Qutub Minar

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Qutub_Minar_Complex (15)

It stands nearly 238 feet tall and standing at the base I always wonder how Delhi would look. This 8 centuries old structure has patiently seen face of Delhi changing, even though the minaret itself has experienced quite a few tribulations over it’s history.

It was built in year 1192 by ruler Qutab-ud-din Aibak it takes 372 steps to to reach it’s top. Over course of history Qutub Minar has been hit by lightning a few times but the damages were repaired by subsequent kings Firoz Shah Tughluq and Sikander Lodi. Qutub Minar has been carved out of red sandstone & marble and verses from holy Quran have been inscribed on the building.

It is said that the grounds of the complex, were homes for about 27 Hindu & Jain temples which were destroyed by muslim invaders. The riches of these temples were looted and buildings were destroyed so that the rubbles can be used for construction of Islamic monuments like mosques.

The Tragedy : Till December 1981 the gates of Qutub Minar were open for public till a stampede inside the premises caused death of 45, many of the deceased were children. The stampede was caused as the public inside the minar got panic struck by darkness in passageway owing to electricity failure.

The complex gives a very relaxing feeling with a view of lush green open gardens and historical structures impending over visitors. One can enjoy the complexity of Mugal Architecture as well as magnificence of Hindu-Jain temple sculpting.

Walking in shadow of Qutub Minar and then through ruins of old palaces & mosques fills you with so many emotions that this place nearly grips you and compels you not to leave. With the picturesque view & breathtaking buildings, this place will leave your legs tired but your heart hungry for more delight.

No Doubt this is among the top destinations for tourists visiting Delhi.

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ABOVE : IMPORTANT MONUMENTS & LANDMARKS IN QUTUB MINAR COMPLEX

The Enrapture At Bangla Sahib

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Personally I have always admired Sikh community not only because of the chivalry in their history but because of their approach toward religion as well. I have always known their Gurudwaras (house of worship) to extend a helping hand to the community and treat people humanly irrespective of their social standing or dress up or income or religion. This to me reflects what an ideal religion needs to be!

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Bangla Sahib Gurudwara has always been a talk among my friends and has always been popular as a destination to disengage from complications. So let me take you along in what it is like being there.

Situated on Ashoka Road (walking distance from Connaught Place), this Gurudwara is devoted to the earth Sikh guru – Guru Harkrishan Ji. Built out of marble and with golden dome, it has a stunning architecture which homes a Holy Sarovar (holy water pond), library, museum, school and a kitchen.

It was 6:00 AM when I drove into the Gurudwara complex, while getting into the basement parking a attendant handed me a parking slip. I asked “How much for parking?” and I was advised that it is free. It is not permitted to wear shoes inside the Gurudwara premises so you can get your shoes deposited at the shoe locker, running water has been arranged to wash your feet before you take a step inside Gurudwara complex. Also, it is required to cover your hair while inside the Gurudwara. You can use your handkerchief or free head scarves kept in Gurudwara for this purpose.

The complex is filled with positive soothing vibes of Gurbani and other sikh recitals being conducted. Think about how liberating it would feel when you calmly sit at the holy water sarovar with your eyes closed allowing all these holy chants to touch your heart and get absorbed it. Yes it is true that you might not understand a word of it but you don’t have to be a botany expert to allow aroma of a rose to assimilate in your heart.

One of the other inspiring aspects of the Gurudwara is the kar-sewa. The real path to god is to serve humanity, so you can see kar-sewaks (volunteers) from all walks of life extending a helping hand. And then you are always welcome at the langar and have food cooked at Gurudwara’s kitchen and served by the volunteers. Trust me the food here is really delicious and you can indulge till your belly gives up.

So be it if you are alone or with group of friends or with your family, Bangla Sahib is the place where you can slip into a cocoon covered with almighty’s blessings.

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HISTORY : Banga Sahib Gurudwara is built in year 1783 on a palace of Raja Jai Singh. The bungalow of Jai Singh was converted into a Gurudwara by by Sardar Baghel Singh who was a sikh general. It is believed that eighth Sikh Guru – Guru Harkrishan Ji had stayed at this bungalow in 1664 when he has 8 years old. Then when a small pox epidemic had plagued Delhi, Guru Harkrishan Ji dipped his feet in water to make charanamrit (Holy Water) and this sacred water was then mixed in a water tank. All those who took a bath in the blessed water of the tank were cured and thus a city was saved by his blessings.

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Ladakh Buddhist Monastery

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The Monk

Delhi as we all know is one place which represents entire India and not a specific region or religion and all of us contributes something to the uniqueness of our city.

Well today I went to explore a place which is known as second home of Tibetans/ Ladakhis in Delhi – The Monastery.

It would be an undeniable fact that everyone in Delhi would have heard about or visited Monastery market at some point of their college life. I remember this market to be a Shopping Destination for shoes and T-shirts.  It always made sure that my desire of trendy & stylish things does not go beyond my pocket money.

