When In Neoclassical Capital of Scotland: Edinburgh

Our next destination was the city famous for its stone-like structures! The city itself is known as the Stone of Destiny!

Let me take you on a tour of this beautiful city of Edinburgh, and this might also calm your curiosity of how to spend a day in the city of Edinburgh.

As we reached Edinburgh, we first met our host in Haymarket (a wonderful attraction of Edinburgh) who treated our palates with amazing Indian food, the traditional dal chawal! Oh what lunch, a saying came to my mind after that, “A girl can leave India, but India will never leave a girl!” That was exactly the scenario. Anyways,  after having the most wonderful traditional lunch we headed out to explore the city of Edinburgh!

We first went to the Edinburgh Castle, which is located on a small hill, much above the skyline of the entire city. We noticed on the way to our castle, that there were a lot of people and a lot of police on the streets. We found it unusual even for a city like Edinburgh. So after we parked our car while walking towards the castle we asked a kind policeman about the situation. On conversing with the policeman we found out that there was a concert, which is about to start in the premises of the castle. So we hurried up the stairs to see, if we could still go inside the castle. Just outside the castle gates, the government of Edinburgh has built a stadium like structure where people can attend concerts and other events! Which I thought was quite clever.

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When we reached the entrance of the castle, we saw the mighty stage which was set-up for the concert. Also, we caught a glimpse of the band which was going to perform, rehearsing they were known as “Il Divo”, never heard of them, but they sounded very good. Though they were setting up for the concert, the tourist were allowed to go inside the castle and visit. So we did that, there is only a certain distance you can go to without a ticket, after that you need a ticket. So we did not buy a ticket and went till where it was allowed without a ticket. We did not have much time and it was already evening time so we passed. If you have time and want to visit the Castle, you certainly can.

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Attached to the Castle is the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is One mile long streets, forming the main street of the Old Town. This street ends near the ocean. The street is filled with all the major points of attraction in the city of Edinburgh. So if you start walking down on this street you will find everything! Along the streets are numerous eating joints, souvenirs shops and much more! Weather, permitting you can spend all day on this street!

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When you go further down the street you can find St. Giles Cathedral which is a wonder in itself! Along the street there are numerous street artists that are constantly entertaining with some or the other twists and turns, its a great fun to watch!

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Just parallel to the Royal Mile is the Princes Street. This street is famous for shopping, name a brand and it is there, don’t name a brand that is also there! Want to shop head to the Princes Street!

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We were very very tired of walking from the Royal Street to the Princes Street, and now we were ready to head back, but the biggest obstacle in front of us was how to go back to the car! We did not want to walk all the way back because it was quite a distance, we could see the castle from Princes Street but did not know how to take a short cut! Stuck with the decision on what to do we decided to take the part less known. And boy, am i glad we took that path!

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When on the path, we entered a beautiful garden, I have no idea, if google enlists it on the attractions of Edinburgh, but it was worth a look! We were tired so to give our legs a little bit of rest we stopped on a bench and attempted to sleep, but thanks to the rains, we did not have it in our destiny. So we started walking further, it was raining but not so much, and thank the heavens, we reached our car without getting drenched.

After reaching the car we headed out to the ocean and spent sometime there before heading back home.

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We also visited the University of Edinburgh, just a drive through, and the Holyrood Palace, which we visited on the last day of Edinburgh. The Holyrood Palace, is a palace for the Queen of England, its known that this Palace is her favorite place to stay in.

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England on the Road: The CountrySide Must visit Attractions.

Up, up on the feet again we were off to explore the attractions which the countryside of England had to offer! The family of seven was now extended to the family of eleven as five more amazing and fun humans joined us on the trip hosted by the lovely organisers of Golden Tours.

We left early in the morning with the enthusiastic travel guides of the Golden Tours. Our first travel guides view out of the window was the 22B, Baker Street the house of the famous and beloved detective Sherlock Holmes. Heading out the city our very first stop was the Warwick Castle. It is a defence castle built in 1608.

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The castle is located in a beautiful location and the preservation department has done an absolutely wonderful job in keeping the castle intact with the rugged walls telling the history of the castle. The rooms of the castle are filled with furniture demonstrating the life inside the different rooms in this castle. The wax statues everywhere showed us the different kinds of people who lived and worked in the castle.

