Friday, November 16, 2012

New Horizons

I'm on the train hurtling towards Calcutta after some long days spent travelling and visiting the sights between here and Delhi. This is the final leg of the India trip and my first time to Calcutta. Although only a brief visit to the old British India capital, I hope it will provide a foundation for a future visit, perhaps as a prelude to Nepal and a Himalayan trek.
The past few days have been busy. Since leaving Jaipur we headed for Delhi where we traipsed the old bazaars, shopped, visited Haus Kaus, and many other bits and pieces. I am amazed how much I did last time on my own, solo travel is much more economical with time. I did however have a much needed day off to myself, and I have realised this trip that I am not a group traveller. On my solo Sunday I visited the Delhi Golf Club, and then Khan Market for some shopping, although no purchases were made. I then walked on to Lodi Gardens, a place I have long wanted to visit, and it didn't disappoint. It is a lovely green oasis of old trees and vast lawns, and being a Sunday there were loads of families picnicking in the sun. But best of all are the lovely old ruins most dating back to around 1469 or there abouts, the old mosque being my favorite, with elaborate relief carvings of the Koran everywhere. I then headed in town to meet up with my travel companion who was on a hoho city tour seeing the sights. Whilst waiting at Connaught Place I was hassled then stalked by a street kid who proceeded to sniff glue and act offensively in front of me. This is a rare thing I must say in India, I have seldom been hustled in all of my trips here. I retreated to Coffee Day which I was hoping to avoid as I have not had a coffee since Kuala Lumpar. So I was therefore forced to eat cake, oh well, with my glue sniffing stalker keeping vigil outside and giving me the evil eye. Of course he eventually disappeared, possibly setting his sights on another western cash cow!
On Monday morning we boarded the Taj Express from H Nizamuddin to Agra on out Taj odyssey but not before boot camp session up and down the platform, as I messed the number of the carriage up, resulting in us running up and down carrying our ever expanding, extremely heavy packs.
We arrived in Agra and did the sights with a guide in tow who part amused, part annoyed us - "look in front of your eyes........", much to our amusement. I must say this is my third trip to the Taj and it still is a building of amazement and delight.
Onward to Varanasi, an over night train, and then the onslaught, more so because of Diwali. The Ganga Aarti at sunset was as lovely as I remembered, with thousands of extra pilgrims in the holy city for Diwali, and the dawn boat on the Ganga still a wonderful spectacular, providing a birds eye view of the devotion of the Hindu masses.
And now onward to Calcutta, a new adventure awaits as we search for the infamous Black Hole!

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Location:The Vibhuti Express bound for Calcutta

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