Travel Diaries I – My first trip to North India Part 2 – Manali

IMG_20150118_154350Hi friends! The monsoon has finally set in. What more can I ask for? Here at Mumbai, it had been really very hot over the past two weeks, and now with the onset of monsoon everything is cool again. I don’t know if you remember, but sometime in February I started a new segment on My Space called Travel Diaries. This post is the continuation of the same. Back in January we had been to North India. As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, it was my first ever trip to the Northern part of India. This post is the continuation of my previous post which was put up sometime in February. Let me just start off with where I left.

After the wonderful Rock Garden experience, we went back to the hotel we stayed at around 5.30-6 pm. We took an auto from the Rock Garden to our hotel, and I just can’t tell you how cold it was. It was hint to us as to how cold Manali would be. For me it was the first time ever I was visiting a snow clad area. It was surely an experience I was looking forward to. The First Hotel we stayed at Chandigarh was a pretty good one. The food was amazing. We booked that hotel in particular because the distance from the hotel to the bus stand was about ten minutes. We had to take the bus to Manali the next morning. We wanted to stay as close as possible to the hotel so that it would be easier for us to reach the bus stand the next morning. Our first day at Chandigarh was fruitful and relaxed. The next morning, we started our day very early as our bus was at 8.30 am. We had to be at the bus stand at 8 latest. We reached the bus stand at 8 am. We took a shared auto to the bus stand as shared auto. It was freezing!

Once we got down at the bus stand, our next step was to search for our bus. We had booked a Deluxe AC bus from Chandigarh to Manali. It was the Himachal Pradesh Transport bus. We booked it online. When we booked it, we were all happy that it was the deluxe AC bus and stuff, but the moment we saw the bus, both me and my husband were dumb stuck. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was the typical Government bus which was all old and rickety. The only advantage was, as it was peak winter we didn’t need AC. So the bus was fine with us. The bus started at dot 8.30 a.m. The scenic beauty which we got to see was amazingly beautiful. We stopped for breakfast at a dhaba at around 10 a.m. From then on we went directly without any stop till about 12.30 p.m. Once we reached Bilaspur, we broke for lunch. It was the most amazing lunch we had. It was a buffet with a spread of roti, sabzi, dal and chawal. I can still remember the taste. After lunch, we didn’t stop anywhere in between until we reached Kullu. The scenery on our way to Manali is something which I can never forget – the mountains which stood tall bordering the water beds in that area. We reached Kullu at around 5.30 p.m. We were made to wait at the bus stand for about half an hour. From there when we started, we were just about 5-8 passengers travelling to Manali. So from the main bus stand at Kullu, we were taken to the local bus stand and we had to change our bus. The original bus was rickety itself and worse was the new bus we got into! But that was not a concern for us, as we enjoyed every single moment of our bus journey to Manali.

By the time we changed buses and left Kullu it was around 6-6.15 p.m. It took about one and half hours for us to reach Manali. We reached Manali at around 7.45- 8 p.m. We took an auto to our resort. We had booked at the Log Huts which was maintained by the HPTDC. It took us 20 minutes to reach the place as it was at the higher peaks. The log huts were really very beautiful. I had never seen something like that till date. As it was winter, the occupancy at the Log Huts was low. So they showed us around the place, and told us to choose our hut. We chose the first one. And apparently, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stayed at the very Log Hut when he visited Manali in his stint as the Gujarat Chief Minister.

I just cannot explain how amazing the place was. It was freezing there! The temperature was something like 1 degree! I just couldn’t take off my gloves and cap for even a second, it was that cold.

So this was the day two of our trip. Our Sunday well spent on the beautiful roads of Himachal Pradesh opening up at Himalayas.

I will come back soon with the next post on My Space very soon. Till then, enjoy.

Cheers!!!

My First Attempt at writing a Short Fiction Story

Hi friends!! You all must have been wondering that my blog, My Space, has been put to deep slumber by me, but it is not so. I was busy with one of the things which I love doing the most – Writing!! I was taking my passion to the next level by trying my hand at writing a story. It was for a contest which I came across. I wanted to try something different, so I went ahead and registered and started off. It took me about four and a half months to finish the book and then, type it. I must mention here, that I received full support from my in laws and husband. Every single person at home proof read my story completely to make sure it is free of errors as much as possible. It might though have some mistakes which could have been overlooked. So friends, why don’t you read it once and let me know how it is? I am open for any improvements that need to be incorporated. Go through the story and that will help me in two ways – one by helping me improve, of course, and make me be a better writer and second as it was mainly written for a contest it will improve my stats for the contest as well.

https://freeditorial.com/en/books/the-dark-side-of-the-vacation

So please rush and read it and tell me how it is!

Dabeli – An Evening Snack to relish on!

IMG-20150510-WA0000Hi friends! As I promised, I am here today with the recipe of Dabeli. Most of you, I am sure would not have heard about this yummy evening snack. It is dish which is supposed to have originated at Kutch. I do not know much about it, but that is what I have heard of. It happens to be my husband’s favorite. I decided to give it a try and browsed the recipe online. An aunt had shared the recipe with me, but still I followed my routine. I browsed three to four different recipes and came up with my own, based on the ingredients I had at home. Yeah, it always so happens with me that I do not plan before making anything. I just randomly decide and go ahead. So are you ready to run through the recipe, with me? Come on, then, what are you waiting for!

Ingredients

3 packets of Pav (depends on your requirement)
100 gms of Masala Groundnuts
½ kg of Potatoes (boiled and mashed)
2 onions finely chopped
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1-2 tsp Amchur
1 tsp Chili Powder
2 tbsp Dabeli Masala (I used the readymade Dabeli Masala available in the market)
A pinch of garam masala powder
Salt as per your requirement
1 tsp Jeera
Oil as per your requirement

For the Garlic Chutney
7-8 Kashmiri Chilies (Use Kashmiri chilies if you want the chutney to be bright red)
5-6 pods of Garlic
Water as per the requirement

For the Sweet Chutney
1 bowl Tamarind
1 bowl Dates
½ bowl Jaggery
Water as per requirement

Method

Garlic Chutney
– Dry roast the Kashmiri chilies and garlic for about 2 minutes
– Remove from flame and add little water (sufficient to grind the chutney into a smooth paste)
– Grind it and keep aside.

Sweet Chutney
– Soak the tamarind in water for a while (about 10-15 minutes)
– In the same way, deseed the dates and soak it in water for a while (about 5-10 minutes)
– Mix the two together with little water, add jaggery to it and bring it to boil
– After the mixture cools, grind it. Keep adding water as per the consistency required

Stuffing
– Heat oil in a pan and jeera to it. Fry it until it splutters.
– Add the onions and fry until it becomes transparent
– Add in the mashed potatoes, turmeric, amchur, red chili powder, dabeli masala, garam masala and salt and mix well.
– Finally add the masala groundnuts and mix well and remove from flame

Finally the Dabeli
Now that everything is ready, we can finally make the dabeli.
– Take one piece of Pav, cut across it till the edge. Do not cut the pav fully. Cut it in such a way that you can open it like a book.
– Smear one side of the pav with sweet chutney and the other side with garlic chutney
– Take one spoonful of the stuffing and smear it neatly on the bottom portion
– Sprinkle finely chopped onions and masala groundnuts over it and press the pav tightly
– Dab the pav with butter on both sides and toast it on the tava till golden brown
The yummy and delicious Dabeli is ready to savor on!

Note: You can also add pomegranate to the stuffing. As I didn’t have it readily available at home I did not use it.

I am sure most of you will try it out immediately. Do try it and get back to me with the result of the same.

See you soon..

Till then, Cheers!!!