After a lot of deliberations, I am finally here with my travelogue.
Three States, One Union Territory.
Started from Lucknow, ended at Amritsar. Travelled extensively. Slept less. Visited a mosque, a temple and a Gurudwara, all in one trip. Explored new places on our own. Learnt about a community in India. Turned another year older in the process. Not sure if I turned wiser though 😀
Before I start sharing our travel diaries, let me tell you a little about what made us plan this trip. To be very honest, I do not enjoy travelling extensively! I hate the idea of packing my bags for a trip, and a few hours before the journey, I even start contemplating if the trip is absolutely necessary, and then, a point comes when I start missing my side of the bed, the cup where I drink my morning coffee everyday, and so on. I make a mental note of how I would be missing all this, and much more, and count the number of days when I would be away from a place I call home. With a heavy heart, I pack my bags and assure myself that I will be away, only for a few days. However, once I board the train/flight, I start experiencing the adrenaline rush. I feel happy that I will be away from my mundane life, and most necessarily, I will not have to worry about cooking for the next few days! The alarms are deactivated, the travel bags are packed, and we are finally off to the Nawabon ka Shaher – Lucknow.
We boarded the Howrah Rajdhani Express, which departs from Howrah Station everyday at 04:50 p.m..
Why we chose a train instead of taking an airplane?
Because we wanted to re-live the memories that we had created seven years back.
What made this journey extremely special was that, exactly seven years back at around this time, I had be-friended a stranger on the train, who is now my husband. We re-lived a bucketful of memories by visiting the same places over again.
Arrival at Kanpur Central Station : 04:50 a.m.
From there, take an auto to the nearest bus stand (or as it is known as bus adda), where you can easily find a bus for Lucknow. There are plenty in number. The journey from Kanpur to Lucknow takes around two hours on an average. You can also rent a car or travel by local trains. The bus passes through Unnao, and reaches either Alambagh Bus Adda or Charbagh Bus Stand in Lucknow. From Alambagh Bus Adda, we hired an auto, which took us to our Hotel, Deep Avadh. We had made our prior reservation over phone and were given a room immediately on arrival. It had a 24 hour check out policy that added to our advantage (since we checked in at around 09:00 a.m. and left at 11:00 p.m. on the same day). Honestly, the room was just average, the bathroom was rather below average (without any geyser or hot water facility), and at Rs.1400/- we could not expect anything better. The only advantage was that the Hotel was very near to the Railway Station.
We arrived at around 08:30 a.m., freshened up and left for the Imambara by 09:30 a.m. We took a Vikram Auto (large tempos) to Imambara on a sharing basis. The entry to the Imambara is free of cost. We purchased combined tickets for the large Asfi Mosque, the bhul-bhulaiya (the labyrinth), and baoli, a step well with running water. It is said that there are 1024 ways to reach the terrace but only one to come back. It is an accidental architecture, and you must experience it once in your lifetime, to believe it.
Since we had a few hours to spare and a lot to do, we skipped the bhul-bhulaiya and baoli (since we had seen them before) . We visited the Rumi Darwaza next, which is barely a few steps away from the Imambara. It stands sixty feet tall, and was earlier used to mark the entrance to Old Lucknow City.
Then we took an Ola/Uber to Phoenix Mall for our breakfast. It was around 11:30 a.m. then. We hogged on McDonald’s burgers and sipped on ice tea, figuring out what we would do next. The sweltering heat of Lucknow had taken over us. We decided to spend the next hour in the mall and shopped a little for our next stop : Nainital.
At around 02:00 p.m., we decided that we should make a move towards the famous Tundey Kababi at Aminabad. We again took an Ola to the narrow crowded streets of Aminabad, and the waft of Kebabs and Biryani, led us to the famous Tundey Kababi. An hour later, we were spotted hogging on their famous Galawati Kebabs, Mutton Korma, Tandoori Roti, Mutton Biryani, all washed down with a generous amount of Thumbs Up. We paid less than Rs.500/- for all that we ate.
Our next stop was the famous Prakash ki Mashoor Kulfi, situated just a few shops away from Tundey Kababi. At Rs.60/- for a half plate, the Kulfi tasted divine, specially after all that we ate for lunch. We took an Ola and reached Hazratganj next.
Here, we met Tarannum, a friend of mine who I was introduced to on Instagram (Thank God for I took up Blogging, for I keep meeting such amazing people!). She is a Food and Lifestyle Blogger from Lucknow, and you might want to check out her profile HERE. We chit-chatted for quite sometime, till she took us to Giani’s, and there we tried some of their amazing Milk Shakes and Ice Cream. Next it was almost seven in the evening, and we did not want to leave Hazratganj before trying Royal Cafe’s famous Basket Chaat. Basket Chaat, also known as Katori Chaat, is a delicacy, where a basket is made out of potato shreds and inside it goes papdi, pakodis, boondi, boiled potato, chickpeas, white matar/ peas, tomato, spices, yogurt, tamarind chutney etc. At Rs.190/- for a plate, it surely seemed expensive, but we loved it! We also tried their famous paani-ke-batashe (pani-puri/phuchka/golgappe).
We were already full by now, so we naturally skipped dinner and unwinded a little at the Hotel, before leaving for Charbagh Station at around 11:30 p.m.
Our next stop? Kathgodam.
Travelling by : Bagh Express (From Lucknow to Kathgodam, though the train originates from Howrah Station).
Bagh Express departs from Lucknow at 00:25 in the midnight, and reaches Kathgodam at 09:30 a.m. the same day.
Our train was delayed, so we reached Kathgodam at around 12 Noon.
Stay tuned as we unfold the next chapter of our trip : Three days in Nainital.