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Tag Archives: December’09

[Travelogue]~The DNIT – 5 (New Delhi)! :)

As we packed our bags past midnight we knew we had not much time to sleep. The Gareeb Rath (Poor man’s chariot) to New Delhi was scheduled to leave Amritsar sharp at 4:50 am!! Even then, we slept keeping a series of alarm every 15 mins with the first one set at 3 am. We were finally all up by 3:30 and reached the railway station by 4:15am right on time to dump our luggage (which was now 14 in number) into the coach and get a cup of chai.

As the train started on time, I dunno what others did cos I had already climbed up to the upper berth and gone to continue from where I had left…sleeeep… πŸ˜€

Btw, if you haven’t read the previous two posts in this series you can read them HERE!!

Left Amritsar: 26th Dec’09 4:50am – Gareeb Rath
Reached New Delhi: 26th Dec’09 11:30am
Weather: Cool (8-10 deg) but having got used to the chill weather for the last 7-8 days, we found it warm!! πŸ˜‰

The accomodation at Delhi was free of cost, courtesy the company of my friend’s dad…and the 3-BHK guest house was located in South Delhi at Greater Kailash-II.
It is at this place, where we got to see why someone’s called “stinking rich”!! If not every house, 99% of the houses had a minimum of 3 cars with the least priced one being a Mercedes…else it was either a BMW or Bentley or Audi…we heaved a sigh of a relief when we got to see a Santro parked…Btw, we roamed around that locality in a black n yellow painted Ambassador!! πŸ˜‰

On to the pics,

By the time we reached to see Qutub Minar, it was already late evening.

The entire area where the Qutub Minar stands was lit here and there in various colors, which gave the whole area a very semi-vibrant look!!

On the second day, we went to the Humayum’s tomb which is an area that’s now under the Archaeological society of India and was very well maintained…

Inside Humayum’s tomb – Under one of this, lies Humayum…not sure which one…didnt find any board in English/Hindi…

Humayum would have been a man who loved his barber (no, not that way)…his barber’s tomb is also a huge dome structure in the same compound…The above is the writing in Arabic (or is that Urdu) over Humayum’s barber’s tomb.

Before going to the Lotus Temple, we had been to the Akshardham Temple….It was breath-takingly beautiful but no photography is allowed inside the temple…and nothing much is seen from the outside…
Lotus Temple is a place of worship of the Baha’is. Beautiful and peaceful.

This Birdy – the king of the skies – was shot at the Lotus Temple while it had perched on one of the huge focus lights!! πŸ™‚

And finally as our journey came to an end, we closed it off with visit to the India Gate – a memorial to the lost lives of our soldiers.

Thank you one and all. Β With this post, ends the series of travelogue of my DNIT!! πŸ™‚Β 

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Posted by on January 21, 2010 in Friends, I~do~such~things, Pics

 

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[Travelogue]~The DNIT – 4 (Amritsar)! :)

We were looking forward to our touching base at Amritsar…mainly for two reasons…one, the Golden Temple and two, the cold weather which was expected to be around zero degree centigrade.

Since we were not able to get our tickets booked in 3AC, we took the risk of booking in sleeper class for the night journey to Amritsar from Haridwar. Thankfully, Haridwar was a starting point for the train and so the compartments were clean. And this time, the windows closed with very minimum air gap.

Btw, if you haven’t read the previous two posts in this series you can read them HERE!! πŸ˜€

Left Haridwar: 24th Dec’09 9:40pm
Reached Amritsar: 25th Dec’09 8:30am
Weather: COLD!! It was around 2-3 degrees when we reached and went max low upto -1 deg. πŸ˜€

We had booked a hotel…through my friend’s dad…it kinda happened to be a star hotel but then the rates surprised us. πŸ™‚ It was 2-3 kms from the Golden Temple to which autos plyed us to and fro for 50 bucks one way.
Though we didnt find the authentic roadside dhaba, we managed to have lunch and dinner in the dhaba’s – with glass full of lassi’s ofcourse!! πŸ˜›

Chalo, moving to the pics. πŸ™‚

We first went to the Jallianwala Bhag (then a park, now a memorial) which is like 300-400 mts away from the Golden Temple. This was where thousands of Indians were shot at, on the orders of General Dyer in the year 1919. The above pic is of a painting on display in the small museum at the memorial.

This structure is a memorial built later, remembering all the lives that were lost on that fateful evening.

