Please read this post before planning to go to Delhi or neighboring states during the lock-down. We were working from our home in Pune since 2.5 months. It was quite a bit of mixed feeling of frustration and being isolated in one place. Although, I do realise that we are quite blessed that we have a shelter, monthly salary and enough food unlike many others in the difficult times. But we still thought of moving to stay with our aging parents for sometime during these hard times in Uttarakhand. We reached our home safely early this week. It was so swift to take permission from Pune police online. As instructed, we submitted medical fitness certificate to prove that we don’t have covid symptoms, added adhaar number and uploaded a self declaration form to state that we are in living in non containment zone. We got the permission in just 4 hrs.

Route taken: Pune – Mumbai – Surat – Vadodra – Udaipur – Ajmer – Jaipur – New Delhi – Meerut – Roorkee

Total travel time was 29 hrs in our Ecosport – including 4 hrs of total break time from Pune to Roorkee (Haridwar). Total driving distance – 1600 km. We just packed our stuff in the evening and left from Pune at 3 am. We kept enough water, fruits, snacks and food for the next 30 hrs or even more. Crossed Mumbai at 5 am, nobody stopped or checked on us in Maharashtra, maybe because we pasted the digital pass on the windscreen. But still in my opinion, looking at the situation here; there should be some checking on the city and state borders. Gujarat police scanned QR code on our pass, we went through the checking quite fast. They were just stopping people who didn’t had digital pass. The police was very diligent to check if people have mask on or not. But it was saddening to see so many people walking the scorching heat. Also, saw some buses as well taking migrants. I kept wondering is it plain mismanagement or because we have too many people to take care. 😔 We tried to help as many people and animals as possible for us during our journey but it won’t be even a fraction. If you are planning to travel by road, I urge you to carry extra stuff to help the needy on your route.

Pune to Delhi during corona lock down, how to take permission, what to know.
Pune Mumbai Expressway


Rajasthan police also stopped us thrice to check on where are we heading, we had to fill our details in a register each time. There were also multiple camps for people coming from other states. They were getting registered district wise for further journey. I didn’t see much people walking in Rajasthan though. Maybe because there would be less migrants coming to Rajasthan. It was already late evening when we reached Ajmer. We decided to stop on a petrol pump to rest a bit. We were carrying our induction stove and a pan to make maggi. The owner was kind enough to let us do that. We ate our first warm meal of the day and pushed off in 40 mins or so. It was a good break after covering at least 1100 km. After Jaipur, it was already 11 pm and we were bit tired and were looking to stop somewhere. There were lot of dhabas and hotels as well open in Rajasthan (Surprisingly) but it was quite risky to stay somewhere during the pandemic. We finally decided to stop by a busy toll and slept for 3 hrs there, there were other cars and trucks as well parked there.

After a good rest we started again at 2 am something because it was important to cross Delhi early morning because we heard from people that there are long waiting lanes to cross or enter in Delhi and we wanted to avoid any hassle. Surprisingly, reaching on Haryana border (Gurgaon), there were policemen but didn’t stopped us. Nor did Delhi police bothered to do any scrutiny. We crossed a lot of barricades but nobody stopped us or inquired our whereabouts. Saw many people walking again in Delhi area. Reaching UP border (Ghaziabad), nothing at all – same story. Just one police after crossing couple of UP cities inquired.

In few hours, we reached Uttarakhand border. On the border itself we had to under go Covid -19 sampling and thermal screening. We were then asked to go to our home in Roorkee and self quarantine. It was a very prompt and smooth process. I saw a women with two children walking from Haridwar to Jammu. On inquiry from police she said – she is stuck since March, got food and stay but now just want to walk back. She was taken to a camp. It is heartbreaking to see some many people stuck, stranded and hopeless amidst the chaos. Next day, we got our detailed negative report online via sms. Got a call from the civil hospital and the police station as well. Kudos to the administration. I don’t know about whole Uttarakhand but commendable administration by Roorkee city. 👏👏

It is so amazing and nice to know that Indian railways have the facility that you can take your dog along when you decide to travel by train. Such options are always such a relief to canine parents who want to take their fur babies when they travel. Although it is a bit daunting at times in terms of ticket availability, cleanliness, etc. For me, it is the best option because I never want to leave Jenny behind in a kennel as much as possible. So far in 5 years of companionship, I left her in the kennel only once and regretted. We have already documented our road trip when we took her with us from Pune to Uttarakhand via Delhi in a car. It was memorable and Jenny adopted the whole journey so well that I was confident that we can really take her on all our adventures now. We have taken her to Goa, Udaipur, Hampi, Konkan and some other places so far.

