Saturday, November 8, 2014

"Twisted" tale of bread

Bread Poha

What happens when you are left with boring pieces of bread at home without much options besides butter, jam or omlette? You either end up forcing yourself to sandwich them or throw them after they turn stale. I chose to give the bread pieces a nice twist and turn them into an interesting poha. This is bread poha. No, I hold no patent of invention. This dish has existed for years! I am sharing a quick, light and healthy breakfast fix with you all.

Things needed- Heavy bottomed pan, cooking oil, Bread pieces (any type), tomatoes, onions, mustard seeds, curry leaves, salt.

Cooking method-
1. Cut the bread pieces into cubes. Slice onions and tomatoes. Keep these aside.

2.Heat oil in pan. Add mustard seeds. Optionally you can add peanuts or raw chana daal in oil and fry them till they brown. (I skipped peanuts, as they are not too healthy). Add curry leaves and dried red chilly, once mustard seeds start crackling.

3. Add onions to the pan.Keep stirring till onions turn light brown. Add the diced tomatoes.
When the tomato dices turn pulpy and start to dehydrate, add bread cubes in the pan. Add salt to taste.

4. Stir the content in the pan and add a little water. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

I used brown bread for this dish. You can use multigrain bread as well. Any kind of cooking oil can be used, be it ghee or refined oil. I used mustard oil.

This healthy, lip smacking dish barely takes 10 minutes. This preparation is low on cholesterol and has the necessary spices required by body for daily metabolism.

Caution- Do not over cook the dish and do not add too much oil.
Stay healthy, stay blessed

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Paper Boat ~ For Tea Lovers


While shopping for groceries in super markets, you see the attractive colorful packs of carbonated drinks or fruit juices and get into a dilemma of whether or not to buy. Thanks to your calorie intake and unhealthy lifestyle. Trust me, to control and restrict your calorie intake is not only difficult, but at times next to impossible. The cliche "I will work out tomorrow" urges you to load your shopping trolley with colorful packs of drinks. So how does a person cut down on this unhealthy intake? Paper Boat comes to your rescue. Especially for the tea lovers, who cannot say no to tea and slurp on the sugary liquid.

Paper Boat gives a refreshing twist to the old concept of tea in India with the rejuvenating flavors of ice tea! Take a look at the little tagged notes which say it all



Paper Coaster
Having tried the aam panna drink from this brand, my expectations were high from the ice tea packs as well. The expectations were met! Lemon and ginger tea and tusli flavours come our as the most rejuvenating ice tea flavors. For tea lovers this is a blessing, as you do not often get flavored ice tea! The most common ones we have heard is lemon ice tea, right? Lemon & ginger ice tea gives a little spicy taste due to the blend of ginger. Tusli ice tea is the better of the two with a healthy and cool brew of tulsi or basil. The best part is low sugar content, which means low calories and low fat! Refrigerate the tetra packs and have a cool refreshing drink quenching your craving for low-sugar yet energizing drink.

The attractive use-and-throw packaging is very pleasant to look at and user friendly. Tightly sealed cap and plastic doypack promises zero spillage and tear. Each pack is priced at INR 30 which I think is slightly higher. I guess INR 25 would have been a fair deal for these. The tagline on the packs says drinks and memories. How can the brand create memories? Well, the cute packaging with the water bubbles and paperboat as the name as well as a doodle, just gets the nostalgia out! A product of Hector Beverages, clever marketing of Paperboat is grabbing eyeballs.

Being a health conscious person, I am glad to have found a drink that suits my needs and taste. I would rate it 3.5 on a scale of 5.

