Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nepal Tour Part 9: Exploring Delhi - A guided tour

The international Youth Hostel is a nice package since it offers loads of space for touring students amidst a sprawling campus and everything was neat and tidy. Those who got ready early got outside the building for a photo shoot before embarking on the site seeing trip.

Theekkolli, Chandi & Theeppori

Our staff representative and “padakkam” striking a pose together.

Seen here is the most quick witted guy – Kattalan, flanked by his fans Theekkolli and Theeppori. Kattalan is famous for his one liners, and he has even some of them inscribed in the walls of his hostel room.

The bus arrived soon. All of us except Dada got in for the city tour. Dada had a bad stomach and decided to skip this trip and take rest.
This bus had a guide, who kept on explaining about the landmarks seen on the way. Most of us were eagerly looking around seeing things which we only had learned in our text books during our school days.
We were all excited when the guide announced the presence of the building which housed Institution of Engineers India, may be because of the fact that we too will be called as engineers within 6 months from this day.

The quality of life provided by this metro is quite contrasting to what we saw during our Jhansi – Gorakhpur train trip. New Delhi represents the face of a prosperous India. This is probably the first of the planned cities in India. Planning for creating a city has resulted in optimum arrangement of roads, the dwelling housing colonies, the shops and the malls.

The bus stopped near the Parliament building just for us to have a glimpse of the place from where we are being governed.Seen in this picture is "padakkam (cracker)" in Parliament. Thank god security folks did not knew that this is an explosive device even though it resembles a human.

The next place of visit was at the monument dedicated to martyrs – The India Gate."Padakkam" again in front of this monument.

The morning fog has faded away and it was a time for a group photo shoot.

The monkeys with their owners at this place showing tricks were an attraction. Some fellows even tried to put the monkey on their shoulders. The scene of ‘Ottakuth’ showing monkey faces with a monkey on his shoulder is sure to remain in the minds of those who watched it.

The next stoppage was at Laxmi Narayan Temple, which is also called Birla mandir, which is quite attractive because of its architecture and a different color scheme.

This temple also is a symbol of religious harmony, since it is open to all people irrespective of caste and creed as adviced by our father of nation Mahatma ji who inaugurated this temple, which was built by the powerful Birla family (Hence the name - Birla Mandir)

The next stoppage was at the beautiful Red Fort. Has seen this fort on TV every year, when our honourable Prime Minister gives his address to the nation from this very fort.

Learned from the guide that this fort is a treat to watch at night when lots of lights give that special ambience to this beautiful fort.

The fort has a beautiful garden with small buildings inside.

Mama, Limekumar, Padakkam, Chandi and Pistu posing inside red fort.

More guys were turning up for a Photo shoot

Putt, Pretham(booda aadmi), JAM, Kattalan, Pispispistu, Mama, Kashuandi, Theekkolli, Appox and Lime kumar.

Lunch in the form of Thali meals soon followed suite. It was a buffet lunch and some of the guys were busy packing the rotis under the shirts sleeve, rather than having it. Once inside the bus we could see people boasting on how many rotis each of them could hid under the sleeve.
The non stop explanation of the guide continued.
We were awed by his announcement of the arrival of Qutab Minar. This structure is quite huge.

We all crowded together for a photo shoot at the base of Qutub Minar

More group photo shoots happened at this place.

Ruins of some stone constructions was found nearby. Some among us suggested to climb up these rock like structures for some nice pictures

All this time the travel inside was noisy and the visit to each of the places was equally vocal. The next destination was a place where any vocal gang will become silent. The lotus temple, known for its architecture brilliance. Wonder how many times we have seen the picture of this beautiful man made creation in magazines, calendars, greeting cards etc. The design of this building is going to stay current for atleast 3 or 4 more generations. We saluted the engineers behind this marvellous piece of architecture.

To see this construction in flesh is really special. Add to it the sprawling campus, the water pool in the front everything created the perfect ambience for this masterpiece.

Once inside the temple the calmness and the ambience really touch the visitors heart and is sure to make them sit and pray for sometime and we also did no different.
Here is Kattalan, Ottakuth and theekkoli in front of the lotus temple

Pettu also want to have an evidence for his visit here. Pettu and theekkolz in the above frame

The next place of visit was a place where we stood up in attention and saluted.

The place where the greatest leaders of our country where laid to rest. First it was the man who was solely responsible for spearheading India’s freedom fight, who could eventually achieve his objective through unique ways, but who lost his life to a maniac who sprayed bullets on him. The last words which he is said to have uttered is inscribed in front of his memoir.

Chiratta doing the customary rituals of sprinkling flowers as a mark of respect

Next it was a lady who is believed to be the synonym of the radical change being brought to the Indian political system after Independence. It is the place where our beloved Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was laid to rest after being tragically shot to death by her own security guards.

Still remember the day when as a school boy, I rejoiced the holiday given to us, when she was assassinated, but was quite inquisitive on why people were seeing crying on the roads chanting the name of Indira Ji as if someone so close to them was no more, answer to which was got only after growing up. Don’t know whether India will be blessed by such a popular Prime Minister again.

The dress which she wore, while she was attacked is kept at the museum.

The saree which she wore had the traces of bullet which was fired at her. An expert among us soon was seen explaining that he could easily identify that the bullet was fired from an AK 47 rifle just by seeing the size of the hole. This knowledge and ensuing explanation earned him the title ‘AK 47’.

The site seeing trip came to an end soon and we all preferred not to go back to our place of stay, but for a round of shopping.Hence got down from the tour bus nearby a shopping place.

Unlike Kathmandu, shopping at Karol Bagh was a joyful experience, since the prices seemed to be in the range we were expecting to be and we were winning almost all attempts at bargaining. As a result we acquired, bags, clothing, sandals etc as we were happy to sacrifice on quality for the sake of minimising the hole size in pocket.

It was late in the night when we finished shopping and had some dinner. We returned to International youth hostel pretty tired. But the dormitory atmosphere, where all the tour members are together made the scene lively. People were seen demonstrating there new proud processions and were boasting on the amount of discount got for each of the items.

We all are back at the Internation youth hostel after the exciting trip covering most of the landmarks in Delhi

Smell of new clothes was spreading fast and guy who made the maximum purchase of clothes, ‘Kodali’ was heard screaming in his customary screeching voice – “My pants, My shirt, everything gone”. This particular scream of Kodali figured in lot of mimicking events in future. The screechness of Kodali’s voice is something beyond imagination.

Day 7 of the tour ended rather late, eventhough last night was full of travel inside the bus, no one was seen having any sleepiness. Next day we have planned a tour to Taj Mahal and we all were pretty excited to be at a place, which is one of the seven wonders of the world

The story so far: (Click to read)

Part 1 - The plan
Part 2 - The Approvals
Part 3 - The Journey begins - Palghat - Jhansi
Part 4 - Another side of Life - Jhansi - Gorakhpur
Part 5 - The Himalayan Cruise: Gorakhpur - Kathmandu Bus Trip
Part 6 - First Night at Kathmandu 

Part 7 - Exploring Kathmandu - A guided Tour
Part 8 - Bye bye Kathmandu - Enter New Delhi 

Part 9 - Exploring Delhi - A guided Tour
Part 10 - Experiencing Symbol of Love, Then Symbol of Humility

Part 11 - The return Trip via Konkan
Part 12 - Then and now !!!!!!!!

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