Bye bye Jammu and Kashmir, hello Uttar Pradesh!: #28States28Plates Day 10 Blog
The 10th day of the #28States28Plates was to be a pretty relaxed one. We were to travel from Jammu to Palampur, a drive that takes just five hours. We left Jammu at 8am to avoid traffic in the city and made our way towards the J & K and Himachal border. Just as we were about to arrive there, we stopped by a roadside stall for tea. But it turned out, all the stalls were readying up another local breakfast staple — dal vadas. The fried, round vadas were garnished with some radish and chutneys and were a great way to start the day as we bid adieu to J and K.
The moment we entered Himachal Pradesh, 4G internet connectivity was back. Prepaid sim cards are blocked in Jammu and Kashmir which meant most of us had no internet while travelling. Remember to carry a postpaid sim if you’re heading there. We then took advantage of Palampur’s proximity to Dharamshala and headed there for lunch. Dharamshala and its surrounding area is known for its authentic Tibetan food and after some research we found the Commonground cafe. The route there isn’t the easiest, thanks to Mcleodganj's narrow and steep streets but it was worth it.
The owner told us that he named his restaurant 'Commonground' to extend his support towards the free Tibet movement. The Tibetans have lived here since 1959, when the Dalai Lama left Tibet in exile and came here to settle.
We ordered some authentic Shatang and Tingmos. The former is a meat stir fry while the latter are soft steamed buns — simple food but packed with flavour.
After lunch, we did some shopping in the local market to take home some souvenirs unique to the region. After that we started the drive to Palampur, our destination for the night and while on the way we came across the famed HPCA stadium — the highest international cricket ground in the world. The 40-odd kilometer drive from Dharamshala to Palampur took about an hour to traverse, but we weren’t complaining. The scenery on either side was incredible. Pine trees, waterfalls, bridges that seemed plucked out of a painting — a feast for the eyes. We arrived at the Justa resort in Palampur where the chef kindly prepared for us some chicken rara with butter naans. Nothing too special, but a good meal nonetheless. All in all, it was an enjoyable day of driving. Today should be more hectic as we make the long drive to Dehradun.