Weekend Trip to Ludhiana
Ludhiana, also known as the Manchester of India got its name due to the presence of the hosiery industry in the region. However, for Indians, a quick trip to this ‘Sarson-ke-khet’ land is enough to rename it as the ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ city of India.
I remember my first trip to Ludhiana, the beautiful city, a few years ago in February. Being a travel enthusiast from a very young age, I grew up realizing that India has so much to offer that one life cannot be enough to see it all. Hence, I traveled at every opportunity I got – birthday, weekends, annual leaves, long weekends, etc. I had read about the Rural Olympics in Kila Raipur near Ludhiana and had long wanted to witness our rural athletes in action. In February 2016, I was finally there for the weekend.
I started my journey from Mumbai and took a flight to Delhi. Once there, I considered various options to travel to my destination and finally decided to avail of a convenient one-way taxi from Delhi to Ludhiana. Staying in Kila Raipur was impossible because thousands of people were thronging to the small town for the Olympics. The journey was beautiful and lasted around 5 hours. As we cut through the mesmerizing countryside of Punjab while halting at Dhabas and gulping down gallons of lassi, I realized why Punjab was so famous for its food too.
I reached Ludhiana on February 5, 2016 – Friday. In 2016, the Olympics were scheduled from 4-7 February. I decided to spend the day and the next in Ludhiana and head for the Olympics on the last day – 7th.
A weekend in Ludhiana
I started with visiting the must-visit places during a trip to Ludhiana like Gurudwara Mehdiana Sahib, Punjab’s Agricultural University Museum, Phillaur Fort, Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum, etc. However, more than these places, what truly fascinated me was the Punjabi way of life. Simple and brimming with optimism and happiness, Ludhiana epitomizes everything Punjabi. The local cuisine alone is enough to make me forget about going back to the mechanical life of Mumbai. The people of Ludhiana are truly artistic. A mere walk down the street shops of the city exposed me to the world of handicrafts that I never knew existed.
The Rural Olympics
The first two days flew by and soon it was time to visit Kila Raipur for the reason I was there – the Rural Olympics. As an Indian, this is a festival that each of us must experience at least once in our lives. Imagine an Olympic competition where athletes pull a heavy truck with their hair? Or, a tug-of-war between people from two villages? Every event here is unique. Witnessing the games here reminded me of the richness of our culture and how modernization has taken us away from it. With thousands of participants and spectators, it was an experience that has etched itself in my memory.
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As my trip came to an end and I had to go back to my job in Mumbai, I wanted a last taste of Punjab – one for the road. So, I decided to book a dependable one-way taxi for Ludhiana to Delhi drop and soaked in as much of Punjab as I could. Needless to say, I have been itching to go back there and re-live my memories.
Image credits: ludhiana.nic.in