The Perfect Amritsar Itinerary (Part - I)❤
"The Golden Temple"...who doesn't have this beautiful place in their travel bucket list? Yes, I did! I love Punjabis for no reason ever since I listened to Daler Mehndi's "Tunuk..Tunuk" when I was a kid. I love their food, culture and their dance. I even asked my mom to look for a Punjabi Guy for me. For so many years I wanted to visit Amritsar. Though I made plans and booked tickets while I was living in Delhi, somehow I couldn't make it. But I didn't lose the hope and kept on making attempts to go.
In November 2019, though I was financially not so good, I had an urge to travel to Amritsar. So, I saved quite a few bucks and booked my onward and return train tickets. I believed I would somehow manage my expenses there as I was left out with only a meager amount in hand.
Journey from Erode to Bengaluru
My train was booked for December 19th from Bengaluru to Lucknow ( as there were no direct trains & this was the fastest and the cheapest option). And my first-ever Solo Travel journey in India started at 2:30 pm from Erode Junction on 19th and I reached KSR junction around 9:00 pm (I was supposed to reach by 7 pm). Then, I had to reach Yesvantpur station to catch my train scheduled at 11:40 pm.
I reached the station by taking a bus (again the easiest and cheapest) and quickly gulped on 2 idlis for my dinner from the only restaurant that was open at that time.
Alone in Lucknow
On December 21st, I was supposed to reach Lucknow by 1 pm but because of the train delay, I reached at 4:30 pm. The reason being CAA Protests going on at that time. Major parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bengaluru and few other states were completely shutdown with no network (Mobile Service). I was fortunate enough for being safe, surrounded by few Nepal students who were on their way home from Delhi after an year. Though we didn't talk much in the beginning, we eventually shared few glimpses and small talks when the train got delayed. Also JAI JIO !!! Thanks to my Jio SIM which was working perfectly fine even when the entire train compartment was facing the network issue. Lol :P
Here comes the fun part!
After getting down at Lucknow, my friend was supposed to come and pick me up from the station. But due to vigorous protests around the city, neither me nor my friend was able to travel to each other and i was asked to stay in a safe hotel nearby the railway station itself. So, I ended up checking-in @ R.K. Inn around 5 pm which was just a few miles away from me.
After watching so many Bollywood Movies, I had the following places in my mind to visit in Lucknow.
While talking to my friend over phone, I said I wanted to visit Rumi Darwaza atleast. And do you want to know my friend's response?? "Switch on the TV and you can see all the tourist attractions live". Yes! The protesters were burning tyres around all important places in Lucknow. Knowing that I was helpless, I decided to stay at the hotel itself, took a nice shower and ordered dinner to my room and had a good sleep.
Wandering in Lucknow
On December 22 nd, I checked-out from the hotel in the evening & reached my friend's place @ Gomti Nagar Extension (a famous Residential colony in Lucknow). After catching up with the family ,around 5 pm, I took an auto to the very famous Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial Park located just next to the Gomti Buddha Vihar.
I didn't really get inside the Memorial park as I could see almost everything from the Buddha Vihar itself. Also, I didn't want to miss on the beautiful winter sunset which was about to happen.So, I decided I'll sit in a quiet place to enjoy that and walked towards the Gomti Riverfront Park.
Gomti Riverfront Park
The entrance fee was Rs:10/- and there was a decent crowd in there. I started wandering around the park in search for a tranquil place for myself and found a perfect spot to capture these. Oh!! What a Stunning Sunset it was. After enjoying the Sun-show, I started wandering again in the park and happened to cross a guy who was surrounded by a cheering crowd.
You know what! That Guy was just awesome with his Guitar and vocals. Aww... he made me sit there for a while even when the crowd left with so many beautiful Bollywood songs from my Playlist. And when he wanted someone from the crowd to suggest a song, I immediately jumped on and asked him to play the very popular Tamil song "Munbe Vaa.. en Anbe vaa.." He was so sportive to play the tunes even when he was not knowing the language. Thank You "Guitar-Guy" ! I tried to record a video of him playing but it was so dark.I still have his recordings though. I hope someday I would see him as a popular Musician.
I realised that it started getting darker and had to reach my friend's place before its too late. So, moved from the Park with no heart to leave and started walking towards the exit. That's when I found a Tandoori Chai Wala!! I am a Chai-lover and am so proud of that. I couldn't resist myself from having one.
With the taste of the Tandoori chai on my Zuban, I started walking on the streets looking at the Ambedkar Park lit with colors and to get into an auto after I reach a particular place.
After walking for around 2.5 km, I decided to take an auto to reach my friend's place. We then went to Tunday Kababi, the very popular restaurant for Lucknowi Kebabs. I am such a huge of Non-vegetarian foods and couldn't resist myself from gulping kebabs and Romali Rotis. I am drooling right now writing this part of my blog. After finishing my plate, I realised I didn't take any pics..he..he.. After our tummies were full, we went home, chit chat with the whole family and played cards till late night before we slept at 3 am.
Actual Amritsar Journey
On December 23rd, woke up late. Indulged in some awesome home-made food and was working on my website development thing which I started few months back then. I had my onward train to Amritsar from Lucknow. Keeping the ongoing protests in mind, on a safer note, my friend dropped me at the station by 2:00 pm itself. The train was scheduled to leave by 3:25 pm but all trains from North India got rescheduled due to the bad weather and also the protest. Now, because of that, all waiting rooms were almost full and I had to shuttle between the cloak rooms. Managed to buy something for my dinner and got into the train only by 7:30 pm . Had i known this before, I would've spent few more hours with my friend :( Unlucky me!
Whatever happens is for good! I believe in this. But what happened after I got into the train, made me strongly believe in this. I happened to meet an awesome Punjabi-family of 3 and never expected them to adopt me for the next 2 days as one among them.From 23rd dinner to 25th lunch --- they never let me pay a single penny for anything. Yes! they shared their home-made Poori & Paneer with me for dinner (Which was obviously Yummy) as they didn't want me to eat the station-bought food. How sweet of them know!
To be continued...