Those feelings you go through when youย 

  • Walk across the gardens looking at one of the wonders of the world, the gift of Shah Jahan to his beloved wife 
  • Admire the detailed inlay work of the enormous mausoleum, which took shape over several years, with the involvement of thousands of people 
  • Get amazed at the perfection and symmetry of every tiny thing and the amount of details taken into consideration 
  • Hear about the failed plans to construct a Black Taj and a silver bridge connecting the White Taj and Black Taj

Are simply indescribable.

We added a visit to Agra on our recent AmritsarDelhi trip and it just felt like going back into another era. After experiencing the beauty of Taj Mahal, we had the opportunity to look around the Agra fort. That experience, listening to the tales from our guide, watching those places in live and correlating that with all that I had read in Indu Sundaresan’s Taj Trilogy, was something I loved totally. 
The feeling of walking through 

  • The library of Shah Jahan
  • The bedrooms of Jashanara and Roshanara
  • The Angoor garden that was built to quench the alcohol thirst of Jahangir which was completely replaced later with flowering plants by Shah Jahan 
  • The place where Akbar sat to meet his audience everyday 
  • The place where the ladies sat and watched unseen by others 
  • The place which served as piggy bank of Jahanara
  • The place where Aurangzeb had imprisoned Shah Jahan and where Shah Jahan had spent his last days watching the reflection of Taj Mahal in Kohinoor diamond 

Is something that’s going to stay with me for long.
A lot more in and around Agra and Fatehpuri Sikri is on our list to be covered. Owing to time constraints, we have pushed them onto our next trip, which I wish would present us with many more wonderful experiences.

Delhi

This place to visit was on our to-do list for quite sometime, for varied reasons, because of the huge history associated with the place, because of the number of places to be seen, because of the things to be tried out. Finally, we made it happen on our recent visit to Amritsar and Wagah border
We took a bus to reach Delhi from Amritsar that traveled through the night, and thereby saved the travel time. At first, we had a tough time trying to fit in all the places that we wanted to visit in the two days that we had allotted for Delhi. And then reality dawned on us and we agreed that we would cover only so much as possible and would reserve the rest for another trip, sometime later in the future.
So here is a glimpse of what we could take in from our short stay :

Jantar Mantar


Not so crowded place, with detailed boards everywhere describing how each instrument is designed and how each one functions, makes you feel proud of how advanced we were in terms of maths and science in those times.

Ugrasen ki Baoli


That deep step well constructed by Maharaj Ugrasen, makes you recollect all those movies where you must have seen the place.

India Gate


A symbol of the bravery and patriotism exhibited by our soldiers 

Lotus temple 


Comprising 27 petals, with a huge manicured garden, this place of worship of Bahai faith, welcomes people of all religions 

Akshardham Temple 

We couldn’t take any pictures because it is fully restricted. Though the huge crowd and the big lines are a big pain , the sound and the light show that happens every day in the evening is really good 

Qutub Minar


This tall minar, and the one opposite to it, Alai Minar, which was started by the grandson of the one who constructed Qutub Minar, have to be definitively paid a visit. Alai Minar was started with the ambition of doubling the height of Qutub Minar, but ended up only in half its height.

Chandini Chowk 

I do not have pictures of this, but it’s a sheer joy, walking on those roads and filling your shopping bags without causing a big dent on your wallet 

Paranthe wali galli 


No trip to Delhi could be complete without devouring the variety of food that’s available over there. On this trip, we could just sample the paranthas of paranthe wali galli and we were blown away by the huge variety of paranthas. You have got to try them all !

We still have got a big list that’s yet to be covered in Delhi, saving it for next trip ๐Ÿ˜Š

Current love – Ron Roy

Of not me, but of A !

Ron Roy is a children’s book author and has authored A-Z mysteries. Each book in the series is named after an alphabet like Absent Author, Bald Bandit, Canary Caper etc. Each book is centred around three kids solving a mystery.

I came across these books and tried one for A. She liked it and I went for other ones in the series. Now she is practically hooked to the book once she starts and is loving the series.

Perfect read for our summer vacation ๐Ÿ˜Š

Electrifying….

Running by holding an India flag high in my hands

Towards the India-Pakistan border till the gate that separates us 

Surrounded by hundreds of people cheering loudly 

With thumping music playing in the background 

Is something which I had never imagined would happen to me

Is something which made me feel so proud of my nation 

Is some electrifying feeling that made me held my head high !

We wanted to make a visit to the Wagah border / Attari border and it materialised on our recent vacation. Wagah is part of Pakistan, attached to this border and Atari is part of India, attached to this border. The flag-lowering ceremony at this place has been taking place since 1959 and is being followed jointly by the military forces of India and Pakistan. This ceremony takes place every day in the evening before sunset and huge crowds flow in to live in the experience. Since our visit here happened here towards the end of March, it was little hot but that didn’t make the numbers less. 

