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Back to the Delhi

INDIA | Thursday, 22 March 2012 | Views [409]

After a six hour ride from Haridwar. I'm back in Delhi for some R&R before Mumbai, and to see some things I missed first time round.

The main thing to do is of course Akshardham Temple. Essentially a shrine for the Swarminarayan Hindu sect, BAPS. Having learnt my lesson first time round, I set off early and brought nothing but a bottle of water and a change of underwear. It's a real shame that cameras are not allowed. The temple is absolutely beautiful and you'll just have to Google it for yourself to see if it's true. In addition to the entry fee, visitors can pay extra to see some shows. Personally, I thought the shows were a waste a couple of hours and I'll summarize it here for you:

1. Hall of Values. A 40 minute eulogy to Swarminarayan performed by mechatronic. To add insult to injury, the audience has to move from room to room as the story 'builds'.

2. Giant screen theatre. A 40 minute eulogy to Swarminarayan in film.

3. Boat ride. A 15 minute eulogy for nationalists. The historiography is laughable with the oddest being claims of invention of spaceships or the oldest civilization. Even the national museum in Delhi doesn't claim the latter. After 15 minutes, it would have been simpler just to name the things not invented in what is modern day India.

It also felt great being able to use the Delhi Metro again. I felt like an old hand as I nonchalantly walked into a carriage, had a good look around and it occurred to me that this carriage was really strange. There were no men. Then it finally dawned on me that this was the ladies carriage. Not sure if the ladies laughter was a result of the sheepish look on my face as the realisation hit me or my panicked dash out of the carriage just before the doors closed.

Connaught Place is a great place to grab some good coffee and patisserie. The place hasn't changed much from the first time round except now it's infested with a different set of touts. Within a 15 minute spell, I'd been accosted by 4 'students'. Just as before, when challenged they'd claim that it's a holiday. HOLIDAY? Are you sure, whatever happened to those Indian Institute of Technology student I keep hearing about, capable of telekinesis, going without sleep, food, drink or a even a pee. Don't even bother with the courtesy, I just walked away and so should you.

Close to Connaught Place is Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a Sikh temple. It seems to be a pretty important temple as it houses, tombs and shrines to several Sikh gurus. Inside the main temple, there's musicians singing hymns. Despite not being a worshipper, I was more than welcome to find a spot to sit and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the hymns. This was in stark contrast to my next stop, Jama Masjid Mosque, where vistors/non-worshippers are 'encouraged' to move to the exit. Both temples were beautiful buildings though. With Laxmi Mahal, National Museum, Tibet House rounding off the visits, it was a very relaxed 3 days, I'd rested enough an prepared to fly to Mumbai.

 

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