Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Visit to Delhi - Day one

It was a long-awaited trip, though never was on the radar for planning. The visit to the capital city of India as well as to visit one of the 7 wonders of the world, The Taj Mahal.
After having it postponed many times, we finally, decided on a date and booked the tickets to Delhi.
I will not go much into the planning, instead will tell what we did and what should be ideally done, if you are planning a trip to Delhi.

We planned for 4 nights, 5 days trip. We started early Saturday morning from Bangalore. Landed around 10 am at the Delhi Airport. We had booked a hotel in Karol Bagh, mostly by looking at the feedback given by various travelers on tripadvisor.in.  We booked two rooms in the Hotel Metro View, and they gave two rooms facing each other, so quite convenient. The hotel was nice as a whole, except for a few minor issues. But the price and the location quite made up for it. I must say, its quite worth from cost as well as cleanliness.
It was less than a 2-minute walk from the Karol Bagh shopping area and 5 min walking distance from the Metro station.

The high-level plan for the 4 days was -
Saturday - Land in Delhi by 10 am. Leave by 1 pm for sightseeing a few places
Sunday - Trip to Agra - Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri
Monday - All monuments are closed, so rest day and some shopping
Tuesday - See remaining must-see monuments
Wednesday - Return

We had planned to go sightseeing the same afternoon in Delhi. We had booked the car from ziptrips.in/. Though the planning was good when we speak to the PR folks online. But it didn't give us a complete sense of satisfaction. I cannot say, they were not good, but I was not happy completely. If the question is whether you should use their service, the answer is 'you may'.  The car was good(Innova), and the driver was driving well. The issue on the first evening was on the timing and planning. Though we had planned for visiting 5 places, we could manage only 2 primarily due to time constraints. The issue in this service was in the expectation you have been set and the little timings which get delayed by various factors, like walking distance, traffic, etc.

We had planned these for the half-day-

  • Red Fort
  • Lotus Temple
  • Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • Parliament
  • India Gate
The walk to the Red fort and in the Fort is quite a lot. I think it makes a lot of sense to take the Audio Guide there, but note that the duration is 1 hour. A minimum of 2 hours is needed to see the place properly, including the walk to the ticket counter, time to buy the tickets. 

Some pictures -

Red Fort - New Delhi

All the monuments close by 5:30 or 6. So you need to finish all those before that. On Monday all the monuments are closed.

The other monument which we managed to see was the Lotus Temple. It's in a completely opposite direction from that of Red Fort and only later we realized it was a bad decision to visit it, only from the location point of view. We should have visited the places closer to Red Fort and finished them off. This is where I was expecting the expertise from the trip organizer.

The Lotus Temple is indeed a marvelous place to see from outside. It's a majestic piece of architecture and worth seeing. When we reached there at around 5 pm, there was a very long queue to enter. It was till the footpath outside for around 200 meters. I guess it was more due to the fact that it was a Saturday. The queue was fast enough and managed to reach inside within 15 min. Again a long way through the green lawns. But not a place to sit, if one is tired. After removing the footwear and entering the temple for meditation, it was a quick exit. Its a place for meditation and not really a religious place. More of a spiritual one. But the heat inside the monument, makes one come out faster than you had planned. I had a similar experience at the Pyramid Valley In Bangalore.

Some pictures of the Lotus Temple

It was almost close to 6 by the time we were out of the Lotus Temple.

The remaining places, we thought we would be able to see from the outside, even if it's late. But apparently, the Raj Path is closed after 6 and we couldn't see the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Parliament. The driver informed us that we can only see the India Gate from the outside. That's what made us disappointed. Out of the 5 places, we could see only 2 and the 3rd one which was possible, was only from outside. Only later we learned that it was possible to stop and see and the driver gave us the wrong information. That's when I say ziptrips.in was not up to the mark from what I had expected.
But we still managed to get the vehicle stopped on the side road and took some pictures of the India Gate. We were lucky to see the full moon. It was indeed a sight.

This was in short the activities on Day1. The blog for other days will be updated soon, along with a to-do list and 'what-should-have-been-a-better-way to see Delhi as per my experience.

Hope you enjoy the post and the pictures.