We started from our hotel at Amritsar by 1:30, stopped for our lunch at the much famed Brother’s Dhaba (more on this later) on the way and were at the border by 2:30. People aren’t allowed to carry anything except water bottles, wallet and camera. After getting security checked in a pretty long line, we were seated in a big auditorium by 3:30. Sitting right under the hot sun was the only uncomfortable factor, but we subsided it by wearing caps, hats and sunglasses. People started flowing in and after a while, the music too started playing. All in all, the total atmosphere has got some energy in it. From this place, we could see Indian gate, the Pakistan gate, and the crowds assembled on the side of Pakistan. And there were people selling snacks and cool drinks, and the good thing about that is that they were all being sold at MRP. After a while, someone who is part of running the show started energising the crowd with slogans and then he was the one who gave people a chance to run around with the flag in their hands . And I duly took the opportunity ๐Ÿ˜Š
At around 5, the actual ceremony began, with our military forces performing some extraordinary parade. The military officials on both the ends open the gates, meet, shake hands and then lower the flags and then finally close the gates. All this takes around 30 minutes and it is worth watching. The whole thing was so electrifying that even A started cheering loudly , as loud as she could, and forgot all about the heat and crowd.

The panaromic view !
p.s. We didn’t know about the VIP passes, but it looked like getting those passes would get one a better seat and a better view.

Jallianwala Bagh

A place that left me with more questions than answers…

We visited this place on our recent vacation and we walked around it, the historic place where hundreds of innocent Indians were fired at for about 10 minutes, where so many lost their lives for no fault of theirs, where the British left their ugly impressions. 

The narrow passage through which the shooting started is still there, the bullet marks on the walls could still be seen, the well into which so many people jumped into in order to save their lives but couldn’t succeed, is still there covered with a fence. 

The place stands as a memorial for all those patriots, who had met there for a non violent discussion.

While the place evoked a sense of patriotic spirit in me, the same place left me with so many questions of 
How well is the freedom being used now ?

Is the freedom that has came to us after so much struggle and after so many sacrifices used in the way that it deserves ?

Do we have the same unity amongst us, Indians, to grow as a nation, that we had to fight back the British ?

Can you see the inscriptions of names of hundreds of people who lost their lives here in this massacre ?

Amrit Sarovar


It was 10 days ago that we had the opportunity to visit this sacred place, the Golden temple surrounded with the holy lake Amrit Sarovar, which was dug by the fourth Sikh guru, which gave the name Amritsar to its city. It was Maharaja Ranjit Singh who covered the gurudwara with gold and gave it the name Golden temple.

Quite some time back, I watched a programme on TV , which showed the Golden Temple and its langar. From then on, I had this desire to visit the place and take some participation in the langar. And then around a month back, we started discussing about where we could visit to have a vacation, and then we picked up Amritsar. A got a 3-week break before her next academic year started last week and we thought the break would be a perfect fit for our vacation plans. So we finalised and went ahead and we came back from our vacation last week.

We took an early morning flight from Hyderabad till Amritsar. Though we reached Amritsar by 1, we headed to the temple only in the evening. The Golden temple premises are vast, and so the huge crowd didn’t seem a problem. The temple is too beautiful in the night with all the lights and their reflections. Fortunately, the climate wasn’t too harsh, as the summer hasn’t picked up yet. We spent a good 3 hour time in the sanctum. One thing we saw for the first time, is that there’s a little pool of water before the entrance, there by, making you wash your feet, as you walk through that pool into the temple. A was super excited with it and washed her feet on exit too. There’s a bridge which you cross to enter the holy place, and the walk along that feels wonderful. We couldn’t proceed to the langar after that as we were completely exhausted, owing to our travel that started as early as 2:30 A.M.
Though a visit to langar was on our list, we couldn’t materialise it, as A co-operated much beyond expectation and we couldn’t demand more from her. May be next time, we will get a chance to experience that too.

It was a sight to watch thousands of people of all ages, with deep faith within, coming from different places, to take the blessings of the Almighty. Am glad that we too could be a part of it.

Watch out! More on our travel experiences coming soon ๐Ÿ˜Š

In the company of Sophie Kinsella on a tooth journeyย 

So, couple of weeks ago, I was alone at home, as A went to sleep and rest of the family was out. I decided to kill my boredom by munching on a laddoo, which is made during Pongal, with sesame seeds and is quite hard. A small block kind of thing fell into my hands while eating and I inferred it be something that got mixed up in the laddoo while my mom was cooking. Only when I went to wash my mouth did I realise that the block was actually a filling, that was put in one of my teeth, long long ago, say more than 12 years ๐Ÿ™„. I ran to the mirror in unbelievable shock and stayed in panic till V reached home and blurted out all my worries as soon as I saw him. The only thing that kept me sane was the fact that my dentist is a close cousin of mine whom I could trust my teeth with.

So the day after that, I rushed off to my cousin after work and it turned out that an old root canal didn’t go well and it had to be treated again over 4-5 sittings. So from that day, I had to commute to the clinic , which is quite far from my residence. So I had to spend some good amount of time in commuting and waiting at the clinic, over these multiple trips. Which was when Sophie Kinsella gave me a good company, I made use of this time to finish her works, Remember me ? And I’ve got your number. Continuing with the flow, I finished the Shopaholic series too ๐Ÿ˜Š
Here I am, done with getting my tooth repaired and completing Sophie Kinsella’s works ! 

Am planning to move over to reading My Gita by Devdutt Pattanaik, which is a long pending on my list !