Lunch at Karol Bagh!

Got back to CP from Qutub complex at about 3 pm. My friend (and room mate) here had suggested I have lunch at a joint in Karol Bagh. I knew that was the third station from CP on the blue line and I should make it in 15 minutes. From Google maps I figured that the restaurant musn't be far away from the station. So off I went.

Reached Karol Bagh quite quickly, thanks to the Metro. Hopped on to a rickshaw as I didn't want to waste any time. He got me there in a couple of minutes (it was easily walkable). But to my disappointment that particular place was closed as it was already 3.15 pm. So ended up having lunch at Bikanerwala's on the other side of the road. Took another rickshaw back to the station and got back to CP....all in an hour or so!

Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar and the Iron Pillar were on my list of must see when I started. So with my watch saying its past one, I took an auto to the Qutub Complex at Mehruli. Reached the place in about 15 minutes and purchased the ticket to get inside.

The monument, as old as it is, has gone through a fair share of destructions and repairs. Struck and destroyed by lighting twice, it was repaired by the reigning ruler. The repairs add character to it along with original artwork. The upper storey is faced with Marble compared to Sandstone / Terracotta in the lower storeys. Nearby is another unfinished Minar, originally planned to be twice the size of the Qutub.

In the Qutub complex, also stands the famous Iron pillar that withstood the battering of the climes and humans. Another example of ingenuity of these ancient people.

On my way out, I spotted another sun dial. This time a small one...and it works!

Pic1. Qutub Minar. Pic2. The unfinished Minar. Pic 3. The Iron Pillar.Pic 4. The Sun dial.

India Gate

Couldn't complete my (whirlwind) trip of Delhi without visiting the India Gate, could I? So off I went. Here's where I made my first error of judgment. I thought I'd walk to it, taking direction from the trusty old Google app. It turned out to be a rather long walk and the sun was slowly finding its way through the now disappearing clouds. I did make it and I entered Raj Path bang in the middle. With the time in hand being limited, I decided to proceed towards India Gate and save Rashtrapathi Bhavan for later.

India Gate in reality seemed more down to earth when compared to the visuals seen on TV and else where. But there's no downplaying the significance of the monument..the names on the facade said it all.

Pic1. India Gate. Pic2. Amar Jawan Jyoti. Pic3. Pigeons having a great time on the lawns.

Jantar Mantar

Next stop- the very famous Jantar Mantar (or Yantar Mandir as I read on wiki). Its located close to CP and using Google maps on my mobile found my way, albeit not easily, as I was distracted by an unusual activity. It was a bunch of college guys, with one amongst them photographing something with a setup that included a tripod (The tripod caught my attention first). I proceeded towards them to realise that they were photographing the cleaning of the glass windows of a building. The sight of two men suspended in mid air with an automated arrangement was a sight to behold indeed, at least for people seeing it for the first time.

Distracted by this, I inadvertently ventured back towards CP, without consulting my mobile. When I did find my way to Jantar Mantar, I realised that it was right next to the building whose windows I just watched being cleaned.

At first glance all these Yantras (instruments) seemed to be just some old age ruins . But on reading about the working and construction of these instruments, I soon found out they were more than that. The ingenuity of the people who thought of these things and then constructed them simply amazed me. Here we are at L&T struggling to raise columns and cast footings with perfect verticality and these people go on and create a giant sun dial with an angle of inclination equal to the latitude of Delhi! Sheesh!

The other Yantras were equally ingenious. The Mishra yantra whose photograph is always associated with the Jantar Mantar is actually a set of several instruments. The symmetry and precision with which these have been built is just outstanding especially taking into account the era when they were built.

Pic1. The windows being cleaned. Pic2. The giant sun dial. Pic 3. The Mishra Yantra.

And then I was robbed!

After that unique experience, I thought I'd better go have my breakfast as all the walking had made me hungry. So I started looking out for a place to eat. Cafe Coffee Day, Wimpy's and Mc Donalds seemed to be the only options I had. That was until I found may way to Hotel Saravana Bhavan on the outer circle of Connaught Place (CP). It advertised all the South Indian breakfasts on the front door which I hadn't eaten in a long time. So I hopped right in.

I was greeted by a waiter in Tamil and was asked if I was single. Nodding yes as an answer, I was taken aback seeing all the tables occupied by South Indians (all tamilians guess). I was lead to an inner room with more tables. I took my seat and asked for the menu card. Opening the card, I found it full of South Indian dishes being listed in various groups. Various varieties of Idlys, Dosais (Tamil pronunciation of the word. Pronounced 'Dosha' in Malayalam, 'Dosa' in Kannada), Uthappams and so on listed separaely. Nothing out of the ordinary for a person brought up in Bangalore.

But the prices listed alongside were. With the simple Dosai costing Rs 50, the more elaborate sounding ones cost more than Rs 80. With Idly-Vada starting at Rs 50 and Uthappams upwards of Rs 40, it seemed like daylight robbery! But being located at CP and far away from the home of these dishes, it was to be expected. I went on to order Rava Masala dosai and Apple juice to go with it (My request for no ice costing me Rs 5 extra). The food when it arrived looked colourful with three different Chutneys and Sambhar. It tasted good as well, so paying Rs 142 was worth it.

Public Convenience

In the midst of enjoying the environs of the Central Park, I realised that I needed to answer nature's call. I soon started on a hunt for a public toilet/restroom. But didn't find any, to my annoyance. I was wondering how the Capital's premier CBD did not have one.
Continuing my search, I ventured towards the outer circle. After walking some distance, I discovered a small building that looked like a restroom from the outside (with plastic overhead tanks)on the other side of the road. On the larger wall was a label "Public Convenience" and the city corporation's logo. I just ignored it and walked along only to find another similar looking building a couple of blocks ahead with the same "Public Convenience" signage. With the urge to relieve myself getting stronger, I had to go have a look this time. So off I went crossing the road only to find an entrance, tucked away at a corner, to what else...a restroom!

The start.

After an uneventful three hour bus ride to Delhi from Karnal, I took the Metro to Rajiv Chowk (Connaught Place) the pre-chosen starting place. Comming up the stairs from the underground station, I was greeted by a Bangalore-like-weather (homesick, am I ?). Overcast sky, a puddle or two on the footpaths, and a cool breeze blowing felt as if I was being welcomed.

I decided to take a walk along the inner circle of Connaught Place. Being rather early in the day (around 9.30 am), most shops were yet to open and there were very few people around. After a completing a round, I moved into the central park, all the time being trigger happy at clicking photographs of the surroundings.

(Sorry about the bad lighting in the pics..will fix it as soon as I can lay my hands on a photo editing software or an online tool)

Inspiration for the blog

I've had a go at making a personal website but never felt the need to blog. The reason being lack of access to a computer with internet (thanks to my current job!), time to keep one updated and of course stuff to write about. But all this didn't matter after what occured yesterday. I felt it ought to go on a blog and my weeklong holiday meant I had the time.

It is my visit to Delhi that I made yesterday that turned out to be the inspiration. What was meant to be a solo exploration of certain chosen parts of Delhi tured out to more than just that (well atleast the start).