When you think of Himachal, you picture the images of snowcapped mountains, long winding roads, rows of pine trees and gushing rivers. And then one day I saw a few pictures of Garli Pragpur. To me it looked like somewhere in Europe. And I was left in disbelief that such a place exists in India and that too in the heart of Himachal Pradesh. So off I went to explore the Prague of India The heritage villages of Garli Pragpur. Both these villages were built by the Soods community in the 16th century. These merchants travelled the world and returned home to build mansions, schools and hospitals in the European style architecture. And with an agenda of preserving this unique architecture and the cultural significance, the govt named them a heritage zone around 20 years back. Truly speaking Garli Pragpur are not for everyone. But if you ask me, one should go there atleast once. Not only for the charm of European elegance but also to revisit the childhood memories
You know Punjab actually means the land of 5 rivers. But I think for me the 5 things that make Punjab are Farms, Festivals, Flavours, Friendship most importantly Food. They say that you need to TASTE A CULTURE to really understand it. And when it comes to culture and food, whats better than Punjab. Or may be thats the Punjabi in me talking : I have been to Amritsar before but this time around the idea was to blend in and get a real sense of life in this city. And thats why I reached out to a True Blue Amritsari GAYATRI PESHAWARIA. Gayatri is a chef and a food educator who has come up with a unique initiative to not just educate kids on healthy food but also teach them how to cook. And thanks to her, I was hosted by this lovely Mother Son duo at their farmstay. The Sarkaria family has this amazing home right in the middle of their 3 acres farms. And like true Punjabis they welcomed me not just with open arms but with open hearts. SO much so that they left all their work for a couple of days and showed me a different Amritsar which is away from the typical sightseeing points and all your Kesars and Brothers Dhabas of the world. I always used to crib that why dont I have relatives who live in a farm somewhere in Punjab. And you know what, now I can say I have one. And thats the beauty of Travel It makes you richer in so many ways.