There comes a time in one’s life when one needs a break from
the same eight to nine hour routine, a time one needs to catch up with oneself
and nature, get away from the digitised and polluted fast paced urban world
that doesn’t seem to care about itself or others. One needs to go to a place
where the digital world hasn’t caught up, but isn’t too far away from home
either. One needs a place where a long hard breath lets you inhale pure clean
air and not fumes and dusts, to do activities which are alien to his everyday
life, like go fishing, or take a hike, maybe even a swim in a natural water
body or just sit back to relax and enjoy the view with good company.
We went to a riverside paradise about 510Kms away from
Delhi, a small village called Gushaini in Tirthan Valley and our car of choice
was the almighty Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. We took the Ertiga and left at around
11pm from Delhi heading towards Manali on GT Karnal Road and we continued on
NH1 to Ambala which we reached by 2:45am. Unfortunately here we made a mistake
and instead of taking NH21, we took the left for NH21A which was a horror.
After reaching Pinjore the road was destroyed for 40Kms all the way to New
Nalagarh. From there due to lack of any visibility, we continued to go on the
same road hoping that it will get better. It only got worse. Tarmac just
disappeared for another 35Kms as we started to climb up the Himachal hills. In
the powerful beam of the Ertiga, all we could see was a loose surface road, and
rocks on both side and construction vehicles. After a drive on spine breaking
terrain, which the Ertiga coped tremendously well, the road finally met with
our intended route from NH21 in Swarghat. The locals told us that the road was
being rebuilt and broadened to make a 4 lane road.
After crossing Bilaspur at 7:30am, we drove further and by
8:45 we were greeted by a sight which was magnificent, a modern world in natural
wilderment. Across the river we saw a colossal manufacturing plant called the
Gagal Cement Works Plant, the sheer size of it seemed gigantic, but Mother
Nature had her way of showing down on it with her the sheer size of her own
mountains. The road we drove in the night caused us a two and a half hour
delay, so by 12pm we had reached the tunnel for Manali which we drove past,
straight towards Banjar. From there, Gushaini was about 35kms on a narrow and
decently paved road with nearly minimal traffic. With the Tirthan River guiding
us and the reassurance from the extremely friendly locals, we were confident
that we were on the right track.
By 1:30pm we reached our destination where we spent the
night, a small home stay cottage called Trishla Resort owned by a local who
goes by the name of Gyan Singh. His property had us awestruck. The property has
a beautifully designed cottage with a red sloped roof, a sheltered dining area,
a patio, which was right on the river bed. Gyan Singh has also made a breakfast
table in the middle of the river with some plastic chairs and a stone table
with an umbrella, surrounded by the sand from the river. But one would argue
there could be more relaxing places in and around the place, but we failed to
find any that separated us from the digital world. Here we didn’t even find any
cell phone reception, a boon for those who want to stay disconnected for while!
With no family, bosses or annoying urban folk to disturb you, we relaxed
throughout the day after an amazing lunch prepared by the caretakers of the
resort. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the caretaker told us
that we could go fishing as well for a tiny price of Rs. 300/- for fishing rod
and a Rs.100 license which was issued by the local authority. If you’re
skillful, patient and lucky, you could actually catch a trout or two. When no
trouts came our way we [jokingly] blamed the caretaker for catching and eating
them all. Later we abandoned all hopes of catching a fish and went inside for a
cup of tea. As night fell and we started to get hungry. Dinner was even better
than lunch. We hogged on the food and hospitality before we went to bed and
woke up early morning. After spending time on the river bank, we were given
amazing parathas with peach pickle for breakfast. We spend a lot of time
enjoying the scenic spot, realising that we had to get back to the real world
of work, work and more work.
On our journey back, we made sure we didn’t take the same
route we came and stayed on the NH21 all the way to Kiratpur Sahib. The road
connected itself to the Chandigarh highway which we reached at sunset. As
darkness fell, we had reached Chandigarh and soon after we were in Ambala. On
our way to Karnal, we confronted torrential storm and heavy rain. With barely
any visibility in the dark, the Ertiga just devoured the distance, but due to
the wet conditions, we did have to back off the throttle just a bit. By 12
midnight, we arrived in Delhi.
The Ertiga had coped with broken roads, no roads, rock on
the river bed, cows, muscled past lorries, and got itself drenched in the rain.
Were these not reasons good enough to fall in LUV with the Ertiga?
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