Delhi

A visitor to Delhi would find this large bustling metropolis teeming with people, heavy traffic on broad roads, busy markets and shopping malls. For a complete experience, one needs to go through its many layers. Delhi is a cosmopolitan with many traditional and modern aspects coexisting without a murmur.
A sight-seeing tour of historical monuments and memorials in the city is much better than a history lesson for learning about Mughal and British architecture and prominent Indian leaders. Walk through the lanes in Old Delhi and be transported to the past with traditional whole sale markets, eateries and buildings. On the fun side there are many amusement parks with rides and multicuisine restaurants, large parks with rolling hills and beautifully landscaped gardens that make excellent picnic spots. For shopaholics there are markets in Connaught Place, Dilli Haat, Janpath and the state emporiums.
Being the national capital, Delhi enjoys the privilege of excellent connectivity by roads, railways and air to all parts of the country and cities abroad. The Delhi Metro is widely used for travel within the city and is a great choice for looking around the city while skipping road traffic and hot weather.
Travel within the city takes a lot of time, so it would be better to factor this in while planning sightseeing. Delhi is also the major base camp from where tourists usually take off for other heritage cities like Jaipur, Agra or head towards the hill stations of Simla and Nainital.
Best Time to Visit: Pleasant months for sightseeing are February, March and September through mid-December.

Languages Spoken: Hindi is the principal spoken language, though signboards would mostly be in English or Bilingual

Climate: Scorching summer, sultry monsoon months and cold foggy winters
Heritage sites and Memorials: Red Fort, Humayun’s tomb, Qutub Minar, Rajpath, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, Jantar Mantar, Purana Qila, Tughlaqabad Fort, Raj Ghat, Shakti Sthal, Vijay Ghat
Knowledge centres: Gandhi Smriti, International Doll’s Museum, National Museum, National Science Centre, National Railway Museum, Teen Murti Bhavan, Nehru planetarium, Tibet House, National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum
Fun places and Picnic spots: FunnFood Village, Splash Water park, Adventure Island, Entertainment City, Lodhi Gardens, Nehru Park, Buddha Jayanti Gardens, Dilli Haat, Swarn Jayanti park, Millenium Park
Holy Places: Lotus Temple, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Gurudwara Sis Ganj, Jama Masjid, Chhattarpur Mandir, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Cathedral Church of Redemption, St. Peter’s Cathedral, ISKCON, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, Sai Baba Temple

Finding Delhi – Sunder Nursery

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Sunder Bagh, then known as Azim Bagh housed rare plant species from different British colonies across the world. It was also used to experiment with trees that were proposed to be planted in the new city. About 1500 shady trees we see today along the wide roads of Lutyens’s Delhi came from this nursery. Those days, Azim Bagh stood on the historic Grand Trunk Road between Humayun Tomb and Purana Qila.

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Neat, green, flower filled cemetery

A date with some unexplored places of Delhi

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Whenever we visit a Museum, we always wonder what compels us to visit such places. What do we hope to see? A visit to this museum would have a great impact in a child’s mind. There is a great educational value as well. Almost every country is inhabited by a people differing in manners and habits, language, religion, dress. Such visits will help them to know about different countries, to distinguish between individuals from other races, how very different they all look, to learn how people in different countries dress up during their festivals, their way of living.

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Qila Rai Pithora – the First City of Delhi

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Delhi’s history goes back possibly to the times of the old village of Indrapat in and around Purana Qila. Other villages of that time were Sonepat, Panipat, Baghpat and Tilpat. Indrapat is the site of Indraprastha, the mythological capital of Pandavas believed to be buried in the area where Humayun built Purana Qila.

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My experience – Road trip from HYD to NDLS and Back

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Day 2 : Kamptee to Jhansi

Start early morning at 5.00 AM and head toward Chhindwara. This section is mix of good and bad stretches. Reached Chhindwara around 7.00 AM, stopped for a fuel refill and headed toward Narsinghpur. At Chhindwara ask for Narsighpur direction, I remember as soon as we cross the railway crossing within Chhindwara town took Left road and head toward Narsinghpur(a small direction board for Narsinghpur is placed at railway crossing which is not visible). I loved this section after Chhindwara. Like good road even single lane road, ghats section, Jungle, a lot of villages on road side. Be careful at Ghats section as usually people drive fast on these types of  ghats section. Please check out your speed and same time be very careful from vehicle which is coming from other end. Ghats road end before entering Narsinghpur. Road from Narsinghpur to Babina is good. Careful with diversion, cases where need to drive on wrong direction. Full of heavy trucks. Bypass Sagar and Lalitpur. Keep following Jhansi. Road from Babina to Jhansi is horrible, Need to enter Babina town which is really horrible. Road condition is very bad till Jhansi. A lot of local traffic between Babina and Jhansi. Stretch of around 25 KM. Reached Jhansi around 5.30 PM and took night halt. During night while roaming in Jhansi got the route map to exist Jhansi and follow Gwalior.  Total drive time = 12 Hrs.  KM drive = Approx 640 KM, toll around = Rs 200