Watch the paperboat youtube video here. Nostalgia will leave you in tears.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dabur immunity

We work hard and earn for our family. Our children complete the family and we live for  them. They bring us joy and we draw inspiration from them. They are our emotional anchors and we go to any extent for our kids. With hectic lifestyle topped with a lot of stress, we are barely left with time for ourselves. In a jiffy, we tend to overlook the needs of our kids too (Not intentionally though). I remember how my mother used to get worried over the smallest incident of coughing or sneezing. She continues to do so even today when I am grown up and stay all by myself in a different city. Childhood was a phase when mothers take the pain of nursing us, even if that meant to be awake whole night. Staying away from family keeps me away from that luxury, or lets say mother's love.
Our lifestyle has made us weak, precisely hollow from within that fails to fights diseases. "Who has the time to buy and eat aamla mom?" I often question her, post her lectures over the phone. That's when my mother suggests me to have Dabur chyawanprash, to build immunity. And yes, she is right. Unless I am a millionaire who can spend on hospital bills and medicines, I can afford to fall sick. Because I am a girl next door with simple lifestyle, who works for a living and has dreams in eyes, I cannot afford to fall sick. I'd rather build immunity thrice and adopt preventive methods instead of curative ones.

I think of the same when I would enter motherhood, I would need to be strong enough to bring up my child. How am I supposed to do it without looking after my own self? As it is popularly said, that a person may not be able to look after others if he/she is not able to look after his/her own self, I make conscious efforts to stay healthy. Besides exercising, yoga and healthy eating, I do take chyawanprash every day, to fight diseases and those scary hospital bills too!

Durba playing Tennis @6
2 months old Durba
My mother used to thrust a spoon of chyawanprash into my mouth, when I was a kid. I miss that act. I miss that caring touch and closeness of hers when I lick off the chyawanprash off the spoon. Dabur being one of the oldest brand that I have seen since my younger days, it feels like a family brand now. My best friend' lil daughter is growing up and as I see her turning into a smart sharp girl, I also get worried for her health. Her mother was on bed rest post delivery. Dabur chyawanprash struck my mind in the first go. Her daughter Durba is an active child, indulged into lot of activities. Touch wood, her immunity is strong. It still feels she was born yesterday. She calls me "Bua" and pulls me to watch her play tennis.

As I pledge to have a healthy living, and promise my unborn child a healthy future, I remain loyal to Dabur Chyawanprash which is a store house of amazing benefits that none or few have. A blend of 40 natural ingredients and Ayurvedic herbs is the need of today! The magnificent brew contains Ashwagandha which has anti-stress, anti oxidant and immunomodulatory properties, Satavari that helps to promotes general health, improves memory & eyes, Bala, the strength promoter,Vidarikand, the rejuvenator and Guduchi with antioxidant, immunomodulatory and rejuvenating properties.

Yeah I know the names are heavy, but little do people know that modern science is merging with Ayurveda for better medicines and cure. Ayurveda science is time tested and age old method of healing naturally, minus any side effects. I made sure that my baby sister consumes chyawanprash without fail daily and today I proudly say that her immunity is strong enough. A daily dose of chyawanprash and works out has shaped her into an adorable and strong girl. Look at her picture on left. That's my girl :-) Looks like I am playing mother to so many kids around.
The powerhouse Dabur Chyawanprash is recommended not only for kids but for all age groups, because we all need the power to fight diseases, don't we?
Look for more Dabur wonders at https://www.liveveda.com/daburchyawanprash/

This was my runner's up blog post for Dabur 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Words..


Words o words, that can calm us wen we pray,
that can turn sour and also slay....

Words o words. you hurt & don't let me sleep,
why did u pierce into my heart so deep?

Words o words, you untamed shameless things,
I'd fly far away from you if I had wings...

Words o cruel words, its better when not spoken,
and save fragile hearts from being broken.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Enter and exit



                               Clicked at the tunnel leading to Chamera Dam, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The hatti lunch

Weekends should be fun and vibrant that leave you with good memories and rejuvenated. Eating out is an activity that brings a smile to many faces. However choose right and eat right. Hogging can be risky and land you in bad state of health, needless to mention gastric problems, food poisoning, stomach infection and so on. Okay, I don't intend to scare you. This post is about a famous eating joint in Old Delhi.

