When I had only 60 hours to spend in the nation’s capital
This was a part of the trip we made to Uttarakhand-Delhi in June 2015. It was a family trip consisting of seven members. I strongly insisted on adding the nation’s capital in our itinerary even though many members have already been there. After continuing requests, the proposal got accepted but only 3 days were kept for Delhi. It was a long wait that finally came ended when the Dehradum-New Delhi Janshatabdi Express reached The New Delhi Station.
Upon reaching the Station, one would find ample of people trying to offer you cab rides and even willing to take you to a hotel. Beware of such people and their traps. Try to be very cautious in this station with your belongings.
We pre-booked Hotel Maanvi from Kolkata itself. I used my phone GPS to find out the actual distance of the hotel from the station. It found it to be close and it was indeed. We opted for three autos to reach our hotel located at Arakashan Road, Pahargunj in the road just opposite to the station. In this regard, I would like to let you know that try to hire autos by fixing the fare before the ride. Because in most cases, they cheat the travellers by taking longer routes purposely to charge a higher fare in the meter. We were previously told about this and we followed the same advice throughout.
Once we reached the hotel, we sat in the waiting space and after the formalities were done we finally reached our room. All the rooms were in the 3rd Floor but since the Elevator service was open throughout, that was never a problem. The rooms were clean, bathrooms were well furnished. The room had wooden wardrobes, AC, LED TV, Dressing Table and a Tea table apart from the bed. It was about 1 PM then.
We cleaned ourselves and were very hungry by then. We found a Bengali restaurant nearby. We had our lunch there but it was just enough to quench the hunger and nothing more than that. Returning Hotel, we took a nap.
It was about 4.30 PM when we woke up and set out to explore few parts of the city. I again insisted on going to the India Gate as I knew previously that the place looks awesome just after the sunset. A member in our group proposed another brilliant idea of taking the famous Delhi Metro to reach the destination. Taking some guide from the hotel manager, we booked autos to reach the Rajiv Chowk Station. The Rajiv Chowk is the heart of the city which houses the famous Connaught Place. Rajiv Chowk Metro Station is again a junction from where two metro lines bifurcate. We took the metro to reach the Central Secretariat Metro station from where the India Gate is close by. Coming out of the metro station, you will find the famous buildings like All India Radio Bhawan, The Parliament House, RashtrapatiBhawan a few distance on your right. On your felt you will find the famous Janpath that actually leads you to the India Gate. It’s the same road through which the army patrol on days like Republic day, Independence Day. We walked through to the India Gate. India Gate is also a common place for the local residents to spend their afternoon and evenings. You can easily spot a bunch of local residents here and there with their friends or families. Once we reached to the India Gate it was about 6.30 PM. The sun was almost set. The lights were on and the monument provided great picturesque. Selfies and Photographs were common.
Since we had very short time to spend at the Capital, we thought of going for a quick visit to the local markets. We took an auto and reached the famous Karol Bagh Market. This is a famous market of not only Delhi but also the Country. The place possesses ample of branded shops but the streets were over populated by hawkers. Majority of the hawkers were moving here and there. You will find every item you need here in this market in two forms- One in the branded showrooms and a replica of the same at very low price in the streets. If you are interested in the street shopping you will get a pair of Woodland Shoes, a belt and a wallet within Rs 800. You will even find maps, power banks, cell phones here. On returning we thought of having the famous food of Delhi- CholeBature. Thanks to Zomato for helping us to find the best food joint for this dish- Sita Ram Diwan Chand. They were delicious and were enough for a dinner.
The Hotel Manager arranged the car for the trips we planned on the next two days.
It was 6.30 AM next day when we started for the local Delhi trip. We were offered AC Suzuki EECO. We reached our first destination the Birla Temple by 7 AM. The Delhi roads are well built with proper traffic management and instructions for driving. Majority of the cars are AC cars. Buses are of two colours-Green and Red. One is AC and the other is Non-AC. Such a nicely planned city Delhi is. Next we reached Indira Gandhi’s House located on the Safdargunj Road. It was June but luckily the day’s weather was very pleasant. We passed the Safdargunj Airport, crossed the AIIMS flyover and reached the famous QutubMinar, Iron Pillar, Lodhi Garden.
Next we reached the Lotus temple which can be well compared to the famous Sydney House of Australia. The architecture is brilliant. Next we reached the Rajghat. The Amar Jyoti-the fire that glows day and night in memory of the Mahatma Gandhi’s last breath. The same compound also houses the places where famous persons like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated. There is food court just opposite to the Rajghat complex.
