Travel brings power and love back into your life.
Our purpose of the trip to Delhi was to meet my friends and Vibhi. As Jessica was going to Delhi for the first time, we planned a Delhi darshan.
But the Ram Rahim scandal ruined our plans of meeting Vibhi.
Day 1 – 25th August 2017
12:30 pm: A wave of hot wind welcomed us to Delhi! The moment we came out of airplane, we started missing Bangalore weather! We booked an Uber and reached Swati’s home by 1:40pm, Swati was waiting for us to come, then went to the office.
We got ready, had lunch and went to Guru Dronacharya metro station and enquired about tourist card. One day Card was for ₹200 & 3 day card was for ₹500. We knew we won’t be spending ₹500 on metro travelling, so we decided to buy token for the 1st day and take day card for the next 2 days. We had planned to go to Akshardham temple. We took the token that costed ₹40 each. The metro was too crowded to even stand! I am not used to so much crowd even though I travel in Bangalore metro. We had to change the line at Rajiv chowk. By the time we reached Rajiv chowk we were stuck in the crowd. We were worried that we might not be able to get out. At Rajiv chowk we just stood near the gate and we were pushed out of the metro automatically! Then we took the Blue line and reached Akshardham metro station. We took a Rickshaw since we didn’t know how far the temple was. It turned out that the temple was not even 500m away and Jessica’s wish to sit on a Rickshaw also got fulfilled.
We reached Akshardham temple by 5pm. We took photos outside since we had to keep all electronic devices outside. There are so many security checks that it took almost half hour to just get inside. The Akshardham Temple has been designed to epitomise 10,000 years of Indian Culture. This 100 acre sprawling facility was constructed in 5 years with 11,000 artisans and volunteers. We entered past the 10 Gates and the Bhakti Dwar- decorated with 208 sculpted forms of God and his devotee – into a large and comfortable room. Guides and brochures are available in multiple Indian and foreign languages for ₹5. On the other side of this building are 2 beautiful Mayur(peacock)Dwars with 869 scultped peacocks each. Between these 2 dwars is a little pond which bears the resemblance of the Holy footprints of Bhagwan Swaminarayan with its 16 inch (sacred signs of God). It was kind of a wishing pond. We also offered coins in the pond. We then turned left towards the Bharat Upvan – 22 acres of sculpted gardens with bronze statues of Child heroes of India, Patriots of India and Great Men & Women of India. The garden itself is very tranquil and a wonderful place for quiet contemplation. We spent a lot of time in the garden and I narrated all the mythological stories to Jessica that were depicted in the statues and I knew the story. We then walked back towards the Mayur Dwar and on the left we saw a ticket counter for the 3 shows in the complex. We did not have much time so we did not go for any of the shows. We went straight to the main temple. Before entering inside the main Mandir, we had to leave our shoes outside at one of the 2 large counters designated for this purpose. The Mandir is stunningly beautiful and as well carved and intricate as the rest of this building complex. It is so beautiful and has so much detail that one can spend hours just lost in the intricacies of each element. We looked up at the beautiful domes and samvarans (quadrangle pinnacles). The consecrated Gods inside this mandir are Shri Radha-Krishna, Shri Sita-Ram, Shri Lakshmi-Narayan and Shri Parvati-Shiv. There are paintings depicting Swaminarayan’s life and philosophies. In the centre of this mandir is the 11foot gold plated murti of Bhagwan Swaminrayan. The idol was mesmerising. When we absorbed as much is possible, we stepped out and sat and let it all sink in. Once we collect our shoes, we started parikrama of the temple. The Mandir is surrounded by the Narayan Sarovar on 3 sides. The Holy waters of 151 rivers, lakes and baolis (stepwells) visited by Neelkanth Varni have been ritually added to this Narayan Sarovar fringed by 108 gaumukhs. The Gajendra Peeth is 1070 feet long along the exterior of the Mandir. It features 148 sculpted elephants in the themes of Elephants and Nature, Elephants and Man and Elephants and the Divine. Finally we headed for the exit and crossed the Yogihriday Kamal – 8 petal lotus shaped garden and arrived at the Premvati Food Court. We tried Dahi bhalla and finally came outside by 7:30pm and collected our phones. We then realised how serious the whole Ram Rahim situation was. I had 10-15 missed calls from all of my friends. We immediately took metro to go back. We reached home safely and didn’t face any problem on the way. We got a lot of scolding from everyone though.