Popular for well prepared royal cuisines, Old Delhi holds a record of many titles, unmatched and unbeatable till date. Be it the oldest shop in India since British rule, the most visited place, busiest market or yummiest food. Kaake di Hatti, an eating joint of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi holds the record of being more than 60 years old shop which serves the most authentic North Indian food. As they say, curiosity kills the cat, I got killed too and ventured out on one weekend to grab a bite at the Kaake Di Hatti.

Located in the interiors of Chandni Chowk, this shop is indeed old and almost easily missed. The restaurant serves pure vegetarian North Indian food, with a huge variety in breads (roti/naan). The first floor is air conditioned with basic seating arrangements of tables and stools. DO NOT expect a neat, calm or hygienic ambiance, though the food is neat and served on clean plates/utensils. The first thing one might notice are the dark decaying walls which they have tried hard to maintain. The newly fitted AC in the walls come as a big relief. The waiters are courteous and services are quick. With the limited walking spaces in the narrow floor area restricts your movements. Yet, all you would care about is the yummy food, which is worth the pains you take to reach here.
Aloo pyaaz naan
Daal makhni

 Another thing that immediately gets your attention is a newspaper clipping framed on the wall which
challenges you to eat a naan (bread) all by yourself. I thought it was a publicity stunt. However my
inhibitions proved to be wrong when I ordered one naan stuffed with potato and onion. One buttered naan has four big pieces which is a full course meal for two! The daal makhni was fairly good and malaai kofta was out of the world! Obviously I failed the naan challenge. Pickle and chutney are complimentary. The menu has a wide variety of naan, vegetable curries, dry vegetable mixes, raita and lassi. Against all expectations, in the menu you
Malaai Kofta
would find half plate vegetables too, which is a rare practice in many restaurants.

Try the food once and you'd love it forever. It is a must visit place in Old Delhi. You would never  forget the pocket friendly delicious meal, which would barely cost Rs 200-300 for 2 people. Post lunch I had rabri faluda from Gianis (which is the original shop) next to Kake di hatti, and it was beyond words. I had never tasted such amazing rabri faluda ever in my life. 70 rupees a glass is worth!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The taste of Gujarat

My search for authentic food continued and landed me to Gujarat Bhawan restaurant which is in the official resident complex of Gujarat commissioner. I savour Gujarati cuisine for the tinge of sweetness and less of spices. I loved the food here. Unlike Andhra Bhawan, this is comparatively a small restaurant with limited seating capacity. The ambiance is neat and quiet.  Located at 11 Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, the pure vegetarian restaurant serves unlimited food worth 90 rupees on weekdays and 120 rupees on weekends.
TASTE ALERT- If you love spicy food, this place is not for you.

The superb thaali in Gujarat Bhawan
Gujarat Bhawan Restaurant's timings are 12 noon to 2 pm for lunch. The food is not authentic Gujarati but its the preparation which is different. Be it the daal makhni or choley, which are not typical Gujju dishes, they still have an aroma and taste of Gujarati food. The menu on weekdays consists dhokla, salad, papad as starters, along with one dry vegetable, yellow daal (which is sweet), 2 curry preparations, tawa roti and steamed rice accompanied with chhaach. Weekend menu is the same with additional items like paalak pakora, poori, dessert and paan.
I loved the thaali because of its simplicity and sweet tinge. Excess of spices in any cuisine not only spoils the taste but attacks your digestion too! I stay away from too spicy or chilly food. Choley served here has been the best that I have ever tasted at any restaurant. The neat and clean place with great food keeps seeing me come back each week :-) (I have been here several times now)

An ice cream lover can also buy ice creams from the Amul counter. Packed khakhra, thepla and Gujarati namkeens are also available for sale over the counter.
Ambience- 5 on 5
Food- 5 on 5
Overall quality- 4.5 on 5
Recommended for all age groups, this place is MUST VISIT for all.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jaigarh Jaivana

There is something about Jaipur that keeps attracting me towards itself. The fact that I have visited the Pink City several times does not deter me to make frequent trips whenever I get the opportunity. The palaces, forts, the artillery on display, the art &craft and the enormous expanse of the majestic buildings dawdle to my sanities. Oh, maybe I have a royal connection from the past!


