Nestled amongst the mighty Dhauladhars and the fierce Tirthan river, this enticing valley should be on your wish list if you adore mountains.
I was fortunate enough to visit this beautiful place on a team outing and our stay was at the Camp Chrysalid, Tirthan, which is at the edge of the Great Himalayan National Park.
The rage of the Tirthan can be heard from a far off distance. It originates from the Tirthan glacier (I had no idea about this one) and flows through the treacherous landscape of the Himachal before
The journey from Delhi is an arduous one – 14 long hours and the last one hour is on a very narrow stretch of road. Forget your luxurious Volvo, a 30 seater has a better chance here.
The twittering of mountain birds welcome you as you step into the property of Camp Chrysalid. About 15-20 camps stand tall on a railed edge near the Tirthan river with damp Himalayan grass guiding your way. The camps/tents are well equipped with charging points, warm beds and blankets, inside pockets for keeping essentials, a shoe rack (wow!) and double layered mattresses. They are built on a raised platform, so no worries about water spoiling your luggage and beds during the monsoons or sporadic rain spell.
Washrooms are situated a few metres from the camps and are gender differentiated. The staff here is very energetic and loves to initiate all the team building activities with innovative energizers.
On day 1, after a back breaking journey of 15 hours and resting/refreshing for two hours, we decided to trek to a famous waterfall here. The trek is a short one but steep as hell. The crystal clear cold waters soothe your tired feet, so why not have a dip in them?
The meals are heavenly delicious and the variety in the dishes is exemplary.
On day 2, we proceeded for the adventurous activities – rappelling and valley crossing on a ropeway in the middle of the jungle on the mountains.
We visited this camp during the onset of monsoon and the river was in full flow. We were advised not to wade near the Tirthan so we restricted ourselves to a three step staircase while revelling in the songs that Tirthan played.
Yet another restaurant that promises to tantalize your palate, Biryani Bhaijaan is a nwly opened restaurant in Sushant Lok, Gurgaon. I commend the owner of this outlet because very few have the courage to experiment in Mughlai cuisine and succeed in that.
Chicken Malai Tikka: When mellow chicken pieces are drenched in thick, yoghurt based gravy, magic happens! The use of their secret masala adds to the depth of this mesmerizing appetizer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Mutton Seekh kebab: As if the usual seekh kebabs weren’t appetizing enough that these guys drenched them in tangy and creamy gravy and presented it to you. Perfection is a small word for this one. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Murg Mussalam with Khameeri roti and Naan: I thank Biryani Bhaijaan for making my first experience with Murg Mussalam a memorable one. The consistency of the curry is perfect with the addition of peanuts and ginger jullienes. Chicken pieces are tender and egg perfectly boiled, but what baffles you the most is the addition of chicken seekh kebabs. A Mughlai experimentation at its best! Kalonji seeds are embedded in the naan imparting an unusual dimension to this whole ensemble. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
There are very few places specialising in Mughlai cuisine which are able to dish out a decent meal, forget about bringing their innovation to the table. The usual tikkas and kebabs sometimes get boring and creative energy in culinary arts is the rule of the day. Majnu ka Tilla has excelled on both the frontiers.
Without much ado, I would straightaway move forward to the loebly spread that was sent to me a few days back:
Chicken Tangri Kebab: Why in the name of God did I taste this? I have always been drawn towards the salivating Tangri Kebabs and these stuffed ones in thick sticky gravy just set a new bar for my taste buds. The stuffing of finely minced chicken with a juicy exterior of the leg piece drenched in yoghurt based gravy and the occasional green chillies will leave you yearning for more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Achaari Paneer Tikka: Tangy and spicy – wohoooo! The smoked cottage cheese pieces and the red, yellow and green bell peppers were smoked to perfection in the tangy and peppery batter. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Majnu Special Afghani Chicken: The reason these guys call some of their dishes as special is because they use gravy in these appetizers. The tikka was perfectly smoked, succulent and drenched in a lovely gravy of yoghurt, green chillies and coriander flavoured with chaat masala . HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Chicken Tikka: Again gravy based with tender boneless chicken pieces spreading the warmth in your mouth as well as stomach. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Paneer Lababdar: Vegetarians, you have to binge on this one. Thick and sliky gravy with the occasional bite of cumin seeds and a prominent flavour of the onion tomato mixture goes so well with every Indian bread that you can think of. And the paneer – top notch! They also use a secret ingredient in their preparation which I am of course forbidden to reveal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.