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The ambience of the castle kept things interesting for the kids, a very lovely day could be spent in the gardens by just relaxing or watching the show which the staff of the castle put up everyday! A show of canon shooting is displayed by five people working constantly to make the canon work, its old so…. Another interesting show is the Eagle show. All these shows are free to watch and take place on particular timings so make sure you attend them if you are a curious soul.

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After spending ample amount of time in the beautiful Warwick castle, we all moved on to our next destination, which was the beautiful town of Stratford-upon-Avon! The main attraction other than reminiscing in this beautiful town was the small house of our very own William Shakespeare.

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He was one of the eight siblings and lived and died there. He spent a very dramatic life of which you can read all about on Wikipedia! 😛  The unknown fact about the compound of the Shakespeare house is the statute of Rabindranath Tagore, commonly known as the Indian Shakespeare in England.

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After enjoying the house of this writer we headed out to our last destination of the trip, which was the city of Oxford! We were fortunate enough to visit some of the campuses of the most renowned Oxford University.  Tired as we all were we still had some bit of energy left here and there to explore and shop! Souvenirs from the prestigious university of Oxford were not only a must buy, but a necessity!

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We headed back to London, and had the most delicious cuisine on Edqware Street in the restaurant called Al-Mubarika!

The next day came again with driving outside London city, and up in the morning we headed out to visit the wonderful Windsor Castle! Oh what a lovely castle!

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The castle is not a museum but some halls which are open for public are also being used by the Queen and the rest of the family. One particular area was quarden off where no visitor was allowed was the residential area for the Royals.

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The compound of Windsor castle had the Doll house which was sadly under renovation so was closed for visitors. The State Apartments were up for display. These rooms flaunted the royalty of the Royals! The beautiful crockery displayed the luxury they enjoyed and the weapon display showed off their power! They were all operational rooms. The compound also included St. George’s Chapel where the lovely Royal couple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married.

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Tip time:

The entrance of the Windsor castle has more security check than on an international airport, so make sure you either book a fast track ticket or reach super early if you have a normal ticket.

On entering the premises, bang opposite the gate is where you can pick up your audio books, make sure before heading inside that it’s working and proper, because there are no other exchange stations once you are inside the castle.

Have a fun day at castle because people who work there are super friendly and nice!

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After we finished our visit of the castle, we headed out into the Windsor city, which was as lovely as the castle itself! Our hunger pans found us an Italian restaurant called “Clarence” and oh my what food! Our stomachs were full but our tastes buds weren’t a least bit satisfied!

Fortunately, as we were sitting for lunch we we’re lucky enough to witness the “Catapult” which is a display of English Airforce. The main function was held in London and Donald Trump was also there. But we did catch a glimpse of it! It was a hundred years display, and the aircrafts formed the shape of 100 and flew over our heads and also they diplayed the colors of England when they flew! It was absolutely amazing!

You ask, but you were sitting inside the restaurant how did you know they are coming? The secret to know is, if the restaurant is playing songs on radio or wifi, it will stop when the plains are passing because they put signal jammers.

After spending a lovely day in Windsor, we headed back to London and started packing our bags!


 

Thank you all for taking the time and reading!

I hope you all like it and find useful at some point!

THANK YOU and have a lovely day!

Charming Canterbury

The tiredness of the day prior had not even worn out and we were back on our feet to explore the Charming Canterbury!

Our beloved Captain, Araf Ali took up the responsibility to drive us to the town of Canterbury, which was about 2 hours from the vibrant city of London.

Our prime motive for visiting the town of Canterbury was to visit the Canterbury Cathedral which is a renowned cathedral because of the famous Saint Thomas Becket, around whose name mystery still revolves. And we were there for a special purpose and met 20 other familiar people with the same purpose!

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As soon as we stepped into the town of Canterbury our eyes were left in awe-struck! The town probably had the least people but it also could be because it was a Sunday and we reached quite early in the morning. After walking a while we decided to get a cup of coffee. We stopped at Cafe Nero the cafe which probably serves the best coffee in all of United Kingdom. In that cafe we got acquainted with a couple who came into town every Sunday. They lived a little outside the town of Canterbury, for more than 30 years. This kind couple pointed us in the direction of the best offset and the most unplanned places we went to, Herne Bay!

