FIRST IMPRESSIONS AFTER TWO YEARS AWAY

September 30, 2015

BLOG 2015 #2 September 30

FIRST IMPRESSIONS AFTER TWO YEARS AWAY

FIRST SUNRISE

FIRST SUNRISE

Insight about when to fly in to Delhi for best travel options.  Arrived with Turkish Airlines at 4:30 AM…ON A SUNDAY MORNING. Flying out of Israel was the easiest yet since it was Shabbat, and the airport was fairly empty.  Check-in was an all time record at only 10 minutes start to finish!  Also, Delhi airport was almost empty so no long lines to wait on and I was out of the airport, including getting my luggage, in less than half an hour

And then driving at that hour, on a Sunday morning, through Delhi, was child’s play…no traffic, no noise….and this continued for the first 2/3 of the journey.  The first 150 km., all on the new Highway, took just under 2 hours!  The last 100 km, through towns and with morning activity already beginning, even though Sunday, took 3 hours.  But still a very reasonable ride. Most of the way we drove at the unheard of speed of 80 kph on the new road which is fabulous. There were times when the speedometer hit 90 and even 100!

NOTE THE SPEED ON THE SPEEDOMETER

NOTE THE SPEED ON THE SPEEDOMETER

By 7:30 I was already sitting down to a breakfast of Aloo Parantha and Masala at Grand Cheetal rest stop.

CHEETAL BREAKFAST

Two Road signs along the way:

SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS.  PLASTIC IS NOT TRENDY

CELLULAR O WHEEL WILL BE COSTLY DEAL

….and indeed…you can now ad texting while driving to the already existing hazards of India roads.

SEE VIDEO IN LINK BELOW

TAXI RIDE DELHI TO RISHIKESH

India itself has stayed the same in many ways, and continues to change and grow as well at amazing speed.  WIFI access for example, which only two years began to find its way into restaurants etc., and was very “iffy”, is now almost everywhere, and WORKS beautifully! The prevalence of Western mode of dress, particularly among younger girls and women, is extensive although in the towns along the way, I saw none of it.  But here, in Rishikesh, where there are lots more Indian tourists, not pilgrims, just tourists, all are dressed in Western clothing.  It has become a very popular “get away” for the younger Delhi crowd, as well as families, and I’ve been told that for most of the year, there is actually more income from Indians these days than from Westerners, who have become unreliable as a main source, and also pay much less money for the same services and accommodations than Indians do.

But mainly these are cosmetic changes…new restaurants and guesthouses everywhere I look (and I’ve been out and about very little these first few days as it is very hot…unseasonably so), fancier cars, clothing shops etc., but the essence, the soul of Indian, remains the same.  It is something which never seems to change and it is what brings me here time and again.  I will be writing more about this as the time goes by.

Enough for this first post….next one will quickly sum up my first few days

Namaste

With love light and JOY

Jane


Qutab Minar – Delhi

May 24, 2014

An oasis of serenity, tranquility and beauty in the midst of the eternal hassle, noise and chaos that is Delhi.

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The impressive architecture, the intricate designs and carved works on the structure walls and pillars….all are quite amazing

I visited here last October with my friends, and this is also a great time of year to tour Delhi as the weather is quite pleasant.

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No matter where you stand in the compound, you can feel the power and energy radiating from this impressive architectural feat.

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Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India.

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An inscription over its eastern gate provocatively informs that it was built with material obtained from demolishing ’27 Hindu temples’. A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled.

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DSC04256note the jet….quite amazing to see this structure still standing after all these years
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All in all it was an lovely day with my good friends, Preeti and Sudeep Lal (they can be seen in the photos below…waiting on line, and in the shadow of the impressive arch

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If you are in Delhi, this is definitely a must see!

DSC04237Namaste

Jane

 


Delhi-October 2013 – #1

March 20, 2014

Chandni Chowk and Spice Market

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As promised, I will begin posting stories and photos (mainly) from my recent sojourn in India.  I found blogging to be a true intrusion this trip and did very little posting while actually there.  So I will now begin trying to catch up, for myself as well as for my followers.