While Jaipur has a deep rooted Rajput history, the city also boasts of structures inspired by Mughal & European architecture. Nahargarh Fort is a fine example of the same. The kings in that era also built monuments and forts to combat enemy attacks. The fort of Jaigarh hence comes into picture which is a major tourist attraction till date.

Jaivana- World's largest canon on wheels

Canon's view from side

Why The Magnetism- The most extraordinary thing in the fort is “Jaivana” which is the world’s largest canon on wheels. The canon was fired only once in its lifetime. The canon has a 20 feet long barrel weighing 50 tons with a diameter of 11 inches. It has a range of 22 miles and about 100kg gun powder was used for a single fire. As per the popular belief, the single round that was fired formed a deep fissure that became a lake. The destructive and unusually large weapon kept the enemies away from the fort. The majestic canon stands tall in a protected area in the fort open for public display.




The History- The founder Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II cast the canon in 1720 at Jaigarh. The huge barrel was constructed to discourage enemies and ofcourse display the power of the reigning leader. The work to place the barrel on the carriage was later done during the reign of Maharja Ram Singh II who also got the covered area prepared to keep the canon safe. The Jaigarh fort was constructed to keep a watch and protect the Amber Fort. Also, the fort was a center of artillery production for the Rajputs because of presence of iron ore in abundance. Apart from the giant Jaivana, many other canons were manufactured during that era.

Jaigarh ovverlooking Amber Fort
Other small canons in backyard
Location- Jaigarh Fort is located on the outskirts about 10 km from the city. The fort overlooks the Amer Fort from 400 m above the former and offers a beautiful sight of the Aravali Hills.

How to get there- Private vehicles or commercial taxis/autos are allowed to ply on those roads. Take a left on the road marked “Jaigarh Road” and drive uphill till you reach a diversion. The road straight leads to Nahargarh Fort and the other turn is the way towards Jaigarh Fort. 


View of Amer fort from Jaigarh
What to see in Jaigarh Fort- Apart from the Jaivana, you can visit the large vicinity of the fort spread over 3km length north south and width of 1 km. The sturdy walls are made of red sandstones. The fort houses many other small canons, a tall watch tower, courtyards, a large storage tank, ancient temples that symbolized strength and protection from evil and garden areas. You can get a nice view of Jal Mahal and the entire Jaipur from Jaigarh fort which makes it an exceptional platform for photography.



Watch Tower
Did you know? During the tenure of Prime Minister Smt Indira Gandhi, a search was conducted by the income Tax authorities for a hidden treasure supposedly inside the large underground water tanks. The three water tanks under the central courtyard got its water supply from a canal on the west side of the fort. One tank water was used by prisoners for bathing, the 2nd tank to store gold and jewellery and the 3rd tank was empty. The 3 months search proved to be futile with no treasure excavated from the site.












Caution-
  •  Do NOT litter. One it’s a disrespect if you do, two it’s a responsibility not to, three it attracts wild animals around. No silly, not tigers, but monkeys and colobinae (languor).

