Mahal needs no introduction. Every Indian takes pride in this one of a kind masterpiece that is the glory of our nation. As our tourist guide narrated the history of this monument of love, I stood there glaring at the grandeur that illustrates the sheer lavishness and opulence of the bygone era.
The Taj Mahal being the most significant attraction in Agra, people mostly end it there. But there are other phenomenal and magnificent monuments that one mustn’t miss. For example, the Agra Fort, Tomb of Akbar the Great, Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah and Mehtab Bagh etc. Since we went at a time when summer was at its peak and the heat was getting unbearable for my li’l one, I couldn’t manage to click too many pictures. The little that I could are posted here.
After our short time at Agra, we set out for Chandigarh, also referred to as “The City Beautiful”. The drive from Agra to Chandigarh was on the most beautiful and expansive highways in the country – The Yamuna Expressway. This is the longest six-lane highway our nation has. Driving on this stretch will definitely make you want this road to never end. It did for us, because as road trippers, we know the comfort and peace of mind of driving on rare highways like these.
It took us about 7 hours to cover 460 kms till Chandigarh. Now my anxiety to reach the hills was rising. It was getting a bit difficult to curb my eagerness to reach Manali soon. The mountains were calling out. The evening at Chandigarh wasn’t anything eventful. While my husband slept off for a good number of hours, my li’l one and I went ahead to Elante Mall for shopping.
Next day was the day I was looking forward to. We started our drive towards the hills. As we began going uphill, the cool weather, the fresh air and the sight of mountains, took my breath away. Oh the mountains !
And on our way, see what caught my eyes ! This was more than tempting I tell you. Jabelis made in desi ghee, oh how could I let go.
And aren’t they adorable?
It started raining on the way and we had to slow down. We reached the resort about an hour later than we had anticipated. Nonetheless, the resort looked so welcoming and cosy, the extra time we spent driving was forgotten.
And this is where we checked in.
The day we checked in, all we could do was sit back, relax and get carried away by the spectacular view of the mountains from our room. The quietude, the tranquility and the calmness you sense in the air while at the hills is addictive. You always come back to the hills, therefore.
The next day welcomed us with heavy rains. We sipped hot tea and coffee, read a bit, played a bit and ate a lot. It was a day well spent watching the raindrops hitting the mountains.
The action began from the next day when we ventured out after breakfast. We started with a bit of fooling around.
Later, a lazy stroll and great Italian food at Il Forno is just what we needed in this vacation. I totally recommend this place for their delectable food and impressive scenic view from the café.
Next day was some more sightseeing. A monastery and the famous Naggar Castle. Do not miss stopping over at this castle while you are in Manali.
Our short stay at Manali was ending but I must say we had such a good time. The weather was pleasant with heavy rains on the last day of our stay. We remained indoors and gorged on delectable food all along. It was again time to hit the hilly roads and drive down to Kasauli. A small hill station known very well for its immaculate natural beauty.
On our way.
And this is where we stayed for the next two days. This resort in Kasauli served the best food we had had during our entire trip this time. There isn’t anything to do here other than relaxing and luxuriating in the greens and unspoiled nature. A walk along the picturesque hills is also a good idea.
And then the rains. What an incredible evening it was. Hot chai and watching the rains outside. You must be there to be enthralled by an experience such as this. As it started drizzling on the balcony my li’l one looked outside, all mesmerised.
We headed back to Calcutta, once again halting at the same cities we did while coming. To and fro 4000 kms, a two weeks long trip it was and one memorable one. Road trips are always what we look forward to. The highways have a charm that’s like being under a spell. Once you hit the road, you always want to do it again and again. As I end this post, I am already making plans for our next road trip in my mind. Until then.