Day 2 – 26th August 2017
We cancelled our plans of Delhi Darshan this day. So I planned to meet Shruthi for lunch in Cyberhub. We looked around for eating options and went to The Circus for lunch. This place has a unique concept where they have created ambience of a circus, with the help of bright lights and staff is seen wearing joker masks. Shruthi & I ordered Peri Peri Chicken and prawn meal. Jessica ordered XL Burger. We also ordered some mocktails. We talked a lot and also clicked a few pictures in the restaurant.
Then we headed towards The Kingdom of Dreams and were joined by Anupriya and Abhinav. Reaching there by 5pm we wished to attend 5:30 pm show, but the tickets were already sold out, so we just waited for Anupriya and Abhinav to come. We clicked a few pictures outside. Abhinav convinced us to go for the 7pm show otherwise we won’t be able to make for the show tomorrow if we go for Delhi darshan. We finally bought the tickets for the show Zangoora which was for ₹2099/- each. The cheaper seats were already sold out, so we booked 2 tickets. It was 6pm and we still had some time before we had to go inside so we went to CCD in Sector 29 with Anupriya and Abhinav for coffee.
We came back to KOD to watch Zangoora: The Gypsy Prince, a bollywood musical. We were not allowed to click pictures during the play. In a still of the play, an elephant pops up on stage, the hero arrives flying on an eagle, the heroine swings down to the stage — of course, all this with the help of wires, stage props and huge LED screens that bring palaces and dungeons to life. Zangoora is a celebration of Bollywood over the years, with dances set to popular musical numbers. The vivid costumes(Anita Dogra), aerial acrobatics, sound effects(Shankar Mahadevan) and flawless choreography(Shiamak Davar). It is a simple story of a young prince raised by a troupe of wandering gypsies far from the kingdom while the villain kills his parents and usurps the throne. This is a Bollywood musical so all’s going to end well, good will triumph over evil, the prince surely gets back his throne and wins his lady love. At the ‘Kingdom of Dreams’, the scenes unfolded in front of us spellbound by the aerial sequences, special-effects and even a bit of magic.
During the show I got Vibhi’s text asking me to confirm whether he should come or not. I asked him to cancel the tickets since it was not safe to travel in Haryana. We had heard the news of Ram Rahim’s followers burning trains and cars.
In the interval of the play, we clicked a lot of pictures in Nautanki Mahal.
Post show we were directed to Culture Gully. Culture Gully is an impressive indoor street of India complete with sky dome. Along the street there are themed buildings, restaurants and shops representing various states of India. The culture of each state represented has been incredibly well captured. Since we already had plans to meet Swati for dinner, we didn’t eat anything there. We were literally running around clicking pictures as we were getting late. We still managed to click a lot of amazing pictures of the place.
We then then summed up our day at Dockyard Cafe for dinner with Swati and her colleagues. A live band was performing there. We enjoyed dinner and sang along with the band.
Day 3 – 27th August 2017
We planned to go for Delhi darshan, so we woke up early morning that day. We got ready and left the house by 8:30am. We bought one day card worth ₹200. We went to Chandani Chowk to visit Red Fort. We took a rickshaw from the metro station and reached there by 10am.