There is also Amar Jyothi, a flame lit at the memorial…

We went to the Golden Temple twice altogether….this one was shot in the morning…though its bright, the temperature wasn’t more than 4 degree celsius. The insides of the temple, was heavenly and peaceful inspite of a huge crowd. We are supposed to cover our hair/head when we enter the temple area…

The Temple pond, had huge and beautiful fishes…in the above pic, you can see one of our catch!! πŸ˜‰

We started off to Wagah (Indo-Pak) Border around 3pm (which was late…if you are going, pls start by 2pm atleast) and reached there by 3:45pm only to find a huge crowd that had reached well before us. You can see the Indian gate with a soldier at the top…this shot was taken past 5:30pm – Flag has been lowered and taken off the pole, if you observe.

You can see the crowd….I took this pic standing on a arch…far off is the Pakistani Gate..We were about 2000+ people on our side of the border while there were hardly 300-400 people on the other side!!

This was taken by my friend…You can see me standing/hanging on the arch to get a better view!! πŸ˜‰

We got to witness the crossing of the Lahore bounded bus from Delhi…There were happy cheers and local whistles as the bus crossed into Pakistani territory. πŸ˜€

On return back from the Wagah Border, we went back again to the Golden Temple…to enjoy its glory in darkness!! πŸ™‚ You can see me all bloated….I was in 5 layers of clothing!! πŸ™‚

Well to bore you guys, there’s me again….which one? Take your pick!! πŸ˜›

We stayed at the Golden Temple till about 11pm before returning back to the hotel as we had to catch an early morning train to Delhi…more on that, in the last post of this series (I know I know…at last!! πŸ˜› )!! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2010 in Friends, I~do~such~things, Pics

 

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[Travelogue]~The DNIT – 3 (Haridwar-Rishikesh)! :)

If you haven’t read the previous two posts in this series you can read them HERE!! πŸ™‚

Moving on from Jaipur, our next destination was Haridwar-Rishikesh. This was going to be our longest overnight journey of the trip…a total of 14-15 hours. The train left Jaipur almost on time for us to catch up with enough sleep, and it being a 3AC coach helped us not worry much about the luggage either.

Left Jaipur: 22nd Dec’09 11:15 pm
Reached Haridwar: 23rd Dec’09 12:45pm.
Weather: Cool when we reached…but dipped close to 2-4 degree by nightfall.

We had booked a guest house as our accomodation. Not a very good one, but decent enough for bachelors – more importantly cost effective. When it came to go around the city, we had two options…a cab or an (Vikram) auto and we being we chose an auto, for the thrill of it. We planned to cover Haridwar that day and Rishikesh which is about 40 kms away, the next day.

Here we go, photo-time!! πŸ˜€

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We took the rope way (Udan Katola – flying basket) to the Chandi Devi temple and must say it was one awesome ride…the power-cut on the way up, gave us some breathing space during the breath-taking ride!! πŸ˜€

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I’m standing in the Ganges at ‘Hari ki Pauri’, the ghats where Goddess Ganges is worshipped every evening…The sides of the river are chained, as its very slippery and the water that day was ICE COLD….from the moment I got out of the water both my feet went numb for like 2-3 minutes. Water was super clean though. πŸ™‚

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Thousands, if not lakhs of people (crores during this time…currently Kumbh ka mela is being organized at Haridwar) gather each evening to offer their prayers to the Ganges.

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Just on cross the ghats, is a street where sweets are prepared on the spot and sold…yummy!! Gulab Jamoon above, FYI!! πŸ˜‰ – This pic is post processed to make the jamoons look yummy….go slllluuuuuurrrppp!! πŸ˜›

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The next day we went to Rishikesh in the same auto…The unpleasant noise making vehicle ride, was enjoyed to the core…moreover we had a talkative driver too…who went on yapping happily, even with those folks among us who didn’t understand Hindi!! πŸ˜› The picture above is of Ram Jhula (Bridge)…we walked across that and returned by boat below the Lakshman Jhula.

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Your’s truly on the Ram Jhula when it wasn’t crowded. πŸ˜› You can see the multi-floored temples on the right side behind the Jhula.

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All I wanted was a picture with the extremely handsome bull, but then it wasn’t my intention to wake him up. I swear. πŸ˜›

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Guess what?? There was a coffee day in Rishikesh!! πŸ˜› And we didn’t miss it…Their 4 Cappuchinos and my non-alcoholic whiskey flavored Irish Coffee did strike a pose for the camera!! πŸ˜‰

Ok…I’m done with all the pics of Haridwar…but then during the trip, there were several other species that we clicked…me being an animal/bird lover, clicked almost every other creature that came by…Here are a few snap shots!! πŸ™‚

This Sparrow was shot at the Jaipur City palace.

