When I signed up to go on my college’s IEEE trip to Amritsar, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur in November, I expected something great because this year’s committee is filled with people whom I felt were very good at what they do. My classmates, for reasons best known to them, declined to join me on the trip and planned their own trip to Kullu Manali, etc. Finally it was only me, Jinju and Deepu (Project Fridays minus Debu) from BE Electrical who went on the IEEE trip.
The trip to Amritsar from Mumbai was extremely boring chiefly because 6 of us were isolated from most of the people we knew. But from the moment that journey ended, it was fern and excitement all the way.
I was expecting it to be biting cold in Amritsar and when we arrived I was not surprised that everyone of us felt like we were suffering from Parkinson’s. It took some time to get used to it but the wonderful hotel rooms made up for the cold. We stayed at S.G. Resorts and the experience was brilliant. And the food – fantastic. Really rich Punjabi food with loads of Paneer and the best part was, it was so cold there that we did not feel really heavy in spite of pigging out all the time.
The first day we went to Jallianwala Bagh. I was pretty depressed by the end of it and the short walk to the Golden Temple was spent in silence. My first glimpse of the Darbar Sahib in the middle of the Sarovar was something that will remain etched in my memories forever. The feeling of peace that I got there despite the rather large crowd seemed like a godsend and lifted the heaviness I felt after visiting the Bagh. A view of the Granth Sahib and a meal in the langar made me feel like a new man.
The next day we gave the Industrial visit to Khanna Paper Mills a wide berth and instead went to the local market which was not too productive either. That afternoon we left for the Wagah Border to view the ‘Beating the retreat’ Ceremony. The ceremony felt more like a shouting match between the two sets of guards – The Border Security Force on our side and the Pakistani Rangers on the other. It was nevertheless a very different experience and as we kept shouting slogans like Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande mataram, i realized that the life we have in India despite the corruption and other nonsense, really is worth fighting for.
The next day we set out for a small station called Makkhu where we were supposed to board the Jammu Tawi Express for Jodhpur. The boarding was a near miss as we had assembled on the wrong platform. We boarded from the side which did not actually have a platform and since the coaches did not arrive in order meant a lot of chaos for the next hour or so after everyone got in from everywhere but it was all fine in the end.
We arrived in Jodhpur the next morning and immediately left for our camps at Jaisalmer. The ride was a bit long and a change of plans meant we had lunch at the famous Chandam Shree Hotel and went and saw Gadisar Lake first where we indulged in a spot of boating. We reached the camp late in the evening as the sun was just about to set and watched a wonderful folk dance performance which involved women picking up needles and blades with their eyelids and some major balancing acts.
Of all the things, the wonderful night view of the stars was blocked by dark clouds for the entire time we were there. It was actually drizzling in the desert and it was unfortunate that I had to give star gazing a miss. The tents were pretty warm and the food pretty fine.
The day after we went to Jaisalmer fort and had a beautiful view of the town. We managed to buy a Pagdi for Jinju’s surprise birthday which he knew we were going to have and also took in a fun camel ride back to the camp. Jinju’s birthday celebration went off pretty well and we expected to have a lot of fun the day after. However the next day was spent in the bus travelling back to Jodhpur and since we arrived at night we could not get anything done.
The hotel at Jodhpur was well worth the wait as the four star rooms seemed straight out of a movie. There was a bathtub and a swimming pool and for people like your’s truly who had not bathed for 3 days running it was heaven. There was a bit of dancing involved before dinner and the wonderfully cooked dinner itself which ended the day on a perfect note.
On the 17th, our last day, we went to see Mehrangadh fort and had a beautiful view of the Blue city and visited the famous Chamunda Mata temple. We had precious little time to buy stuff for people back home and the tour guide took us to some emporium where they were selling stuff at Mumbai prices and that was actually the only big disappointment of the trip.
A short visit to the hotel where we had late lunch and loaded our luggage on to the buses and we were on our way to the station. we boarded the Suryanagari express to Mumbai and arrived today just an hour late.
As it was my last college trip I really wanted it to be a special experience. When we realized that on the trip, it would only be the three of us without our class, I felt we would get bored of seeing each other’s faces. However I met a lot of people on the trip. My impressions of a few people changed and I gained many new friends. The IEEE committee went out of their way to make this journey good for us and they pulled it off admirably. They completely repaid my trust in them and this was really one of the best trips I have ever been on.
Me and Jinju wanted to make a documentary about the trip but the videos from the Golden temple and Jalianwalla bagh got erased. However we got some good videos and the birthday vids were also covered by Rohit and Ganapati’s special channel. Hopefully with a bit of editing we can still make it a cool Project Fridays video.
Many thanks to Pratap, Taha, Gurtej, Badrike, Ronnie, Divya, Anand, Srihari, actually everyone for making this an unforgettable experience.