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Delhi to Hyderabad By Road – Road trip – Part 2 – Final

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Once you cross the MP border and enter Maharashtra, the real pain begins. The border was a stretch of non existent roads with craters  all over it. To add more to misery, there was a RTO checkpost which was checking the trucks and had created a huge Jam at this place.

After crossing the border, roads were bad, though there was tar on top but sudden potholes do surprise you and take a hit on your suspension.

After around 30 Kms from there, 4 lane road started which took me straight to Nagpur byepass. Paid my toll @ Mansar, and drove down the Nagpur byepass. I had initial plan of taking a stoppage at Nagpur and then start afresh from there, but never found any boards inviting me inside Nagpur, and I reached the next toll gate which was outside Nagpur. Now I had covered more than 250 Kms and wanted to have some rest but there were no dhabas or motels available.

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Shergarh – Sixth City of Delhi

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Before entering the main gate, get off at Mathura Road and enter the lake area. You can take the kids out boating. But you have more serious things to do. You walk towards the looming Talaaqi Gate. This gate like the others is also capped with chattris and protected with bastions. Walk along the ramparts on the right with the rim of the lake on your right. Once the moat probably ran around the fort but now is limited to the western flank. Just make some noise walking so that you do not startle love birds cooing in the bushes.
Shergarh is a sprawling compound bound by walls on all sides. There are three gates: The Western Gate for entering is called Bada Darwaza flanked with mighty bastions, Northern Gate is called the Talaaqi Darwaza or the Forbidden Gate and the Southern Gate is called Humayun Gate. Humayun Gate is the signature symbol of Purana Qila with the two ubiquitous pavilions on top. At the foot is an amphitheatre where the Light and Sound show about Seven Cities of Delhi is played out in the evenings.

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Delhi to Hyderabad By Road – Road trip – Part 1

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The road conditions were really good looked like the same good roads from Krishnagiri to Chennai. Smooth 2 Lane Highway.

There were some minor ghat sections on the way which were super smooth laid and the car was able to do them at 80+

I had initially planned for stay at Sagar, but the roads were inviting and on the Highway I missed the entry into Sagar town, so I thought of stretching the limits and reach the next town which I hit.

It was already 7:30 and it was dark all around, stopped at a roadside Dhaba for my dinner and enquired about the roads ahead and the general safety in the area, once assured, I took a decision to venture ahead and reach Narsinghpur which was another 150 Kms from Sagar.

The Road till Narsinghpur was not complete fully and had a lot of diversions in between with non existent roads. As I had my last petrol filled at Jhansi, and I was planning to start early morning from my stoppage to Nagpur, I had to get the fuel filled so that I have a tank full in the morning. Before Narsingpur I passed a small town of Kairali and found a good petrol pump.

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Firozabad – Fifth City of Delhi

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Nothing beats the romance and magic of visiting a monument in Delhi on a wintry Sunday afternoon. The light December breeze has cleared the smog. The air seems almost crisp. Kotla Firoz Shah is an oasis in the middle of the city. It is hard to imagine that exactly 614 years ago on an equally beautiful December day this fortress was being plundered. Soak in the atmosphere sprawled on the green grass under the flitting sun. You can see Delhi’s first skyscraper Vikas Minar in the south, the IG Stadium in the east, floodlights of Firoz Shah Kotla Stadium just yards away, and for company you have crows, mynahs, eagles, dogs and even cats. Chat up the security guard for nuggets of information.

Apparently, this is the only place in Delhi supposed to be the abode of Djinns or spirits. Believers come and light up diyas and incense sticks. Some people even leave written requests. The steady stream of believers assures that wishes are being granted by the Djinns. Thursday is the day when most people come with their petitions and leave offerings. It is believed that the Djinns love Delhi so much that they cannot bear to see it deserted. The day beliefs die, city dies and you die.

