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

Battlefields of Delhi

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The Bhairav temple had that the mighty pandavas had gone to their heavenly abode after renouncing the kingdom for which they had fought a battle. It has also seen the gradual deprecation within the kingdom that continued upto the reign of Janmejay. The question about the ultimate fate of descendants of Yudhisthira always remains unanswered to me.

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Jammu to Delhi

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The road till Pathankot which is almost totally in the state of J&K is good, the quality of tarmac is good not excellent with only a few potholes and very little traffic. It is easy to touch 100kmph. The route however has a number of township astride the National Highway, which acts as bottlenecks to the smooth flow of traffic, there are street vendors, local traffic crossing across and my ever favourite ‘the cattle’.

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घुमक्कड़ की दिल्ली : हवेली मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

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ग़ालिब के रहते इस हवेली की असल पैमाइश तकरीबन 400 स्क्वायर यार्ड्स (square yards) थी. नाजायज कब्जों की वजह से इस हवेली के अंदर और चारों ओर दुकानों और दूसरे कारोबारी इस्तेमाल के चलते हवेली ने अपना वज़ूद लगभग खो-सा दिया. साल 1999 में दिल्ली सरकार ने इस हवेली के कुछ हिस्से को नाज़ायज़ कब्जों से छुड़ाकर इसे फिर से पुराने रंग-रूप में लाने की कोशिश की. और इस तरह ग़ालिब की हवेली “ग़ालिब स्मारक” के तौर पर वज़ूद में आयी.

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My day in Rashtrapati Bhawan

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This is the location where all the functions (India’s prestigious award given to its citizen) take place. This place is called the Darbar Hall, the celebration hall of the Rastrapati Bhawan. The hall was situated just below the Gombuz (Doom), which we see from the long distance.

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Delhi – Sangla … journey through the verdant valleys of Himachal

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As we go further, this road climbs higher till it reaches sheer cliffs of stark, unadorned rock where the road is but a scooped out C-shaped tunnel embedded in the vertical cliff side. While we enjoy the drive along the banks of the Sutlej in all its moods, I am almost willing the road to start climbing to this, one of the most celebrated and recognised sections of this route. And when we do hit that stretch, we are all spellbound! Such is the precarious nature of the road that there are precipitous drops on the only open side and encased in solid rock on the other three sides.

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घुमक्कड़ की दिल्ली : गुरुद्वारा श्री बंगला साहिब

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भवन के बाहर आकर पंक्ति में हलुवा का प्रशादा लिया. प्रांगण में कुछ देर शांतचित्त होकर बैठे रहने के बाद प्रशादा ग्रहण किया. गुरुद्वारों में मिलने वाले प्रशाद रूपी हलुवे की विशेषता है कि यह शुद्ध देशी घी से बना होता है और पूरी तरह से घी में तर होता है. हाथ में प्रशादा लेकर खाने के बाद हाथों में देशी घी की सुगंध और चिकनाहट बानी रहती है और स्वाद की तो बात ही क्या ‘गुरु-प्रसाद’ जो है. बच्चों ने भी प्रशादा ग्रहण किया और मेरी बड़ी बेटी भूमिका को इतना पसंद आया कि प्रशादा की लिए दोबारा से लाइन में लग गयी. प्रशादा वितरण करने वाले भगतजी ने सर पर रुमाला न होने की कारण थोड़ा डांटते हुए प्रशादा देने से मना कर दिया और हम दूर से दृश्य देखते रहे.

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घुमक्कड़ की दिल्ली : तीन मूर्ति भवन

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तारामंडल के बीचो-बीच एक विशेष प्रकार के प्रोजेक्टर ने धीरे-धीरे क्रियाशील होकर गोलाकार छत रुपी परदे को अपने प्रकाश से ढक दिया. आकाशगंगा, तारामंडल, ग्रह-नक्षत्र आदि ब्रह्मांडीय आकृतियों ने प्रकट होकर तारामंडल की छत को वास्तविक आकाश के रूप में परिवर्तित कर दिया. ब्रह्मांडीय खगोल की क्रियाओं जैसे ब्रह्माण्ड की उत्पत्ति, तारों के बनने नष्ट होने की प्रक्रिया, आकाशगंगा का बनना, ग्रह नक्षत्र, सौर परिवार के ग्रहों के आपसी सम्बन्ध और उनकी गति, भ्रमण, परिक्रमा आदि अनेक जानकारियों को बिखेरता हुआ तारामंडल का शो प्रगति पर था. ब्रह्माण्ड के नक्षत्र, आकाशगंगा, सौर परिवार और ग्रहों आदि को अच्छी प्रकार से समझने हेतु तारामंडल विशेष उपयोगी है.

