The last time we checked into a hotel was in last February. We, nine friends, went to Corbett National Park just when the Covid-19 cases were spiking in Italy. We thought just like other pandemic that hit the world in the last few decades, this won’t really be this severe. We were wrong.
Locked into our homes for almost six months, which is very rare for people like us who love to travel, I was getting stifled with boredom. It’s not that I was in any distress. I have been working from home since the last six years so getting used to the ‘new normal’ wasn’t new. But this lockdown had clipped my travel wings, which had taken a toll on my mental health. Stuck in these four walls of my apartment in Noida, I was gasping for fresh air.
Well, the blessing came in form of a display ad. A leisure hotel brand called Treehouse has just reopened in the second half of August and I was all set to make my first hotel check post the lockdown. My partner and I packed our bags and set off.
Bhiwadi, the neighbourhood Rajasthan
Let me tell you. One of the primary reasons to choose this destination is because we didn’t want to go somewhere that would require us to halt midway for washroom usage. To keep the hygiene and sanitization level within our control, we ensured zero stops in between. A Jaipur or Shimla would require too many stops in between for breaks.
The other reason being Treehouse Hotel Club and Spa, Bhiwadi has an amazing chef who cooks Kaala Maas, his own twist to the conventional Laal Maas, which I have heard a lot but never tried.
From Noida to Bhiwadi, it was a drive of only two hours.
The Road Scene: Do you need an epass?
We were utterly confused whether we need an epass to change states and other permissions. After thorough research, I found that epass is required for easy access of commercial vehicles attached in essential service. For private cars, that’s not required either for Haryana or Rajasthan.
We weren’t stopped anywhere for any questioning, although police had put numerous barricades on the stretch after Manesar Toll. Once you cross the urban territory of Gurgaon, you would see very few people taking precautions. There weren’t many who were wearing masks and spitting here and there. But fret not. Keep your windows rolled up and music volume high.
Enjoy the drive as much as you can. There were cars on the Jaipur expressway but not in usual numbers. Even though I paid the toll by cash, there weren’t a single car at the toll gate in Manesar.
Once you take a left from the expressway into the Bestech City at Bhiwadi, you will be welcomed into a Rajasthan that is evolving into new age urbanity. The roads are filled with potholes, but the high-rise apartments look ambitious enough. But your eyes will soothe when you look and find the Aravalli range peeping out from here and there. The green hills looking lush in the monsoon.