  • Do NOT feed languor/monkeys. They can attack humans, snatch your items and make it a horrifying experience for all.
  • Hire a taxi or auto which would wait for you at parking. You would not find any commercial vehicle to hire while returning. Fix the deal in advance hence. No buses ply on that route. Always hire a vehicle for Jaigarh and Nahargarh together as a clubbed package.
  • Try NOT to alight your vehicle on the way from or to the fort for two reasons. The narrow roads get jam packed. You do not want to get stuck in traffic, do you? So don't create traffic. Secondly, because its risky. The risk of getting hit by an over speeding vehicle, monkey menace or other wild animals. I encountered a huge monitor lizard on the way back from the fort..The big reptile was beautiful but scary!
The historic fort is majestic and holds an important place. It’s a must visit in Jaipur to make you feel the magnificence and the royal aura of the Rajput era.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Baba Silver Coated Elaichi- Review

Baba Silver Coated Elaichi
Baba Elaichi, one of the oldest brands in mouth freshner industry, has pioneered the concept of “freshness”. It has brought a revolution in the industry with innovative products, and Baba Silver Coated Elaichi is one of them.
The round shaped red colored box was sent to me to experience the product and review it. The little elaichi seeds dipped in silver have a strong distant aroma. The moment I opened the little box, the air bloomed with lovely aroma which attracted few colleagues of mine from quite a distance. The greedy lot came to me sniffing the air and asked “Who’s got elaichi?” (Yes you are greedy and I am not sorry to call you so).
I shared the little cardamom seeds with few colleagues. “How is it?” was my question, to all those who tasted it. “Nice and refreshing” was the common feedback from all, and I totally agree!

The silver coating makes the product look premier and also imparts sweetness. Once the sweet dissolves in mouth, the elaichi grains do the rest of the magic. The tiny seeds are mixed with saffron that tend to give you a royal feeling. (After all saffron is an expensive ingredient). Saffron holds a very important place in the Indian spices market for mouth freshening, besides cardamom. Together they are used in oral heath to cure ulcers and infections of mouth & throat! I give an extra point to this non toxic product with a medicinal value.

The aroma is wonderful and it rejuvenates your breath, especially after meals. Now I don’t have to look around for chewing gum or mints. Popping in few elaichi seeds refreshes your mouth instantly. Unlike chewing gums which have to be fished out of wrappers or supari from small packets, Baba Elaichi is packaged in a box. No wrappers/packets messing around! Once you finish the product, you can use the box to refill it or store something else. (Okay, this is my idea to keep the environment clean. Lesser plastic/wrappers, cleaner is environment)
And love birds don’t have to worry about bad breath anymore. The flavor lingers in mouth for quite some time. Baba Elaichi makes them kiss ready ;-)

The packaging is unique, almost weightless and compact. You can easily carry it in your hand bag daily. (I have hidden it in my office drawer though) The red box has an advanced “click-clack” technology wherein you push the lid from top to open the box, and press the sides to close it. The air tight box keeps the elaichi seeds fresh. The number of times I open it, fresh aroma greets my senses.
The only turn off for me was to close the lid. One has to make several efforts to push the sides of the lids in order to close it.

Due to its distinctive blend, taste, and the power to exhilarate your senses, it is making waves in the market. I found my perfect mouth freshener in form of Baba Elaichi. Kudos!
Look and feel- 4/5
Pacakage use-3/5
Taste- 5/5
A repeat use? Definitely yes!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Andhra Bhavan

Somewhere deep in my heart and soul, lies a foodie hiding. I don't claim to be a foodie, but the urge to experiment with new cuisines brings me to exciting places. Especially for people residing in Delhi, food corners are a blessing. People say that vegetarians have scanty options to explore. But that's not true.  I have tried it all, from the street food of Old Delhi to posh air conditioned restaurants. (Of course all vegetarian!)