Spice Market

Spice Market

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I blessed this year with an amazing first time adventure of experiencing, and exploring Delhi with local friends, rather than as a tourist, and it was a whole new experience for me.  I will begin this post with my first days in Delhi.
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I explored places I’ve never beendto before, travelled on the Metro for the first time, saw some of the new wonderfully modern areas of Delhi as well as the traditional markets and local antiquity sites.  I hope you will enjoy the next few posts which will hopefully tell this story, mainly in photos.

Spice Market

Spice Market

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Here are photos from a day spent roaming Chandni Chowk Shuk and the Spice Market, mostly on foot, but with the help of bicycle rickshaw as well. It was a very long but very beautiful day.

Spice Market

Spice Market

Spice Market

Spice Market

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Lunchtime in Chandni Chowk

Lunchtime in Chandni Chowk

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Signs of a Splendid Past

Signs of a Splendid Past

Red Fort on a Very Hazy Day

Red Fort on a Very Hazy Day

view from Jama Masjid

view from Jama Masjid

Namaste

Jane


Chole Bhatura from Start to Finish

March 3, 2014

Chole Bhatura from Start to Finish

chole bhatura

chole bhatura

Chole bhautra is an amazingly delicious treat prepared from chickpeas in a wonderfully spicey sauce and served together with Bhatura, a fried, puffed, light bread.

rolling the dough

It is a sinfully delicious Indian snack/meal and I was privileged to eat it during my stay this past year in Delhi with my dear friend Preeti and her lovely husband Sudeep.

starting to puff up

deep frying and starting to puff up

Golden brown and puffed to perfection

Golden brown and puffed to perfection

It is a popular Punjabi dish but is now enjoyed all over India. I’ve posted a series of  photos of the entire process in case it interests you…watching the preparation and all the effort involved made me even more grateful for this wonderful meal!

Chole Bhatura

Namaste

much love light and JOY

Jane


RETREAT MODE-NOV 20 2013

November 20, 2013

Retreat Mode-Nov 20 2013
I’ve been finding it a definite challenge to get back to my daily postings…it’s not that I have nothing to write about, or share…there are always wonderful stories to tell while in India and insights to share…
But at this point, I feel I need to be in “retreat mode” to fully benefit from my time here at the moment.  So what I WOULD like to do is share some of my favorite photos from time to time…they may come with narrative or story line, or may just be posted as is as the mood strikes me.
I will begin today with some of the photos from the past three weeks, in no particular order, and hope you enjoy.
those in this post are just to give you a small taste of the Chandi Chowk Market streets, and the Spice Market in Old Delhi

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Namaste
with love light and JOY
Jane


ALONE AT LAST – NOV 16 2013

November 16, 2013

ALONE AT LAST – NOV 15 2013

LAXMAN JHULA
I’ve been in India a full 3 weeks now but this is the first time that I find myself alone, which is for me, a true first! Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way complaining about the past 3 weeks.
It has been a very different beginning to a sojourn here but not any less rewarding and exciting and unique as the usual arrival on my own from day one.
I spent the first week with an amazing couple, Preeti and Sudeep from Delhi. I met Preeti via Facebook and finally last year we met face to face for a very short visit when she was in Rishikesh. And there was an immediate chemistry between us which could not be denied. We agreed that when I came back this year, if it worked out, I would spend the beginning of my trip with her and her lovely husband . And it did work out and was a truly blessed week that I spent with them…..first of all, I ate truly gourmet Indian food prepared each day,

