Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Intoxicating India 2013 - Day 1

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Intoxicating India : 9th to 16th February 2013
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Yes, India is intoxicating!
It overwhelms one with it's extreme in colors, sound and... smells too!
It is a place of contrasting sights; from the beauty of its buildings & rural Kashmir to the squeamish sights of its slums.
And contrasting sounds; from the melody of it's music & songs to the cacophony of blaring horns of it's traffic.
And contrasting scents too; from the inviting aromas of the curries to the stench of rubbish in many a places.

I was drawn to India whilst watching some interesting movies like "The 3 idiots" & "Veer-Zaara".
These movies showed me the beauty of Kashmir, the vibrancy of Indian dance and songs and exquisiteness of it's people.
So, India here I come!



In the early morning of the first day, we arrived at the KLIA to be met by our tour leader Claire of Parlo Tours, a company with a good India tour iternirary. We would be flying by MAS (Malaysian Airline Services). Our tour group would be of 20 persons, just nice for us to get to know each other.

We arrived at Idira Ghandi International Airport in New Delhi, and the first thing that caught my eyes were the toilets!
Well, more explicitly, the toilets Female & Male Signages, instead of the normal icons they had beautiful photos of a lady & a man in Indian Costumes, just like from the movies!

Soon we boarded our tour bus and left the airport and were introduced to .....

,,, the Delhi traffic jams and the almost continuous blaring of horns.
What an introduction to India!

Whisking through the traffic, we were taken for lunch at the Lazeez Affaire.
Oddly, our first meal in India was Chinese food ala India style - nothing great about this bland imitation of Chinese food, so no photos of the food here. But I gather they serve great Indian food!

What was more interesting were the sights on the streets outside, like this incense stick vendor.

And this motor rickshaw, which is a common mode of transport for the locals.

And this street scene of an Indian sweet bits shop with a tricycle transport in front.

India is densely populated and it's people are also caught up in the daily rat race, beating the traffic, rushing around making a living.
Even these puppies are not spared the hustle & bustle, greedily pushing to suckle milk.


The bus took us over to the Qutb Minar complex, near the entrance were these two old structures, wonder what they are? Tombs, shrines?
I don't know and did not ask the guide as we were in a rush, concentrating to get into the Qutb Minar Complex.

The Qutb Minar (or Qutab Minar) designated an UNESCO heritage site, is a magnificent tower built by  Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1192, almost a thousand years ago. It shoots up high at 72.5 meters, and is impressive with a base diameter of 14.3 meters tapering to 2.7 meters at the top.

Built with fluted red sandstone, its base has intricate carvings and inscriptions from the Qu'ran.
Previously the public were allowed to enter and climb up the internal stairs. But since a 1981 stampede that led to several deaths in the tower, the public has been barred from going inside - the gates are now closed.

And two mid-levels are also intricately carved corbels and more Qu'ran inscriptions. Although the main tower is made from red sandstone, the levels where these carvings are are made of marble.

Another view of the Qutb Minar, from the wall gates leading to the garden complex.

The tomb building of Imam Zamin in front of the tower.

View from the Alai Darwaza (Alai Gate).

Ruins of the Quwatul Mosque in the complex grounds.

The Iron Pillar, its origin unclear and strangely it does not rust.

(... see more of the Qutb Minar)


After being awed by the Qutb Minar, we were taken to our hotel, the Acura BMK.
My first impression of the hotel from the outside was not very good, it seems to be located in a slummish neighborhood (I found out that the neighbor hood wasn't slums but average sub-urban housing, the slums we would really view later).

We were greeted by a turbaned doorman who looked like he came out from a colonial past.

Inside, the hotel was much, much more impressive. It was formerly part of the Renaisscance chain of hotels, and the present management have maintained the 5-star standards.

Corner of the lobby lounge.

The dining room was impressive too.

We went up to our nice bedrooms to bathe and freshen up before going down for dinner.

Dinner was buffet style with a wide range of Indian food for us to select from. We had basmati rice with good, savory curries. The rice itself was wonderful, with each grain standing out individually. Northern Indian cooking although spicy is not very chili hot, a contrast to the Southern Indian curries.

We also had crispy but fluffy Naan bread that went well with the lamb curry and dhal.

After dinner, we went for a short walk nearby and met this father with his cute little daughter. Contrary to belief, the Indians love their daughters too.

शुभरात्रि - Subharatri! 

That's good night in Hindi, till tomorrow then...

Related Blogs :

 A majestic and imposing old tower built almost a millenia ago from red sandstone.

An eight day trip to India: from Delhi to scenic Kashmir, to the pink city of Jaipur, to the Taj Mahal in Agra and back to Delhi sights.

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1 comment:

  1. Yes, India is intoxicating! There are so many cultures and traditions in India. Indian foods are very delicious. There are so many types of food in India that it becomes difficult to choose from the diverse range of traditional food.

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