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Road Trip – Delhi to Hyderabad – A journey log

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We breezed through to Gwalior and the Road to Jhansi is in very bad condition. In fact, there is no road but a mud path and some small stretches of intermittent roads. We avoided the bypass to Lalitpur in Jhansi and we found it wise. We came out of Jhansi and once we are on Lalitpur Road we had our so called lunch and proceeded further to Lalitpur. The Road to Lalitpur is a good single road upto 60 km and later it a smooth 4 lane road to Sagar. One has to be on constant alert for sleeping cows on Lalitpur- Sagar ghat section. It’s a pleasure to drive on this highway.    It was 5.00 pm by the time we reached Sagar. As we were advised by Hotel personnel at Nasimhapur that the Sagar – Narsimhapur is a 4 lane road except for a few patches of diversions, we decided to move further to Narsimhapur and stay there overnight.

This we found to be good in a way and bad in another way. Good in the way because, had it rained, it could have been totally impossible to go forward as we found it later. Just before Sagar there is a signage for diversion to Narsimhapur on the Highway. When we took the road and after going some distance, I had an inconvenient feeling that we are heading a wrong direction, so we stopped and asked a villager who is going on a bike, whether that road goes to Narsimhapur. He told us as that we are heading a wrong direction, and the Highway is closed as for construction of a bridge, we should go into Sagar town and at Makronia Chowk we should take left turn to go to Nasimhapur. We entered Sagar and the people are very helpful in giving proper directions and putting us on the right road to Narsimhapur. It was just getting dark as we headed towards Nasimhapur and our Nightmarish Journey started.  From Sagar outskirts to Narasimhapur Highway, t

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A fun filled day at National Rail Museum

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We come across “Nilgiri Coach” as we started walking. The Nilgiri Toy Train journey runs in between Mettupalayam and Ooty hill station. This narrow gauge train covers a distance of 46 kms. The train runs through the plains, plantations and tropical rainforest of the Nilgiri. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005 and be a part of Mountain Railways of Indian World Heritage Site along with the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (1999) and the Kalka-Shimla Railway (2008).

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A Road Trip from Delhi to Kolkata

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In an August morning of 1888, Mrs. Bertha Benz driven a distance of 106 Kms with her teenage children to visit her mother. With a maximum speed of 10 mph, it took hours for them to reach the destination and the car broke down several times during the journey. Today that road trip is recorded as the first road trip ever made by the first patented motor car ‘The Benz-Patent Motorwagen’. The car was never meant for that long trip but generated a huge publicity pioneering the journey of the automobile industry. 124 years later sitting in a Volkswagen Polo 1.6, I was driven by none other than curiosity to be a part of the road saga where it tells you stories about the ‘river of life’ and the settlements alongside when a road ends to meet another. For next couple of days I dug deep into the travelogues and road trip forums, spent a couple of sleepless nights in impatience. I recall, that was the only time I studied the map seriously as by then I realized, to make a road trip from Delhi to Kolkata through the great Grand Trunk road you need to spend more time with history than geography !

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A memorable trip on bike to rediscover myself in the foothills of Himalayas – Part I

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Life is full of joy and sorrow, happiness and disappointments, ups and down and Life can also throw unexpected surprises – I was taught in my school and I am also explaining the meaning to my son now. But, at that point of time those are only “THE WORDS” for me and nothing else. Remember ‘3 Idiots’ – “Jab dost fail ho to dukh hota hai, lekin jab dost top kare to aur bhi dukh hota hai”

What else would you do in my place, when the requester is the CEO of your Company? Do you have any other option? I know some who might still have some other options, but fortunately or unfortunately, I am not so impulsive in nature and the other option to fly – was an unthinkable proposition for me that time.

I have a great respect for Mr. Ram S. Ramasundar, the then CEO of Electrolux India, who is like a God Father for me, I had no other option but to say “Yes Sir, I will”.

It was already 11 in the morning and I had an i-ticket. I asked permission to go to the counter to cancel the ticket, to get 50% refund for the cancellation. Who says money doesn’t matter.

“Do one thing, prepare a voucher – it will be reimbursed fully from accounts, I will approve the same.” So, one of my worry had been taken care of…but what about the disappointments.

From a very beautiful morning, all of a sudden it became one of the worst day for me. With a heavy heart, I called up home to inform that I won’t be able to come. Durga Puja was over by the time I hang up the phone for me, as well as for them, even before the first sound of Dhak.

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