Date: 28.12.2012 (Friday)
Bikaner Rajasthan to Amritser Punjab
On 27.12.2012 (Thursday) after the Junagarh Fort visit at Bikaner at 6 PM evening we left Bikaner to Amritser & we had to cover around 645 KMs.
It was again all Night Drive.
The route from Bikaner to Amritser takes us through Hanumangarh, Sriganga Nagar, Abhor, Fazilka, Ferozpur & Amritser.
The sign boards are clear all the way.
Road is good it is NH 15.
We saw a terrible accident where a Truck had totalled a TATA Sumo.
It is just a 2 lane road where you pass vehicles without any divider so you need to be very careful.
We were driving through thick FOG and visibility levels were near zero in many places and then it was so difficult to move & we had to just wait for the break through and proceed.
At times the thickness of the FOG was so much that I could not even see the front 2 feet from the bonnet. It was first time such experience for my wife & kids. Outside wind chill factor was very high.
We are now crossing Sriganga Nagar.
Crossed a Railway Gate Crossing, the train was yet to come. I saw a Chai Shop & got hot hot chai and started sipping, just then the train came..reminded me the good old Murphy's Law.
Punjab Border is just 600 meters ahead, you need to go straight only.
Welcome to the State of Punjab.
"Sath Sri Akal ji".
"Oye Bhalle Bhalle.."
At 4 AM early morning on 28th Dec we had reached the State of 5 Rivers PUNJAB.
Punj means 5 Aab means Water.
What a blessed State is Punjab, so green with so much Agriculture, Wheat Fields, Rice Fields, Sugar Cane fields, Maze Fields, you name it, they grow it, Vegetables, fruits, Dhabas, Daru Ka Shops (Wine Shops), we found some wine shops that had put out nice colorful posters like we see in some garment shops for seeling various brands of liquor nice brand promotion he he..quite interesting..
We saw this shop on our way from Amritser towards Haridwar. I will post this photo in the next page.
Reminded me of the famous song by Amitabh from the movie Sharabi Thodi See tho Pee le Hai..Thodi See tho Pee Le Hai..Oh Sheela, Oh Rani Khahein Na Hum Ghir Na Pade!!!
From here Bhatinda is 115 KMs, Amritser is 301 KMs, Srinagar is 803 KMs, Jammu is 586 KMs, Shimla is 466 KMs & Chandigarh is 347 KMs.
We will soon be crossing Abhor just 35 KMs away.
Jammu is quite close & I was enticing my wife that we can do the J&K / Leh Ladak next time.
The only problem is Leh / Ladak is best done in August / September / October when the high passes are cleared of all the snow & road are more safe & moterable.
But it is not possible for us as kids have vacation in May June / December. Lets see Insha Allah.
Fazilka is 26 KM & Ferozpur is 113 KMs away & the time was 4.55 AM.
We reached Ferozpur at 6.30 AM early morning. Welcome to Ferozpur.
Since Amritser was still some 200 KMs away we decided it will be better to take a hotel room and have a bath & freshen up.
Easier said than done. We found a so so hotel & told the front desk that we need the room only for some 2 & 1/2 hours and it was honestly bone chilling climate outside.
It was very difficult to get steaming hot water even from the water heater for all of us. Poor kids they went through the chillness.
While we were going around looking for the hotel around 7 AM in the Ferozpur city we never realised that our FIAT Linea would be noticed by some one early morning who crossed us some where & this person tried to locate us & missed some where.
He was still looking around & he found us just when we had left Ferozpur and we were on our way out of city where we found a very nice Shere-E-Punjab Hotel.
When I just parked the car & got my kids out and as my wife & me were just walking towards the Hotel for breakfast we were literally stopped by a fast braking Scorpio from which 2 guys got off and came rushing towards us, I was just waiting & here comes a grinning & smiling Manjit Sidhu who is a total stranger to me.
He greets me Good Morning & we wish him back & he says "Sirji Kahan Kahan Dhundoo aap logoan ko aur aap ka car ko (meaning Sir where all I searched for you all & your car). I did not understand at first.
Manjit is an Advocate by profession & he had seen our Indian Map Route map on our Linea & was so taken after it and seen our Tamil Nadu State Number Plate he realized that we were on a road Trip.
He told us that he also is a road freak & driving is also his passion.
He wants to do a very long distance trip with his family similar to our trip and will be touching base with Limca Book of Records etc.
We wished him well and shared quite a lot of interesting experiences so far.
Unfortunately since my camera batteries were down I could not capture the moment of our meet & he has been kind enough to send his photo & his family photo which I am sharing in this blog.
In fact he invited us home & said his wife & family will be happy to meet us.
Unfortunately since we were already on our way to Amritser we said may be next time or when they come down to Chennai / South India.
All in all now I got a Brother in Ferozpur.
"Sath Sri Akal" Manjit Bhai.
Stay well & hope our paths will cross again.
Breakfast Shere-E-Punjab @ Ferozpur
We realised that this same hotel chain has another hotel in Mednipur Kolkata By pass where we had lunch during our trip to Bhutan in 2010 - 2011.
Great hotel for breakfast & lunch, dinner, nice ambience, great food too.
In these photos below you can see that we had covered 430 KMs from Bikaner to Ferozpur & we got a mileage of 15.6 kmpl.
Over all we have covered 4385 KMs from Chennai till now.
We are getting a good average of 16.1 kmpl and so far we have done 91 hours of drive. Good isint it! So far so good!
