Delhi, certainly not the city of dreams, is, however, the capital of India. I recently got a chance to visit this alluring place – this is my opinion now – thanks to my dad’s constant hammering for a family trip. Delhi had some magnificent artistry to offer. Firstly, the most convenient way to reach Delhi, of course, after aerial transport, should be, incontrovertibly, the Rajdhani Express. Its fast, moderately expensive, and offers not so culinary delights.
Unlike Mumbai, Delhi’s traffic is, again, not so stuffy may be because it is well-attended or worse I’m deceived since I visited it during a weekend. But, it’s definitely bearable. Roads are wide and you’ve got Delhi Metro at your service for distant places – clean, cheap, and efficient. However, don’t be astonished if you see some roads blocked since Delhi has too many VIP’s who think that a five or ten minutes gained in their transport is worth wasting time of hundreds of other civilians [In Sarcasm]. So, while they pass, roads are blocked. A caveat: Don’t buy anything from road vendors. Nothing! They are there simply to rob you off. Here’s what one of my elder kin said “You go to repair the puncture in your left tyre and you end up finding your right tyre replaced or worst, missing”. You may, therefore, avoid overrated Chandni Chowk unless you really want to see the clumsy houses and crooked streets let alone getting robbed and people selling items at the top of their lungs. Anyways, enough with caveats. 😀
The places to visit, in priority, should be –
- Akshardham Mandir
- Taj Mahal (If you ready for a nearly 100km road trip to Agra)
- Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum
- Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate
- Lotus Temple
- All the Ghats, Bhumi and Sthals (Memorial for great Indian people)
- Red Fort
- Qutub Minar
We took a one day Delhi city tour which covered all the things from Museum to Qutub Minar. Let me start explaining in reverse order. Architecturally speaking, Qutub Minar ought to be good since it is still standing after nearly a millennia but since we’re not allowed inside don’t waste your money buying tickets. Red-Fort, well, it is beautiful from outside so can be seen from your car. Visit one of the Ghats, perhaps, Raj Ghat – it is made in the memory of the Father of India. These are spectacular gardens packed with myriad colors of a variety of flowers. An architecture by L&T, the Lotus Temple, has some stupendous curves and it may remind you of Opera House in Sydney. It’s a spiritual temple meant to seek inner peace; however, it is as silent as library and the queue to enter is as long as a metro train. A road view of parliament, and India Gate may not hurt you and people like me, who are interested in knowing about Indira Gandhi, should definitely visit her museum. They have diligently preserved her precious things. One of them was a prehistoric IBM typewriter. I just wonder how expensive it must have been sixty years ago.
I’ve already been to Taj, one of the deserved seven wonders and a symbol of love and heaven on Earth, so I didn’t go there. But it lies on bank of Yamuna river and is the second best architectural piece India has to offer, according to me. I think the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple at Delhi lies at first place. Let me give some quick facts about it –
- It’s the hard work of 300 million man hours.
- It took 32 years to acquire the 100 acres of land due to litigative issues. Ironically, the impeccable construction was finished in 5 years even after following the nitty-gritty of the science of Vastu Shastra.
- Most of the temple construction was voluntary i.e it was service given by Swaminarayan folks. They had around 11,000 volunteers who gave monetary, physical and intellectual service.
- You can get a pizza plus sandwich just for 100 bucks. Hard to find one! 😀
- Unlike traditional temples, it has an indoor boat ride depicting 10,000 years of Indian History in around 10 minutes. (It was good revision of your high school social studies)
- The musical fountain show may remind of the coveted Bellagio Fountains, Vegas. However, these fountains are a bit more meaningful since they depict a story.
- Finally, the temple has free entry. 😀
After seeing this temple, I realized that India is not all about temples. In fact, it is the speciality of Indian culture to design intricate domes, ornate spires, and carve animal expressions on rock. I believe that it is unique to us.
Temple view from the Premvati food court.
To sum up, you should go to Delhi because Akshardham Temple resides there where as you should visit those other places since you’re already in Delhi. Such is the magnificence of this place no wonder it won multiple prizes in the guinness book of world records.
P.S – Don’t forget to take a guide with you in the temple or you may loose its essence.