There are certain things that Delhiites never get tired of – food and travel can easily top this list. But when it comes to travelling for food, we Delhiwallas can claim a copyright. Where else would you find people going on a long drive to have parathas and chai? Delhiites don’t mind going an extra mile (or a few hundred kms) to satiate their food cravings. When we crave for dhaba food at Murthal, we gotta have dhaba food at Murthal. Nothing else will do. Even if it includes 2 hours of long drive at 2 am in the night.
So one fine Saturday morning (which incidentally was Independence Day chutti) we craved for dhaba food and decided to go to Murthal. Rain gods were extra sweet on us this morning and it started drizzling as soon as we started driving. The timing couldn’t get better since the heat and humidity for the last few days had been unbearable.
It was an extremely pleasant an hour and half drive from Delhi to Murthal. There was very little traffic on roads and we just didn’t realise when we reached Murthal – the dhaba zone of Delhi NCR. Murthal has so many food places to offer, one is spoiled for choice. We spent almost our entire driving time deciding where we are going to eat. It was a tough choice between Haveli, Amreek Sukhdev, Pehalwan and Pind Balluchi.
Finally, we zeroed in on Gulshan Da Dhaba. Somehow Gulshan da Dhaba looks very inviting from outside and we always end up eating here. Though not a huge fan of their food, it has never disappointed us.
They have ample parking space outside and it emits mixed vibe of a highway dhaba and a Delhi style neighbourhood restaurant. We got a table as soon as we entered and we ordered quite a few things as we were a group of seven. Dal Makhani, Dal Tadka, Mix Veg, Kadi Pakoda, plain naan, raita are some of the things we remember.
Apart from Dal tadka (yellow arhar daal), nothing else had that simplicity and kick of the typical dhaba food. Everything else was quite restaurant like.
We also ordered stuffed aloo naan and it was terribly heavy and loaded with butter. We could not have it. For dessert, we had jalebi and this was absolutely fantastic.
The dhaba is surrounded by several shops/stalls that sell pickles, candies and Chinese toys etc. We had a stroll around these shops and clicked some pictures before leaving.
One and a half hours drive is nothing for us. We are so used to being on road for long hours that a drive till Murthal hardly feels like a long drive. We decided to drive up to Karnal which is another hour’s drive from Murthal. The weather was still favourable and the rain in patches kept our mood uplifted. We used Google maps and guidance from locals for directions to Karna lake. Some people call it Karnal lake and some Karuna lake too and it’s a popular picnic spot in the region. Right before we reached this lake, we saw Jhilmil Dhaba where we stopped for tea.
The dhaba has a huge lawn with a few swings for kids. This kadak chai helped in wearing off the fatigue of the drive and we were all geared up for our destination Karna lake.
We took a right turn from Jhilmil Dhaba and after a short drive we reached the lake. Karna lake is around 140 km from Delhi and is a popular stopover for people going to hill stations in Himachal. Legend has it, this is the place where Karna (from Mahabharat) donated his armour to God Indra.
It’s a beautiful lake surrounded by greenery. There is Karna lake tourist resort on one side where they have a bar, restaurant and lodging facilities.
They have arrangements for a boat ride in the lake. We booked a motor boat ride that cost us Rs. 700/- for a group of 7 people. While waiting for our boat, we saw beautiful swans swimming in the water. We were told that they don’t mind coming to you if you call them. The kids in us couldn’t resist the temptation and we called the swans.
Within minutes, we saw them swimming towards us and then flocking to stairs where we were standing. Everybody got so excited looking at the ducks that we completely forgot about the boat ride.
After waiting for around 15-20 minutes, the boat arrived and it was our turn to take the ride. The boat took two rounds of the lake in a time span of around 30 minutes. It was fun and the boat operator clicked a few pictures for us.
We spent some more time at the lake-side and had some ice-cream at the parlour in the lake area. Around 5ish we started on our way back.
It was a decent break from everyday life and reminded us once again that we have such a cool picnic spot just a few hours away from Delhi.