Monday 9 April 2012

Kasauli and Chandigarh

The long weekend saw us off to Kasauli and Chandigarh. We (which means I) had planned this trip some weeks ago but were not sure whether we would actually go because S has been travelling a lot these last few weeks. We barely saw him. With work being at one of those phases where I was working on 4 proposals at the same time, the heat picking up and Y being at home, the only thing that saved my sanity was my father's comforting presence as primary childcare provider. A couple of days before we started, I was regretting having made all the bookings in the first place. I knew S would be super-tired and as for me, I wanted nothing more than to stay at home, and just sleep. Such pre-travel feelings are quite a novelty to me since I am always ready to pack up and head somewhere new, so I guess it's a measure of how horribly tired I felt.
Anyhow, S landed at home just in time to go to bed before we were up bright and early for our 7.30 am Shatabdi to Chandigarh. Now that's a city worth visiting, if for nothing else than to marvel at what could have been, and isn't. Clean, green, orderly, and the shocker for me was bike paths everywhere, being used by pedestrians, cyclists and rickshaw-wallahs. Gurgaon of all Indian cities had the opportunity to be as nice as Chandigarh. The city planners (if they exist at all) started with a clean slate - how much easier can it get? I felt very depressed to think that we squandered such a fantastic opportunity - and what we have is not so much Millennium City (who coined that name? Someone with a really ironic sense of humour?) as a dirty overgrown Class B town which just happens to have a lot of MNCs, malls and international schools, not to mention a swanky golf course.

Can you see the biking trail behind the trees?

Even the main Sector 17 market in Chandigarh was lovely! I went there expecting the typical Indian market (think Pondy Bazaar in Chennai, or Lajpat Nagar in Delhi) but what I saw was a large plaza surrounded on all sides by shops, what seemed like adequate parking, just a handful of street hawkers, and garbage bins everywhere!!!

I hadn't done my research so we didn't know of any recommended places to gorge on Punjabi food. So we ended up in India Coffee House and dined off dosais and milk shakes :) I wasn't expecting the dosais to be great, but they were excellent. We toured the Rock Garden (again, a worth-see) and while Ads wasn't expecting to like it very much, both the kids really enjoyed climbing the 'rocks' and running through labyrinthine pathways.

The next morning we left for Kasauli, reaching there in a couple of hours. There's really not a whole lot to do in Kasauli - a smattering of the usual 'points' which make for good views - with names like Lovers' Leap and Sunset Point which one encounters in every single hill-station in India. I suppose the nicest thing about Kasauli is that it is relatively unspoilt unlike the commercialized hill-towns in other parts of the Himalayas. We ate a lot, slept a lot and the only mildly strenuous activity was walking uphill for 2 kms to reach the town marketplace, have a steaming cup of Elaichi chai and take a bus downhill.
Some snapshots - Ads pointing out a leopard in the hills to his gullible sister. "Really, amma, it's there...I saw it!"

The view from our resort.The husband outrageously claimed that it was as scenic as New Zealand. Kasauli is scenic all right, but sorry I draw the line at comparing it to NZ. We had a small tiff on this topic....I don't know what he'd been drinking...:))

The place where we stayed.


Sunrise over the hills.

There are no long weekends until August.....sigh....:((


  1. wowie....i had once been to Chandigarh and am relieved to see and hear that it is still the marvel of a place..
    kasauli is as scenic as NZ..your hubby is being benign towards us mortals, Aparna!
    loved the rocky labyrinth

    1. Yeah I was happy to see one city in India that's so clean. Though of course we did not comprehensively see all parts of the city, only the richer areas - no idea if they have slums and such.

  2. Visited Chandigarh in 1975 & was dumbfounded at the cleanliness ! Surprised to know that it seems to be maintained still

  3. I had heard of Chandigarh being a planned city, but wasn't sure if it lived upto it. Great to know of one of our Indian cities doing such a lovely job, one more place to add to my North India list, phew it's growing long thanks to you ;).

  4. Sounds like a great trip. We went to the hills too, but to the other side, towards Almora.

    Btw,I have to agree with you about the New Zealand bit, I can't see the similarity either!!


I would love to hear your thoughts :)