Wednesday, March 16, 2011

India (2010), part7: New Delhi - again

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Moloch, hello again!
There's a lot to do in Delhi to choose from. Entries are not expensive, but as in many other Asian countries, much higher for tourists than for natives. 



*Lal Qila (Red Fort) – on UNESCO heritage list (Tue-Sun from sunrise to sunset, admission 250 INR; hourly show “sound & light" in the evening – extra). If you visited the fort in Agra, you may omit the one in Delhi.

*Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque, Friday Mosque) – the largest in India, near the fort (daily 7-12.15 and 13.45-to 30 minutes before sunset, free entrance!, Um, if you want to climb up the minaret you pay 20 INR and as much as 150 INR for possibility to make photos!). If someone comes in very short shorts and tank top, he'll get a "tasteful" clothing and will be parading around the courtyard resembling not-finished Batman, dressed in color. 

Kutub Minar Complex
*Kutub Minar Complex – monument inscribed on the UNESCO list, includes Kuwwat Ul Islam – the oldest mosque in India and the ruins of Lal Kot – Delhi's oldest city (daily from sunrise to sunset, admission 250 INR). Note: access is terrible, first by metro to Kutub Minar station, then on foot along a very busy road for half an hour; nightmare! You can also take a tuk-tuk. Why don't they provide a good connection? Well, the people in Delhi need to earn money somehow. And apart from that, some tourists come here by coach. The reward for our toil is a chance to see the film crew at work, they're doing a movie about some rebellion. 

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Chandni Chowk – the main street of Old Delhi (old town, which is Muslim in character), where there are: Digambara temple – the oldest Jain temple and the Jain Bird Hospital. Apparently interesting, I don't know, we didn't enter. 


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Sisganj Gurudvara – Sikh temple, we didn't enter because we've seen similar one in Gwalior. 


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Jantar Mantar – astronomical observatory, near Connaught Place (daily 10-18; admission 100 INR, not worth it). I wonder why the guidebooks describe it as "huge". 


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Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah – tomb of the fourteenth-century Sufi holy man, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. In theory free of charge, but they expect donation. 


*Humayun's Tomb – tomb of Mughal emperor, Humayun, from the sixteenth century, on the UNESCO list, situated at the intersection of Lodi Rd and Mathura Rd (daily from sunrise to sunset, admission 250 INR). 

India Gate
*Gate of India – monument commemorating Indian soldiers who died in World War I and in Afghanistan. Free attraction, around which there is a great meadow, a perfect place for a picnic. Adjoining Rajpath boulevard (Royal Road) leads to Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace). It's closed to the public, but it's worth to mention that this is the largest residence of the head of state in the world (well, poor India...). 

*National Museum of India (Tue-Sun 10-17, admission 300 INR, additional 300 INR for a camera). In a brochure they describe it as a collection of works of art, so we give it a rest. 

*National Railway Museum (Tue-Sun 9.30-19.30; entry 10 INR), located near the presidential building; when we finally find a way, extremely rude monkeys run out in front of us. About face! 

*Lakshmi Narajan Mandir (Lakshmi temple, also known as Birla Temple), near Connaught Place, very beautiful, but for our taste a little kitschy. It's a pity you can't take pictures inside.

*Swaminarayan Akshardham – the temple complex built decades ago by a very rich Hindu. So what if it's not historic? But how beautiful! Unfortunately, you can't take pictures here as well. 

Lakshmi Temple
Inevitably the end of the holiday is approaching. Time to go shopping. We run to the markets every day. They have really cool clothes here. And they're cheap for our pockets. That they split at the stitches in a month? For this price? Several month passed, and I'm still wearing them. They have cool pants, blouses, shirts. Lots of styles and colors. Not wonder, over one billion people, that's a crowd to produce things for.
Almost on every corner there's a bookstore or a stall with books.
They have literally everything. It's worse with CDs. For locals they're expensive (200-400 rupees, or 15-30 PLN), so the choice isn't too large. But the selection of films on DVD – is huge. If anyone wants to save money, you may find much cheaper fakes, but what for?, the originals are so cheap for our pockets. I bought nearly all the Indian releases on my favorite Madonna. One cost me an average of 22 in PLN. I also managed to buy Ricky Martin's album on CD for 18 PLN and DVD with the film "My Name Is Khan" for 25 PLN.

Saturday, 6 November, has come, and with it our last supper. We start to...
recall what we've seen here and we plan our next vacation. But now, quickly to bed, we have to be at the airport at four in the morning. We go through several checks. Stamps, a gate, one more, and finally a lady looks into our little backpacks which we're taking with ourselves to the plane. All in all, we met 16 people during the check-out. Maybe this is a good way to reduce unemployment?
Airplane on time.
A little sleep, some reading, a coffee, a lunch. And again this nightmare: the airport in Moscow. This time we are able to – well, after the third attempt – exchange some money in the machine. We can eat and drink something. But these prices! If someone tells you that Moscow is expensive, they lie. Moscow is incredibly expensive.
Finally we're on the plane. We land i
n Warsaw a few minutes after 18. Hello, reality. We'll have to wait a year for a next vacation.


Necessary expenses: 


Everything depends on your budget and whether you really want to look for cheaper options. 

Riding a rickshaw through the streets of Old Delhi is an unforgettable experience
Hotel: we preferred to pay more but stay in clean room, with its own bathroom, we paid about 1,000 rupees in Delhi and Mumbai, about 600 INR in Gwalior, about 600 in Palolem.
Food: breakfast can be enjoyed for 40 rupees, as well as for 400; dinner - once I spent 80 rupees, another time 250, and in a more elegant place (whole meal + water, coffee and beer) – 400 INR.
A bottle of mineral water in the store costs 10-15 rupees, Fanta, etc. 25-30; coffee in the cafe or restaurant from 15 to 80.
Transport: It's hard to write about the prices of rickshaw and tuk-tuk because it depends on the city, the route and whether there are traffic jams, and of course on a factor called "cheating”. Short distances in Delhi, for example, from Paharganj to Connaught Place, should cost 30-40 rupees. Ticket prices and admission to tourist attractions are including in the descriptions. 

Read also:
India (2010), part1: New Delhi
India (2010), part2: Agra
India (2010), part3: Gwalior
India (2010), part4: Orcha
India (2010), part5: Goa
India (2010), part6: Mumbai

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