On the road from Amritsar to Dharamshala

Day 1

Along NH 15
Along NH 15

Fields of gold aka the wheat fields of Punjab; stretch endlessly on both sides of NH 15 in square and rectangular plots. It’s now May and all the wheat have been harvested. But the stubborn yellow stalks still colour the fields. It’s a new scenery for us and our driver might have been quite amused by the number of photos we take of these dry yellow fields. Back home in Kerala, we are used to the watery green fields of rice and we stare into the new landscape in fascination.

The stubborn stalks are later burned in the fields, to ease the next planting process and you can see the blackish remains.

NH 15 takes you from Amritsar to Pathankot, the border town in Punjab, after which we cross into Himachal Pradesh. Our driver gave us a heads up on the places we will be passing through – Batala, Dhariwal, Gurudaspur, Dinanagar and finally reach Pathankot. The scenery remains the same, fields of gold. The road sides are dotted with dhabas.

Along NH 15
Along NH 15

We started off by 10:30 am and reached Pathankot by 12:30 pm. Pathankot is a cantonment area.

Cantonment @Pathankot
Cantonment @Pathankot

Just before crossing the border, we stop for lunch at a place called Chennai Xprs; we were amused. We are here in Punjab, going to a south Indian restaurant which has in its 3 page menu, 2 pages devoted to south Indian food and 1 page of select north Indian dishes. We walk into a room full of north Indian vacationers, feasting on Dosa and Vada. We order a veg meal of Jeera rice, Dal Tadka and Roti. Good food.

 

And then we cross over to Himachal Pradesh over a bridge and the scenery changes. There is more green.

On the bridge across the Punjab - Himachal border and the dry river bed
On the bridge across the Punjab – Himachal border and the dry river bed

After sometime, the roads start to curve and we begin our ascend. Sharp bends, hairpin curves, we follow the course of a meandering river, that seems to have dried out.

We climb higher and higher from the heat of the plains to the cool mountain air. It’s not cold, just pleasantly cool. And as we get closer to Dharamshala, it begins to drizzle, taking the temperature a tad lower.

Dharamshala - Misty, misty...
Dharamshala – Misty, misty…

The sparse greenery is now replaced by slopes of thick trees; Himalayan cedar or deodars. Majestic trees !!

First glimpse Dharamshala
First glimpse Dharamshala
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