Has the coronavirus pandemic disrupted your plan to take that long trip? Is the ongoing lockdown making you crave going off-road? Fret not. If you can’t go to the highway, Rocky, Mayur, Prashant, and Abhinandan – the team behind shows like Highway On My Plate, Vital Stats of India, Jai Hind, and Rocky and Mayur's Food Xpress – will bring the highway to you!
So, here goes the newest offering from Newslaundry: Highway On My Podcast. The creators of the much loved TV travel show revisit their travels across India, sharing stories, anecdotes, trivia, and – for when the roads are open and inviting again – recommendations on food, culture, people, and much more.
In this episode of Highway On My Podcast, Rocky, Mayur, Abhinandan, and Prashant – or PRAM, as a Newslaundry subscriber recently dubbed them – drive up to the pahaads of Himachal Pradesh, journeying through Shimla, Solan, Chail, Kufri, Kasauli. They talk about the good, and bad, food they have along the and all the interesting people they meet.
Starting their journey by taking a vote on who is a beach person and who is a mountain guy, the gang head to Shimla with much enthusiasm after discovering that all of them prefer mountains over beaches, for varied reasons. They follow the food trail on the Mall Road where they visit Sitaram and Sons, which serves a limited menu yet holds a special place in Rocky’s to do-list in the city. Abhinandan reiterates his love for confectionaries from the hills which are special due to the hawa paani of the place. They talk more about food, a haunted house, and Prashant’s love for the mail boxes in Shimla.
Heading out of the city, they drive to Solan, where they station themselves while hopping to multiple places during the day. They first venture out to Barog station, a site of great scenic beauty, where they have railway wala khana that brings back fond memories from childhood. Rocky talks about how beautiful a sight it is to watch the train emerge from the tunnel near the station. The gang then talk about a jam factory and the not so happy women making the jams. Abhinandan talks about how he and Prashant seriously considered moving to the mountains and starting a small jam factory.
Rolling back from Barog to Solan, they stumble upon interesting food places, one of which is Gyani Da Dhaba. Abhinandan remembers Gyani Da Dhaba for it’s lemon chicken, Rocky remembers it for the “home style food” which makes an endless string of travellers feel at home in the middle of nowhere.
From Solan, they head to Chail, which Abhinandan doesn’t have many great memories of, but Rocky and Mayur remember for the Chail Palace and their jokes about the King of Patiala who built it. Mayur recommends having a cup of tea and pakodas at the palace.
Heading out towards Kufri, they meet an “interesting character”, Ranjit Singh Kaushal. He runs a restaurant where, according to Rocky and Mayur’s report card, the food is barely 1/10 but the ambience is 8/10. Rocky imitates Kaushal and talks about his love for the word “kickback”. Abhinandan talks about what makes Kaushal interesting and how he would have loved to make a documentary on him. Kufri also somehow makes Abhinandan think of mule excreta that the town stank of.
Near the end of their journey, as the gang head to McLeod Ganj, they find an “erratic food place” famous for its watermelon sabzi, apricot mutton and hot liquorish tea. They also give a shoutout to Alan and Cheryl, who Rocky fondly remembers as a jovial couple who run a fine food place called The Chocolate Log. They also discuss seeing a beautiful monastery, their visit to the First Cup Cafe, and where one must go if they wish to bump into Richard Gere.
All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast.
For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter.
You can also listen to this podcast onApple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Castbox | Pocket Casts | TuneIn | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Hubhopper | Overcast | JioSaavn | Podcast Addict | Headfone