May 30, 2012

Cities- Delhi, The Capital

The capital, New Delhi ... This was my fourth visit to Delhi, the earlier three visits were work related. I was hoping my sightseeing trip would be very pleasant and make me forget all the bad experiences I had in earlier visits! Life in Delhi is just like in any other metro city in India. But, every tourist has a story to tell about their (bad) experiences with travel agents, rikshaw drivers and so on ... But, I always try to re-relay one line ... the culture of the place is for the comfort of the people who live there not for the tourists who visit occasionally ...

I had decided to minimize use of rikshaws and package tours in my travel that too in Delhi. I took the very convenient HOHO bus. Hop-On, Hop-Off bus, popularly known as purple bus is really good facility provided by DTTDC and Transport authorities to the tourists. I loved it! The cost of a ticket is Rs.300 which is valid for two days, enough for visiting most of the interesting monuments and markets of Delhi. The office and the starting point is near Rajiv Chowk. The staff is friendly and the clean AC bus with comfortable seating feels good in the Delhi October heat :)

I started my Delhi Darshan trip with Firoz Shah Kotla.

- Firoz Shah Kotla, a walk more see less monument, the ruins once Ferozabad.

- Lal Quila, once the residence of Mughal Emperors built by Shah Jahan

- National Gallery of Modern Art, I liked the gallery more than the art displayed (my opinion)

- Purana Quila, another walk more see less monument, construction credit goes to Humayun and Sher Shah Suri

- Humayun's Tomb, well maintained and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. How lonely is the King even in the ornate tomb!

- Lotus Temple, much hyped and rude volunteers, didn't feel peaceful for prayers (in my experience)

- Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and crowded place

- Dilli Haat, buy expensive (and/or overpriced) handicrafts and food

- Haus Khas and Saket, excellent contrast

- Jantar Mantar, I like the Jantar Mantar in Jaipur more!

- Safdarjung's Tomb, well one of the many tomb's of self-important people!

Well, for two days I hopped-on and hopped-off the purple bus and survived on ice-creams and cookies.  I was happy about Delhi Darshan, no talking to rikshaw drivers, shopping and eating ice-cream!! For dinner I had garam garam aloo paratha. I was not sick of aloo paratha yet!

Third day I took a package tour to Agra, Mathura and Vrindavan. By the time I reached back it was 4:00AM next morning. It was an experience of package tour in India!

The fourth day was all ruined by a greedy Travel Agent. I felt like a fool ... I paid Rs.150 for a Metro pass and boarded Blue-line to Aksharadham, only to see a big board 'Monday Closed' :( what a day? Well, life is like that huh?

Then I was curious to visit the Sulabh Toilet Museum. I had the Metro pass, so I went to Dwaraka Morh, the nearest Metro Station to the museum. I took an auto to Palam Dabri road. I started looking for the museum. Went around and around, I couldn't find it. Then I asked people for directions, people didn't seem to know about the museum. I had to stop looking for it when an innocent woman took me to a nearby Sulabh toilet when I asked her for directions to the toilet museum. She meant well and wanted to help me, clearly very much out of her way!! Wandered around Cannaught Place before heading out to the hotel. That night I had to leave for Amritsar, Punjab. 

Update: Delhi completed 100 years as The Capital. It was first declared as capital on 12 December 1911.

The picture collage is inspired by a design on a Pen which I bought at Zion National Park, USA.

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