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Let me come to that a little later.

We had our coffee’s said our goodbyes’ to the wonderful couple and headed to the Canterbury Cathedral as we were there to attend the service and it was time. Standing at the gates of the Cathedral we greeted the ones who had reached us, and as we turned around we saw some more familiar faces. We greeted them and walking from far away were some more familiar faces approaching us. Every face that we greeted had a smile ear to ear and we were all delighted to be in each other’s company. We weren’t family, but it was the best family reunion one could every imagine or ask for.

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After catching up with our beloved familiar faces we headed inside the Cathedral. The magnificence of the Cathedral left us all in awe! The beautiful Canterbury Cathedral surprised us with every step we took. The service was a beautiful setting with soulful prayers being sung in chorus. We sang too!

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After leaving the service we all headed to explore the Cathedral. It possess too much history and mystery! You have got to visit it to believe it! The most fascinating story of all was of the Saint Thomas Becket. He was given the title of ‘Saint’ after his assassination which was apparently falsely been ordered by King Henry the second of England. The exact order of the events are still under speculation.

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After exploring the beauty and the mystery of the Cathedral we all headed out to our different respective destinations. The wonderful couple had suggested us to visit Herne Bay. Initially we were supposed to go to Cliffs of Dover but we decided to take the advise of the aged couple. And thank God we did! Taking the advise felt like serendipity because we cruised into a place which was the least touristy and the most jaw-dropping of all! The beach couldn’t be more pure and the wind in our hair just re-assured of our moments there. We calmed our heads and rested our eyes beholding the vision which was in front of us!

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The voices of our stomach broke our meditative state, and our captain showed us the was to Mushy Pea which was probably the place where we had the best Fish and Chips!

The wonderful day ended on an amazing note when we came back to London with memories which will definitely have a special place in my autobiography!


 

Hello all. Thank you for taking the time to read!

I hope you all like it! Do visit my other blogs if you have not read yet!

Comments are most welcome and sharing the link is encouraged!

Thank you all, have an amazing day ahead! 🙂

Pictures: Taken by Shaheen (the Author of the blog) and Zainuddin Aarif (the authors uncle)

Adventures Of Ananthgiri

We found ourselves back in our hometown after 2 whole years for Eid celebrations with my uncle and his family. We reached Vishakapatnam one day before Eid. The plan for the next day was pretty clear and everyone was all ready to celebrate the most auspicious day after a month of fasting.

So after the morning prayers and breakfast, south Indian style, we headed to our respective homes and exactly 2 hours later, 6 families, were off to Ananthgiri, a hill station 4-5 hours from Vishakapatnam. We had a heavy lunch enroute, and still found the courage to embark on the well-trodden road ahead.

The road ahead of us was breathtakingly bewitching. The mountains on one side stood tall, showing off their taint less, lush green allurement. On the other, was the gushing river, meandering along with the road, recently augmented by the exquisite rains. The site that the nine pairs of eyes (in one car) beheld, proved to be the object of fascination much needed for elevating the pleasure of this getaway.

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It was dusk when we finally reached our destination. We parked our respective vehicles and headed for the most needed beverage of every Indian, CHAI (tea). There was nothing much to do to pass the time, as the majority of the travellers were youngsters. Before reaching our rest house we saw a bunch of locals playing volley-ball. We approached them and till dark there was a fierce match going on between the team of my cousins and the locals. The locals were indeed a tough competition.

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The Chai Stall
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The volleyball match

When the nature forbade us to loose any further, we headed to out rest house. While we were struggling to set up the tents, the most amazing dinner of our lifetime was getting ready. Tired and exhausted we ate as much as we could, and headed of to our tents. Before sleeping the biggest challenge we faced was, how to fit in 4 people in the tent, which was meant for two. Everyone wanted to experience the rough sleep of tent, leaving behind the luxury of comfortable rooms already provided. Some of us were willing to rough it out, while others just wanted to sleep it off (Mostly the elders were involved in “others”). The ones who did not get a chance to sleep in the tents, and wished to do so, made it their mission to scare us off. But we were so tired that not even a real ghost could scare us away, let alone the “ghosts” the we knew.

