A memorable Journey to New Delhi
I am Balaji Sivakumar and my friends are Bharath, Karthikeyan, Mahommad Jalaluddin. We were studying B.E. 3rd year in Sathyamangalam BIT College which is near Erode, situated in Tamil Nadu. My friend Bharath invited me and my other friends for his sister's marriage, which was to be held in Chennai and for reception which would be at Bharath's native place Noida. He asked us to come for both marriage and the reception. But we could attend only one of the events due to our busy schedule. So, after some discussion we decided to attend the reception at Noida as it is far away from Sathyamangalam and so we could have some thrilling travel experience; also we could visit places at New Delhi. This is how our plan came into existence and we booked the train tickets one month before December, for 4th of the month in 2012, in sleeper class from Chennai to Delhi.
Journey from Chennai to Delhi on December 4th 2012
We got in the train by 10:30 pm in Chennai and had a lot of fun throughout our journey. The train goes through Andhra Pradesh (12 hours), Orissa (3 hours), Madhya Pradesh (7 hours) and then Uttar Pradesh (7 hours). At 7:30 in the morning (i.e.December 5th 2012) the train stopped for 15 mins at Guntur Station which is in Andhra Pradesh, where we ate Idly-Vada on the platform and took some chips before getting back into the train. The train had reached Bhopal by evening and halted for 15 minutes. On the platform, we ate Pao Bhaji and Samosa which are famous street food in Bhopal. By 11 pm, we were in Gwalior. Due to some signal problem, the train stopped for 3 hours in some village. We reached Hazarat Nizamuddin railway station in the morning, which is close to our destination Noida. We got down in the station safely, with lot of memories of the train journey. Opposite to the station, there is a big mosque in the name of Hazarat Nizamuddin. In the railway station, someone stole our bag. Two of us started chasing him and chased almost for a kilometer. Fortunately outside the station, some auto people caught him and we got our luggage back. We booked a cab from the station to our friend's home which is in Noida. They stay in an apartment of 34 floors, which is in Sector 15.
First day in Delhi (i.e. December 6th 2012)
After almost 36 hours of hectic journey, we freshened up and relaxed for a while and had little breakfast. After refreshment, we had lunch and then left for Akshardam temple at 1:00 pm by metro train. It was a wonderful experience as we were traveling in the metro for the first time. Akshardam is world largest comprehensive hindu temple, which occupies 100 acres of land including parking area. Akshardam is a temple of Swami Narayana and his idol has been made with a single stone. Cameras are not allowed inside the temple, so we clicked some pictures in the premises of the temple. There is a Boat house, Museum, Small Park, Yoga hall and Boating. We spent our time till 8:00 pm and reached home by 9:00 pm. At night, we had 20 chapathis each because in the morning and afternoon we were not comfortable in eating much.
Second day in Delhi (i.e. December 7th 2012)
We woke up by 7:00 AM in the morning and took shower, followed by breakfast. We reached Qutab Minar in metro. We started at 9 am and reached by 10 am. Distance from metro station to Qutab Minar is 1 km. We have to go either on a camel or an elephant or an auto. We went for the elephant. Qutab Minar occupies 150 acres; entry fee is Rs. 25 each. History of Qutab Minar was inscripted on the stones and there were flower shops that sold a variety of flowers. We came out at 3 pm, ate camel fry by paying Rs. 250 per plate and momos which were famous. Then we started for Lotus temple by auto and reached by 4:00 pm.Unfortunately, it was closed due to some local issues, so we could only take photos from the outside. It's a pyramid yoga hall where people meditate with background chants of OM under pindrop silence. Outside, there is a small pool where people throw coins and makes wishes. We went to the Great India Place by metro; it took us an hour to reach there from the Lotus temple. Great Indian place is the 2nd largest shopping mall of Asian continent which has a car showroom. Actually it's too large, so they have battery cars to go around the mall. We bought blazers for the marriage reception. We were there till 10 at night. It has a small amusement park, 3 water games, and 4 indoor games, with swimming pool.
Third day in Delhi (i.e. December 8th 2012)
We planned to visit Agra but we had to cancel it due to some personal reasons.
