INDIA TRAVEL - A JOURNEY THROUGH RURAL PUNJAB - AN EXHILARATING EXPERIENCE

I have always been fascinated by state of Punjab in India. It's culture, traditions, people, language and most of all it's rural areas hold a special attraction for me and I really wanted to travel there. Though a Punjabi myself, I haven't had a chance to live or work in any area of Punjab. So when I got a chance to go for some personal work to Punjab, I jumped at the opportunity. What was supposed to be a hectic one day visit, turned out to be a adventurous and memorable experience with travel to one of the most stunning and scenic spots. 


Initially my visit was planned for Chandigarh only, the capital city of Punjab but then suddenly something urgent came up which required me to visit Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Power Plant in Rupnagar District. I didn't have the faintest idea about the location or place and was quite apprehensive about getting there. I didn't have a clue about how to reach there. So I asked my hotel guy and he informed me that this falls in a rural area and there is one local train in the morning which starts from Ambala and goes upto Nangal Dam station, that can take me to that place or I could take a bus. I found out that this place was about 38 kms(23 mi) from , so I had the option of hiring a taxi also. However, something in me pushed me to be adventurous and board the local train in the morning.


 REACHING RUPNAGARNext morning I left my hotel wondering whether the local train would be overcrowded or I would be lucky to get a seat and how much time this train would take to reach Rupnagar. When the train arrived, my first surprise was that there were only a few people in the train. I asked a local man the reason. He told me that most of the people traveling on this train are daily passengers, who travel from Ambala and surroundings to Chandigarh for work so the train gets empty at Chandigarh. I took a window seat. The seat was quite comfortable and I sat leisurely. The train started and I fixed my sight out of the window to look at the scene outside. It was 9 in the morning and there was usual hustle bustle of office and college goers. Once the train got past outskirts of Chandigarh, I started getting glimpses of rural Punjab. Though what I was seeing outside was true to my expectations (lush green fields and farmers working in them) but what I encountered on reaching my destination was incredible and beyond my imagination. After travelling for about 105 minutes, we finally reached Rupnagar station. Luckily I asked one of my fellow passengers about the how to reach the Thermal power plant from the station. He told me that to reach the plant I needed to go further to Ghanauli village station, which was the next station, and get down there. So I waited for about 10 more minutes and finally reached Ghanauli village station.


Places to see in Punjab
TRAIN PASSING THROUGH LUSH GREEN FIELDS OF PUNJAB

It is a very small station, an old fashioned one. On one side of it is the National Highway and on the other is the Ghanauli village. The atmosphere was so calm and peaceful that I could clearly hear the chirping of birds. I could see the part of the village from the station itself and it looked so beautiful and serene.

Rupnagar Field
A FIELD IN RUPNAGAR

As came out of the station and asked a passerby about how to reach the power station. I was told that there was no local transport available and I had to either ask for lift from someone or walk for about two kms. I decided on the second option as I wanted to enjoy the natural beauty.

 I never imagined that on my way, I would be passing by an extremely wonderful spot, which would hold me to itself. After walking for about a km, I came across a canal which left me spellbound (I later came to know that it is called Sirhind Canal). This canal has transparent clean blue water and flows quietly. It's sheer beauty gave me goosebumps.It is surrounded by lush green fields and beautiful landscapes, unspoiled by the city crowd. It is a great picnic spot.

Sirhind Canal at Rupnagar
BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF SIRHIND CANAL

Sirhind canal is a large irrigation canal which carries water from Sutlej river. One of the oldest irrigation works, which was inaugurated way back in 1882, it is also the biggest one in the Indus river system. It begins at Rupnagar and heads to Doraha. Thanks to this canal network, this once arid area has become extremely fertile.It irrigates more than 5200 sq.kms. This canal was constructed by the then government, with help from erstwhile states of Patiala,Nabha and Jind. At Doraha, it splits into three branches.One goes west and southwest and rejoins Sutlej river near Pakistan border. Second flows to Rajasthan border via Bhatinda and third branch goes to Patiala. Sirhind canal and it's branches network is spread over a length of 321.5 kms.

 It's banks have been developed magnificently. On one side, a smooth road rolls along while other side is full of green cover. Sheer view of the canal gives a thrill, which is hard to match. I could see locals swimming in the canal. I spent considerable time admiring the beauty.

Sirhind Canal at Ghanauli Village
PANORAMIC VIEW OF SIRHIND CANAL

 It was another kind of experience at Ghanauli railway station as I waited for my return train. As I said, it is a small station. Only one person manages this station and even ticket distribution is manual. No computers here. The man punches the ticket in the punching machine.
While sitting on the bench, I could see the locals in their traditional attires, passing by. Since I could understand Punjabi, it was exhilarating to here their conversations and observe them. I could sense how closely knit that society was, unlike towns where people generally are confined to themselves. Another noteworthy aspect was the clean water. I could drink water directly from the tap. It was as if I had been transported to another era.
 As I boarded my return train, I decided to come back the next day to absorb some more of the scene. And sure enough, I went back the next day again. Sirhind canal is one place which is least explored and one of the most beautiful.
I still treasure my memories of that mesmerizing beauty.


HAPPY TRAVELING IN 2018!!

18 comments:

  1. What a great guide, I hope to visit India at some point. I'm pinning this for when I do.

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    1. Thanks Nicole! Do visit India, it is one of the most beautiful countries. Do subscribe to my blog to know more about India.

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  2. I've always wanted to visit India, thanks for this article!

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  3. Amazing guide! We have not visited India yet, but would love to visit one day.

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    1. Do visit India. It's a beautiful country. In the meantime, I invite you to subscribe to my blog to know more about India.

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  4. Some amazing places to visit. This is indeed a great travel guide. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Hi Vimal, thanks for sharing this. I am from Punjab and living in Melbourne. I felt so emotional after reading this.

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    1. I am glad that I could take you to actual journey of your homeland.

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  6. I hope I will visit India one day, thanks for sharing

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    1. Do visit India and I invite you to subscribe to my blog to know more about India.

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  7. You seem to be of the same tribe as me...going back to rural hometown for work...Good post man. Havent been to Punjab yet...perhaps someday I will :)

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    1. You must visit Punjab. It's a beautiful and vibrant place. The energy of the people here is contagious.

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