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three times day (except for a couple of dinners we ate out) by Preeti’s superbly artistic and ingenious hand in the kitchen. I won’t even try to describe the meals she prepared as there are no words to describe the gastronomic pleasures of her cooking. Just a few photos to perhaps whet your appetite.
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And at the end of this fun, educational, interesting, eyeopening, week where I explored Delhi through the eyes of local people who love their city and know it well….I met my daughter and proceeded to spend the past wonderful two weeks with her. In all the years I’ve been coming to India, this is the firt time a member of my family has joined me, so this was truly a memorable and amazing two weeks. And a true blessing to be cherished.
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I will now settle in to being just with ME-the main reason I come each year to India, as well as to do my panchakarma treatments. And during this time I hope to catch up on posts about all the lovely adventures I had over the past 3 weeks. Hopefully I will do so at a pace compatible with my “going within”…so this may take some time. But I truly would love o share these days in both words and photos with you…so be patient, as I will do my best to be.
with love light and JOY
Namaste
Jane


DELHI DOORS

October 29, 2013

In the midst of the bustling,busy,hectic, crowded Chandi Chowk Market I came across this quiet alleyway with the most amazing decorated doors.  The houses themselves are about 300 years old and still occupied.

Chandi Chowk Alley Old Delhi

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Namaste
Jane


Arrival – India 2013 #1 – October 24-25

October 26, 2013

India Journal 2013

#1 Arrival

I arrived back in India yesterday early morning….and it seems as if I have never left.  The flight, my first with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, was uneventful, even pleasant.  I arrived to find my dear friend Preeti and her wonderful husband Sudeep waiting for me at the airport at 5 AM!!  What a great blessing not to have to deal with the hassle of a taxi to their home in Neb Sarai area of  New Delhi.  They live in Freedom Fighters Enclave not too far from the area known as Saket.  Near the heart of Delhi but with quiet tree lined streets.  Quite lovely.
Slept upon arrival after having my first chai this trip
First Chai

First Chai

and then breakfast of aloo parantha…and then off to rest again.
Afternoon we went out to change money and then off to stroll and relax at the Saket Market….just lovely.
A coffee shop and a stroll at the local book market….absolutely amazing collection of new and used paperbacks…even had some street food..Kathi roll…(offered as the least spicy thing available-still spicy for me but quite delicious)…and then home.
Lovely supper
Rajma, Paneer and Perfect Chapati

Rajma, Paneer and Perfect Chapati

…having my local phone card set up…talking and finally off for a long a beautiful sleep.

Up this morning to a wonderful breakfast of Paneer Parantha (Indian women just never stop cooking…quite amazing)
And now, just feeling like I need the day to rest, which is exactly what I will do now.  Hopefully will figure out how to get this posted on my blog from the tablet…something which needs to be learned at this point…
Tomorrow an outting is planned through the back alleys and markets of old delhi.  Looking forward
The rest of the day was uneventful….went out to the local supermarket…not something I’m used to seeing in India, but this is Delhi, not the small town of Rishikesh.  sorry-couldn’t get these photos uploaded…another time…
Now Preeti is making Malai Kofta for supper…just because I mentioned that I like it!
And then, off to sleep and looking forward to a lovely photo walking tour tomorrow.  Not sure this will be posted in “real time” to the blog….but it will eventually find its way there.
Namaste from Delhi
Jane

Beautiful Last Evening (and day) in India – Nov 21-22 2012

December 1, 2012

Beautiful Last Evening (and day) in India – Nov 21-22 2012

Last Morning in Rishikesh-Clouds Over the Mountains

Last Morning in Rishikesh-Clouds Over the Mountains

I was invited to Dr. Arora and Manju’s for dinner together with my friend Michal.  I usually spend quite a lot of time visiting with Manju while I am in Rishikesh.  Daytime visits where we just chat and I watch her in the kitchen-best cooking lessons available-and these visits were missing during this short stay.  But at least I would get to spend the evening with her, and I was excited about going.

We wound up spending the evening in prayers, chanting and singing with all the female members of the communal family dwelling (5 sisters-in-law, a couple of THEIR daughters-in-law, a visiting sister of Dr. Arora from Delhi, and even one baby granddaughter).  I couldn’t have found a more suitable, uplifting and beautiful way to spend my last evening in Rishikesh, or better company.  I have no photos, as it seemed neither appropriate nor necessary at the time, but the wonderful pictures will remain in my mind for a very long time.

