Kavita recommends you:
A Happy Childhood in India
#Katra or Katra Vaishno Devi, as it is also known, is a small town in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir situated in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, where the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi is located. If you want to visit #India and avoid the tourists, this is a little gem for you; perfect for hiking and good #foodanddrink.
This story was written as an entry to the #goMowgli campaign for #TheBestTravelJob.
A happy childhood is the best gift that life could give us. My father being in the Indian armed forces had to move around for the job and hence, I had the privilege of living in different parts of India.
One of the places where I have gone to that is special to me is Udhampur, a city 70 kms ahead of Jammu. The terrain here is mostly mountainous. I spent two formative years of my school days and these were the best days of my life in this city. Life was simpler then - school, army cantonment, after-school sports time. There were no extra tuition classes, no crazy studying - just balanced school days.
A happy childhood is the best gift that life could give us
My friends and I played sports of all kinds every single day during those two years. Life revolved around school and sports. Basketball was our favorite sport. And the basketball court in the vicinity was more than a court - it was a meeting point, a dating place, a place to meet the new kids on the block, a place full of crazy memories. Udhampur, apart from the nature all around, is mostly a cantonment area. So, we had limited things to do and limited places go to, and that’s why life was simple and happy.
Amongst the few things that we loved doing, our favourite was hiking the hill to reach the Vaishno Devi shrine. The base camp is in Katra which is around 40 kms from Udhampur and we had some of the best time during these hikes.
Another thing we loved was eating the roadside Kulche Chole (a soft local bun toasted in generous amount of butter stuffed with boiled chickpeas and spices), specially in the winters. These small things make Udhampur my favorite place growing up.
So to relive those days, I went to Udhampur a few years later. I was surprised to see that it was the same old place - a place that will always stay close to my heart. And then recently Jammu & Kashmir called me back. This time I went to Kashmir. With everything that is going wrong there, it still is a beautiful place to visit. If not experience the paradise, one could definitely imagine the paradise that it was many many years back. What was distinct about Kashmir was the freshness in the air you breathe. Ironic as it may be, you can still find peace amidst those pine trees. And that’s the experience I’ll treasure for the rest of my life