Saturday, December 13, 2014

Roadtrip to Rudrapur

Road trip to RudrapurWhen I first realised I will be travelling to Rudrapur I confused it with Rudraprayag, a place made famous by the famous British hunter Jim Corbett.  Rudrapur is a small town in the Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand close to the Nepal border.  Much to my surprise, our road trip from Delhi turned out to be quite a delight. Clearly, there has been much progress in the network of roads here during the last 15 years, since I last took a car to the highways in this region.

We arrived in Delhi pretty late. While weddings look and feel more contemporary in urban India, they continue to be held on ‘auspicious’ days as foretold by astrologers.  This being one of them, the streets were crowded with processions taken out by families and friends of newly minted grooms as they headed out to get their brides home.


We arrived at the Hyatt Regency, one of the earlier five-star hotels of Delhi, which continues to boast of several good restaurants. A few friends had come over to join us for dinner in spite of the late time.  While our initial plan was to try T.K.’s Oriental Grill, there was no way to get a table on a Saturday evening without reservations.

We finally got seated at La Piazza, the popular Italian restaurant at the Hyatt. It was fun chatting  through the night and laughing out loud remembering memorable and silly times from the past.  By the time we got done, the kitchen had closed and the waitstaff was waiting for they could get back home too.  BTW, the thin-crust pizzas here are terrific!


At six in the morning, we were bundled up in the car that had come to drive us to Rudrapur.  While the skies were still dark, the roads were alive, but with trucks.  It took us over an hour to get out of Delhi through the craziness and traffic jams...all on a Sunday morning.  During times like this, I am glad we are in Pune!

Rampur Library

Once past Delhi, the going was much better.  The roads were good and the morning fog made even the industrial suburbs of Delhi seem lovely.  Soon we were breezing past sugarcane laden trucks and the smell of molasses in Hapur, the temple town of Garhmukteshwar where the goddess Ganga is worshipped, and into Gajraula.


Gajraula is a good place to stop for breakfast.  The Bikaneerwale outlet here is like the ones Haldiram has in Delhi.  They serve a variety of North Indian comfort food from chaat, chole bhature, parathas, samosa, jalebis to some Chinese dishes and snacks.  We gorged on as many of these delicacies as we could, before getting back into the car for the rest of our journey.

The traffic jams I remember in Moradabad from my previous trip no longer bother travellers of the ‘new’ Grand Trunk Road.  Now the roads flies over the rooftops of the busy city below and we were soon zooming by Rampur.  The final stretch of road to Rudrapur was a little pot-holed, but the surroundings were so scenic we hardly complained.

Vast tracts of lands on both sides dotted with trees and stretches of grains and vegetables growing in divided patches made for a wonderful sight. The sun shone through the canopy of trees on both sides of the road.  This kind of fairy-tale sight is only seen during winter morning in these lands close to the foothills of the mighty Himalayas.

After seven hours we reached Rudrapur for the wedding.  A lavish lunch awaited us and we were soon caught up in the excitement of the wedding and in meeting our aunts, cousins and other relatives after so long.

The winter evening was frigid; but the dinner spread warmed us up quickly.  The guy at the chaat counter was awesome.  I must have repeated the aloo tikki more than once, they were so good.  Perfectly crisped on the outside with just the right portions of tamarind, yogurt and mint drizzled on it!

After a hectic day of merry-making and reunion with the extended family, we were back on the highway.  We made good time on the return journey and were in Delhi early.  Enough time to grab some exquisite tandoori food at Bukhara’s followed by a trip down memory lane for ice-creams at Nirula’s.


Unknown said...

Hi,lovely description of your road journey to Ruderpur. Very nice photos and descriptions. It was great to have spent time with you at Delhi. Sanjeev Sehgal.

Shantanu said...

@Sanjeev: Thanks for visiting here...