This morning we started the day with a hearty and delicious breakfast. Regine, tour guide extraordinaire, explained that over the years she‘s found that while traveling, having three full meals every day is too much. Travel tip: consider eating a substantial breakfast, a midday snack, and dinner OR a light breakfast and light dinner with a large midday meal (if for example, you have a fancy lunch planned.) It will make everyone feel better. I whole-heartedly agree.
Yesterday when I ate lunch (that delicious Mulligatawny soup that I keep raving about and that I ordered again for dinner) the chef, Abhinav Rustagi, was so flattered he agreed to share his recipe. He emailed it to me! Yippee. When I return home I am going to keep making it until I get it right.
The same ADORABLE server (Ahmed) was working who had been in the restaurant the day before so he had the chef come out to meet me.
[Side note: If any of you have ever seen ‘Last Holiday’ with Queen Latifah it was pretty much like that scene from the movie, only I wasn’t dressed in a gorgeous evening gown and I don’t look like Queen Latifah.]
The Chef asked me what I would like for breakfast and whether I would be interested in having some Indian food. I said I was open to anything and I would let him make whatever he liked for me.
He brought me out a Mysore Masala DOSA – pinch me! It was SO good. He served it with Sambar and two sauces to dip into – one was coconut based the other was tomato and mustard based. I adore coconut so I thought I’d prefer that but the tomato and mustard sauce was out of this world.
Next he brought me Aaloo Pyaaj Gobhi Parathas – a fried flat bread stuffed with potato (aaloo), onions (pyaaj), and cauliflower (gobhi.) Sigh, heaven.
We finished breakfast and headed to our first destination of the day – the India Gate. Our tour company in India, Travel Scope, coordinating with the American tour company, Mindful Journeys, and arranged for us to have a bus, even though there was only 7 women. This way we would all be comfortable. (I suspect it is primarily for me since all the women are slight in size.)
Now, here’s a secret, if you are a white person, particular a very white, white-haired, plus-sized woman with pink highlights in your white hair and you want to feel like a rock star – get your butt to India. I tell you, it’s amazing how many people will ask to take their photo with you, especially in tourist spots.
Our driver parked our tour bus in the same area that had many other buses, buses filled with the cutest middle-school and high school aged girls you’ve ever seen. At first we just waved at them and at one point we asked if we could take a photo of them but then their teacher let them go and they sort of swarmed around us. That is when the smartphones came out. I think I had my photo taken more times in 5 minutes than I’ve had my photo taken in 5 years.
The India Gate is a war memorial built to honor the members of the British Indian Army who lost their lives in the First World War and also those who died in the third Anglo-Afghan War. Approximately 13,300 names are etched onto the gate, though the total number of lives lost is closer to 70,000.
On to the Gurdwara!
After the Gurdwara we returned for a brief rest at the hotel. I found these things in my room. Isn’t this delightful? Who doesn’t love fresh flowers surrounding your Ganesha? And the guy who cleans my room (I met him) was so proud of his work. He straightened up all my things. I almost didn’t want to touch anything and mess it up!
Next we left to go see something that, if you are ever in Delhi, you must visit – Gandhi Smriti – the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s Martyrdom.
It is a place that is both serene and upsetting (which seems fitting, since I always describe India as a country of extremes.)
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January, 1948. He was 78 years-old. There is so much written about him I could spend weeks reading opinions on why he was assassinated and what he accomplished and whether or not he really was a saint, but for me, I choose to stick with the positive impression of this great man.
Gandhi spent the last part of his life at Birla House. Some might ask why a person who promoted a simple life would live in such a lavish and large home, but he did so because he wanted to have the space to have LOTS of visitors. If he had lived in a small hut it would have been impossible for hundreds of people to pray with him.
On his last day he walked from Birla House to go for his afternoon prayer. They have marked the exact path he took with cement footsteps.
Above is a brief video explaining what happened. Here is another brief biography on Gandhiji.