Well, Monastery truly reflects the uniqueness of Tibetan lifestyle and you will not be missing the ethnicity of the Tibetan/Ladakhi culture at every second step you will be taking here.

Situated just a stone throw’s away distance from I.S.B.T – Kashmiri Gate, this is a frequent visiting spot for College students for crowd seeking pocket friendly shopping. Deo’s, Watches, Shoes, Clothes, Statues, Raw food items, sunglasses.. name it and you can get it here. But today I will not be talking about the market!!.

I would be talking about the core of this place. This monastery came into existence in 1963 and was with intent to provide refuge to Ladakhi’s and Tibetans. The Monastery (Vihar) was inaugurated by late Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru on 24’th Feb 1963 and along with the Inauguration a Bodhi Tree was also planted by him on the same day. Monastery also has a guesthouse attached to it.

A walk though inside the monastery takes you around various pictures of Dalai Lama and various important characters to Tibetan people. The moment you step in you will be captivated by a huge statue of Buddha and various paintings depicting the transformation of Prince Siddhartha to selfless kindhearted Buddha. Well, as expected it turned out to be a very peaceful, soothing and calm place.

The Bodhi Tree is situated at the backyard of monastery which is facing Yamuna River. My heart constantly wished that Yamuna could be pollution free, something which would have made this Monastery an absolute doorway of heaven to seek peace and oneness with almighty.

A Word Of Caution: Please ensure that you are specific while referring to Ladakhis or Tibetans here as both have different settlements. I was tossed around quite a few times as I kept on using wrong reference at wrong place. Both Ladakhi’s and Tibetan’s have different pradhans (heads) so you better know as to which door you want to knock.

Check my Facebook page for more pictures of Monastry.  http://www.facebook.com/RomancingDelhi

Baoli’s In Delhi

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Ugrasen Ki Baoli

Ugrasen Ki Baoli

There was a time when water was treated with respect, when we knew how to reach it rather than drag it to us. The era which supposedly is extremely medieval to us, yet more educated and learned.

Man was not drowned in the power granted by science but he knew how to humbly be on his knees and respectfully ask nature for his needs. Baoli’s (water reservoirs) are the legacies of those forgotten times which we carry with us but their existence gets ignored, just like scabs of some old wound. Delhi is home to several baoli’s representing man’s respect when he politely searched to quench his thirst from nature’s laps.

The first time I stepped into a premises of such a man made reservoir I was simply awestruck & mesmerized. The pain which our ancestors took searching for water, digging into the crust and the celebration of life, can be clearly seen in the architecture of these baoli’s.

It just looks majestic with stairs running down to the water source, and numerous floors of hallways & craftily constructed windows peeping at the pond. An structure dug deep yet adequately air conditioned, you can spend hours here gazing and sitting comfortable in the embrace of the structure.

To my knowledge, there are 4 baoli’s which are easily approachable :

1) Ugrasen Ki Baoli : Located on Tolstoy Road, this is at walking distance from Barakhamba road, Connaught Place.

2) Rajaon Ki Baoli : Mehrauli, walking distance from Gandhak Ki Baoli.

3) Gandhak Ki Baoli : Mehrauli, just behind Mehrauli Bus Terminal.

4) Nizzamuddin Ki Baoli : At close distance from Hazrat Nizamuddin Ki Dargah.

I shall be covering these in my future posts so stay tuned.

Meanwhile I am sure that there are a few more of these step wells which I am not aware about so please share your knowledge on the city.

Top 5 Romantic Spots In Delhi

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Hi Readers,

I woke up this morning with a view to die for, slightly clouded sky with cool breeze kissing on my forehead and green color of trees at their vibrant best. Somehow monsoon seems to bring so many emotions alive specially smoking hot romance. Growing up somehow makes us so bound & gagged in a daily struggle to keep up with a routine that we simply forget to appreciate these dramatic changes around us. But the first drops of rains always brings back the nostalgia of romance. Be it a walk while holding hands, or hiding under a tree snuggling in each other’s arms, or being in a heritage park like Lodi Garden taking refuge in one of the monuments cuddling and feeling warmth of her breath on my neck or simply driving around under the rain on a bike across the deserted roads, monsoon brings out so many sweet memories from my trunk of forgotten moments.

So here I am dedicating a post to romance in monsoon.

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5 Places To Romance Under Clouded Sky


1. Lodi Gardens

I don’t know if it has something to do with my upbringing at Lodi Colony but I have special attachment to this place. Lush green gardens with a lake, small bridge & heritage monuments perfect landscape to paint a portrait with colors of romance. The tombs have large entrances & galleries to sit and enjoy a view of rain drops pouring down.

