Thursday, March 29, 2012


We spent 6 days in Delhi and managed to take a a flight to Amritsar for the day. It was a day well spent at The Golden Temple and to witness the performance at the Wagah Border ceremony that takes place at the Pakistan/Indian Border before sunset every day.

Here's some pictures taken in Delhi to share with my readers..

In the heart of the Old City stands India's largest mosque built by Emperor Shah Jahan, the Jama Masjid , the icon of Islamic heritage. We waited for the noon prayers to be over before being admitted. The vast expanse can fit 20.000 people. There I bumped into Ivy from Shah Alam . She resides in Texas and was on holiday with her husband.

The Lotus Temple or Baha'i' House of  Worship built by Iranian  architect, Fariborz Sabha. The Temple is surrounded by 9  reflecting pools on the outside  suggesting the green leaves of the lotus flower. We joined the throngs that came to visit and to enter the massive main prayer hall. Everything was in an orderly  manner - queueing to form groups and waiting for the clearance by volunteers to  enter. A simple introduction to the Baha'i House of Worship was done in Hindi and English outside, with reminders to not take photos.  Inside there are no pictures, no images nor statues, pulpits or altars. Silence inside the temple, solace away from the humdrum outside.

A colourful day at Dilli Haat - this group of musicians entertained us with their drums and cymbals . It is an open -air bazaar where artisans come for 15 days at a stretch to showcase their products. There are many food stalls from the different states of India - just take your pick. We didn't leave empty -handed as the crafts are so enticing.

The fruit stalls add so much colour to the streets. We bought some persimmons, apples, pears, oranges  and mangoes to eat 

At India Gate, many peddlers abound. We were greeted by many ice cream vans and balloon sellers. Chai vendors  get your attention as many love their tiny cuppa!

We strolled the grounds after  the visit  to the National Gallery of Modern Art, the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur, hence the name 'Jaipur House'. Attention - grabbing touches in statues like these by well-known artists holds you back a little longer.  

Indira Gandhi's blood- stained saree and her personal belongings when she was gunned down by her bodyguards on display . Throngs of visitors crowded the  Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, which was her former residence. Newspaper clippings, photos, artefacts, all tells the story of the former  Prime Minister of India from her childhood to her last days. Apart from her personal belongings, we viewed through glass windows her simple drawing room, study room.

In the garden, the whole stretch that Indira Gandhi last walked is enclosed in a glass like frame giving a rippling effect of water . The place where she finally fell after being shot, the frame is marked and shows the few dried blood spots.

Built in 1192, the Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage site is an important example of Indo-Islamic architecture. This red sandstone and marble  monument is the tallest  minaret in India. It is surrounded by other several ancient and medieval structures and ruins, collectively known as Qutub Complex. A must -see.

His cheeky appearance is enough to lighten  anyone's day. As we were on the way through one of the busy  Delhi roads , this little fella  gave his all to entertain us, adding Michael Jackson moves to somersaulting to the  beat of the drum by an older boy.  
The Red Fort, built of red sandstone  by Emperor Shah Jahan. The 17th century fort complex was the residence of the Mughal Emperors. This monument is another  UNESCO Heritage site

This 16th century  magnificent tomb houses the  grave of the great Mughal Emperor  Humayan, Akbar's father.  Another of the UNESCO heritage sites in New Delhi. A must-see!!

The India Gate, a memorial to British and Indian soldiers killed in World War 1. The flame of the immortal soldier burns night and day.

Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. On the epitaph, are the words He Ram ( 'O God ') , believed to be the very last  last words of Mahatma. This place with a black marble  marks the spot where Gandhi was cremated on 31 Jan, 1948 , a day following his assassination. A serene, beautiful place  with well-kept lawns . Visitors  remove  their  footwear before  entering the place to show respect.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Morning at Carter Road Promenade

What prompted the morning walk at Carter Road Promenade  was the extra weight gained from being well-fed in our cousin's home in Mumbai. Also by then, 14 days had flown whereby the great Indian hotel hospitality in Delhi, Amritsar, Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur had thoroughly spoiled us!

So, up with the birds and the sun, we made our way to this local morning and evening hangout for the Bandraites. It was a different kind of bustle. The incessant honking of vehicles had barely crept up to us as it is a much quieter part of north west Mumbai.

Walking benefits all.

A walk further down to  a shrine
Was I glad to see the Rotary Logo and End
 Polio Now poster.  Yes, Rotary  is worldwide.
A  children's playground is being upgraded.
A good mix of people of all ages were there to loosen their bodies and minds before the grind of the day began. The dense mangrove swamp is a prominent part of the coast. As it was low tide, not only were the roots and trunks exposed but clinging onto them were plastic and rubbish that had been strewn with nary a care for such a natural ecological gift.

Mangroves with plastic and rubbish entangled . 

IF only the beauty of India is not marred by litter.

Dogs seem to rule in this promenade and they were doing their own thing,well- mannered. I  saw only one cat during my entire 20 days in North India. The puss was found in Joggers' Park next to Carter Road Promenade. My eyes seem to tell me that dogs owned tend to be overweight.

Netting  the best view!

He decided his walk was over and hopped to the bench to plonk himself. Looks so much like my dog Robbie, albeit fatter.

Soaking in some Vit D  and having some urban space to himself

The dhobis were already offloading their wash from the bicycle. One dhobi was seen spreading his laundry  to dry on the uneven terrain.

The sun is up and the dhobi has clothes to dry .

What excited me most was to find children and teenagers occupying a section of the promenade under some tree shade - at work on mats that lined the walkway. Looking closely, they were divided into small groups. The sign ,' Needed... Volunteer Teachers. .. Morning 7.30 - 8.30...  Navjot Foundation' says  it all. I was told  these were schoolchildren from disadvantaged background having further tuiion to give them added boost to face the school curriculum. A couple of younger kids  were receivng individual attention. Their focus was 100 per cent.

A simple  call for much -needed help

 A,B,C s coming along nicely with patience, dedication and love.

All attentive

A few minutes' distraction from the morning routine. The teacher is a Management professional who is giving time to help in the education of these kids. They were revising for their exams.

Volunteers with their charge for a better world with education in their grasp

Under the supervision and guidance of this young lady, the children were learning history. That morning it was about the Indian Constitution.

Older youths focusing on Maths.

How heartwarming to see volunteers working patiently with the kids of different age range.Maths, history, reading and writing in English and Hindi were covered.

Our cousin enquired about the needs of the Navjot Foundation from one of the trustees  who was chipping in his share of commitment.

Hands- on, one of the trustees of The Navjot Foundation talking to our cousin, Viju

We didn't tarry as we wanted to acquaint ourselves with Joggers Park as the closing hour was 9am. For 2 rupees each, we gained entrance to a well laid and beautiful park which is a feast for the eyes and soul.

Then it was back to a well- earned breakfast of juice, fruits, oats and nuts, toast and egg- a  treat for not being a lazy bum lying in!!