Indian railways journey with a dog
All set for the train journey – Pune to Delhi

Let me break it down into two parts:

Last year after Diwali, we had sudden plans to go attend my dad’s retirement party in my hometown and we were thinking of the road trip again. It is always fun but tiring and time-consuming, so we thought of attempting the train travel with her. We did some research, read some blogs and watched some videos to see what does it take. The information is scattered all over. It is usually just a list without any mention of real-time issues especially if you haven’t done it before.

  1. If you want to book tickets in 1st Class, book the 2 birth coupe if you are two people along with the dog. You can take your dog along with you in the coupe. If the tickets are booked from the counter, then an application needs to be submitted to the station master to request for a coupe. If the ticket is booked online then IRCTC online booking also has the option to select coupe.
  2. If you have tickets for any other class, you need to keep your dog in the brake van for the entire duration.
Taking dog in Indian train
Bit sad, bit confused at the beginning of the journey.

In both the situations, you need to contact the parcel office at least one day prior to the commencement of your train journey with a confirm PNR number. Show up at the station 3 hours before the journey to complete the formalities. You need to fill in the form, show vaccine history of your dog along with a certificate from the vet that your dog is fit to travel. They would weigh the dog and will make a receipt based on weight.

A short glimpse of our travel experience

Problems in taking your dog in 1st AC:

  • It is important to have the consent of your co-passenger in 1st AC. If they are not comfortable or the dog is creating any nuisance, the dog needs to be taken to the brake van. To tackle this, even if you are only 1 person with the dog, book 2 tickets in coupe.
  • Your dog is your responsibility. All his water, food, comfort needs to be taken care of by you. The railway will bear no responsibility in case of death or illness.

Problems in taking your dog in Brake van and some tips to solve them:

  • Your dog is your responsibility. All his water, food, comfort needs to be taken care of by you. The railway will bear no responsibility in case of death or illness.

Tip: Keep treats, food and water for them all the time. Make sure you give motion sickness tablet if they are not used to travel. Choose a train which is an overnight journey, especially during summer-time.

  • There will be less time to meet your dog in between. You need to make sure that you choose a train which has a reasonable number of stops.

Tip: There should be some 10 mins stop so that you can feed your pooch and take him for a short walk to finish his business.

  • The dog box in the brake van is usually dirty. So be mentally prepared for that.

Tip: Try to choose a train which starts from your boarding station so that if need be you can ask some cleaning staff to clean. spread anti-tick powder on the surface of the box thoroughly and on your pooch too.

  • Although it depends on the temperament of your dog, they would feel anxious and confused when you put them in the box, which is natural. So do visit them as much as possible so that they know that you are around.

Tip: Take your dog a few days before the journey to the platform through the parcel office route. They will recognize the smell when they visit on the day of travel. Try to convince the guard in the brake van if he allows you to sit there for some time to calm your dog.

  • If the train is not commencing from your station, and is coming from some other station; there is a chance that there is a dog already in the dog box. There is no way to find that out unless the train reaches your station.

Tip: Always prefer a train which starts at your departure station.

  • There is no defined rule on when to submit a form for your dog. This is based on my experience in Pune, Delhi and Chandigarh.

Tip: Don’t assume, go to the station a few days prior to your journey day and ask when should you come to fill the form.

Our experience: It was overall ok, I am glad that I could take her with me in train safely. The guard was nice and very understanding. Although you have to be patient and follow all the rules and regulations. I am sure it would be so much easy to take a dog in a 1st AC. I will try to get the ticket to such train with proper planning for next time.

Jenny’s experience: Naturally, she was very scared and confused initially. She also cried a bit, we kept on visiting her on every station even if just for a couple of minutes. Slowly she understood that we are around. In the return journey, she was all calm and understanding that it is just a journey and we all will be together soon. 🙂

Train journey with dog from Pune to Delhi
Finally when we de-boarded at Nizamuddin Station, Delhi

I have tried to cover all issues, rules, aspects and personal experience here. Feel free to ask in the comment section if you have any questions. Happy travels with your pooch. 🙂

Lucknow is known for its non-vegetarian food, you don’t hear much about its under-rated vegetarian food joints. We travelled early last year when we went to witness ardh kumbh in Prayagraj and adjoined by a trip to Banaras.

