Friday, May 28, 2010

India | Places I've Been in Delhi

5 days to spend before our internship required us to travel out of Delhi; we wasted no time and toured the sites on my very first day.

Baha’i House of Worship (Lotus Temple), Bahapur
Beautiful, beautiful temple shaped like a lotus flower (India’s national flower). Adding awe to its physical beauty was the philosophy behind it. The Baha’i house of worship knows no caste, gender or race. The inside was very simple and solemn. There were no statues of gods or anything to symbolize a one god. It teaches that the essence of all the Messengers of God (of all religions) is one and the same. I think that if there’d be one religion that most represents equality and justice for all, as well as believing in the most pure and holy in every human being, it would be Baha’I (along with Sikhism). Below the temple, you find all the basic information about Baha’i. A more historical background is provided at the museum found just across the structure. 

Iskon Temple
Found just behind the Baha’i Lotus temple, this Iskon Temple is for the believers of Hara Krishna. Like in any other temple in India, we were required to take off our shoes. We walked around, took pictures, but then couldn’t go inside the actual worship place because of a cleaning schedule. We just ended up eating at Govinda’s snacks place found inside where we tried our first Indian snacks. I wasn’t brave enough yet, and I also wasn’t hungry so I passed the chance to eat Somosa, bread and pastries. They said the food was quite spicy, but good! The desserts were made by a Russian whom Tamara befriended and went with for the remainder of the day, brave woman! 
Central Market, Lajpat Nagar
I finally got to change my money at Western Union found just a few blocks from KFC. I went with America and Yi Ni, and the things sold here were awesome and pretty cheap! Indians do charge foreigners a lot more though. We knew that and so it was a haggling game for us. I ended up just window shopping, taking note of what I wanted to buy. It was too early for me. I didn’t want to travel around carrying so much so early in my stay in India. I still have quite a number of months to go!   

Connaught Place
The center of Delhi comparable to Manila’s Makati. We met Deepansha, VP ICX of AIESEC Delhi, and Ashutosh, my EP manager at McDonald’s. (most of their meals are Vegs!) It was really good to finally meet them in person! We waited a while which is a typical thing to do in India. There is what you call “Indian time.” People are always never on time. More than “Filipino time,” people can wait for hours and it applies to all Indians, work schedules and public transportation. 
They brought us to an Indian food court where we tried Rasgulla , an Indian dessert of milk ball with syrup. It was very good. They briefed us on the following days – what to expect from our TN, when to leave for Lucknow, etc. Afterwards, we met up with Bobby whom I had just met at the Intern party the night before. Shady, I know. But we were a lot anyway. Deepansha had her reservations letting him take us around, but we did, and later found out that Bobby's a really good guy who's just very friendly.

Bangla Singh Temple
Bobby’s temple. He took us here first as he promised me at the party. All of us 6 interns squished to fit in his tiny car that was booming with loud Indian Hiphop music! 
The temple itself is very beautiful. And clean. Too bad it was under construction at the time we visited (as you can see.) But still, it was one of the nicest temples I've seen in Delhi. Inside, live music worshippers accompany the quiet praying of Sikhs. Upon exit, everyone - rich or poor - are given the same ration of a kind of oats and butter mixture to eat. On the side, there's a pool where people go to wash off their sins and diseases. People  are not allowed to swim leisurely, of course. We stayed there longest just taking in the unique environment we were in. 

(Hindu) Laxmi Naryan Temple
Beautiful on the outside. A lot of Hindi temples have gardens and this one had great ones good enough for a picnic. Personally, I think that Hindi temples look the same in the inside, and it's not something non-Hindus would spend a lot of time seeing. It is, after all, not an attraction but a place of worship. 

India Gate 
It was too late when we got there. Lights were turned off and so we couldn't take decent pictures, or appreciate the beauty of the structure comparable to the Arc de Triomphe of Paris. Much like the latter, the India Gate is a war memorial, and considered a national monument. I'd like to re-visit this one during the day when i get back to Delhi.
National Zoological Park 
Bobby's idea and honestly nothing new for me. There was nothing special about this place except for the fact that it was a good place for walking and bonding with friends. Great place to bring kids.

Morrison CafĂ©   
We went for a birthday party of 2 of the Delhi interns. I thought it was just a simple cafe or restaurant but it turned out to be a bar and club. Shit. I didn't change my cloths from the zoo for that night. Ew. I was also in slippers, and being a short Asian, everyone towered over me. The place was packed with foreigners, and so all drinks were expensive. I got a bottle of Corona, and it cost 200 Rs. (200 Php). It was good though. The dancing was fun and I was having a good time, until the party was shut down at 12noon. Or was it 1am? They were closing. Too bad. We then went to another club (or what westerners call a disco) in a nearby hotel. There were more locals there but the music was just so-so. 

Nehru Place
My laptop got corrupted on my 2nd night in Delhi. I went to Nehru Place, which is like the Sim Lim of Singapore – the computer hub of Delhi. My laptop was reformatted so all my files, programs, etc. were erased, and I eventually got it back in time for our bus ride to Lucknow. Everything, including the installation of the operating system cost 850 Rupees. They missed out installing my wireless driver pa! That was another rough patch. For the whole service, it was pricy, but I was desperate! I should have just asked the guys back at the intern house for help – Jean or Pasha. I had no idea they know how. I found out later on that I could’ve saved my time and money with their help. Oh well. I learned my lesson in Lucknow and had Pasha fix the rest for me. Thank god for Pasha! The new problem that I then had was when I finally got my laptop fully functioning, internet was very, very hard to get by. Talagang malas. Hahaha 
Lal Qila (the Red Fort)
This was one of my favorite places we visited in Delhi. We paid 250 Rs. to enter while locals were only charged 10 Rs. Bummer. Oh, but it was well worth it! It was a residence built for a Mughal emperor back in the 17th century. You can spend a whole afternoon there shopping, lying on the many lush fields, or taking pictures of the majestic structures that are very well preserved. The Lal Qila is considered a UNESCO world heritage site.  

Karim's Restaurant
Serving non-vegetarian food since 1913. Ohhhh la la, the food was great! Or maybe I enjoyed it so much because it was my first non-veg meal in 1 week. Munjal, a trainee from Boston, brought us here for a going-away lunch (thanks, Munj!). It's supposed to be a well known restaurant having been praised by TIME magazine and other media giants. I enjoyed it a lot! I loved their butter chicken. I wouldn't mind eating here once more if ever I do get the chance.

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