A beautiful journey of culture… 08 to 14 October, 2016.
Delhi – I have been waiting for this vacation since my engineering actually 😛 I never had been on long trip till date and wanted to be isolated from this usual world I stay at and get along.
08 October – New Delhi:
The trip started on 8th October by Flight and reached our destination New Delhi as per the plan. As soon as we landed and came out of the Airport, it started to stink and I said I can’t bear it! Prasad said this is what it is and you will get used to it soon! OMG. After reaching NDLS metro station, smell increased and I couldn’t tolerate it. Prasad started ironically “eega nimge hegannista ide madam?” OMG! This is our Capital city. I said, “Vasane bartide, I can’t bear this”!.
After checking-in, we started to reiterate to decide where shall we go and roam around for the day? Listed down based on their closing time, connectivity, time to visit etc. So, decided to book an uber to ride around India Gate. Reached there and roamed around Rashtrapati Bhavan as well. We have it in our still to be done visit to Rashtrapati Bhavan (as premises inside, which has a separate online process to be followed to visit).
India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Dilli Haat – Delhi:
Near India gate, there were 100’s of them surrounding us, saying “they will capture our pics”, but we didn’t want it. However, a decent young boy, who requested very humble, we felt he is earning his part time job money for some good reason like education and we said “yes” to him (Unable to recall his name, probably Akshay). He really has captured few good ones. (Though I am not publishing them here).
Salute to our Amar Jawans…
The garden beside RB and the parliament had a spectacular view. Many noticed it only after seeing us there :);)
We rushed to metro station (Central Secretariat) and headed towards Dilli Haat. (Opp. INA market metro station). I was flattered by the neatness and cleanliness of the Haat! It was soothing to see colorful stalls from different State Tourism Departments, like jewelry, clothes and food! We first went almost half around the stalls, and sat down at Shillong Stall (From Meghalaya) for few good Momos 🙂 It was really very tasty (not fried, we tried steamed and we like it steamed). Actually we could see 2 stalls opposite to each other and in some of the blogs, I had read Shillong has the best momos. But, there were no Shillong sign, instead Meghalaya! We were trying to recall which state Shillong belongs to: P
The shopkeeper, Delhi:
After that, we moved on to buy some pashmina shawls. I was flattered by their beauty. All handmade! How creative Indian women are and hats off to their patience! So cute and beautiful art work. The shop owner is from Srinagar. And being asked about his place, he said so and asked if we have ever been to Srinagar.
The conversation went on:
shopkeeper: “App gaye kabhi Srinagar? Bahut Khoobsurat jagah hai”
Prasad: “Han, gaye the. Bahut sundar jagah hai”
Shopkeeper: “Han, abhi halat utna thik nahi hai, aap bhi khuda se dua kijiye ki sab jald hi thik ho jaye” (considering the India-Pak tensed situation, terror attacks etc)
We: “Han, sab maangte hai. Hum bhi shanti chahte hai aur chahte hai ki hamara khoobsoorti hame jald vapas shanti aur suraksha se mile aur hum south se ho to bhi fikr karte hai ki aap log sab khushi se zindagi bitayen, bina ye jhanjhat se. Aur hum bhi idhar be-fikr ghoom sake” J
Shopkeeper:”Han. Hum kuch nahi chahte bas shanti aur ye Hindusthan ka hi hissa hai, mera Srinagar bahut khoobsurat hai J”
Prasad: “Han, jannat hai, jannat J”
Shopkeeper: “!!!han ji”, about to greet when we were about to leave after purchase.
Prasad:” khuda hafiz”
Shopkeeper: “!!!” (He was surprised to see Hindu from South wishing so!) And he smiled J
We all in India, the real lovers of Hindusthan, do not bother if you are a Hindu or Muslim, but these vote bank politics, hyper media, activists make this living intolerant, not Hindusthan, neither Muslims, nor a Hindu or a Sikh or whoever he/she is! The shopkeeper was really concerned about his city and its beauty – the jannat – “Srinagar” #Respect # culture
Later, in the night we were very thirsty and wandered in search of water to end up in front of Tamil Nadu stall. We looked at each other and said “no, this is Karnataka’s Kaveri and we don’t need water frpm here. Moved ahead to Bihar stall and the shopkeeper wondered as if we have never seen/had water in life after emptying 1 liter of water. We took metro and back to the lodge we stayed at Karol bagh.
09 October, Qutub Minar, Red Fort – Delhi:
The next day, we hurried to roam around Qutub Minar. From the metro station, we were in search of auto and the auto drivers all over India are the same! Unfortunately, if they get to know you are from a different place, they will try to earn as much as possible and charge you like hell unless you open up your mouth and shout boldly!
Qutb Minar is a beautiful cultural heritage which depicts beautiful Hindu – Muslim cultural mix-up. It has beautiful Lotus flowers and many other flowers’ art, also the Hindu “Dhruva Sthambha” and also, the tomb structure of Muslim culture. (I do not want to bring the topic of argument of “whether it’s a Hindu or Muslim heritage, though historians have already written lots of research articles on it. I loved that its still protected as a world cultural heritage as it is and well-maintained.
We left the place after roaming for around 1.30 hours. Again back to auto argument and he tried to fool us yet, we opted to follow our trick of asking him to drop to the same place from where we have reached Qutub Minar – the Qutub Minar metro station.
We realized we are feeling hungry and yet to have breakfast. So, chose to go to Chandni Chowk. We had our good breakfast at Haldiram’s restaurant, near Gurudwar.
