Holla Mohalla

The Midas touch

The Midas touch

Along the Nahan – Dehradun highway, on either side of the road are forests of Sal, Mango & Poplar. Cruising at an easy 80mph, fast approaching & almost upon us, is what can only be described as a forest on wheels. Would this be Birnam Wood marching towards Dunsinane Hill?

It is rural India at its chaotic best. Tractors spilling with sugar cane bear past. Sometimes it is a beast of burden plying this load. There are make shift stalls beneath the shade of trees selling fresh sugarcane juice. At Rs 10 a glass it is a most refreshing drink especially when garnished with lemon & mint.

Villages appear & disappear, hand pumps dot the landscape, vast stretches of pot-holed roads interspersed with amazing state of the art highways. The forests give way to fields of mustard, wheat & corn. Swaying in the breeze, ready to be harvested for Holi has just gone by & Baisakhi is only a few days away.

Past Asan barrage on the Yamuna are field of strawberry. Ripe & red & a plenty the farmers don’t mind you plucking & eating them.

There are tractors brimming with human cargo in their colorful best. Everyone it appears is going to the Holla Mohaala fair at Paonta Sahib, midway between Nahan & Dehradun. The scenic Gurudwara dedicated to guru Gobind Singh is on the banks of the Yamuna. It has a museum that has antiques, weapons & personal belongings of the last Guru.

The mela is on in full swing & will continue up to Baisakhi.

The same at Anandpur Sahib is bigger & better we are told. Here there are turban tying competitions, mock fights & a demonstration of martial arts. Also, simulated battles with war drums & standard bearers, games of tent pegging & bareback horse riding.

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