I woke up to an absolutely amazing view. After having a delicious breakfast we all headed out to the most Adventurous trek of all of our lifetimes. We parked our respective cars in the middle of the Ghat roads, and headed down to a path which seemed to lead to know where.

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We started on the path which was at an angle of 60 degrees approximately. The further we went the steeper it got. The path was a small pagdandhi amidst the lush green wild mountain grass. The fresh rain had loosened the mud making it slippery and very difficult to walk on. The path turned and twisted in every nook and corner. No corner was left where one of us did not slip. As hilarious the walk was, it was extremely dangerous as one side was the danger of the lush green animals and on the other side was a deep trench, going straight down, and the person on that path would go straight up. Embarking this journey was not only the risk of our legs, but our lives to! But we did it anyways!

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Tired coming down the slippery road, we saw a villager climbing up. We asked him how much further down was it to reach the falls, instead of answering us, he just scanned us and asked why in the hell were we coming down this road. Climbing further down, we could see the magnificent falls, but were not able to see the approach road. It terrified us. The last lap of the trek was, either go for it or you fall of the deep trench. We had no choice, we were already there, we couldn’t go back because of the steep climb. So each of us sat down one after the other to get to the waterfalls. The people who were already there helped us by forming a chain and giving each of us a hand while we made our way down.

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Whatever the hardship, whatever the road, the view of the destination was absolutely PERFECT. The mini heart attacks on the way down proved to be totally worth it when we actually reached the spot. Without waiting for even a single second, all of us were in the cold, beating water washing away our tiredness.

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After having a heart warming bath, we headed to the ascending path of our trip. As dangerous the descend was, it was more tiring while climbing up. We did not go back the way we came, but took a different road which was easier but longer, but safer, much safer.

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Finally after a demanding ascend we reached our cars, ate whatever we found as we were all extremely hungry and headed for the hotel, where an absolutely delicious lunch was waiting for us. We spent some time in the hotel where most of us were sleeping, but whoever was left i tried to scare them of with my singing but that did not happen. And of we were meandering down the beautiful ghats headed straight for our respective homes.


This trip, was the most exciting and nerve reckoning trip I had ever embarked upon. It taught us not only how to keep going, but to keep going with everyone. Team work, hard work, dedication and focus is all you need to achieve the best, and trust me what you get at the end of day is nothing but the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile, which may or may not have made an impact on others life, but it sure has improved your own!

Protectors In Disguise

Background: A small travel story, i hope you will enjoy it.


Since an early age I have been volunteering for travel companies, who take children to spend an adventurous summer. My passion has always been to travel the farthest. So gathering up all my courage and my backpack, on 27th May 2017 I stepped out of my home for a solo trip to Uroli. Located 6131ft. above mean sea level, its a few kilometers above Nainital and 27km away from Ranikhet by bus. I finally reached a small village on the bus where I saw the villagers doing their daily chores. They scanned me from top to bottom, but I gave them a pleasant smile so they would allow me to stay for the night. In India the people living on the mountains are friendly and stand true to the saying “Athiti Devo Bhav” (A guest is equivalent to God) and so they took me in willingly, providing me with a cozy warm bed and a delicious dinner for the night. As I woke up to a beautiful sunrise in the morning by the sound of my alarm, I was ready to start my adventure.

I walked a few miles, in the morning confirming the address, from where the trek was to be started. When I finally reached the foothills of the mountain I was to climb, I stood there for a moment and scanned the mountain side. Though the mountains were not very tall, the pagdandi (trails) were the real challenge. The weather was mild, the sun shined above me, as I had started my trek early in the day. The whole mountain area was covered with lush brown colour, with the pine needles from skyscraping pine trees, giving the mountain its color. With clear sky above my head, I carried on with my trek, already contemplating the place to rest for the night.