The Red Fort is a mesmerizing piece of architecture and the largest monument of Delhi. Red Fort was built by Shah Jahan during 1639-48. Shah Jahan developed Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi and which is the present day Old Delhi. Shah Jahan moved his capital here, from Agra, in 1649. Red Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort now houses a number of museums. Every year on Independence Day the P.M addresses the nation from Red Fort. We entered Red Fort at 10:30 am and started exploring the fort. The Fort’s designing is a synthesis of Persian, European and Islamic architectural styles. The fort is spread over an area of around 254 acres enclosed within 2.41km of defensive walls. It is the form of an octagon, with two long sides on the east and west, and with two main gates, one on the west and the other on the south, called Lahori and Delhi gates respectively. The Red Fort is constructed out of red sandstone along with marble that has been extensively used in the construction of the palace within the fort. The marble floral decorations and double domes in the fort’s buildings illustrate the later Mughal architecture.
As we entered the monument through the Lahori gate (western gateway), we could see the Naqqar Khana (Naubat Khana) where ceremonial music was played before the royalty entered the Diwan-i-Aam (hall of public audience). The Diwan-i-Aam was the court where state administrative affairs were discussed and the general public could seek the king here. A little ahead of the Diwan-i-Aam lays the Diwan-i-Khaas which was the hall of the Private audience where the matters related to the royal family were discussed. The entire interior of the Hammam (Bath) including the floor is built of marble and inlaid with coloured stones. To the west of the Hammam are the Moti Masjid and Hayat-Baksh Bagh lies to the north of this mosque. Other, attractions of the fort are the Chawari Bazar, Chatta Chowk, Nahr-i-Behisht, Mumtaz Mahal (Now housing the Red Fort Archaeological Museum), Rang Mahal, Hira time Mahal, Shahi Burj, Princes quarter. It took us 2 hours to explore everything. The weather was also very hot and by the end of it, we were very tired so we took an e-rickshaw outside Red Fort and went to Paranthe Wali Gali.
Paranthe Wali Gali is a narrow alley with series of restaurants serving North Indian parathas. As we entered the gali, we were reminded that we were in Delhi. We heard someone passing comments like Juliet Darling. We decided not to go too deep inside the gali and went to the nearest clean looking restaurant. We tried ordering the unusual paranthas. So we ate Pudina parantha, Lemon parantha, green chilli parantha and chhanch! All the paranthas were very unique an tasty. Our favourite was Pudina Parantha.
We then decided to proceed towards Jantar Mantar. We got down at Rajiv Chowk and asked which exit to take for Jantar Mantar. We got to know that Patel Chowk station is closer to Jantar Mantar, so we took another metro and went to Patel Chowk. We came out of the the station and started following Google Maps to reach there since the distance shown in the map was very less from there. We were stopped by some Police who had closed the road. They told us that due to Section 144, Jantar Mantar was closed and we could only see it from outside and we had to take another route. We tried walking for few minutes then decided to go back to metro station since Google Map’s directions confused us and we were too tired to walk just to see Jantar Mantar from outside. We decided to go to India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan.
We got down at Central Secretariat metro station. Outside an autowala offered us to show us around Raisina Hills for ₹200 and drop us off at India Gate. After some bargaining, he agreed to show us around for ₹170 and also drop us back at the metro station.
Our first stop was in Parliament House (Sansad Bhawan). The Parliament House of India is located in the northwestern side of the Vijay Chowk & in the vicinity of the secretariat buildings. The Parliament building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker who were responsible for the overall construction and planning in Delhi. Parliament house has a circular structure which represents “continuity”. Vijay Chowk also has 2 huge fountains and one of them is in front of Parliament House.
Next we proceeded to North Block, South Block and Rashrapati Bhawan. It is a delightful sight to look at the marvellous architecture of the South and North Block standing facing each other with Rashtrapati Bhawan being the jewel of its kind in the centre. North Block and South Block, also called the Secretariat Buildings. North Block hosts the offices of Finance and Home ministries and South Block hosts External affairs and Defense ministries. Radhtrapati Bhawan is the official residence of the President of India and is the biggest that any Head of the State in the world has.
