A Travellerspoint blog

We Fly Home

Sunday 31st October

Up at 3am and off to Indira Ghandi Airport, where we catch our BA flight to London, thus bringing our Indian adventure to a close.

Posted by Timbob 06:18 Archived in India Comments (0)

Delhi

Saturday 30th October

My stomach is no better in the morning, so I dispatch Sarah to defence colony market to pick up some Ciproflaxin and I spend the morning in bed.

Sarah and Jake do a general tour of Delhi: bicycle rickshaw through Old Delhi; the Jama Mashid; Lutyen’s New Delhi etc. After lunch I join them to view the impressive Qutb Minar and we finish with a visit to the tranquil and hidden tomb of Firoz Shah Tughlaq in Haus Khas Village.
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We have only scratched the surface of Delhi and I would like to return someday.

Posted by Timbob 06:17 Archived in India Comments (0)

Delhi with a Delhi Belly

Friday 29th October

I awake with Delhi Belly, or should this be Bhopal Bottom! After dosing myself with immodium we set off to the airport and make the brief flight to Delhi.

We are met by a driver, who, after some difficulty finds the Colonel’s Retreat. This is a lovely and, for Delhi, inexpensive guest house in Defence Colony.

Our guide, Parveen from Delhi Magic picks us up for a tour concentrating this afternoon, at my request, on the Indian Mutiny. We visit the Red Fort, which apart from its size is a disappointment, given that the British destroyed much of it following the mutiny.
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We see the telegraph office and the peaceful oasis in the heart of Old Delhi which is St. James’ Church with its numerous memorials to British victims of the mutiny. We then head up onto the ridge to see the mutiny memorial, Flagstaff Tower and Singh Rao’s house. All this is fascinating for me, but boring for Jake and Sarah, who don’t know the history of the period.
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My stomach is now making me feel very weak and we head back for a home prepared meal at the Colonel’s Retreat.

Posted by Timbob 06:16 Archived in India Comments (0)

Bhopal

Thursday 25th

Sarah rests to recover from her migraine, while Jake and I set out for a tour of Bhopal. We visit what is reputed to be the larges mosque in India. Bhopal still has a large Muslim population. We are welcomed in the mosque courtyard with none of the hostility we had recently experienced in Morocco. Interestingly, outside the mosque there was a large area of tents where people were registering for the Hajj pilgrimage.

The mosque, mostly built in the 19th century is certainly impressively large, but otherwise fairly plain, with little of particular interest to the tourist.
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After a tour of dull government buildings, we head for the Birla temple. A large modern temple, immaculately decorated in the run up to Diwali, it proved an interesting contrast to some of the older temples we have visited. Idols of Shiva, Vishnu, Lakshmi and Durga all vie for attention in the immaculately clean and polished interior. We try to put money in a collection box, but one of the priest strikes faster than a cobra and takes the money to make an offering. We are told afterwards that if the money is given to the priest, he can keep it, which is why he moved so fast!
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Our final visit is the museum of life, dedicated to India’s tribal people. The museum itself is modern and well laid out with examples of houses and crafts from all over India. The grounds contain numerous replica tribal villages, but many are overgrown and not well maintained.

We lunch at Wind and Waves, an MP Tourism restaurant attractively located overlooking the Upper Lake.

After lunch I take an unintended extensive tour of Bhopal in an auto, in order to try to find a pharmacy which is open, to get some cheap anti-malarials. Our car drivers have been relatively conservative in their driving, but the auto driver drove in a typically exhilarating Indian manner. We arrive at one set of traffic lights on red, where most of the cars had actually stopped. He had no time for such legal niceties and jumped the lights and at the same time crossed over into the dense oncoming traffic, with horns blaring everywhere. I remember one of the rules of the India road: Green means go; Amber means go; and Red means go.

The evening saw us having another delicious, rich and expensive meal at the hotel.

Posted by Timbob 06:14 Archived in India Comments (0)

Bhimbekta and Sanchi

Wednesday 27th October

I awake to find my head doesn’t actually hurt very much. Quite a surprise.

After breakfast we head off to Bhimbekta, about an hour south of Bhopal. The road is packed with traffic, as we slowly make our way through the sprawling suburbs of Bhopal. Heavy engineering and various other factories line the road for miles. Bhopal is clearly a fast developing industrial city.

Bhimbekta is a World Heritage site with cave paintings executed by stone age man starting 12,000 years ago. The government has limited access to 15 sites, but large stone outcrops, overhangs and caves, where the primitive drawings of animals and men are located, gives an evocative sense of what the area would have looked like thousands of years ago. It’s impressive and thought provoking, but for those who have visited the caves in the Dordogne, France, don’t expect the paintings to be of the same quality or quantity.
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Next we drive for two hours to a second world heritage site at Sanchi. This is a beautifully maintained collection of Buddhist stupas, located on top of a hill and dating from 300BC. The central stupa, build by the Buddhist King Ashoka, is supposed to contain the ashes of Buddha himself and under two smaller stupas the probable remains of two of Buddha’s closest disciples have been found.

The main gateways to the stupas are exquisitely decorated with sculptures of the life of Buddha. The whole site could have been wonderfully serene were it not for a group of Indian schoolchildren, who followed us everywhere taking our photos and playing music loudly through their mobile phones.
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Back to the hotel and Sarah goes down with her second migraine of the holiday and so Jake and I eat alone in the excellent hotel restaurant and I have the signature dish of Bhopal, Rogan Josh

Posted by Timbob 06:10 Archived in India Comments (0)

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