2. Garden Of 5 Senses

I feel that Garden Of 5 senses is one of the most under promoted destinations and maybe this is what is the secret to it’s beauty. Vast gardens with plenty of places to offer seclusion, it just comes alive under an overcast sky or when it starts to rain. Best places to be at when you can’t control those love hormones.

3. Agrasen Ki Baoli

Situated at a close vicinity to jantar-mantar and walking distance from barakhamba metro station, this could be counted as a secret garden for cupid’s play. The downside being sometimes it gets too crowded with couples and also it has a lot of residential settlements around it. Best for spending those calm moments of togetherness.

4. Delhi Haat

Just opposite to INA metro station this one is one of the most bubbling places so enjoy a cloudy afternoon. With cool breeze killing the summer effect, take your loved one to the lanes enriched with handicrafts item, get a tattoo made out of mehendi as a remembrance and follow it us with food from your favorite part of India. One of the most ideal dating points to spurge some cash & spend some quality handful of hours. An entry ticket ensures that the right kind of gentry surrounds you.

5. Chandni Chowk

I know this is stark but for someone like me to whom romance is more about togetherness and walks while holding hands, I would vote chandni chowk as the place to be at. Board a rickshaw and drive past the narrow lanes to discover paranthe wali gali, go for delicacies made of desi ghee in traditional way, have jalebies in hot milk/rabri/curd or feast on chat & golgappe. Well, as far as love is concerned, it knows another language which eyes speak, so try devoting some time knowing each other as well. The downside being no privacy.

10 Fun Facts About Delhites

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# Fact 1 : Majority of us do not know about driving etiquettes and the minority which knows about it does not believe in following it.

# Fact 2 : Cutting Tea (a cup divided into two). It is not about how fat your wallet is, when at a tea stall then you always bond with friends by asking “Ek bata Do”.

# Fact 3 : You can pee in public however it is kissing which is prohibited.

# Fact 4 : We do not need a neighbourhood watch group, our neighbors are watchful enough and better broadcasters than BBC.

# Fact 5 : We have a lot of respect for traffic cops so we call them mamu and if they catch you breaking rules then they are always courteous enough to return the favour (if you know what I mean ).

# Fact 6 : When we drive we are egoistic enough not to ask for directions and when someone asks for directions then we are egoistic enough to admit we don’t know the destination. So we will always tell you where to go despite ourself not knowing where it leads to.

# Fact 7 : For women, no shopping experience is complete without a bargain. So be it discount on gold jewellery or coming back with prized free hara dhaniya and hari mirch with vegetable they always bag something EXTRA.

# Fact 8 : The historical monuments are beautiful and any lovebirds visiting them ensures marking their entry on it’s wall.

# Fact 9 : Social stature is more about jugaads than anything else. We have a strong belief on “Why to use your resource when you have a backup jugaad (connection). So a cricket match, concert, admission in school, even movie tickets – jugaad hai na bhai!.

# Fact 10 : Punjabi language has strong roots in our daily dialect, maa ki ****, bhen ki ### are most commonly used.

Lodi Gardens

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Shish Gumbad (front) & Bada Gumbad Mosque

Shish Gumbad (front) & Bada Gumbad Mosque

Lodi Gardens are a majestic sets of tombs spread across over 90 acres at heart of the city. Estimated to be from 14’th – 15’th century, today this park is equally popular among health enthusiasts and love birds. The Gardens offer nice lush green cover and are home to nearly a dozen species of birds and half a dozen species of butterfly.

You can also explore 4 heritage tombs, all of which have been declared protected monuments of national importance :
1. Tomb Of Sikandar Lodhi
2. Bada Gumbad Mosque
3. Shish Gumbad
4. Mohammed Shah Sayyid’s Tomb

Apart from above monuments you can also visit a glass house, a small mosque and a turret. Lodi garden dawns a herbal garden, rose garden and botanical garden as well.

You also have a beautiful lake occupied by fish and geese. This gives visitor’s a perfect spot to relax and get away from harsh city life (yeah I know you are in heart of Delhi). However if you have kids with you then take extra precautions while around geese as sometimes they tend to attack kids. Further it has been reported that kids have consumed geese droppings on a few occasions as well (Geese droppings reportedly has dangerous e-coli virus).

During mornings and evenings the open spaces are occupied for meditation & exercises. The moment you set your foot inside the gardens you will be greeted by chirps of birds and soft croons of wind blowing through the bamboo trees. With each step you walk and get deeper inside the garden premises, you will realize that the farther you have drifted away from unsettling city. This my friend is a true paradise for nature lovers. Personally I find Lodi Gardens as a perfect family picnic spot as long as you do not wish to play HIDE & SEEK.

Except for the lake, I would say that these gardens are well maintained and are a real treat to rejuvenate your senses. So go, take off your shoes and take a stroll.

I sure hope that you make your escape to Lodi gardens this weekend (and hey PARKING IS FREE!)