Delicious Delhi: We take a whirlwind tour of Delhi
After a less sleepless night in the train, we reached Delhi at 7:00 AM in the morning. A travel tout in the station guided us to a Hotel Anmol somewhere in Delhi. The broad roads with sparse morning traffic seemed impressive. This impression was short-lived as I was to discover later.
We showered and freshened up after over 36 hours and it was a relief. Our bus to Manali was in the evening, and we booked a Tata Sumo to do local sight-seeing during the day. After having omelet-bread for breakfast, we were on our way.
The road journey through Delhi turned out to be unpleasant to say the least. Delhi’s traffic challenges Mumbai’s in volume and Pune’s in discipline. A four-wheeler without a single dent was a rare sight. Two-wheeler drivers made a mockery of the law by wearing various kinds of plastic caps as helmets. The law mysteriously excused women pillion riders.
Our first halt was the Hare Rama Hare Krishna temple, a sprawling campus with white marble edifices and several deities. We spent some time searching for the Nandi bull in front of Shiva, but did not see it anywhere. Ultimately, we gave up, wondering if the Nandi is present only in front of the Shivling, and not in the case of a statue of Lord Shiva.
Second was the Lotus (Bahai) temple, which was unfortunately closed for visitors on Monday. We stole glances at the gigantic petal formations from afar, climbing on the street iron-fences to better frame a picture.
Third, there was the Qutub Minar. I had been fortunate as a child to climb inside the Qutub Minar. Today, entry is prohibited because of suicides and mob accidents involving schoolchildren. We let loose on the camera, amidst the historic ruins surrounding the Minar. There were as many Indian tourists as foreigners. This ratio changed later in our trip.
After a sumptuous lunch at Gaylord’s restaurant (in Connaught Place in front of Palika Bazaar), our last stop was the grand India Gate. We tried to catch it on film from various angles amidst the setting sun. We could not see the names of the martyrs carved on stone until we came very close to the gate.
Rushing back to the hotel, we reached in time for the Himachal Pradesh Tourism bus to Manali. The bus left sharp at 7:00 PM, and we settled in our seats for a long ride. 570 km from Delhi, the 12-hour journey passes through Kurukshetra, Chandigarh, Mandi, and Kullu. Dinner on the way at a dhaba in Ambala was in traditional Punjabi style, with Alu Prantha, Sarso Ka Saag, Makke Ki Roti, and other vegetable feasts.