We had our lunch there and finally set in for the much awaited Red Fort. While travelling we passed through the famous RashtrapatiBhawan, Parliamentary house, the embassies of different countries and the famous cricket stadium, The Feroz Shah Kotla. We knew that this would take the maximum time and hence kept it at the end. Just before entering the Red Fort, We visited the famous Jama Masjid just opposite to the Red Fort. It took almost 30 mins to enter the Red Fort as there was a long queue. It’s a very big place. The famous “Darbaar” of Shah Jahan was the main point of attraction. There is also a sort of museum in the 1st floor that houses various weapons and arms used by the Mughals. Keep about 2 hours in hand if you want to properly see this place.
It was about 6.30 PM when the car finally dropped us at our Hotel. We had some local evening snacks and again set out. This time our target was none but the Connaught Place. We walked through Connaught circle. The place is just awesome. Identical buildings of white colour are placed in blocks one after other. We did a bit of shopping. We had some burgers and sandwiches from Embassy-it’s a famous confectioner in Delhi. We had our dinner at KFC located in the A block of the Connaught Circle. It was finally time to take rest after the day’s hurdle.
It was 5.30 AM next day, The Hotel manager called up to inform the car has already arrived. It was Toyota Innova, the best one can have for a highway. Now let me brief you a bit about the day’s plan. We were in Delhi and how could we think of missing the famous TajMahal-one of the Seven Wonders of the World. But Agra is quite distant from Delhi. And we had no provision to stay at Agra since we had to take the New Delhi-Howrah Duronta Express the next morning. Still we took the risk. We tried to execute the Same Day Agra tour for this. The Hotel Manager informed us to take the Yamuna Expressway which would shorten the travelling time a lot. But we had to pay 600 more as a part of the toll tax. I have heard of Yamuna expressway before but had no idea how great a road can be. Well we crossed Delhi and entered Noida. Universities, Corporate offices, Residential complexes were easily spotted. We crossed the famous Akshadham Temple. We saw the famous Buddh International Formula 1 circuit. And soon we approached the Greater Noida. The Greater Noida leads to the famous Yamuna Expressway. Yes, the same road everyone heard at the Bollywood Blockbuster, PIKU and the same road they took to travel to Kolkata from Delhi. It’s undoubtedly the best highway I have ever travelled. The road is so well built. There are altogether 8 lanes hosuing 4 on each side. The lanes bifurcate according to their speeds. The leftmost lane is kept for rest. Proper guidelines and driving instructions can be spotted easily everywhere. There are passenger amenities every 20 KM. The passenger amenities complex houses a clean and tidy toilet, a large canteen with both indoor and outdoor seating rooms and a driver’s rest room. We had our breakfast in one of those complexes. The Yamuna Expressway is 165 KM long which starts from Greater Noida and ends at Agra. Our car was moving at a speed of 110 KMPH constantly. We found other cars passing us at much higher speeds. Luxury cars like Mercedes, Audi, BMW can be spotted frequently. There are 3-4 toll plazas. Since we took this route, we thought of going to Vrindavan and Mathura too. At about 8.30 AM we reached Vrindavan. We saw the Lord Krishna temple and the surroundings. We again took the highway to reach Mathura. We saw Lord Krishna’s birthplace. We had some sweets from Mathura. They are really delicious. And now we finally entered Agra. We thought of going to the Agra Fort first. At about 1 PM reached Agra Fort. It took almost 1.5 hour to see the fort.
Next we had our lunch before moving to the famous TAJ. Since there are restrictions with diesel cars around Taj surroundings, we had to leave our car. We took one auto from the place to reach TajMahal’s South Gate. Remember; do not ever carry any electronic gadgets to the TajMahal except mobile phones. And finally the lifelong dream came true. The TajMahal was in front of my eyes. I was surprised to see the architecture. One will always respect the efforts and knowledge used in building this.
Finally we marched towards the main mausoleum. One is not allowed to wear shoes while getting inside. For this, either you need to move barefoot or else you will find shoe covers.
You need to tie them up before moving. And I could finally feel the Taj. It’s marbles, its windows, its designs. We sat on taj’s lap for about 30 mins. Enough photos were taken. And it was finally sunset when we left the place, only with a promise to come again soon. It was again the Yamuna Expressway that led us to our hotel.
The road was brilliantly lit up in the evening. The road left me with a life goal of me driving my own car throughout the same road. It was about 10 PM when we reached our hotel. We had some light dinner. The next morning Duronto express was waiting for us at the New Delhi station to take us back to our origin-Kolkata.