Soundscape: The hills of Kasauli come alive through a fantastic music festival
You'll have to be honest about this. If I were to ask you to list out your favourite days of the week, it'll be the weekend, no? No matter how career-oriented, job-focussed, hard-working people are, the weekend brings that much-needed pause. Since the Easter weekend was upon us, we decided to head to Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, a quaint hill station located about an hour away from Chandigarh. Our journey, however, was set to begin from Delhi and our car of choice was the new Hyundai Santro, in the Diana Green paint shade that I love. Thank heavens for that, I told myself as I was handed the keys to the car.
I have to admit that I hate driving in Delhi because of its clogged roads and unruly traffic sense. And that's where the Santro begins to make perfect sense. Its dimensions make it a cinch to cut through traffic while the sprightly, 1.1-litre Epsilon motor make easy work of overtaking.
Ours was the top spec, Asta trim and my word, the cabin felt so upmarket from the moment I stepped in. The accents around the gear shift and around the AC vents liven up the cabin, and put you in a cheery mood.
After an hour of negotiating traffic, we got on to the Delhi-Chandigarh highway. This is where I finally got a chance to stretch the Santro's legs.On paper, 69PS may not seem as much but there's enough power for the Santro to cruise comfortably at highway speeds.
Enroute, we stopped at Murthal to gorge on some dhaba style Aloo and Paneer Parathas. Served with a generous dollop of white butter, these parathas were polished off the plates as soon as they arrived on the table. Hunger pangs taken care of, we continued towards our destination.
After reaching Zirakpur, we turned off the main highway and got onto the Himalayan Expressway, a four-lane route that's built for easy accessibility to the mountains. While some sections are fast-flowing, some parts are being widened. The Santro, felt perfectly at home in this environment and the fun part to me, was the final climb up to Kasauli. We reached our hotel by sundown and after settling in, headed straight to the main reason why we were in Kasauli.
The Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival is a music fest that was conceived by the Genesis Foundation in 2012. It aims to generate funds for the treatment and welfare of underprivileged kids suffering from congenital heart diseases. All proceeds from the event are directed towards the treatment of these little hearts.
What also makes this two-day music festival stand out is the diverse set of musicians who perform, as well as the beautiful location in the Baikunth Resort. There was something for everyone at the fest, from the legendary Indian rock band Parikrama, the Indo-western fusion by Bryden-Parth, Soundarya Jatachandran's soulful voice to the sensational Thaikkudam Bridge.
The atmosphere was surreal and everywhere, you could see people grooving to beats, singing out the lyrics to their favourite songs and having a wonderful time. And therein lies the beauty of music. It transcends all boundaries and brings people closer, as one. Music has this ability to make people happy, rejoice, give them goosebumps or cry to simply let go of everything and rise to a new level. To say that the music festival was the highlight of this trip would be a huge understatement.
The next day, we woke up to a beautiful morning, filled with a nip in the air and the sound of birds chirping. I can't think of any other way to begin one's day. After grabbing our grub, we quickly set out to explore Kasauli. Situated at about 1,800m above sea level, Kasauli offers some spectacular views. Later on, we stopped at the Christ Church, one of the most visited places in the region. This Church is actually the oldest church in Himachal Pradesh. It was built in 1853 by a British family who had also founded the town of Kasauli, back in 1842. We stood mesmerised by the church's gothic architecture and the stunning, stained glass work. It has to be one of the most beautiful churches that we visited.
The rest of the day was spent meandering around the Mall Road and speaking to the locals who were both warm and welcoming. Feeling relaxed, we got back in our trusty little Santro, and headed back to the plains. This short trip to the hills was the necessary recharge we needed before we got back to the grind. And the Hyundai Santro delighted us with its versatility. Whether it was the city, the highway or even the hills, this cheery car did it all. No wonder it wears a smile at all times.
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