We turned 180-degree to look at the well maintained Rajpath and India Gate from Secretariat Buildings. Rajpath meaning “King’s Way” is the ceremonial boulevard for India. It runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan through Vijay Chowk and India Gate to National Stadium. This avenue is lined on both sides by lawns with rows of trees and ponds.
We then proceeded to see some more govermnent building like Vigyan Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan etc.
Finally we went to India Gate. India Gate is India’s war memorial arch in honour of those who died in the first World War and second Afghan War. It is also India’s memorial of the Unknown Soldier. Amar Jawan Jyoti or eternal flame was lit after the 1971 Indo-Pak war under the arch of India Gate.
Autowale Bhaiya dropped us at the metro station and we proceeded to I.N.A. metro station to meet Anupriya and Abhinav. We reached there by 3:15pm. Anupriya and Abhinav had not reached by then, so we waited inside the station sitting area and stretched our legs till they came.
When they came, we went to Dilli Haat for handicraft shopping. Dilli Haat is an open air shopper’s paradise, covering an area of 6 acres; it is a destination for art, craft and food lovers. The different kinds of items that are sold in the Dilli Haat include artificial flowers, footwear, earthernware, brassware, sandalwood and rosewood carvings, handloom items, jute, bamboo, wooden, woolen and silk items, and ornaments made out of stones and metal and many more. The place is very colourful and pretty. We roamed around visiting stalls. Jessica bought 2 dupattas and then we went to eat momos.
Our final stop for the day was Sarojini Nagar. Sarojini Nagar Market is one of the most coveted markets of Delhi. It is the most favourable shopping destination at killer prices. Sarojini Nagar has a variety of stuff like shoes, trendy clothes, fashionable jewellery or designer bags. Sarojini sells export surplus. Brands are very careful about the quality and even a minor quality issue results in the lot getting rejected. These can be seen in Sarojini. I had seen too many Sarojini Haul videos on Youtube, so Jessica & I decided to do a ₹2000/- Sarojini Haul. The only problem I thought I would face there was that I suck at bargaining. Thankfully Anupriya & Jessica are pro so I didn’t have to worry much about bargaining. I have done shopping in Commercial Street in Bangalore which has similar concept. But the price at Sarojini is unbelievable. Me being a earing hoarder, I couldn’t believe that earings could be as cheap as ₹20. It started raining while we were shopping. So we went inside a shop. Jessica bought 4-5 tops in that shop. The only problem was the shopkeeper was very rude. When the rain stopped, we continued shopping till we realised that it was getting late. I didn’t get to spend the last ₹200 of ₹2000 and still got so many thing.
While returning Anupriya gave us pretty gifts. Jessica got 2 yellow mason jars and I got a pretty green purse. We said our goodbyes to Anu in metro and went to Swati’s home.
It was Swati’s birthday the next day. Her friends had come at night to celebrate. She received 3 cakes from different set of friends. So after cake cutting, there was enough cake for the cake facial. She had to take a bath since the cake was in her hair too. We then danced and enjoyed the night and went to sleep very late.
Day 4 – 28th August 2017
Since we had slept late the previous night, we woke up late. We had planned to meet Anupriya at prankster if she was free. But she had some office work and Jessica was also very sleepy, we decided not to go anywhere. After Swati left, we packed our bags and got ready and left for the airport.
Our trip was almost successful even after the scandal. I met most of the people I wanted to meet (except Vibhi, Siddhant bro, Neha and Akash). And Jessica saw most most of the tourist places in Delhi.
The 2 things of Delhi that I would love to have in Bangalore:
- Metro Connectivity
- Sarojini Nagar Market minus the rude shopkeepers (or maybe Commercial Street becoming cheaper)
I want to thank:
- Shruthi- for giving us ideas on how to travel in Delhi by metro
- Anupriya- for awesome Sarojini shopping and bargaining
- Swati- for letting us stay at her home
The trip wouldn’t have been possible without their help!