My first stopover was the very famous Andhra Bhawan Canteen, located on Ashoka Road, Cannaught Place, New Delhi.  The price of the thali was Rs 90 way back in 2012 which has been revised to Rs.110 for veg thaali and 130 for non veg in 2014. What' the deal? Oh, the thaali is unlimited. Makes you smile?
Waiters on the go

The Andhra Canteen is managed by the state owned Andhra Tourism and Development authorities. The food is authentic, hygienic and excellent. The large canteen has a decent ambiance with a good number of employees who never let your plate stay empty. The floor supervisor is a very efficient man who commands respect, authority and discipline. The entire team of 65 waiters very professionally manages the huge footfall which triples on weekends. Despite waiting at the reception counter after buying token, your number will be called out in less than 20 minutes and the waiters escort you to a vacant table which has been cleaned in a flash! The waiters lay the plate on your table even before you shuffle on your seat. And it's not just the consistent food quality, or the amazingly low prices that keep customers coming back. It's the assurance that within 30 minutes they will be seated, served, and ready to leave after a well-served, filling meal. You can eat to your fill and still feel hungry after 2-3 hours.
I would personally rate the food a good 4.5 out of 5.

Veg Thaali
The lunch menu consists papad, rasam, sambaar, 2 dry vegetables, 2 curries, 1 sweet, lemon rice, poori, steamed rice and curd. Out of these, papad, lemon rice, sweet and curd are limited to a single serving only. Rest everything is unlimited.
Special chicken biryani is served only on Sundays in the canteen.
Very less oil and minimum spices makes the food palatable. You'd find the food home made yet delicious. It's a treat to be in such a place and feel the bliss :-) Must try for all!!!!

Eat healthy, stay healthy, stay blessed. Day 137 of the year  from my Year Health Book (YHB).

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memoirs from McLeodganj

Trip continued from Day 1 in Dalhousie

The first day of our visit to Dalhousie comprised Panchpula, Gandhi Market, Subhash ki Baoli, local shops and night stay at Silverton Estate. So much we fell in love with Dalhousie, that we extended our trip to three days. Also, how could we have missed McLoedganj after coming this far?
Second day we checked out of Silverton Estate and spent the entire day literally on the streets! We ticked off Diankund, Khajiaar from our bucket list and headed to McLeodganj late afternoon. Distance between Khajjiar and McLeodganj is 120 kilometers. We stopped at few places in between for the pristine view of farms and mountains. Dreamy bed of flowers and colorful fields were mesmerizing!


We reached McLeodganj by 9pm. To our surprise none of the hotels had rooms vacant. Kishori Lal ji volunteered to help and found us an accommodation when we had lost all hopes. We owe a lot to this gentleman.

The long cab journey had left us weary. However this little town’s active night life shook us out of our slumber. Hep music, long queues outside eating joints, chilled out visitors infused energy within us. Who wouldn’t love to party in such an electric environment? McLeodganj came across as a town that never sleeps! It gave us a feel like Goa.


Pit stop at Punjabi restaurant
We hogged on Punjabi food in one of the local restaurants and Pizza in another popular eating joint. Germans, British, Italians and travelers from various countries flocked to this beautiful uptown cafĂ© merrily enjoying dinner, music & beer. In spite of the wild party and happening crowd, McLeodganj is safe. Females travelling alone need not worry about their security. 

McLeodganj was much warmer than Dalhousie.  I ditched my woolens which I had bought in Dalhousie. 

We crashed after the tiring day only to wake up to a beautiful warm day. Oh the blue sky painted with morning rays feels so serene! No wonders why people come to mountains for meditation. You would feel like sitting alone and watch the beauty of nature for hours. 
The morning hues





Our breakfast place
.





Post a scrumptious breakfast in a little cafe we left for the Dalai Lama Temple. Unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed within the temple premises, so could not click anything beyond this memorial, right before the main entrance.

This pillar is a memorial for the martyrs who sacrificed themselves in order to free Tibet. The walls of the premises is full of posters which talk about the brave ones as well as those who went missing in the wars.


The quiet, well maintained neat and clean place fills you with positive vibes. The main prayer hall with wooden floor houses the giant statue of Buddha. The place is peaceful and relaxing beyond words. The highlight of the temple are the rotating prayer bells which bring good luck when rotated in the right direction accompanied with the correct prayer recitation. Travellers across the world gather here to practice Buddhism. Seeing them meditate or do Yoda is sheer delight. The visit to the Dalai Lama temple is an enlightening experience. You feel inner peace and blissful light in your mind!

