Summer holidays for me were never ever the same! This year is seeing a total upheaval of my idea of an ideal summer vacation. So what's the big difference? TRAVEL it is! Not beyond the four walls of the city, oh no; how I wish I could though. But this time round, I am spending my holidays traveling around town, visiting all those places I'd never seen, learning the historical nuances and different facets of the city that I call home - the place where my heart lies.
Delhi is a melting pot of cultures and traditions from across the world. It is a place where a mosque, a temple and a gurudwara can stand together in complete harmony and attract visitors of all castes and religious beliefs. If we have typical South Indian food joints and Punjabi dhabas around every other nukkad, we also have restaurants in the city serving British breakfast and authentic Chinese and Thai food. If there is the Sacred Heart Cathedral, there is also the Jama Masjid here.
There are said to have been seven cities of Delhi, established by different dynasties and rulers in different eras to suit their own whims and fancies. Invaders came, conquered, built shrines, gardens and institutions, and were then overthrown only to pave way for newer rulers, giving us a rich architectural heritage in the process. Travelers and backpackers from across the world as well as India throng Delhi throughout the year to discover the history of the ruins of monuments from the Mughal era, and to witness the traditional celebrations and religious rituals held in the many different places of worship to be found here. Delhi is indeed a traveler's true delight.
Now my love for my city hasn't been any secret from anyone. My family knows that if given the slightest chance, I'll take off with a backpack and return home God-knows-when with a ghastly tan and more to share than I can even mouth. My closest friends know my obsession with history and historical places. So much so that I was smuggled out to Safdarjung Tomb on my last birthday, only to have me cut my birthday cake there. So I kinda celebrated my BIRTHDAY at someone's BURIAL PLACE. And I didn't mind in the least. Seriously.
Given all I've said above or have ever given out about my true passions, getting to discover Delhi - in a new light, from a completely new angle - is heaven on earth for me. I've started my pursuits already, and plan to write about my travels. Now I should admit here that I don't know the first thing about writing a good travelogue. I am not a very organized traveler, nor a very smart one at that. I end up getting lost sometimes, covering several kilometers on foot in the scorching Delhi heat and falling sick once I'm back home. I plan very less, rely on my unreliable mobile internet connection for necessary info, don't even use GPS like a smartphone user normally would. I don't apply sunscreen, fumble with my umbrella on the crowded streets and end up all messy and confused in the middle of nowhere sometimes. But the only thing that matters amidst all of this craziness is that I love every minute of it. I would give up any amount of luxury and comfort of the air conditioned indoors just to be able to immerse myself in the history of a place or the magical ambiance that it radiates. And that's about it.
Yeah yeah, I get it. Enough about my perpetual love affair with craziness. I shall just conclude now, with a promise to come up with some fun (or boring!) travelogues in the coming weeks, covering monuments, temples, gurudwaras, mosques, food joints - basically any place that I end up at in the course of the best summer vacation ever. So I'll be seeing you around! :D