Fourth day in Delhi (i.e. December 9th 2012)
The day of marriage reception had come. After having breakfast at home, we went to hotel Fortune where the reception was going to be held. It's a 7 star hotel where the arrangements were being made for the reception and we were assisting and managing decoration etc. till evening. There was a buffet for Rs. 1500 each which consists of 85 varieties of Vegetarian food. It was so delicious! We enjoyed a lot at the reception.
Fifth day in Delhi (i.e. December 10th 2012)
We got up by 5 am and got ready, started in a car by 6 am to Agra which is 250 km away from Noida. We went through the Yamuna highway. It's a long highway which was constructed by spending Rs. 3000 crores. It has 3 dividers & 6 ways. Tollgate fee is Rs. 650 and heavy vehicles have to go in a separate way. In every 20 kms cameras were installed and in every 25 kms there was a patrol car. Yamuna bank road/highway has a minimum speed limit of 120kms/hr and maximum speed limit of 280kms/hr. In the way, we had breakfast at 8:30 am in Hantha hotel, which is nearby an Indian Oil petrol station. By 10:30 am, we reached Agra and parked our car 1 km before Taj Mahal, where vehicles are not allowed due to the problem of pollution. Camels, elephants or battery autos are allowed to carry passengers or we can go on foot as it's in a walkable distance.
The entry fee is Rs. 25 each and we hired a guide by paying 300 rupees. He explained us about the history and importance of Taj Mahal. Shajahan built Taj Mahal for Mumtaz and it took nearly 20 years to construct the great monument. He took off the thumb fingers of both the engineer and the main labourer who worked to build the Taj Mahal, as he thought it must never be replicated. It was built with White marble which was brought from Rajasthan, by camels. There were some rooms at both the left and right side of the entrance for minister's who stayed there. At the side of the Taj Mahal, there is an underground route which leads to the Agra Jail; now it is closed. Yamuna River flows next to Taj Mahal; opposite to this Shajahan thought about building a black Taj Mahal but he couldn't.
They wouldn't allow taking pictures inside the Taj Mahal. It is closed by 6:00 pm and every Friday is a holiday. Banarasi cloth is very famous near Taj Mahal. It can be folded into a small match box whether it's a sari or a bed sheet. The cloth store is government aided and was giving in discounts. We came out by 4 pm and had drinks and snacks. By 4:30 pm we started for the Gateway of India and reached by 8:30 pm. We were there till 9:00 pm. On the Gateway of India, the names of javans is inscribed who died in Kargil war and other such incidents. From there, we went to a pub named Tango which is near the Great India Place shopping mall. We were there till 11:40 pm, after which we went home.
Sixth day in Delhi (i.e. December 11th 2012)
In the morning, around 8:00 am we started preparing to see the Parliament. My father had spoken to some minister due to which we had the permission to go inside. We were stopped 3 km before because they don't allow vehicles thereafter. Government vehicle had come to pick us. They asked us to keep cameras and phones in the car itself. Within 45 mins we came out of parliament and went home and had breakfast. Then, we started moving for Palika Bazaar by 10:00 am which is very large. There are 24 gates for entry and exit and it is one of the cheapest bazaars. We have bought shoes, belts, clothes etc., and we had lunch there only and returned home by 5:00 pm. Then we packed our luggage and started for the railway station, but Bharath didn't come with us because he wanted to be with his family for some more time. We reached Delhi railway station by 7:00 pm and our train Delhi Express which was to leave at 9:00 pm and runs from Delhi to Chennai. Bharath's mother had prepared chapattis for the 2 days in the journey. The train had started moving and we missed Delhi so much because we enjoyed a lot and had seen lot of places. It was a wonderful experience.
On 13th December we reached Chennai at 7:00 am. We left the train and had breakfast. We had booked train tickets from Chennai to Tirupur, for Jaipur express which was to leave at 9:30 am. On December 14th we had our semester exams so we had to reach college by 8:00 pm on December 13th otherwise they won't allow us into the college. But the train was 2 hours late and we reached Tirupur by 6:30 pm. We went to my home and my mom had prepared chicken. We had everything packed and ate in the car itself and my dad dropped us to the college within 45 mins. We reached the college by 7:40 pm. But my friend Bharath had took a flight from Delhi to Coimbatore on 13th December 2012. His flight was at 3:00 pm from Delhi and it reached Coimbatore by 5:30 pm and from the airport he booked cab directly to college. He reached the college at 6:30 pm.