Our next stop was Bhagsunag waterfall. We traversed on a bumpy road for about ten kilometers from main market and broken uphill trek of around 900 meters to reach to the waterfall. The waterfall is named after Bhagsunag Temple located before the river. Broken, half built roads and rough patches were not easy to cross. (Wear shoes or floaters to this place. Trek not recommended for elderly)  

The bad road condition was a big turn off for me. Yet the sight of a huge waterfall and cold splash of water was absolutely rejuvenating. A huge rock at the site was much in demand, to mount it and get a picture clicked with the waterfall in the backdrop.  The risk was worth it!



The place makes a nice picnic spot under the Sun. However, I did not like this place much. Yes I had the best company of my friends, dipped my feet in cold water and took great pictures, yet “behind the rocks” scenes are upsetting. I don’t understand the logic behind boozing or taking drugs in such places. For a moment I felt insecure but thankfully nothing harmful happened. 







We returned to the market place by noon and headed for lunch. Personally I am not too fond of momos, but had a full plate after tasting one veg momo. The hunger effect may be? The best part was the availability of vegetarian food besides non veg Tibetian, Nepalese and Asian spread.



Post lunch we roamed on the streets collecting memoirs from the local market and checked out from the hotel around five in the evening. The unexpected stretch of our trip had left us with no ticket for volvo. We somehow managed to get three seats at the last row in the noisy uncomfortable roadways bus, which rattled all the way to Delhi. 


The all girl's three days trip to the most happening place of Himachal marked it's end. Every journey is a new learning and you return as a richer person. Wish for more learnings and more excitement in future.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hills Paradise - Dalhousie


To visit Dalhousie was my dream that I nurtured since many years. A busy work life and other priorities deterred me from this heavenly place. A three day holiday came as a blessing in disguise and my desire to visit Dalhousie found wings. Around 84 kilometers from Pathankot, this lovely hill station is located at an altitude of 8000 ft above sea level in the lap of Himachal. We were welcomed by a light shower of rains at Pathankot, from where we hired a taxi driven by Kishori Lal.
Road Side Traffic

Kishori Lal ji ferried us to Dalhousie and through the entire place for sightseeing. Reliable, polite and experienced, he did not give us a single chance to complain. A straight two hours’ drive from Pathankot would have brought us to our guest house Silverton estate. However, we detoured and visited Chamera Dam first, which is a boating site and a nice picnic spot. (Our primary reason to detour- Silverton Estate check in time was 12 Noon and we had ample time to kill). Awestruck by the beauty of nature, our three hours’ drive of 120 kilometers from Pathankot to Chamera dam was full of stopovers for photography & fun. Chamera Dam is in the heart of Chamba valley (The very serene place where Bollywood film Taal was shot).
Passed through this tunnel right before the dam approach roads

Chamera Dam


The kissable roses
Beating around the bushes-Literally!






















Boating was restricted day due to rains. So we had to settle with posing along everything and anything around for pictures. The dam site blossomed with pink roses and fluffy red flowers that filled the air with sweet fragrance. I could not stop myself from kissing the charming roses!















The 3rd week of April was surprising chilly against our expectations with locals still wearing woolens and I carried none.  I clung to a thin shawl which I had brought along anticipating cold at night. The drive at the hilly roads towards Chamera Dam offered breathtaking view of the lush greenery, dreamy fog, crystal blue water and blossoming flowers. Such beauty is so rare in the cities.

The peaceful ambiance of the place was only interrupted by the cold breeze and rain drops. The feeling was beyond words. I wanted to stay in the paradise for longer. We stuffed ourselves with maggi, momos, flavored tea and marked an end to our short stay at the divine Chamera Dam.