After that, we walked straight towards Red Fort. It’s really a wonderful history at Red Fort. This write-up would not be enough to explain about Red Fort. So, its better I just refer you to visit there or to read about it from web on that J
The funny thing I still remember from there is : We were tired and sitting in a corner at The Diwan-i-‘ Am (‘Hall of Public Audience’) – a rectangular hall. It was at a certain height from ground level and you have to follow few stairs to get out of it and move to the next place around. Usually, I think people in North India sit along the stairs. Since the place near stairs was filed with people, we were sitting at a corner. But, many of the tourists thought the place where we were sitting also leads to stairs and all followed to end up noticing the stairs is at the other end in the middle J We were enjoying the mini fun 😉 One of the ladies didn’t even observe that there are no stairs, carrying her baby she was about to step ahead and her husband shouted from below to be careful and watchful. Then only she realized where she is heading towards!
It took around 3 hours to cover Red Fort and then we headed towards Chandni Chowk by rickshaw (as I was very tired and wanted to have a rickshaw ride). The traffic was like hell, yet, these rickshawala do not care and the take you to the destination within 10 minutes there by approaching the wrong side! 😉 Though you know it’s not the traffic rule, nobody cares, neither did we! So, I still feel Bangalore is far better at least in that perspective: P
We did not feel hungry as we had our breakfast at 11 AM! 😛 So, we decided to head directly towards Akshara Dham at 1.30 PM. Took metro, got down, entered into Aksharadhama. There was a huge queue and lots of formalities and security to measures taken uo due to tension at the border and school off time for Dussehra. So we felt, we will not be able to cover anything by the closing time an decided to head back and put it to halt. Then we realized we were hungry and again ended up in Haldiram’s restaurant for evening tea and light snacks. The restaurant staff is quite arrogant and not customer-friendly. Though we love its taste, we did not like the customer service there.
Back at our lodge, in the evening roamed Karol bagh market and had a very tasty Gol gappa at a Punjabi sweet/chat stall (unable to recall the shop name).
10 October 2016, journey to Jaipur, RJ:
Next morning, we had a train to catch at 6am to Jaipur. Ajmir Shatabdhi Express from NDLS. We enjoyed the early morning journey with nothing much around though 😛 Almost everyone in the train were tourists who were travelling to Jaipur from various parts of India. There was a small family from Kerala and the kids in the family were explaining about their teachers in Malayalam, which entertained us a lot J They were speaking very loudly thinking nobody understood what they were discussing 😉
Once we reached Jaipur railway station, we booked Uber to reach Ginger Hotel. The taxi drivers surrounded us with offers of being arranging the cheapest facilities with a price range of 200 INR just for a hotel drop! 😛 Almost every place we booked uber and paid via Paytm as we did not want to be fooled by the price and thanks to mobile app geeks 😉
Jantar Mantar, City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Bazars, RJ:
We had our lunch at the hotel and then started to Janthar Manthar; is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, built by the Rajput King. Real science existed in India in 17th century or even before that. Regret that we in our country do not value or derive deep out of it! I was really surprised by the calculation technique that was being used! Amazing minds and thoughts.
Thereafter we headed towards City palace as it was at a walk able distance. Wonderful architecture and what a beauty! A must visit place at Jaipur J Moved to Hawa Mahal next and visited it only from and around the venue as we had lots of advice from locals and cousins that not worth visit inside. Captured few pics out of it and headed forward. There was an old man who offered us drop at Hawa Mahal from City Palace at 20 INR by his rickshaw. Since we felt he is very old and not comfortable he riding rickshaw being that old we paid him 30 INR and then, realized he wanted to gain some business of forcing us to visit his son’s shop for bangles and he was heading towards that shop; offered us the drop 😉
We checked with some local shopkeeper for a good tea shop and he directed us to a very small gully road, and a tea shop. The owner was a very old man and still the culture of being asked to get in and sit own existed and we were seating on a small bench in few minutes. Chai was still in preparation stage and looking at our impatience (more than impatience we were tired), the old man offered us “Chaiwali aaj nahi aayi, isliye der ho rahi hai. Me aapko Musambi juice pila sakta hoon, the sweet lime juice!” J We said “arey nahi chacha, thik hai. Chai hi do”. I think he felt young generation today doesn’t have any patience and he offered us sweet lime juice, thinking we were in hurry. The chai was really tasty. J Its near a small passage near Johari Bazar, opposite to Hawa Mahal road 😉
Girls are enthusiastic about shopping and I had heard a lot about jewelries and bangles of Jaipur and Google out for some shops. But, ended up in a wholesale bangle shop, where I could get very beautiful bangles and then, sarees and clothes for gifting from another shop (at Tripolia Bazar). We did not follow any guide or any advice of Google. Just entered one of the shops that we felt we can go and check and felt reasonable and value for money. But, if you are buying sarees in Jaipur, be careful to check the blouse piece, length etc very accurately as per your needs. They still use 5.25 meters saree as in our olden days in few cases 😉 Took uber back to Ginger from Tripolia gate, Chura Rastha.
11 October, Jal Mahal and journey to Jaisalmer:
Next day, after a quick breakfast, we hurried to Jal Mahal is a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. Though we can see its beauty from a distance, it was really soothing architecture J We had booked train to Jaisalmer via irctc, the previous day; the instant planning. So, we decided to spend time at CCD at ginger hotel and then, took uber to catch 4.30 pm train to Jodhpur. We met around 6-7 soldiers, our real heroes. Everybody warned us not to visit as its tensed situation at the border; but we were sure we will be safe. And the entry of soldiers assured it again 😉