It seems over 30 years ago, Dr. Arora’s father decided that every Tuesday there should be an evening of Kirtan (sacred chanting) in the family temple situated in the center of the family dwelling, and the women at the time decided they would be the ones to do it.  And to this day, this is precisely what happens every Tuesday evening.

There is nothing that compares with the power, and empowering energies of the prayers of women.  The chanting was done joyfully, sometimes playfully, sometimes with deep serious mindfulness and devotion, but always directed directly towards the deities.  I felt it on a deep soul level and felt myself being swept away with the power of the connection to God felt in the small room.  Since the chanting is repetitive, and the women took turns leading it, I was very often able to join in. And from my years in India, several of the chants I realized I actually knew the words to myself!  This surprised me and of course brought great joy and approving pleasure to the faces  of the women. And of course, clapping along with everyone else was a no brainer, even for me!!  🙂

The visit afterwards with Manju and the Doctor was thoroughly enjoyable as always, with good conversation, seeing the beautiful wedding album from their eldest son’s wedding last year (the daughter in law of course now living there with them) and of course a superb light dinner.  With soup, idlis, subji, shahi paneer (Manju makes the best in India for sure and she always remembers how much I like it and makes it for me when I come), chutney and of course chapattis with ghee . Dr Arora drove us home, quite late…tired but with full stomachs and happy hearts.

Now having my last breakfast here at the Pundir Restaurant after being treated to a wonderful whole wheat chapatti and homemade ghee when I stopped by Seema’s house earlier.

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The sky is cloudy today for the first time in 6 weeks.  I feel “cloudy” myself. Must be raining somewhere up in the mountains to bring the clouds and colder weather today.

Neelkanth Temple in Distance

Neelkanth Temple in Distance

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And somewhere deep inside of me there is a “rainy” feeling as well.

evening clouds

evening clouds

The day continued quietly, with goodbyes to everyone, always difficult, but even more so after such a short stay, and of course packing up my stuff for storage as well as for taking home.  The sky was beautiful to watch during the day and evening,

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and before heading off to Delhi by taxi, I had my last supper of schnitzel and chips!!  🙂

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The ride on the new highway took less than 5 hours….

Sachin provided me with a pillow so I could sleep in the car on the way.  I dozed on and off…and to my great surprise was in delhi in less than 5 hours!!  New road is good for sure.
Found a nice bench in the departure lounge to lay down on for another hour until they opened the RJ check in counter.  They really hassled me about my carry on- it didn’t fit into the “rack” which measures them.  Finally they called the supervisor, and she allowed me to take it.  What a pain in the ass.  The whole thing took over an hour but luckily I was first on line and when I got to the gate, there was even a free bed to lie down on which I did of course.

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Last Sunrise Over Delhi During Take Off

Last Sunrise Over Delhi During Take Off

the flight was fine but it seems the AC as not working….it was really hot on the plane.
Good flight to amman but it is over 7 hours going back.  The plane was not full so there was no one next to me which made it easier to  sleep a little with my legs over the handle of the next seat.
1/2 hour delay in Amman but that meant yosi actually got the airport in time to pick me up.  It was nice.
We went and had a nice breakfast in Yehud and then headed home and got stuck in a HAIL STORM!!  Thought the car windows would crack the pieces were so big!
And then later on in the evening, my house was struck directly by lightning and my phone went dead while talking to yosi.  and my cellphone needed to be charged but I had no electricity, so we couldn’t talk.  It was easier talking to him from India!

And now I am home, a week later, writing this last post!!  I will be posting several more photo posts, and then saying goodbye until next year!  Look forward to seeing you all once again then!

Namaste from Herzlia, Israel


Latest News in Cycle Rickshaws

October 23, 2012

I Just Had to Share This

India: Moving Forward While Standing Still

From an article in yesterday’s newspaper.

 

Namaste from Amazing India


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