Monday, April 11, 2016

30 August 2015 – Dehra Dun to Lucknow - Day 10

Lucknow being the destination on the tenth day of the Trans Himalayan Expedition I started early from Hotel Sofitel, Dehra Dun. The route via Haridwar and Moradabad was 580 km and was eventually completed in 12 hours. The stretch between Bareilly and Sitapurwas quite bad. When the expedition was planned, travel via Uttar Pradesh was not contemplated since I was to enter Nepal from Uttarakhand and exit to West Bengal; this route was completely off the original script, necessitated by the situation prevailing in Nepal following changes in the Constitution of the country. The faceoff between the Madhesis and the indigenous people was turning really ugly with many lives lost in shoot outs and protests. The only hope left was to gain entry into Nepal via Sonauliand I expected to do that tomorrow.
Ankur and Arpit Verma became friends during the drive to London in June 2014. Initially it
was Facebook that got us in touch. The fabulous reception Lal Jos, Baiju and I were given in Lucknow got us face to face. And with this unexpected visit to Lucknow I thought I had another opportunity to meet up with these two young travel buffs. Ankur is a bike freak. The Samsung phone I had was stolen from the car following the accident near Srinagar. I needed another to assist in navigation. It would be a good idea to seek the assistance of Ankur and Arpit, I decided. A phone call to them and assistance was forthcoming. They asked me to reach a well-known shopping centre where they knew a few people in the mobile phone business. After
evaluating a few models and bargaining till the throats were dry and friends said “that’s a good price”, I settled for the Samsung Grand Duos New, similar to what I had lost. I found that to be the best bang for the buck.

I had been given accommodation in the ORH near the railway station, an extremely crowded part of the city. The building and its premises had seen better days and the room looked in need of a couple of days of cleaning and upholstery change. Ankur and Arpit drove me to the ORH and I presented them with copies of Record Drives…And Then Some! They were over the moon taking photos of the Champion and dismayed at the manner it was bruised in the accident! All in all, it was a fun get together; they had something to tell their friends the next day and I touched base with a couple of energetic youngsters who constantly encouraged me over social media.

Lucknow, the third largest city east of Delhi, is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh and is famed for its ‘Nawabiness’. Historically, this city was the capital of Awadh and was administered from Delhi during the Mughal period. The city has some of the most magnificent examples of Mughal art and architecture. Lucknow sits proudly on the banks of the Gomti River and is home to the largest population of Shia Muslims in the country.Along with Agra, Allahabad and Varanasi the city of Lucknow and its surroundings have a lot to offer the curious tourist and adventurous traveler. 

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