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The Birdy seemed to be searching for its “dove” while standing on the walls of the Amber fort, in Jaipur.

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The pair of ducks swimming in the ganges were shot at full zoom from the top of Ram Jhula… πŸ˜€

The squirrel seems to be searching for me as it gets clicked in the gardens of Humayum’s Tomb in New Delhi.

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This one was clicked in Humayum’s Barber’s tomb vicinity.

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Nah…before you guys say anything, let me clear the air…This isn’t me :mrgreen: …on the walls of Agra fort!! πŸ™‚

Before leaving Haridwar, we did some shopping…among that I picked up a woolen blanket for my sister but it came of good use for us, during our next train journey to the coldest destination of our trip….AMRITSAR.

This and more, in the next post of this DNIT series. πŸ˜€ Keep watching!! πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2010 in Friends, I~do~such~things, Pics

 

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[Travelogue]~The DNIT – 2 (Jaipur)! :)

Thanks a lot for theΒ large number of hitsΒ to the first post of this travelogue. In case you missed Agra, you can catch it HERE.

Agra was successfully covered…but did miss on Fatehpur Sikri due to shortage of time. The train to Jaipur was scheduled at 7:45pm but we got to know that there was a delay only on reaching the railway station. Since we had not got 3AC tickets for this journey of 4 hours, we went ahead with booking the sleeper class. The 4 hours which we thought would pass by in no time turned out to be the most suffered and longest hours of the whole trip with the cold air taking toll of us.

Left Agra: 29th Dec’09 Evening 7:45 pm: Late by 2 hours, left around 9:45 pm.
Reached Jaipur: 21st Dec’09 early Morning 12:45 am: Late by 45 mins.
Weather: Cold….approximately in the 4-8 degree range.

We had booked accomodation at a guest house by name Janpath. I must say, this was THE best accomodation during the whole tour. The hospitality and warmth provided by the owner Mr. Kapil Dev Tyagi cannot be described in words. And it turned out to be very much inexpensive. Our bill was Rs. 3100/- for 2 days of stay, food and pick-up from the station. Moreover, he arranged cabs for us to roam around the city at affordable prices (1000 bucks for 8 hrs – Innova on Day1 and Tavera on Day2). If you are going to the PINK CITY and want an affordable place to stay, CHECK THIS OUT.

Chalo, moving on to the pics!! πŸ˜›

We started off with the Birla Mandir…

We saw the Hawa Mahal exterior on our way to the city palace. This architecture is showcased whenever Jaipur is talked about on the touring map!! πŸ™‚

The city palace is a beautiful structure…the present head of state (non-ruling) Brig. Bhawani Singhji still resides in one part of the palace. We can see how he stays too but its charged too high. 2500 bucks per head.
PS: We did get to see him for free though, as he made his way into the City palace.

The Amber fort is a lovely not-to-be-missed site…the fort is built on high ground and its walls are awesomely spread…seems like we have our own “great wall” as in China!! πŸ™‚

Sheesh Mahal (Glass palace) is within the Najargarh fort and is a lovely structure fully covered with designs made up of plain and colored glasses as well as mirrors…!!

The Jaigarh fort which is about 5 kms from the Najargarh fort is a small fort famous for two things. One, it houses the largest ever man-made Canon which is as in the pic above and two, for the largest water filteration system.

In the evening we went to check out the Jal Mahal…from a distance as no tourist is allowed inside it. Jal Mahal is supposed to be the “entertainment” place for the rulers of historical times.

For those interested in science, Jantar Mantar is one place to visit for they house the astronomical wonders of that time. Seen in the pic is the “scaling” of the structure which tells the time based on shadow of the sun…it was dead accurate.

When we went to visit the art museum on day1 (Monday) it was closed on its weekly off. So we thought of visiting the Jaipur zoo which is right opposite the art museum too, on the next day.Β  On Tuesday (day2), it was a weekly off for the zoo…sigh!! So we just got to see the art museum…

Various swords and rifles of those times are on display…best part was that there was no ban on photography inside the museum which even had a “mummy”. Above seen is the handle of a sword, in gold!!

