Delhi Darshan (continued)

Post Lunch, we were taken to the Lal Quila or Red fort. The same fort that we had seen a few days ago when we visited the Jama Masjid. The guide hurriedly collected money for the entrance tickets and then we walked in. There was a light breeze and I smiled for the first time after getting off the AC bus. The first sight that greeted us was the bazaar inside the fort, known as the Chatta Bazaar or Umbrella Bazaar. The bazaar consisted of zillions of chuntu shops selling you trinkets. As usual, they were after the foreigners who stuck to the guide like glue. It was quite a loong walk and the guide had a lot to share. We were shown the Diwan-E-Aam, the Hall for the common folks. There was a fantastic throne which looked a lot like the throne that Hrithik Roshan sat on, in the movie, Jodhaa Akbar. The throne was covered in a huge mosquito net kinda thing. The guide informed us that it protected the throne. 

Whenever an onlooker decided to listen to her explanations, the guide asked them to move along in a very rude manner. The international tourists who peeked at their books got a tongue lashing as she ranted “What I tell you here, no book will have tht information – stop reading and LISSTEN.” It was a lil embarrassing to be treated like school kids but we smiled and moved to the Rang Mahal.

Here, we sat down on the grass and listened to the guide rattle on. I remember listening very intently, smiling with the Arien, but I cannot recall much of what she said. Shocking!! Anyway, It was a while before we moved on. I did not know that the Red Fort had so many monuments inside. She also showed us the Moti Masjid, which was supposed to be made entirely of white Marble. It was known as the Pearl Masjid. It looked quite sad, and pretty badly deterioated now.

We were next taken to the Diwan-E-Khaas. This was quite beautiful. The Arien, as usual, got totally wrapped up in the exquisite work done on the pillars. We spent a lot of time here. The Arien also saw a huge number of squirrels scampering about and was tempted to take pictures but the guide was cheesed off with us because we were not keeping up with her. We missed what she had to say about the barracks inside the fort and we got distracted by the chairs. She informed us that there are some sound and light shows in the evening and people come to watch them. The chairs looked very nice and well-arranged.

As I saw those chairs, I remembered the musical fountain thingie that we have in Bangalore. I remember visiting the place when I was very angry but I came away very calm and happy. Anyway, by then all of us were quite bored and wanting a break. The guide went into “LISSSTN TO ME” mode for the second time that day and bugged everyone. She was also quite rude to all of us which we kinda ignored and we walked hand-in-hand like young romantic couples to get her to stop bugging us. We also visited Rajghat and Humayun’s Tomb. That in my next blog post.


Delhi Darshan in a Bus

As we left the hotel to go to Rajeev Chowk, both of us recalled our Mumbai darshan,  shuddered, and crossed our fingers. We reached on time to find that quite a few folks were already there. We had 3 foreigners travelling with us, an english-speaking guide, an AC bus – Woohoo. The first stop was the Laxmi Narayan Temple also known as the Birla Mandir. We were not allowed to take pictures. But, they had a big fan in the corner and both of us made our way to it. We sat as close as humanly possible to the fan. It was a warm, humid day and soon I did not want to get out of the AC bus. I also purchased a foldable fan for Rs. 10/- which was a totally ridiculous purchase.

The next stop was the Qutub Minar. All I remembered ’bout Qutub Minar was that there was an iron pillar which would grant you wishes if your arms could encircle it with your back to the pillar. Well, probably because of that belief and zillions of folks checking if that was true, the iron pillar now has a railing. Well, now there is no way you can check if that story is valid – can you?

Anyway, next stop was the Bahai Temple. The temple is a lotus shaped building which looks a lot like the Sydney Opera house. It is open to people of all faiths. It was quite humid and I decided not to go in. The Arien was also quite bored. The guide walked briskly and took the others into the temple while we waited outside. She had a lot of enthu and they had a lot of questions.

Gandhi Smriti was the next place we visited. Its more like a memorial for Gandhi and has a collection of his photographs. He was assasinated on his way to offer prayers. The foldable fan died a painful death at this place. I kid you not. We had lunch at The Indian Coffee House which was kinda terrible. The poor foreigners had no chance. They did not know what to order and that they had to stand in a queue to get the token. The guide did not have lunch with us. She probably disappeared to have lunch at some hi-fi place. ICH had lotsa tiffin options such as Masala Dosa, Plain Dosa, etc. and we asked the foreigners to chose from those amazing options. The Arien also had Coffee which he said was good. Chai was bad. I cannot believe that north Indians make bad chai. Anyway, onwards we march to the next place. Wooohooo!!