Our travel style is usually shoestring, and we try to use lots of cheap public transport and try street food wherever we venture out to explore a new city. This time it was Lucknow. Through some research, we had a grand food plan. The idea was to munch our way while immersing in the beauty of Lucknow. We had two full days for sightseeing and food tasting before heading to Banaras.

We have compiled a list of must-visit vegetarian joints in Lucknow area wise:

Vegetarian Street Food Joints in Hazratganj, Lucknow:

1. Bajpai ki Kachori

Bajpai ki kachori Lucknow
Bajpai ki Kachori

We started with breakfast at Bajpai ki kachori, this is an old joint which serves kachori with special spicy chole (Chickpea). So, the very first dish we tasted was Bajpai ki Kachori at Hazratganj.

It’s a very simple shop with a basic setup but this simplicity in making his pooris, kachoris served with aloo sabzi with choley, onion slices and pickle will turn into a mouth-watering delight. It is the spiciness of the sabzi, which we loved. We tried all the dishes; pooris, kachori and samosa, each dish was so perfect in the taste that you would like to have it again and again. This happened to us and we stopped by this joint twice or thrice during our travel. People queue up in front of his shop in great numbers every morning when the shop opens at 8 and you will find the crowd remains till it is closed in the evening.

Timings: 8 am to 5 pm

2. Shukla Chaat House

Shukla ji ki chaat is the best joint for the Indian Chaats, it is one of the jewels of our food trial in Lucknow. They serve mouthwatering Golgappe (known as Pani batashe), Dahi batashe, Aloo tikki and Matar ki tikki. It is a tiny roadside stall, no seating facility but the taste will remain in your mind for a long time. Although at first glance it will not attract you if you are a street food lover you must stop here and try all the items. The footfall is quite high so don’t be late 😊

Timings: 6 pm to 10 pm

3. Shukla Tea stall

It’s a pretty small shop just opposite to Shukla chat house, but it was crowded which drew me to the place. When we entered the shop it looks like a utensils store lots of kettles, mugs, vessels which shows how much tea he sells every day.

So very first famous “Gol Samosa”, I had it at Shukla tea stall and trust me I would say one of the best Gol samosas of Lucknow I have tasted here. Tea quantity is too much and within 10 Rs. I thought it would be too milky, but he boils the tea leaves in a separate container so if you want less milk you can ask for that too.

Timings: 8 am to 9 pm

4. Royal Café

This place is famous for the Basket Chaat, although they served all variety of chat. Basket chaat they served in edible basket shaped made of potato thin flakes. If you are too hygiene cautious then this is the place for you. You can try gol gappas and other snacks too. But we found this place quite fancy and not so pocket friendly.

Timings: 11:30 am to 08:30 pm

Vegetarian Street Food Joints in Lalbagh, Lucknow:

1. Sharma Tea center/ Sharma ji ki chai

A very famous place in Lucknow for chai and the kind of set up they have, says everything. Tea is good and to enjoy it more you can add bun-maska and gol samosa. They use homemade white butter to spread on the bun with raisins. You will find this place every time packed up, although I found gol samosa taste better at Shukla tea stall.

Timings: 7:00 am to 07:30 pm

2. Sardar Ke Choley Bhature

We were roaming in this area and suddenly we saw another crowded place – Sardar ke chole bhature. As the name says, this place is famous for Punjabi style chole bhature and you can try kulcha as well to have a full packed brunch. You can also try “Sooji ka Halwa” made in pure ghee.

Timings: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

3. GPO Dahi Bada

The next place in Lalbagh area is GPO dahi Bada. Enjoy the super tasty dahi Bada here which was so soft that it melts instantaneously.

Timings: 11:30 am to 10:00 pm

Famous Desserts to Try in Lucknow:

1. Makhan malai at Chowk

Malai makhan is a special dish in Lucknow and Banaras which you will get during winters. A cream-coloured ethereal sweet-dish that melts in the mouth. The key to makhan malai preparation lies in exposing the milk to dew.

The process begins in the evening with boiling milk in a huge saucepan over a stove. Thereafter, fresh milk cream is added to the boiled milk and it is boiled again. Once the mixture cools down completely, it is filled in buckets and hung under the evening sky for six to eight hours and in the morning sprinkles sugar, and cardamom powder over the portion to mix the layers. That’s the reason you will get this dish during winters only.

