Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Delhi and Shimla

We arrived in Delhi and much to our surprise the airport and taxi were all too easy, we kept waiting for things to go pear-shaped but they didn't. Pity the hotel hot water didn't work or we would have been lulled into a false sense of security. 2 days of cold showers even in mid-20s temps was a bit taxing.

We spent our first day exploring Delhi with the help of a friend of Jo's. His name is Lalit and he works for CSC in India. He came to Australia for training - Jo trained him so they can make her redundant later - maybe. So he and his brother Amit, hired a driver and showed us the best sights of Delhi.

They wanted to start with a McD breakfast, but luckily they don't open until 10am so we got Indian puri and some chai which was great. Then we set of on our adventure. We went to a place called Jantar Mantar, that is basically an astronomical observatory, it had all markings on it to accurately tell the time. Then to the Red Fort, which is an impressive set of buildings, previously used to house the garrisons of troops and now a museum. It is very muslim still, so high roofs and the remants of where all the gold paint and jewels would have been, in it's day, a wonder I imagine.

We visited Humayun Tombs which is a world heritage site, and a magnificent set of buildings. We saw a Red Mosque and the Qutb Minar, a big tower, then finally the Lotus temple which looks like someone got the Sydney Opera House and squashed it into a lotus shape.

To top the day off, they took us home to meet Mum & Dad, and Mum cooked a fabulous Indian meal, vego of course, and they sent us on our way. I cannot imagine a better way to experience our first day in India.

It is more Muslim here than I expected, lots of mosques, and we have not yet encountered the famous cows.

We finally joined the Intrepid tour - take advantage of company discount when you can! Our group is only 8 plus the Indian leader. She is a very nice lady, but talks too much! We caught the train from Delhi to Kalka, about 5 hours and then we caught what they call the 'toy train' to Shimla, which is nestled at the foot of the Himalayas. It was called the Himalayan Queen! The seats were only wide enough for 1.5 people, but the train wound up the mountains, to 2069m, so the scenery is awesome. We are now sitting in a town that literally clings to the mountain side. It is really cold here too, about 10 c today.

Today we went to the vice regal lodge, essentially the summer residence for the British vice regals who oversaw the Indian empire back in the late 1800s till 1947. It was very grand as you can imagine. The ceiling is Burmese teak and the chandeliers Belgian crystal.

We are now off for a 2 day trek in the moountains (whose idea was that? I am so unfit) and then 3 days on a farm! Should be interesting.

1 Comments:

At 4:52 am, Anonymous Dave said...

Big update Rosemary !!. Just finished reading yours and Jo's. Sounds like you are enjoying being led as opposed to leading for a change :-)

Enjoy the trip.

 

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