As much as I love offbeat, I am fond of cliches too. After all there’s a reason that these cliches exist in the first place. When it comes to travel, most of the people who like to call themselves ‘travellers’ and not ‘tourists’ try very hard to show off the offbeat destinations on their list and deliberately keep away from the cliches. But then I don’t understand this need to be so different that you miss on an experience because it’s oh-so-touristy. DDLJ Trail
There’s an excitement in both these forms of travel and I don’t really think twice before admitting that I love both, depending on what frame of mind I am in. There are bucket list items not worth it and then there are experiences that cannot be put in words. I believe one should experience both to actually determine if it was worth it or avoidable, because one man’s avoidable could be another man’s amazing.DDLJ Trail
The whole point of these lines is a conversation which brewed a few weeks ago, when someone asked me about my dream destination. It got me thinking that I will be judged, no matter what I say. So I mentioned Switzerland and saw the person rolling her eyes for a predictable answer which is too cliched to be exotic these days. But then, I have my own reasons and I don’t mind being judged for dreaming to see the Swiss Alps. For as long as I can remember those snow covered mountains have meant something to me. Blame it to an overdose of Yash Chopra movies, I know life will never be the same once I see it all for real. DDLJ Trail
Switzerland has been a dream for many like me for reasons which date back to old-school Bollywood love stories. Sitting in a Euro Rail, watching the countryside go by as I sip wine and get nostalgic about the first time I saw DDLJ is something that I can’t possibly put in words. In fact like the Harry Potter and Sex And The City tours, Switzerland could have it’s own Yash Chopra/ DDLJ Tour and it will be an instant hit. In fact the Swiss government has already realised the magnitude and importance of work that Yash Chopra did in promoting their country to the Indian traveller and have named a train, a lake and a hotel suite after the great man. A bronze statue of Mr Chopra has also been installed at Interlaken, which feature in most of his films.
If I ever get to go to this beautiful country for a holiday that will cost a bomb, I know I will be doing a DDLJ trail of my own. Who knows, I might bump into SRK and never come back. In fact Switzerland Tourism, in association with Yash Raj had started a DDLJ tour, but it has been discontinued now. But then that won’t stop me from embarking on a carefully planned journey of my own. The charm of DDLJ is one that will never fade for me, and even if I am sixty by the time I reach the land of snow covered Alps, I will still be doing this trail. I’ve already done ample research, and here’s a little dump on how to make the DDLJ Dreams come true.
The Golden Pass Train route covers most of the iconic locations which have now been immortalized in my heart and mind by DDLJ. The journey begins from Montreux where you can board an old school Classic Vintage or a Panoramic Train. The train paases through the quiant little village of Saanen, which would feel like deja-vu if you’ve seen the movie innumerable times like me. The Saanen railway station is the one where Raj and Simran wait for the train to Zurich. This is one journey which would be like a pilgrimage to me, so I know I wouldn’t want it to ever end.
Everyone knows I love SRK. I love every moment of every movie when he is on screen, but then I have a favourite one which has been shot at Saanen Airstrip. His dimpled smile, the mischief in his eyes and the enigma that the man is – this one has also been my wallpaper for the longest time ever. Just dreaming of being at the exact same place where the scene was shot gives me goosebumps.
Next on my list is the Saanen Bridge, which was privy to another important scene in the movie, namely the ‘Palat-Palat-Palat’ one. The trail won’t be complete if I don’t make a mandatory stop here. Saanen goes down in the list of must-visit places in Switzerland for me. Even the church that features in the film is located here and that’s one more reason for a stopover.
Next up on the list is a small but pretty town called Gstaad where some of the parts of the film were shot. Gstaad is a German speaking village in the Southern part of Switzerland and is popular as a ski-resort. I read at multiple places that Yash Chopra visited this quiet little piece of heaven during his honeymoon and fell in love with it’s unspoiled beauty. So, he continued to return here with his movies. DDLJ Trail
It’s a known fact that the top of Europe, Jungfrau mountain range also features in DDLJ. Even though Himalayas remain like a love-potion, I know they will understand my fling with the Jungfrau range, given the SRK connect. A friend of mine visited and she was kind enough to share the pictures with me. It’s another story that she tells me she kept remembering me on her trip to the land of DDLJ. After all that’s what best friends are for – to live some moments for you, if you are not able to live them for yourself. <3
The souvignier shop where Simran buys the cowbell, the railway enquiry booth and the snow clad mountains staring from afar-it’s all there, materializing from reel to real at a place called Zweisimmen which is again a small mountain-village, but a very beautiful one.
DDLJ Trail cannot be complete without visiting the city of lakes, Interlaken. Many parts of the movie were shot here including a scene at Yash Chopra’s favourite lake, Lungerersee. This emerald color lake features in the most romantic song of our times. This lake has been re-named to Lake Chopra by the Swiss government, honouring Yash Chopra’s contribution in making Switzerland a popular destination. Also, this was his favourite place to shoot and features in almost all of his films.
Many memorable scenes from DDLJ were shot in Switzerland and I am sure visiting the country will make me want to watch the movie all over again. Not that I need a reason to do that anyway. I am already craving for DDLJ after digging into so many memories for penning this post. And also some Swiss Chocolates! If only visiting this paradise for real was as easy as watching the countless Yash Chopra movies on repeat.
Switzerland remains one of the costliest destinations for Indians to visit, even though large portions of our hard earned money paid as taxes lies in unknown Swiss Bank Accounts. Isn’t it an irony which isn’t even beautiful? Anyway, not getting into the intricacies of our corrupt political class to spoil the tone of this post. A personal loan from Indusind Bank can get you to Switzerland much faster than that promise of bringing back all the black money!