Namaste Delhi – IIINov 26th, 2008 | By | Category: Travel
My First Taste of the ?Gol Gappa? …Continued from Namaste Delhi-II
There is no Indian who never had ?gol gappa? or “water balls” , according to Mayank. He introduced me to one of the most favorite snack of the Indians. It is made of a round-shaped baked flour, with a hole at the center filled with potato and a sour but spicy liquid. I was told to eat the whole thing in one go which I found very tasty, interesting and enjoyable.
I have many reasons to thank my friend for not only showing me the splendor of Delhi, but for proving me with his genuine friendship. Real friendship is valuable for Indians, they consider such a bond as something ?bahut khas? or special.
Awed, charmed by the Mystical Delhi
As we stood at the gate of the Akshardham Temple, we were enamoured by its beauty. It is said to be one of the largest temples, and showcases Indian artistry and heritage. The temple is built in memory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan who is known to be the torch bearer of India.
Getting inside was a bit inconvenient and fuzzy. Tight security is observed. Prohibition of carrying personal items such as cameras, mobile phones or any electronic gadget, foods and drinks, luggage and addictive substances inside the premises was strictly enforced. We felt? like we had been stripped,? when we left our personal stuff in the locker. How can anyone do without their mobile phones these days, but amazingly we did in Akshardham. However, upon reaching inside the complex, the scenic view just made us forget about all the fuss;? the amazing sight inside the pavilion overshadowed our disappointment about losing our mobile phones, even if we had lost them temporarily.
We stepped into the Ten Gates, a line-up of gates with water dripping towards the garden. The gates? represent the ten main directions of the Indian culture that welcomes goodness? and well-being for every visitor. Before reaching the entrance towards the charmed temple, we got to enjoy the? sight of the holy footprints of the Bhagwan Swaminarayan, who is the main inspiration of the temple. The footprint was surrounded by flowing water which is also believed to be a wishing well. It is believed that by throwing a coin into the water, one?s wish will come true. So,I tossed a coin? and? made my wish.
Luckily, we chanced upon the musical fountain which was, to me, a once-in-a lifetime experience.? I don’t think? I? will ever get to see? such a wonderful synchronicity of lights, sound, water and melody again in my life.
Delhi is full of a variety of attractions. We were eager to see the national zoological park which is one of the finest zoos in Asia. Touring the park via an open-roofed mobile van was an exciting experience, something like being in a safari adventure.
Before we hit the first stop, we passed by the rhinoceros den. It was quite a sight as it was my first time to see these animals in flesh. These were said to be Indian plated rhinos which were slightly different from the common rhinos in Africa.
As we left the area, the deafening roar of the lion, that echoed around the place,? sent a shiver? down our spines. Fortunately, we thought, the lion was not in the mood to leave his cage for a photo session, so we proceeded to see the giraffes. Giraffes charmed us with their graceful necks as they moved and nibbled the leaves of the trees. The zebras were charming as well although a little bit shy as they posed before our cameras. The huge elephants were interesting as they hurriedly prodded their steps towards their dining area, while the white tigers were enjoying their time playing the stalking game.
According to the words of one of the the Mughal emperor, ?If there is paradise on the face of this earth, it is this, it is this.” The emperor was referring to one of the famous places in Delhi, the Lal Qila or the Red Fort. It is made up of palaces built by the Mughal emperors. The name is derived from the basic structure of the place which is made of red stone. The octagonal-shaped fort is composed of palaces that are made of white marbles spruced with tapestries and gemstones.
The fort is full of richly decorated halls made of what seems like white ivory. The emperor?s seat imposed a certain touch of grandeur that makes one feel the power and authority of the past rulers. It is made of white marble and richly carved with creative Italian-like designs. Foreigners also get to enjoy shopping inside the small market named Chatta Chowk (means vaulted arcade) inside the fort, where semi precious stones and various souvenir items are available.
(Marigold Cherie Ramos-Garrido is an ITEC Fellow from Philippines who was in India from March ? April 2008. This is the third of a series of five articles about her experiences in India)