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Chokhi Dhani Sonipat : Little Rajasthan near Delhi

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We relished the Bajra ki roti in a traditional village way and went back to the dining hall, because the clock hit 8 PM and our time for dinner was 8.15. So when we reached in the diner hall, again we had got a warm welcome in Rajathani style “raam room sa/shethani sa”….

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Motorbiking from Gurgaon to Gaya (Bihar)

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The first step is always the hardest step. Thankfully one of my flatmate Vikas agreed to come with me (on his Avenger !! ) upto Agra to see the Taj and then he would return back to Gurgaon .
We didn’t pick the Yamuna expressway since if you are planning to go Agra from Gurgaon, taking AH1/NH2 through the Sohna Road is always a better option. It prevents you from passing through Delhi traffic, plus no tolls to pay like that on Yamuna Expressway ( and no more tyre bursts !!). The road is pretty good upto Palwal, 50km from Gurgaon, from there AH1 meets NH2 which directly takes you to Agra. Although it was mid April, somehow it started raining around 7 AM and weather became very pleasant, what else a rider could ask for !!

We stopped for chai sutta on two occasions and reached Agra by 10 AM. After entering the Agra city , it took us around 1.5 hrs to reach the Taj because of small roads and heavy traffic although it was only 13 kms from the highway. Anyways seeing the magnificent Taj and Agra fort was quite refreshing. Now my roomy Vikas had to go back to Gurgaon and I had to cover the rest part of my journey alone. I was up for it.

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Baha’i House of Worship – The Lotus Temple

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The figure of “9 “ seems to have some significant meaning as we could see the temple surrounded by nine pools and there were nine archways into the temple. Another interesting thing is that a simple nine-pointed star is generally used by the Baha’is as a symbol of their faith. At the Information center, we were told that “nine” is chosen because it is the highest single-digit number and in many countries symbolises comprehensiveness, oneness and unity.

The most astounding thing is that this beautiful edifice has no pillars or beams. The petals are made of white concrete and are covered by marble (the same quality of marble as used in the Parthenon, mined in Greece, cut and polished in Italy and 10,000 pieces were brought to the site and assembled as a jig saw puzzle).

The volunteers at the entrance tell the visitors to maintain absolute silence in the temple, though every one is free to meditate or pray as per one’s religious practices.

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In the mystic alleys of Delhi – the Dargah of Amir Khusrau

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I learnt about Amir Khusrau when I was very young.

During my childhood, we used to live in Old Delhi and our house was almost sandwiched between an ancient mosque and a “mazaar” (Mausoleum). At the Mazaar, every Thursday, a few of the good musicians assembled and played devotional music, which I came to know later on was called “Sufiyana Kalaam” and it was performed as homage to the father of “Qawwalis”, Hazrat Amir Khusrau and his Master, Hazrat Nizammudin Aulia.

Since I was fond of music, I found this kind of music very fascinating and depending on the homework prescribed by my school teachers, I used to attend the Thursday “Qawwali” session sometime. Seeing my enthusiasm, one Muslim gentleman, fondly called “Haji ji”, who lived in our neighborhood, told me a few interesting facts about Amir Khusrau.

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Nainital to Kausani and back to Delhi by road

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Though the entire Kumaon region is divinely beautiful, Kausani & Gwaldam are the authentic highlights due to its spectacular landscape with 300 km panoramic view of the range of Himalaya’s few of the very high peaks at hand shaking distance. The Nanda Devi and Trisul are the main attractions that attract tourists from far and near to glance the breathtaking scenic splendor at dawn which is unparallel. Mahatma Gandhi has rightly called the place the ‘Switzerland of India’. Located amidst dense Pine forest atop a ridge at an altitude of 1900 m, Kausani is a cool and tranquil place with limited tourist turnout hence still raw, retaining the natural essence.

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