"He who does not travel does not know the value of men"

Friday, March 18, 2011


                 The state of Punjab is undoubtedly the pride of India in terms of its natural resources and also the hardworking human resources. I truly admire two sections in India which I feel are sincere and hardworking; the Punjabese and Tamilians. Whenever Punjab comes into my mind I always remember of Bhagat Singh and Udham singh the true patriotists and martyrs that India has ever produced. I develop goose bumps whenever I think of the heroistic activity of Udham Singh who assassinated Micheal O Dwyer, the then Governor of Punjab and the main culprit behind Jallian wala Bagh Massacre of 1919. It is noteworthy that Dwyer was assassinated in 1940 by Udham Singh at Caxton Hall, England - almost 21 years after Jallian wala Bagh Massacare as an act of avenge against the incident. Although Udham Singh’s action was regretted by all the then leaders except that of the great Subash Chandra Bose, some of them changed their opinion later and saluted Shaheedi Udham Singh. Even the German media applauded the action of Udham Singh saying that "Like the elephants, the Indians never forgive their enemies. They strike them down even after 20 years". Udham singh killed Dwyer and injured two others and when questioned he replied “I could have get more but there were lot of women” which shows his humanitarian concern and he only wanted to kill the person whom he had grudge against. Udham Singh was hanged to death in England itself.

My visit to Chandigarh was rather much unexpected as I was assigned with an official duty at the last moment. As there were no scope of getting tickets in the direct trains to Delhi from Trivandrum, we a group of 15 had to move via Chennai to reach Delhi and then move to Chandigarh. As we had enough time for the break journey at Chennai, we managed to see the Marina Beach in Chennai which is almost 15mts drive from Railway Station (Auto charge Rs 50/-)

We reached Delhi Railway station at about 7.30AM by GT Express from Chennai. From Delhi we had arranged taxi to Chandigarh for which we were charged Rs 2200/- for a taxi (Tata Indica ) (For bookings contact Shalini Aggarwal at 09625966611) . Chandigarh is almost 250 KM from Delhi and around 6 hours drive through the Grand Trunk Road which is NH1. Our stay was arranged at the sports complex, Panchkula which is in Haryana District. Chandigarh, the capital of Haryana as well as Punjab is a union Territory too. So all these three Administrative heads function there separately.

It took a while for us to adjust with the climate and the food but of course to adapt to it was inevitable. We were only able to see the city of Chandigarh and surroundings while on our drive through the city for official purpose. One thing which I found peculiar is that all the private vehicles in the city are either white or silver. White is the common colour for all cars. I don’t know whether there are any norms regarding this issued by Government. After finishing the official troy we were able to see the Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake which are the well known tourist spots in Chandigarh.


Amrtsar is 240 KM north east of Chandigarh and in order to save time we arranged a Tempo Traveller for the journey. Our journey was like this: Chandigarh –Jalandhar-Amritsar- Wagah border and overnight journey to Delhi. Although it was slightly hectic we had no other option as our return journey had already been booked. Its better to take a bus from Chandigarh to Amritsar and there are lot of tourist buses available from Amritsar to Delhi as well. The vehicle hire charges cost us almost Rs17,500/ including toll charges. The drivers cheat us on toll charges as they at the end of the journey only give us the details of the charges. To our surprise the vehicle parking charge in Wagah border was Rs 300/- for one hour which seems to be quite high.

It took almost 5 and half hours to reach Amritsar from Chandigarh. The roads are on good condition and the drive was perfect with agricultural lands on both sides. The traditional punjabi songs in the background and “bhangara” from our side inside the vehicle could not have been possible if we had opted for bus rather than hiring a vehicle.

We reached Amritsar at about 1PM and entered the Golden Temple and Jallian Wala Bagh which we had seen only in pictures and movies. The temple premises are simply amazing and it was quite rush too. Being a Saturday lot of school children had also turned up there. We also spent half an hour in Jallian Wala Bagh where the massacre of 1919 occurred.

Wagah Border

Wagah border which is the border point between India is Pakistan is a must visit point. Its almost 30 KM from Amritsar (1hr drive) .Lahore is only 19KM from Wagah. We have the Samjautha express and Delhi Lahore bus operating. In fact we saw the Pakistan bus from Delhi overtaking us on our way to Amritsar and we were told by the driver that the bus don’t have to follow the traffic rules and gets priority at every point. Attari railway station is the last station before crossing the border towards Pakistan.  We were little late to reach the Wagah Border and it was jam packed. Several seats in gallery of Pakistan were seen empty but the kind of feel in Indian side was inexplicable. The daily show of parade is rather a joint exercise by the Indian and Pakistan Army with little show offs. People in both sides tend to consider this a matter of grudge between the soldiers and applaud for their acts. It is learned that the Government is planning to stop the parade soon.

After the overnight journey we reached Delhi (8-9 hrs drive from Amritsar) early in the morning. After a day time rest and small shopping we had to pack up the luggage and catch up the early morning flight back home.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

 My visit to Dadra and Nagar Haveli and adjacent places was rather due to some unexpected circumstance. Dadra and Nagar Haveli is one among the seven Union Territories in India. It is sandwiched between the state of Maharashtra and Gujarat. It is economically and industrially underdeveloped and majority of the population here belong to tribal community.  Although Dadra and Nagar Haveli exist separately it is not far apart unlike Daman and Diu which is about 600 Km away. There is some portion of land which is fully landlocked by this UT under the direct administration of Governmet of Gujrat  Silvassa is the capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and this UT has the potential of being a handy tourist destination. It is now a weekend destination for the Gujratis and I think the authorities are not giving that much importance to exploit the available resources. It’s about four hr. drive from Mumbai by road. If you take a taxi cab it would cost you Rs 3000/-.

 Silvassa is almost 20 Km drive from Vapi and is packed with factories and a drive through the UT could give us a feeling that the place is not that developed as that of Daman which is quite clean. Of course there is lot of keralites in Silvassa which is evident from the fact that there is an awesome Ayyappa temple there which has got good reputation among the locals. Although there are some tourist spots highlighted in the tourism website of the UT, most are not functioning properly except that of the water sports complex in Dudhani. Dudhani is around 2 hr drive from Vapi .It is actually a weekend destination for the Gujaratis. There is a water sports complex having speed boat and other boating facilities. One restaurant also functions there and there is no other option for the incoming tourists for any kind of food.