A Travellerspoint blog

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Religion and Rituals


Hi All

I have really enjoyed Varanasi, the world’s oldest living city, with it labryrth of narrow lanes and its riverside temples (Ghats) and of course the Ganges. I’ve walked along it, sat beside it, eaten in restaurants overlooking it & boated on it. The Ganges is the life blood to so many Indians and their religions.

Did a 24 hr round trip to Bodh Gaya, to see where the Buddha gained enlightenment. The Heritage Park was a very peaceful oasis, amid the bustle of Indian life.

I am only now, starting to understand bits of the Indian culture and my body is adapting nicely too. It’s is starting to handle the heat and cope with its food.

The touts are starting to leave me alone a lot more as I look a bit more travelled and can mutter some Hindi phrases

I am leaving for Agra tonight


Chris sig


Posted by Chris Sig 20:25 Archived in India


City of Mausoleums

overcast 32 °C

Hi Guys

A special hello to Olive & Sal.

Agra’s draw card is mausoleums and I went to three of them while staying there.
Firstly there is “Sikandra” or known locally as “Akbar’s Tomb”. You enter through “Butland Darwaza” meaning “Great Gate” which has four tapering minarets surmounted on top of it. The mausoleum itself is set in a huge park where lots of deer roam freely. The park is broken into quadrants by wide paths that intersect at the tomb.

The next was “Itimad-ud-daulah” pronounced (artma dollar) and nicknamed “Baby Taj”. This is the tomb of “Mirza Ghiyas Beg”, who was the father in law of Emperor Jahangir. It was constructed between the years 1622 – 1628 AD and it was here that “pietra dura” or inlay work into marble, was first tried, a precursor to what would be used on the Taj Mahal.

I saw these two sites with Vitaly, a Jewish Russian, who is a television producer in Los Angeles. A nice guy!

The next morning at 6 am it was off to visit the Taj Mahal. It is set on the banks of the Yamuna River and was built by Shah Jahan between the years 1631 – 1652 AD using a labour force of over 20,000. The Emperor’s favourite wife,”Mumtaz Mahal”, had died giving birth to their fourteenth child. Devastated by her death he embarked on building a monument to her that would be unsurpassed. The inlay for the “Taj” include onyx, lapis lazuli, turquoise, crystal, coral and mother of pearl from all around Asia and the Indian Ocean.

With the costs escalating and the Shah in a morose state, he was replaced by his son “Aurangzeb”, who made sure of his accession, by having his three remaining brothers killed. He interred his father in the nearby Agra Fort, from where he would have been able to gaze; I suspect wistfully, at the “Taj” Upon his death in 1666 he was carried across the river to be laid to rest, along side his wife.


Chris Sig

PS: Have just arrived in Delhi
PPS: Hotel Kamal had a great view of the “Taj Mahal” from its roof top


Posted by Chris Sig 07:26 Archived in India


I had a Plan

sunny 37 °C

Hi Guys

So as to be near the Delhi Railway station, I got a hotel in the Main Bazaar district of New Delhi. It consists of a few long narrow streets, dissected by even narrower ones that have shops crammed either side. They sell textiles, food, pots & pans, shoes, jewellery, leather goods, in fact just about everything you want and a lot more. A few people commented to me that I should be very careful in there, but as it turned out, it was one of the few places that caused me little hassle. The sellers would approach you, trying to sell you their wares, but if you were not interested, they would generally leave you alone. Where else would you see tuktuks, rickshaws, cars, motobikes, dogs, cows, and people all moving together up and down the same street.

Yesterday I was offered a bus tour to see the sights of Delhi, a see them all in on day deal, but being driven round the city with a bunch of tourist just does not appeal, in fact it scared me.

So I came up with my own plan of walking around the city, to see India's Gate, then an indigenous craft museum, followed by Nehru’s museum and lastly the place were Mahatma Gandhi spent his last 104 days before being tragically assassinated on it’s grounds

So off I set, map in hand and I haven’t even got to India’s gate, when a guy comes up to me and offers to clean the big pile of shit clinging on my sandals. This is an old con; they surreptitiously put it on and then charge you to take it off. I go from calm to furious in about a second and call the sleazeball just about every four letter word I can think of. I walk towards him, he vanishes. It’s a shame that a small minority of these crooks do such a disservice to the majority of Indians who are honest & very hospitable.

By the time I get to India’s Gate it about 35 degrees in the shade, it’s like walking in the desert, and the distances between sites is a lot more than I calculated. The craft museum was decidedly under whelming, Nehru’s Museum , which is situated in what used to be India’s Prime Ministers’ residence, was interesting, especially in the way it revealed how Nehru , the then Prime Minister of India and Gandhi, who was outside government, eventually worked together to gain independence for India from the British in 1947.

Lastly there was Gandhi’s last residence and this was the place that enjoyed the most. It had lots of old movies showing Gandhi in action, little miniature models showing the major events in Gandhi’s life, speeches that he had given and a monument marking the exact spot where he was finally gunned down.

By this stage I have walked many kilometers in the sun and my sandals are starting to kill me. So I leave the place, walking bare feet down the street and a long walk across town to my hotel ahead of me, but a tuktuk driver seeing my pitiful plight, picks me up and delivers me safely home.

Not one of my better plans but it sure beats tour buses.


Chris Sig

PS: Would love to include some of the movies I have taken but they take too long to upload


Posted by Chris Sig 09:17 Archived in India

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