The security guards dressed in typical Rajasthani attire were pleased to click with yours truly (Raji, here I make my debut in this series…you asked for it, you get it!! πŸ˜‰ ). When we said thanks on taking the pic, they showed that they had coins of foreign countries in their hands. We showed them that we are Indians!! πŸ˜›

There u go, the other 4 of the Pandavas who went on the tour try their best to pose, as you-know-who clicks!! πŸ˜‰ We loved this corridor a lot, as it gave the perfect ambience for a cinematic picture. πŸ˜€

Apart from these, we loved the food at Jaipur…the Aaloo Parathas at the guest house, the Rajasthani Thali at a restaurant as well as the chaat items at a sweet shop near the guest house. Huge sizedΒ Rasgullas @ 5 bucks a piece melted in no time and in huge quantities in our (big) mouths!! πŸ˜‰

The next destination was to be Haridwar, the religious place of the Hindus…but no, we were not on a religious trip!! πŸ™‚
More on that, in the next post!! πŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2010 in Friends, I~do~such~things, Pics

 

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[Travelogue]~The DNIT (December North India Tour) – 1 :)

It was all decided at the spur of a moment. A thought that felt so very much executable. Till early October, there was not even a thought of availing vacation leaves, let alone going on a trip/tour. And then one fine hot friday afternoon, when I walked back to my cubicle from my umpteenth coffee break, three excited colleagues called me to their cubicle. They just said “We are thinking of planning a North India tour” and suddenly I became the fourth excited one. The fifth one, working at Infy wasn’t even aware as yet. Moreover, we were all excited about how cold each place would be. Within the next 2 hours we had built a skeleton plan regarding our final destination, the dates of travel and our total budget. We decided to cover New Delhi and around from the 19th to the 29th December which meant that we would need to apply for 6 days of vacation. By EoD, we had made up our mind.

Firstly we booked the ticket for 5 of us – Chennai to Agra and return ticket from Delhi to Chennai. And then in the next 2-3 days we decided on the other places based on 2 things: One, the journey from one place to another had to be completed during the nights and two, based on the availability of 3AC train tickets. Our final booked itenary which was ready by the third weekend of October looked like this: Chennai to Agra to Jaipur to Haridwar-Rishikesh to Amritsar to New Delhi and back to Chennai.
After booking, we informed the 5th one to plan his leave!! πŸ˜›

Three of us being from the same team was the next big problem in hand, when it came to getting our vacation leave approved. So we decided to take the onsite-offshore approach. πŸ˜‰
We talked to our onsite manager first, two whole months in advance about us taking leave in December. We were thrilled when he readily approved. And then we approached our offshore manager who wondered if we were asking permission or informing her about it. πŸ˜› Inspite of a few funny confusions (she first rejected, as she thought we would tour in November), we got what we needed, an approval. Yay!! πŸ™‚

Later we checked out for setting up our accomodation and the intra-city travel plans. Well below are the photos, which might take about 3-4 posts…will try to cover them up all soon!! πŸ™‚

Left Chennai: 19th Dec’09 Morning 6:00 am: On time.
Train: Garib Rath – an economical Rajdhani…though we have to pay for food and pillow/blanket (25 bucks).
Reached Agra: 20th Dec’09 Morning 9:30 am: Late by 90 mins.
Weather: Cool…approximately in the 10-15 degree range

Dumping our luggage in a hotel room, we got ready real quick to head towards one of World’s 7 Wonders – The Taj Mahal.

This above pic is the west side entrance to Mumtaz’s final resting place. Majestic and marvellous.

Tried a lot of trick pics…this was one of them which came out decent, I hope.

Walking through the gardens, we headed to the Taj.

It looks so very beautiful from the close up, with creativity and art going hand in hand on every minute piece of the monument. The above pic is the entrance of the memorial…photography inside wasn’t allowed.

Verses in Arabic are encrypted all over the monument. Some say those are verses from the holy Quran, but am not very sure about that fact.

Each of the pillar of the Taj is symmetric as well as identical to the core. Architecturally a marvel.

Post lunch, we headed towards the Agra Fort…Its so huge that we couldn’t cover it neatly from 3-4 angles that we tried to. The above pic is of its external architecture.

The insides of the Agra fort….huge corridors and a well maintained large garden.

The fort is pretty close to the Taj Mahal…inspite of the mist/fog, we captured the Taj from the fort. πŸ˜€

Monkey troubles…6-7 monkeys chased me for a minute or so when I tried to imitate/irritate them. So don’t do, what I did!! :mrgreen:

Thats was the end of Agra…we had to catch a train in the evening to Jaipur.

That and more in my next post!! πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2010 in Friends, I~do~such~things

 

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