Monday, 11 February 2013

Adventures in a Megacity - Sam Miller

And so, after 5 weeks in Sainji, and after an emotional whole-school goodbye from the gems at GEMs, we found ourselves parting ways on Thursday and Friday, and saying goodbye in Delhi, where I then began my tour of Northern India with G Adventures to see the 'Golden Triangle' - Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. I'm glad that I decided to use a tour company instead of travelling by myself, as my tour book was running out of ideas and I have been running out of patience at being harassed for being a lone, female traveller.

The group met on Sunday evening after I spent the weekend taking myself off to the Red Fort (a must see in Delhi!), Lodi Gardens (which Flo before she left for Thailand) and the Crafts Museum. Did I mention that I, a former Waterstones bookseller, also managed to stumble into the New Delhi World Book Fair? On Sunday I became very, very lost when leaving the Crafts Museum and found myself quite literally in the exhibition hall. I thought I'd gone to heaven what with the cheap books, well, everywhere..

The tour has now begun and has not only took me to places that wouldn't have crossed my radar when planning my trip, but also provided a wonderful group of like-minded people to travel with, a great tour guide, and local guides whose knowledge even my Lonely Planet guide couldn't have matched.

Lodi Gardens - complete with crumbling ruins and birds.

A cheeky tourist snap from Flo's film camera.
Red Fort!

This morning we started bright and early in Delhi and I found myself in the older part of the city, with jammed streets, overhead wires, and chai stalls galore as we visited a Sikh temple, where I tried my hand at making chapatti in their charitable kitchen, and Jama Masjid - the biggest mosque in Asia (I think, do correct me if I'm wrong) which can fit 25,000 people in it. Needless to say, the view from the top of the Minaret over the misty streets of Old Delhi was worth the claustrophic climb.

The architecture of Delhi, even though I felt as if I'd barely scratched the surface of this Megacity (as Sam Miller describes it), is one of a kind, as Jama Masjid showed me. The sheer size of the Mosque was amazing in itself, but when combined with the marble inlay detail, the floral intricacies and the sheer minute construction of its beauty, made this a very special experience. While seeing the Sikh temple in action, and being able to take part in their cooking, was too a very moving experience, the Mosque was really quite overwhelming for me.

Making chapatti in the Sikh temple!

Jama Masjid.

We're now in Agra after a few hours on our bus, and are due to be seeing the Taj tomorrow! Eek!

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