Timings: -8:30 am to 11:00 am (Best time to have it)

2. Malai Gilori at Ram Asrey Sweets, Chowk

Ram Asrey sweets shop is famous for its sweets and the most famous one is Malai gilori or Malai pan. Ram Asrey have another outlet in Hazratganj as well but at chowk it’s the original one from where they have started this shop. This is where I have tasted their most famous Malai gilori. This sweet shop apparently invented the Malai Gilori in 1805. It is located in a quaint little lane very reminiscent of a Ban wali gali. Malai gilori is known with the name of Malai pan as well because of its shape of pan. As it goes in your mouth it melts instantaneously but I found it too sweet, so 1 piece is enough to taste. They sell this sweet on per piece basis and it costs around 25 -30 rs per piece. Although they have a variety of sweets available, I have tasted just Malai gilori which is their speciality.

Timings: – 9:00am to 10:00pm

3. Prakash kulfi, Amenabad

Prakash Kulfi is quite a well-known place in Aminabaad. Although Aminabaad is famous for clothing shops, one of the oldest Kulfi shops of Lucknow is Prakash ki mashoor kulfi. It’s a faluda Kulfi and Many flavours are available to taste but if you want the true refreshing classic taste of Prakash Kulfi then you must try ‘Kesar Badam Pista Kulfi’. Space is a bit small, so if it is crowded you must wait for your turn.

Timings: – 10:00 am to 11:00 pm

After so much food tasting, we agreed to say Lucknow food is one of the best and delicious tastes that you can get in India. It is a myth that vegetarians can’t enjoy food in Lucknow since it is primarily known for Awadhi cuisine. But we would say that If you are a lover of local vegetarian food, Lucknow can be nothing less than a treat for you.

 

DIY Orange Peel Facewash

This vegan and all-natural facewash is hands-down to be called as the most refreshing facewash which I have made so far. It is so easy and requires no processing. You basically need only two ingredients, the third one is abundantly available and the fourth one is optional.

Dried Orange peels, Castile soap, Water and Orange essential oil

Oranges have a high amount of antioxidants which fight free radicals which may slow down the pace of wrinkle production, and can also help in stopping premature ageing. Oranges have a high content of citric acid which aids in skin exfoliation thoroughly improving the overall look of your skin.

Ingredients for orange facewash

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbsp orange peel powder
  2. 2 tbsp Castile soap
  3. 6 tbsp water
  4. 10 drops of orange essential oil (Optional)

 

Dry Orange Peels in Sunlight

Here are Orange peels guarded by Jenny 😀

Process:

  1. Keep the orange peels in sunlight for 3 – 4 days until it is absolutely dry and hard.
  2. Blend it into powder in a grinder.
  3. Mix all the items listed under ingredients.
  4. And, you are done!
  5. Store it in a clean and dry bottle, preferably with a pump for convenience.

 

You can easily make your own cleaners with soapnut/reetha. Chemicals from store-bought detergents go down our drains and into our streams, rivers and oceans causing massive imbalances in the ecosystem.⁠ The recipe I am sharing today is really very old school, my mom remembers using soapnuts as cleansers as a child. So basically detergents, shampoos are just a few decades old.

Soapnuts are the berries of a Sapindus species tree that grow in subtropical to warm temperate areas and when soaked or boiled with water, produce an amazing natural soap. Which is absolutely natural, easy to make and chemical-free so good for our waterways. It would also help you to save tons of money and will reduce single plastic bottles which come with store-bought products. You can also refer to my DIY toothpaste recipe and DIY orange peel facewash recipe too.

This is a super easy procedure which uses zero energy and it is a recipe which is actually multi-purpose. 🙂

You just need two things here:

Soapnut and water, that’s it.

  • Soak a handful of soapnuts per litre of water for 2 days.

Soak Soapnuts in Water

Soak Soapnuts in Water

  • After 2 days, crush them with hands to get all the pulp in the water.

Crush Soaked Soapnut

Extract Soapnut Pulp after 2 Days

  • Strain to get rid off the outer shell.
  • And, voila! Use it as a natural shampoo, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, floor mopping and even giving your pooch a bath.

DIY Natural Soapnut Cleaner

My Batch in Reused Bottles for Shampoo, Laundry and Dishwashing! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: