World Heritage Day 2024: Seeking Heritage On The Grand Trunk Road

Drive down the Grand Trunk Road to discover lost medieval inns that served travellers with hot meals and a drink to survive the arduous journey in ancient times

Tracking down Mughal Sarais on the GT Road Photo: Punjab Tourism

Life is a journey, not a destination... and every other beleaguered travellers cliche that you have ever heard settles into your soul with a whump when you hit National Highway 1. Of all the names this historic road from Delhi to Wagah has ever had, this has to be the dullest. It was once Sher Shah Suri's 'Shahrah-i-Azim' - the Mughals called it the Badshahi Road, for Kipling it was the river of life, along which he set most of his classic Kim and the English named it Grand Trunk Road connecting Eastern India to what is now Pakistan. While the romance of the road has now been reduced to a sterile-sounding NH1, the tracks left by these ancient travellers can still be seen. All along this road stretch out sarais, the ancient wayside inns built for the comfort of travellers. We took a trip down NH1 with the sole purpose of stopping at all of them.