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Visited India : A Journey back to Roots

Los Angeles/Mar 23, 2024 Singh

Visiting one’s country of birth is usually an exciting experience. Thus, it was a pleasure for my wife Baldev and me to visit India in general and Punjab in particular again this year. Since my arrival in Canada in 1966, I have visited India many times. Without exception it has been a very enjoyable and exciting experience every time. This time, with my wife Baldev and some friends, we left for India on January27,2024. We arrived at the airport in New Delhi on January 28. For the first time, it was a direct flight via Air India from Vancouver to New Delhi. It was rather a long flight lasting about 15 hours. However, the advantage was that we did not have to change planes and airports and were in New Delhi within a reasonable time.

                              The formalities at the airport were quite simple and efficient. We decided to stay in New Delhi for a day to rest. Next day, after paying our obeisance at Rakab Ganj , Bangla Sahib and Sees Ganj Gurdwaras, we were well  on our way to my hometown Pharwala in Jalandhar district . The entire highway between New Delhi and Punjab is fully lined up with impressive dhabas. Most of these dhabas were full of NRI travellers on their way to and from Punjab. After travelling for couple of hours from the airport we decided to stop for breakfast/lunch at one of these dhabas. The gobhi and mooli paranthas were delicious. So was the ginger tea. After enjoying afternoon tea and snacks at another dhaba , we arrived at my home town before dark. Our relatives were eagerly waiting for us.

                              After resting at home for a day or so, we ventured out to meet some of our friends and relatives. This included a visit to our nearby historic town Nurmahal  to do some shopping. This town is named after Nurjahan, queen of Mughal emperor Jehangir. It is home to a world- famous Sarai. This Sarai was built in 1621.Nurmahal lies on the old Grand Trunk Road connecting Delhi and Lahore. It was a resting spot for travellers along this route. Nurjahan is reported to stay here from time to time. The Archeological Survey of India has done an excellent job in restoring this historic monument to its original form. These days it is a major tourist attraction. Nurmahal has now become a major shopping centre for the locals and NRIs from the surrounding villages.

                              Nurmahal’s Sarai is a remarkable specimen of oriental architecture. It is a great credit to this area of Jalandhar and Punjab. It is only five kilometers from my hometown Pharwala .It has been reported that Nurmahal was built on a place where an ancient town called Kot Kahlur was located .It is believed that the ancient city was abandoned or destroyed around 1300ADfor unknown reasons. These days, this place of some 13,000jk residents is a flourishing business centre for numerous villages around it. During my stay in India for almost seven weeks I would visit and enjoy strolling around this historic monument whenever I got a chance to do so.

Balwant Sanghera
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist. He has just returned from a visit to India)