“If you could visit just one place in India, where would you go?”

Compiled by Chintan Girish Modi

As part of the Friendships Across Borders: Aao Dosti Karein initiative, I posted this question on my Facebook wall exactly a week ago, inviting Pakistani friends who have never been to India to share their responses for this collaborative blog post. I received some truly heartwarming responses, and they are listed below.

Ali Kazmi: “Years ago, I had read somewhere about Nalanda, and tried to imagine how magnificient the place must’ve been — Harvard or Oxford of the time; the city whose library is said to have burnt for months after it was set on fire by the Mamluk invaders. I’ve been to Taxila, which was another great university of ancient India, and I’d love to visit Nalanda to see what is left of the greatest treasure of the subcontinent. I am from Sargodha, which was a major Sikh town in pre-partition India, and all of the Sikhs had to leave. If people from the eastern side of Punjab want to visit the hometown of their father or grandfather, they’re welcome.”

Affan Alam: “To that home where my father was born. In that street where he once played with his friends. The house was in Rurhki and the streets were in Saharanpur.”

Gibran Ashraf: “I’d like to go to Jetpur (not to be confused with the city of the same name). It’s where my family comes from, and I would like to talk to people who maybe remember my great great grandfather or any other members of my family there. I think it should be in Gujarat or Surat!”

Sheharyar Rizwan: “I really can’t think of just one place because there isn’t. There are a few cities Ive always had in mind.”

Danish Farid Khan: “I would like to visit Amritsar in India because I’ve heard too many stories about it in my childhood. Moreover, I guess Amritsar would give a chance to meet, exchange my views, and understand three big religions of this region: Islam, Hinduism, and Sikh. The idea of visiting the Golden Temple has always fascinated me since I read about in in one of my childhood story books. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to write you my heart.”

Kaleem Ahmed: “My dad has been to India many times and has enjoyed some great hospitality and the warmth of the people there. I would love to visit Taj Mahal, Agra and Hoshiarpur which is the place of our forefathers.”

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Thanks to everyone who participated. Look up the prequel to this post — Indian friends answering the question, “If you could visit just one place in Pakistan, where would you go?” Their list includes Shikarpur, Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Mohenjodaro, Neelam, Peshawar, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad. As Karthik TMK pointed out about this crowdsourced dreampost, “This has gone beyond just cities and towns. Every word here has the cry of togetherness, touched by longing, felt by heart, a quiver of separation, and a mountain of love! This, by itself, is the kingdom of God!”