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!!
This trip was on our mind for a loooong time. In September, we grabbed the opportunity and took the morning flight to Delhi on 5th. We reached Karol Bagh and checked in to our hotel, one that we had booked online, which totally did not match our expectations. At the Reception, we were asked to either provide PAN cards or other forms of identification. We were not aware that that was the norm. When we were finally allowed to go to our room, both of us were sorely disappointed. Anyway, we planned to spent most of our time outside and so we decided not to make a fuss.
The Arien was hungry and so we decided to head out for lunch. There were a number of hotels but none of them were willing to serve lunch to non-guests. As we roamed arnd aimlessly, one guy followed us and offered to take us to a restuarant. I was very sure this was going to be one of those “I told you so” episodes that we would come to regret. So, I was pleasantly surprised when he took us straight to a place called Alfa S.P.I.C.E. He pocketed 20 bucks and was gone before we could say thanks. The restuarant was nice. Food was yummy though slightly expensive. I was determined to visit this place every day for the rest of the trip and the Arien was equally determined not to. So yes, this was the only time we had food at this place.
Image Courtesy: Virtual Tourist
After lunch was out of the way, we decided to check the metro out and visit Rajiv Chowk and then Palika bazaar, is possible. Palika Bazaar is more like an underground market. It was under renovation of some sort and so there was lot of sparks flying (electrical work going on), water leaking frm the roof etc. etc. but it was cooler inside. Delhi climate was surprisingly humid. Palika Bazaar is a shopaholic’s paradise. Outfits were quite cheap and for a shopaholic like me it was pure bliss. Because we could easily get lost in the maze that was the bazaar, we shopped together. I found some very cute skirts for the arien’s niece(s) at an unbelievably low price. The Arien meanwhile got bored and we decided to call it a day. He had already enquired ’bout the metro lines and so we found our way back quickly. Everything was great except for the weather. Apart from being terribly humid, it would also start drizzling suddenly. But, it was not at all like the rains @ Bengaluru which was good for us.