It was the middle of the day and I had walked continuously for about 4 hours, taking short breaks to hydrate of course. I started feeling hungry and I could see no place where I could light a fire and cook something for lunch, because of the pine needles there was also a risk of lighting the whole mountain on fire and burning myself with it. So I sat for a while eating what could have been eaten without the requirement of it being cooked. After having sufficiently filled my stomach with biscuits and water, I knew I had a little time to rest according to my map timings.

The place where I was sitting was covered by the shade of a tree. The cool breeze, and the comfort of the shade, made my eyes heavy, and in no time I fell asleep. It must have been the weather and tranquility, and the fact that I had woken up early in the morning and had walked for 4 hours non-stop. When I woke up, it was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, way over the time limit on which I had decided to start back. So I hurried back on my track, because I had to find the camping land shown on the map.

I am a crazy fan of sunsets, so to witness this beauty when the sun was at the bottom of the horizon, I started to walk slow, taking in the beauty that the nature had to offer. When the sun was about to disappear, I decide to stop to remove my jacket and my guiding light. After taking out the necessary equipments I started staring into the horizon, witnessing the utter grandeur of a setting sun. I hoped the serenity of the nature would calm me down, and rationalize my thinking, as I knew I was already behind my schedule.

After the sun disappeared from the horizon, leaving only a little light behind I decided to move along in my journey. Looking into the map, I realized that I had about 3-4 hours more to walk. I kept climbing at a faster pace. The hours passed by, I became tensed, my heart started racing faster, and as I had a breathing condition, I had to take more stops than I did before. Walking for about an hour now, the little light from the sun had disappeared, the moon shined brightly allowing me to see only a little in the darkness.

I read in my research that the mountains of Uroli had dangerous animals, like leopards, the most harmful snakes and jackals, but I was sure I was not going to encounter them. After walking for another two hours, I saw the camping land and in my excitement hurried to the place, threw myself on the ground and laid down with relief. As it was a set campers place for the night, I was sure that before me some campers had camped in this very place, as there was a hole dug in for the fire. I used the same hole, to light my fire and cook my food. Till the time the food was being cooked, I pitched my tent, spread my sleeping bag and waited for the food to be cooked.

I had made inquiries and found out that, the weather changed in just matter of time one minute the sky was clear, flaunting the stars and next the thunderstorms struck and it started to rain. I had to take my food inside though I kept my tent’s door open. I sat inside comfortably and enjoyed the meal that I had cooked. I was busy eating, and suddenly I heard sounds, of something running. I panicked, it was my first time in the mountains alone, and I did not wish to die. I was too scared to sit inside and too scared to see what it was. So I opted for the latter, I gathered up my courage and opened the back window of my tent and looked. Jackals stood about 500 ft away from my tent. They did not growl or attack, they just stood there. I did not know what to do, it was still raining outside, so I decided to pull out my pocket knife, curl up in my sleeping bag, and call it a night, but as petrified as I was the curiosity of jackals standing outside my tent did not allow me to sleep.

Few hours passed away, and they did not flinch. So I decided to do something. As soon it stopped raining, I stepped outside the tent and tried to shoo them away, but they did not even cringe a muscle. So I stepped back inside. After sometime I had an absolutely absurd idea, first I decided against it. One peep outside into the eyes of the jackals I decided to go ahead with my decision. I stepped outside the tent again and I did what animals do best, I peed to mark my territory near the tent, and shouted at the jackals, “Mine, and yours” as I had seen in the movie Life Of Pie. At least this way I would be a little relieved that they wouldn’t come near the tent, I still had my doubts though, if the human pee works the same way as the animal? But after that I spent the whole night in my tent, apprehensive, yet a little calm. The pocket knife still my hand, I woke up to the sharp rays of the sun and chirping birds. With caution I opened my tent door avoiding sudden movements I first peeped out, and there were no jackals in the near site of my eyes. My eyes fell on the horizon and far off were the beautiful Himalayas. I did not know what happened in the night. I knew that I was alive in the morning and I was happy about it. Just when I had finished my breakfast, I saw cattle approaching. On arriving, I greeted the man with a smile and a pleasant good morning, he returned my greetings and asked how my night was. In reply to his question I described the whole incident of the night. He gave a smirk and told me, that I was very lucky to have had jackals, in the night. He told me that there is almost every night a visitation made by the leopard for water and because there were jackals, I was. I bid goodbye to man and he did the same. I thought about what he said, it was definitely a superstition, but the fact that the jackals were there in the night, posing as protectors was enough for me. My rest of the trek went on smoothly, and as I had peaked my trek, the clear sky showed me the beautiful outer Himalayan ranges far in the distance glorifying their magnificence. I met other trekkers at the end of my uphill battle and decided to hitch along with them for the downhill trek. The jackals posing as protectors against the leopard was the last thing I had expected on this highly adventurous trek in the mountains of Uroli. The delightful end to this adventurous trek, with other trekkers was the only add on I needed to etch this trip as the best one in my small but brave autobiography now making me a true traveler.