We proceeded to Amritser around 9.30 AM which is just about some 140 KMs away.
The route is very scenic & we saw a whole lot of juicy oranges being sold on the road side.
We picked up some nice juicy ones even though they give you a cold. It was a very difficult choice.
We stopped at a bridge which was built above a river / canal that was running full to its brim.
Harmandir Sahib Amritser Golden Temple Visit:
This was a very memorable & great awesome experience to visit the Holiest Place for Sikhs in all the World The Golden Temple during our trip & this was the last temple we visited in our road trip.
(We got a sms message from my father from Coimbatore as soon as we had come out of the Golden Temple visit which conveyed to us that our Uncle my father's first cousion who was not keeping well for some time had passed away in Coimbatore. As a mark of respect & as per Hindu Rituals we are not supposed to visit any Temples for 13 days. So we missed visiting all the major temples in the journey after Punjab all the in Nepal & way back to Chennai.)
This Golden Temple is actually called Harmandir Sahib also Darbar Sahib in Punjabi meaning the Abode of GOD.
Sikh Gurus have established Sikhism beginning in 1469 and it was founded by the 1st Guru, Guru Nanak.
Each Guru after the 1st Guru was also referred as Nanak meaning "Light". There are a total of 11 Holy Gurus for Sikhs & their holy teachings were compiled as Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
2. Guru Angad Dev
3. Guru Amar Das
4. Guru Ram Das
5. Guru Arjan Dev
6. Guru Hargobind
7. Guru Har Rai
8. Guru Har Krishan
9. Guru Tegh Bahadur
10. Guru Gobindh Singh
11. Guru Granth Sahib
The 10th Guru affirmed that the sacred Adi Granth as his successor elevating it to Guru Granth Sahib.
This temple was built by the 5th Guru of Sikhs Guru Arjan Dev in 16th Centuary. In 1604 he completed the Adi Granth, the holy Scripture of Sikhism and installed it inside the Gurdwara.
There are a total of 4 doors to get inside Harmandir Sahib which actually symbolizes the openness of Sikhs towards all people & religions.
Shoes & Slippers are not allowed & are deposited at the enterance in proper shoe stands, men will have to wear a cloth & cover their heads & women also need to cover their head. This is an act of reverence to GOD.
There is cold water flowing at the enterance where we all need to wash our feet & then enter the premise.
The 4th Guru Guru Ram Dasji excavated a water tank in 1577 CE which was known as Amritsar.
Amrit in Sanskrit means Nectar & hence it is a pool of Nectar & all Sikhs collect this holy water on their way back.
They all offer their services to the GOD and do free seva. There is very tasty prasad given.
The Bhajans & Kirtans sung inside the Temple is heavenly & make you loose yourself and the atmosphere is so electric.
We also need to sit properly & all the devotees maintain a silence & are totally lost in their own prayers.
There is no statue / idol as we find in Hindu Temples, here it is the Holy Granth or Book that contains the holy scripts / verses complied by the Holy Gurs is being worshipped.
After the Golden Temple Visit we wanted to proceed to India Wagah Border.
I know the Commandant of BSF Amritser & I had called up before we had reached Amritser & sought his help & support.
He had taken down our names, car details & told us that we could be in the front row seats during the retreat ceremony.
He said since the Flag Retreat Ceremony between India & Pakistan timing had been shifted from 5.30 PM to 4.30 PM due to the severe winter weather and there was lot of rush also.
The kids said they were hungry after the Golden Temple visit and we had to stop at a Dhaba opposite to the Golden Temple & we lost precious 30 minutes and I literally rushed to the Border.
I was doing 100+ on rian soaked roads to reach but the traffic was also heavy & slower moving vehicles made my reaching the border late & we missed the ceremony.
100s of Trucks completely loaded just waiting to cross the Indian Border into Pakistan!
My wife was very upset & she said we should have first visited the Flag retreat ceremony & then come to the temple as the temple is still open till night.
Anyway this was a big disappointment for us. The saving grace was it was drizzling & raining & some of the people who were coming back were all wet.
So I told my wife I promise to show the flag retreat to her during our next trip!
It took some time to console her, it looked like we both were India - Pakistan!
Here we are at India Pakistan Border just 1 KM away.
We are just 23 KMs away from Lahore in Pakistan.
The odometer reading on 28.12.12012 at 6.33 PM evening at the Indo-Pakistan Border was 45777 KMs.
We had covered 4576 KMs from Home in Chennai till this place & we are getting an overall average of 16.1 kmpl & overall average speed till now is 47 kmph and we have done a total driving of 96 hours 13 minutes till now.
It took me some time to bring my disappointed wife back to normal as she felt she had missed the ceremony inspite of the BSF Comandant's help.
She said if we had not stopped for the food we would have watched it.
Well destiny plays its own games.
We left Amritser around 7 PM and were on our way to Haridwar and we had to cover some 450 KMs distance.
My wife told since I was doing contineous night drives for the last 4 days it is better I take some proper rest & we halted at Jalandhar which is around 90 KMs away from Amritser.
We went to Maharaja Residency Hotel at Jalandhar & reached at around 9.30 PM and had good proper dinner & took good rest & had a much needed good sleep.
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If you wish to read the previous travelogue Page No.6 27.12.2012 visit of Bikaner please click on this link below:
To read the Next Travelogue Page No.9 Amritser to Haridwar please click on this Link Below: