Thursday February 13 Gurgaon, India and Delhi Tours
Amardeep and Sant Lal dropped me off at Connaught Place for the city tour (at the grand price of $5). The tour was in on an old bus with a local guide. We had to give him money for three of the places we went to (250 INR each or about $4). The first stop was a Hindu Temple where we had to leave out cameras and cell phone behind. They took my external battery away from me because they thought it was a cell phone! No shoes, either. The temple, Laxminarayan, was gorgeous and very interesting. Hindus use a variant of the star of David and also a swastika! The bus then drove down to the Qutub Minar, a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a 12th century muslim tower and ruins. We then headed to a scruffy parking lot across the street from Lado Sarai, the first park Sant Lal took me to. There was a Delhi tourism store, selling rugs and other goods high pressure Turkey style. The group had tea from a guy with a cart outside. I passed on it.
|Lotus Temple, Gandhi's Last Residence, Laxminarayn Temple, Qutub Minar|
|Fig Tree, Red Fort, a cremation Ghat, Humayan's Tomb|
We then went to the Bahia Lotus Temple where we had to shed out shoes and hand them into this underground window where we got a wooden coin for their retrieval. The temple itself looked like the Sydney Opera house and we went inside during the daily service.
Our final morning visit was to the Gandhi Memorial museum where Gandhi spent his last days on earth and was assassinated.
We returned to the Connaught Place tourist office where there was a café. I ate the lunch I had brought along in the courtyard where monkeys scampered along the courtyard roof.
The afternoon tour included a ride through the embassy row and then out to the Red Fort, a huge complex with tons of walking. It was also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Red Fort was the residence of the Mughal emperors of India for nearly 200 years, until 1857. Nearby were a lot of Ghats, or cremation sites for famous people like Indira Gandhi and her son Rajeev. We stopped at the site for Mahatma Gandhi, Raj Ghat. I was surprised at the memorials and the huge plot of land surrounding each cremation slab site.
The final stop was at Humayan’s Tomb, commission by his wife for him. It was very impressive.
The tour bus let us off two blocks from the starting place with little information on how to walk back. I was very nervous but finally got there and was relieved to see Amardeep and Sant Lal. Amardeep directed Sant Lal to a grocery store so she could get gluten free food including cereal for herself. We went from there to the Grand Hotel where Amardeep and I spent two nights. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant. We ordered too much food but the fried paneer was very good. A large party of very noisy people (Amardeep said they were rich and uneducated) drove us nuts. We were happy to go back to our room!