Silverton Estate

Window overlooking the lawn
Living room of Silverton

We covered a distance of 35 kilometers driving for another hour from Chamera Dam that brought us to our guest house Silverton Estate. Located at a hill top amidst snowy fog and plush greenery, the heritage property was undreamed-of. I jumped with joy the moment I entered the property. Built during the British era, the three room apartment with bedroom, living room and dining room boasted of elements from the past. Be it the furniture, the windows, the lights, the flower vase or the switches, you feel no less than a queen with the fringes of the opulent history bustling in the room so perfectly. Old yet strong, the beautiful artifacts were very well maintained. The windows overlooked green lawn surrounded by cedar & chir trees.


Dining room@Silverton
Vikram, the owner welcomes us with rejuvenating lemon tea.  The dining room had a book shelf which immediately caught my attention. The books were of stories from the British rule to history of Dalhousie. My friends of course did not let me read books, as we were on a fun vacation, and not a boring tour. Thanks Shivani and Pooja! Silverton has an in-house kitchen which serves simple and healthy food. This is a must during trips as often people neglect their health and gorge on anything while travelling. We were lucky to get home made food in Silverton with an attendant to serve us, as done in Army style. We were more than impressed! I could not get enough of Dalhousie and the lovely Silverton Estate. The all girls trip became a memorable one. Most of the photo credits goes to our polite driver Kishori ji.



Places to see in Dalhousie-




Ghandhi Chowk Market- The central point of Dalhousie is a small local market with speciality wooden works, sweets made of fruits, fresh cakes, and pickles. Nothing spectacular to shop for, unless you want to enjoy hot momos/maggi and hot beverages.



St Francis Church


















St Francis Church- Next to the Subhash Chowk vicinity. A quiet place housing an old church, few caged birds and of course the beautiful garden. Built in 1894

Subhash Chowk- The commercial point of the town with a memorial of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The road connects to the beautiful Panchpula waterfall. Trek up on the waterfall hills for adventure or startling pictures. We visited the place with a borrowed umbrella while it rained throughout the day.

Around Dalhousie-
1. Kalatop- A wildlife sanctuary with forest guest houses, this place has been a popular shooting location for many movies, including bollywood flick Lootera (2013). Spread in a wide area, the forest has a heavy flora & fauna along with guest houses for accommodation. You can also trek up to the peak of Dainkund. (We skipped Kalatop, only to realize later "Lootera"was shot here and the place is a heaven! 

2. Khajiaar- Popularly known as the  mini Switzerland of India, the place is a huge expanse of a green pastureland surrounded by the hilly trees, 21 kilometers away from Dalhousie. Soak the sun on the green pastures while sheep grazing by your side. The place makes a nice picnic spots with lot of eating joints around.

Khajjiar




3. Dainkund- Named after the witches that disturbed the villagers, Dainkund is a hill top to trek on amid the marvelous vegetation and foggy trails, just 12 kilometers from Dalhousie. The mountain of Dainkund rises to an altitude of 2,745 meters above sea level and provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding regions. Dainkund is the highest mountain in Dalhousie that provides a picture book scenery of the whole valley. Daikund is popularly known as the singing hill. Protected and maintained by the Indian Airforce , the area gets a fair share of snowfall throughout winters. My friends and I enjoyed snowfall in April!!!!!!!!! Climatic changes may be?


























4. Dharamshala/McLeodganj-  About 124 km from Dalhousie is McLeodganj, bustling with tourists from all over the world, good night life and not so quiet like Dalhousie.
(Read: https://expressunleashed.blogspot.in/2014/05/memoirs-from-mcleodganj.html

Do's and Don'ts-
  • Do try the ginger chutney which is a local pickle preparation that adds wonderful taste and aroma to food.
  • For those with sweet tooth can gorge on to fruit burfi and fresh cakes.
  • Be prepared for abrupt rains or freezing wind and carry anything warm.
  • Dalhousie is quiet place with no night life or pubs/discs. Only photography enthusiasts, nature lovers and those looking for peace of mind should visit the place.

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