Saturday, 11 September 2010

"The" first week.

From Delhi we travelled by train five hours north to the relatively small town of Patiala. The town is in the Punjab which takes its place amongst the very best places in the world afforded the prefix "The". You know like "The Kings road", "The Gambia" or the mighty "The Wirral". Answers on a postcard for the reasons these places are given such a mighty intro.

Patiala is not a tourist town as such but there are still some cool things there. We were there to stay with a lady I met at my last school who runs a primary and secondary school. Rosa had invited us to stay with her and see her schools. As with any invitation like this from someone you don't know all that well you can be filled with a certain trepidation en route. I really didn't have much idea what to expect. However we really landed on our feet. Rosa had a huge house in a walled enclave with a lovely garden, a driver, cooks and three dogs. Our room was lovely with air con and en suite bathroom and beer and nuts were served promptly at five. The primary school was inside the grounds and the sight from our window was of the cutest little kids running around in turbans and little tunics. Just a brilliant way to start the day.

We spent Monday to Friday here chilling out, eating amazing food, sleeping, reading, playing cards, visiting the schools and a couple of local sights, attending a Sikh family birthday party (with pin the tail on the donkey included) and generally having a good time. Rosa is a brilliant host.

The highlight was a trip to the fort in the town which took our breath away. We were allowed special access to certain areas thanks to our contacts and saw the Chandelier room which takes opulence to the extreme. The story goes that the Maharajah was in Paris and one day while not in his royal readiments, visited a Chandelier shop. Upon asking how much a chandelier cost the shop owner informed him that a man such as he could not afford it. Annoyed at the condescension he promptly bought the entire shop. We were only allowed one photo in this room but I fired off two. In your face "The" man.The fort is crumbling away now from neglect and it's such a shame as it was stunning. Apparently this is common in the Punjab through the lack of tourism.

We will return to Patiala on our way to Rajasthan but for now we were headed towards the Himalayas and our first stop Rishikesh. "The yoga capital of the world" it is said. The monsoon has extended here and trekking is potentially not going to happen. I will be gutted if it doesn't as this was one of my must do things of the trip. Fingers crossed. Judging by the electrical storm that hit last night and the size of the Ganges river flowing through the valley the weather is not to be messed with.

We are in a great spot up on the hill away from the madness below and going to take in the spiritual vibes flowing through the air maaaan. 

Peace out.


  1. sounds awesome... I have just been to "the" shop, but it's not quite the same.


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  3. I must insist on being called 'The Wayne' from now on. I think it suits.

  4. No problems 'The Wayne'. Although you seemed to consider being called 'The Katherine'? Are you sure you want to commit just yet?