With nothing left to explore in Lansdowne, we had planned to leave early to avoid the rush on the highway. We had also fed Mr. Hungry (a doggie who came to take his share whenever he caught us munching on something) one last time. With half an hour to go for the restaurant’s breakfast window, I thought why not collect some souvenirs for my nephew and niece back home. The beautiful pine trees around me almost immediately enticed me to collect some full grown pine cones – I used to have one as a showpiece in my room long time back.
|View on the top|
|Sap collection from Pine trees for medicines|
The hill in adjacent our resort seemed an easy climb & we didn’t even bother to slip into our sports shoes. But a couple of steps and we were going all rolly polly thanks to the numerous brown slippery shrubs that had blanketed the hill. It wasn’t just us, I also saw a huge cow slip several times in her quest to look for green pastures uphill. Finally, I found a way – walking on the green grass wasn’t making me fall & we somehow managed to reach the top. A gush of air, the mist, the sound of wind amongst pine trees & clouds embracing us – the climb was worth the effort. Also spotted sap from Pine tree being collected for medicines. Like a greedy thief, I stuffed many cones under my pockets & carried several in my hands. Mr. Hubby was feeling kinda embarrassed on our way back as other guests on the resort were giving us curious looks – that was making him conscious.
By now I had become sick of the usual menu so I suggested we have something good outside on our way back. We took the bad route to town one last time & crossed the Shatabdi dwaar, leaving Lansdowne behind.
The nearest big town near Lansdowne was Kotdwar & I was hopeful we would get something nice to gorge on there. But by the time we reached there, the shops were beginning to open, so we left Kotdwar disappointed. Bijnor came & went & I couldn’t spot a single good Dhaba on the highway. Finally on the lonely road in Najibabad, Mr. Hubby spotted a lonely dhaba – Agarwal DHaba. By now we had been driving 4 hours non stop & were so hungry that we could eat anything. They say good things often come when you least expect them. The Dhaba offered us one the best food I ever had on a roadside eatery. We went for the quickest option – aloo & onion paranthas. And the guy got lip smacking paranthas in minutes without compromising on the quality. Crispy paranthas stuffed with potatoes & onion stuffing, flavoured with generous quantity of cumin & green chillies. They served paranthas with chholey, something I had never seen anywhere else. If you ever take the Najibabad route for Lansdowne or even Haridwar, paranthas at Agarwal DHaba are a must. The cashier was so cute that when Mr. Hubby complimented him for the good food, his reply was just a blank look! Donno if he was surprised or too used to it!
Well, this trip was a lot about funny things, and adding to the list were these beautiful water tanks at a shop in Najibabad. I quickly satiated my camera lenses with some clicks. Mr. Hubby told this is a common fashion in Punjab & now Najibabad too was catching up!
|Game for such water tanks?|
I missed the old Cheetal grand which has been totally eclipsed due to the new road constructed. The owners have opened a new, smaller outlet on the highway, but even though it is flooded with passersby, I found it a total disappointment in terms of food quality, service time and pricing. So this time, we decided to give it a miss. Rather we drove non stop to Delhi – the flavour of the paranthas still afresh on our taste buds!
Whether I wanna go back to Lansdowne ever again, I don’t know. Perhaps if I manage to get a booking in the GMVN tree house, I won’t mind visiting again, for the misty weather, pine trees, flowers & the beautiful old houses call me to relax the old style!