Trip Start Sep 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
Deepak Hotel
What I did
Sikh Temple

Flag of India  ,
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

  8am we catch a bus to Old Delhi without incident.  This morning we are on a walking tour, our 1st visit is to a very big Moslem mosque. Occupying the perimeters around the complex are the pavement dwellers. In the day time they all become street vendors using their banana loungers to display their wares, and at night these temporary shop counters become their beds. DJ tells me that in the past on the days of worship the king, astride his very bejewelled elephant, would lead the royal procession to the mosque to attend prayers. It must have been a grand scene with all the beautiful fountains and gardens leading up to the mosque. Sadly, this is all gone. You can still see where the fountains were, but the gardens have become a shanty town for the poor. From the towers of the mosque you get sweeping views of the whole of Delhi - believe me it goes on for miles.
 .Next stop is a visit to a street vendor.  DJ assures us that these are the best samosas in Delhi and I don't disagree - in fact they are the best samosas I have ever tasted.  Fred, of course, went overboard with the hot chilli dressing. I hope we don't pay for his folly on the 18hr train journey tonight! 
 We then visit a Sikh temple . It is the home of the Gurdwara Sikhs.  This faction of the Sikhs was formed many years ago because they disagreed with some of the Sikh beliefs, eg: that a woman had to burn herself on her husbands funeral pyre.  My understanding is that they have taken the better things from other religions and formed the Gudwara Sikhs. The holy ones who travel around from temple to temple all over India are most splendidly dressed with purple turbans, purple tunics, big sabres by their side and magnificent beards and moustaches. They are very regal. We arrived at prayer time, the music was really good - I'd buy their CD.  The belief of the Sikhs is to feed those who need it and provide shelter to a traveller. The kitchen is run by volunteers and I have never seen such big cooking pots, they are enormous. There were also several women sitting crossed legged on the floor making roti and nan bread by the basket load.  They can feed up to 1000 people at a sitting!  The Sikhs believe that all the good you do in this life will ensure a better life in the next. Giving money doesn't count, you have to give yourself.  I really liked the Gurdwara Sikhs.
 We caught the Metro back to our hotel. This was built for the Commonwealth games and it's fast and efficient.  Woman travel in the 1st compartment, men in the rest. This is so that at very busy times their is no body contact with the opposite sex.  When we disembarked at Karol Bargh, we were literally carried along by a sea of people, it was a body crush!  Back at Hotel Perfect we collect our belongings and head off to the railway station.
 At 4.45pm we caught the overnight train to Jaisalmer. This experience was worth it's weight in gold.  After fighting your way down the aisle to your allotted compartment, the next thing you do is to chain your big bag under the seats and then use your smaller bag with all your valuables in as your pillow. The seats convert to six bunks, 3 on each side. Doris and I took on the roles of security officers, as we had the bottom bunks.  Sheets, pillows and blankets were provided. About 4 hrs into the journey a load of men entered our carriage. They were, in fact, army guys which we had guessed correctly as they all had the same backpacks. This is no exaggeration, but for the next 2hrs they kept filing pass, ripping open our curtains and checking the numbers of our compartments and every one elses.  Further into the night more got on and so we had the same thing all over again.  It was loud, it was noisy, but most of all it was entertaining.  I'm going to let Doris tell you more about the train journey.  Personally, I wouldn't put a lot of trust in the Indian army to perform secret covert missions - shit they couldn't even find their seats on a train!
 .Poo Story No 1.  At about 4.30am I had a few tummy rumbles.  I gave it 10 mins then decided I'd better visit the toilet.  I had to wake Doris, who wasn't very happy with me, she claimed she had only just got to sleep and now I've woken her up.  I made my apologies to her, then asked for the toilet paper that she had tucked away in her bag.  I told her not to go to sleep, but to stay alert - the security of our belongings depended on her!   When I got back, she decided that seeing as she was awake she might as well go to the toilet.  Doris had only been gone 2 minutes when the train stopped at the next station.  The upshot of this is that Doris has made her mark in India and left a little deposit on track 1 platform 1 at a railway station somewhere between Delhi and Jaisalmer.  Good effort Doris. 
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Alan Titchmarsh on

Hello intrepid travellers! As Doris has abandoned her responsibilitiesfor the garden, I have assumed the role of Alan Titchmarsh for the duration of your trip! No hurry but just a couple of questions; has Fred brought his cricket bat? Where's Doris hid the slug pellets? Having seen your photos I'll never again complain about overcrowding on the 08.40 Chesterfield to St Pancras train. ATxx

LOB on

My favourites, osmosis and naan bread. No hanky pinky on their Metro.

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