Where is it?


Why do you go there?

To visit my grandparents. For as long as I can remember every summer holiday was spent in my mother's home city of Kapurthala in the heart of Punjab in India.

Growing up, my sister and I hated going because all our friends went on "normal" holidays to France, Turkey and Florida. We took those visits for granted back then. However, as we got older, those holidays became our most cherished moments.

How often do you go?

Usually once a year.

How did you discover it?

My parents are originally from Punjab. They would often worry about my sister and I losing the connection to our Indian heritage as we grew up in Glasgow in a wildly different culture. Those trips would help ground me and I'd always come back home with a renewed perspective on life.

What's your favourite memory?

Togetherness. Families cook together, go for morning walks together, eat together sitting on beds. It's all about family and community.

My grandfather is a prominent figure in the area and when we arrived people from the surrounding villages would join my grandparents to help greet us.

They would be waiting with trays full of barfi (Indian sweets) and they would perform a prayer ceremony to welcome us. As a kid I felt like a celebrity. It was a big deal to them that we lived abroad.

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Something that never leaves you is the overwhelming hit on the senses. The humidity takes over and you take in the countless scents of what intuitively has always given me a deep sense of "I'm home". Funnily, I would get the same feeling when I arrived back in Glasgow but for very different reasons.

I love the mind-blowing sunrises in Punjab. The open terraces mean everyone gets up around 5am for fresh air and you hear prayers echoing from the nearby temples. We would go for walks with my grandfather and do yoga in the park.

Although India is a fast-paced country, unlike here in the west – where there is much stress and isolation – there is a real stillness and calm within the chaos. I learned to find the slow within the speed.

Who do you take?

My mum. I can't wait to take my own kids.

What do you take?

Shortbread and Werther's Original sweets – my grandparents love them – winter clothes for my grandparents and a suitcase filled for charity which we would distribute to the villagers, an experience that taught me humility and gratitude.

What do you leave behind?

The stresses of everyday life.

Sum it up in five words.

Soulful. Enriching. Aromatic. Colourful. Love.

What travel spots are on your post-lockdown wish list?

India. My grandparents have so much wisdom and I want to stay connected to that. These restrictions have made me realise how much I miss the freedom of being able to visit them.

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Turkey. I miss a sunny beach holiday. It is a place that always delivers incredible weather, food and some of the friendliest people.

Follow Dr Punam Krishan on Twitter and Instagram @DrPunamKrishan or visit drpunamkrishan.com