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Thank you for reading!

Lost Hopes

Background:

There is no background as such, it was just a thought process.

Hope you enjoy it


Lost Hopes

I lie like the dead sea, still, lifeless.

The night sky, full of stars, full of hope.

Lingers above me.

But I lie still, just like, the dead sea.

The sun rises, it shines,

Here comes tomorrow,

Here comes endless new possibilities

Here comes the summer

But I lie still, still, just like yesterday.

I sit at the window

Looking at the seasons pass,

The rains, washing away the dust,

The autumn stripping the trees naked

The spring, blooming the flowers

But I lie still, just like the trunk, watching the days go by.

Is there no hope?

No hope for a better tomorrow?

Because,

Hope for me,

Is like the rain in a drought

Like a silver lining on the darkest cloud.

Like a light at the end of tunnel

Hope is what I need, it’s the sun that I need.

My faith in good is lost

My faith in a better tomorrow is lost

There is no strength

To carry on, to see thing through to go on.

How to rise above this?

How to go on without faith?

How to go on without hope?

Because I still lie like the dead sea, lifeless, don’t know how to go on…..

– Shaheen.


Visit the Administrative Capital of India in just 1 Day: Delhi Darshan

Delhi Darshan

Off, to travel another mile, discover another road and experience another landscape.

Super excited my family and me left from our respective places of residence to meet in Delhi. On 17th of May 2016 we landed in Delhi, we had a one day stay joint with Delhi Darshan.

The sweltering heat of Delhi did not stop us from resisting the temptation of resting and we went on to witness the beautiful capital and the administration city of India. We were staying in a cantonment area called Rajputana Rifles. After staying a night, on 18th May, 2016 we booked a cab for our day tour of the city. Early morning at around 8 o’clock we started our tour with the blessings of Nizamuddin Auliya by visiting his dargah. Along with that we also were privileged to see the dargah of Amir Khusrau, who along with being a renowned Sufi poet was also a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya. The care-taker of the dargah, Kamran Nizam took charge of our tour and took us to the dargah of Amir Khusrau and after that Nizamuddin Auliya where he presented my mother, my sister, my aunt and me with green dupatta’s of the mazar.

After being blessed we started our tour by first visiting the magnificent Humayun’s tomb where, the second Mughal king, Emperor Humayun rests’. At the ticket counter we happen to meet 3 tourist from Paris, and noted that they had to pay 500rs whereas being an Indian we had to pay rs 30. On entering the main gate of the compound we first saw on the right hand side the house of Isa Khan, which is also remarkable because of its shape, size and the construction techniques. After a long walk we reached the main tomb. And it was too beautiful to be true. The compound was large and awestrucking.

After visiting the Humayun’s tomb we drove of to see India gate which stands strong in honour of the fallen soldiers and along with that we also saw the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the administrative buildings where the most important decisions of the country are made.

After an exhausted morning we were way too hungry to go any where except for Karim’s. The finger licking, Karim’s food was amazing and can’t be forgotten once tasted. Just behind the Jama Masjid, you can give your taste buds a great treat. After a heavy lunch we still had place left in our stomach for an amazing desert at Giani’s which is located in Chandni Chowk. Sleepy, after lunch and desert we took a drove through all the remaining attractions including Cannaught place and finished our day by taking a good night’s sleep after spending an informative and historical day in Delhi! 

Sorry I have so less pictures, more indulged in actually visiting than clicking!