Slept well and had a great breakfast again, and then took the metro to the station ”Qutub Minar” and from there I had to take a tuktuk to the actual Qutub Minar, about 10-15 minutes away with tuktuk. I shared the ride with 4 people, one girl around my age who was going to a temple nearby and could English, also some words of Spanish, haha. Very sweet. Every time people asks me things I’m stumbled about their curiosity and kindness, they are just interested.
Qutub Minar, The most famous structure on grounds, it’s 72.5 m long and was the tallest ”skyscraper” in the world when it was built (1193-1368). It is as many other buildings here delicately carved, and also very well preserved, although it has been rebuilt a couple of times due to earthquake. The entrance to Qutub Minar was 250 rupees (as almost everything around here). It’s totally worth a visit.
It was really interesting to walk around there. It was much bigger than I thought, not only the tower, but half destroyed old arches and monuments.
About 90-95% of the visitors were indian tourists. So yes I had to take a lot of selfies with people, haha. A bunch of young guys, or an older woman, doesn’t matter. I still find it quite weird that people want to take pictures with ME.
After seeing Qutub Minar I sat down to rest a bit on a bench, but I couldn’t really relax, I was like a tourist attraction myself, took group photos with all the families and group of friends that passed by me. They were all very kind and curios, not so many could speak fluently English but they tried to ask where I am from and what I think about india.
I had planned to take a dance class (with 4 typical dances from here) at delhi dance academy, I contacted them a couple of weeks ago but didn’t get a confirmation on my reservation, and I had forgot about it. I called them to see if everything was ok, but they hadn’t seen my booking, they were very sweet but couldn’t find an instructor on so short notice. They said i could do it on Monday instead, but then I’m leaving for Goa. To bad. :(
Instead I went to the metro station Jor bargh that was on the same line as Qutub minar, and I walked to the Lodi gardens. It’s an amazing big garden with lots of old tombs and buildings, green and peaceful. Well, not everywhere. Since it was Sunday it was crowded with people, picnicks, games, fotball etc, very fun to watch the local life. Some people were jogging, a lot of couples kissing. I walked around and watched people for a few hours.
I talked to a couchsurfer I had been in contact with, Dheera, and asked her for recommendations for a restaurant, and she recommended “Saravana bhavan” in Connaught Place, which I actually already had saved since earlier – it was recommended in a blog. So of course I went there :)
There was a long cue outside, apparently it’s a popular place, nice food and for a good price. I had my name written up on a paper and they said I could wait inside on a chair, while everybody else was standing outside the restaruant in a big hop. Inside was another couple who were from Mexico, but were very white and tall. We thought it was a little bit weird, that the proper own indian restaurant segregated us like this, white tourists inside, Indians outside.
After about 20-30 minutes wait I had a table for 1 and sat down, I didn’t know what to order, but everyone was eating sort of the same so I just pointed at the other plates and said ”I want that”, haha. It was some kind of pancake with potato inside that you dip in 3 different sauses, and a soup. I asked the man sitting next to me ”how do you eat this?”, because there was only potato in the middle and only ”pancake-bread” on the side, so he showed me how to eat it, haha. It was very good! Simple but good and for 300 rupees total with a plain lassi.
I started to talk to the man, Tarun, he worked as an accountant in a big electronic company known worldwide, so he had been on business in the states, uk and south Africa. He asked me if I had been to the Sikh tempel that is close to the restaurant, which I hadnt, and he said I should go and visit. I didn’t really know how to get there, I asked if he was going, and he said “I can go, if you want”. He also invited me to try some typical indian sweets, good but with quite much sugar haha, but I was happy to try!
Then we walked to the Sikh tempel, about 15 min from the restaurant in CP. It was a very big temple with a golden roof and super crowded, Sunday is the big day where everyone goes here. The name of the Sikh house/temple is Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. It’s known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan.
They have a shoe deposit, then you have to wash your hands, and you have to cover your hair (the devotes have turbans) on your way up from the stairs they have also like a small pool for the feet so you wash them. Then you walk up and stand in a cue to go and pray in front of a altar with a statue, there’s live music there too and people along the sides just praying, tv cameras and all.
Then you walk around inside the palace and go out along the courtyard where they have a big pool with holy water, the Sarovar, which volunteers still are helping to build.. You walk around the water pool the whole way and then you are offered some sweet like mushed thing that you eat, and then it’s done. All about 30 minutes. They pray everytime they go up for a stair or down. Very cool to see. So crowded!
Except for the Sarovara (pool) and the Gurdwara (temple) – they also have a kitchen there and a school and an art gallery. In all the Sikh Gurdwaras, the concept of langar is practiced, that is the term used in the Sikh religion for common kitchen/canteen where food is served to all the visitors (without distinction of background) for free. So regardless of race or religion you may eat in the langar hall. The food is prepared by gursikhs who work there and also by volunteers who like to help out. About a half million people eat there daily, and they are serving food the 24 hours. The funds of this mostly come from donations of people visiting the Gurudwhara. Lovely!
Then the sun went down and we walked along Connaguht circle and visited the market. I bought some bangles and scarves haha. People are very friendly. Tarun was going to meet up his friend later so he had time to show me around. Then he helped me to get a tuk tuk, took the licence plate of the tuk tuk, said it was only going to be 50 rupees (normally I have to pay 100 rupees for this road) and he took my number so that he could call and see that I arrived well. So sweet and gentleman. (You see mum, everyone takes care of me all the time ;)
Back at the hostel I organized my backpack and then sat in the silence room and wrote a little for the blog before going to sleep.
Next day, Monday, I ate breakfast, yummy as always, said bye to the staff, to Martin from Argentina and Eric from Malaysia, took a tuktuk to new Delhi metro station, where the airport metro line goes from. What a nice airport express metro!
The wagons have lots of seats and there are few stops, only people going to the airport. Very quickly. More expensiv though, costed 60 rupees (normal metro costs 15-20 rupes depending on how far you are traveling). Since I was flying with indigo they had their terminal and metro stop in aerocity, so I got down there and had to take a speed bus (shuttle bus) to the airport, 30 rupees. But funny thing is that even if the metro stops there on that terminal T3, the shuttle bus from the airport metro line to the actual terminal took like 20 minutes.
It was full but a man gave me his seat, guess it’s because I’m a woman. Sweet. At the airport it was crowded aswell. Didn’t have to pay for exceed luggage even though I had 3 kgs extra. The security didn’t allow any electronic items, had to take out laptop (that’s normal) but also phone, cameras, iphone cable, headphones, usb memories etc and they throw my lighter for macrame :(
Got many stamps on boarding card and on the bag that everything had been checked, and then went to the gate – but I couldn’t go in until it was less than 1 hour for departure. While waiting outside for 30 minutes there were like 4 other flights leaving for Goa. So yeah, there’s a lot of airway traffic here aswell!
Next post will be about my stay in Swan Yoga in Goa.