Ok, first things first, this may be my last travel update of this trip before returning back to beloved Blighty and so if it is, then please, please check out my YouTube Page as I've uploaded several more V-logs from the trip which aren't included in all the other posts. Here's what I've put up so far in chronological order but there will be more so please revisit regularly since even when I'm back home I hope to do a few V-logs of destinations a little less exotic.
Al-Ain Oasis, Al-Ain - 11/02/2013
Dubai Creek, Dubai -11/02/2013
Burj Khalifa, Dubai -11/02/2013
Slums, Delhi - 13/02/2013
Golden Temple, Amritsar - 14/02/2013
Schoolgirls danicng, Indo-Pak Border - 14/02/2013
Another Golden Temple in Amritsar? Amritsar - 15/02/2013
Emperor Akbar's Tomb, Agra - 16/02/2013
Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal, Agra - 17/02/2013
Agra Fort, Agra - 17/02/2013
Jain Temple, Ajmer - 21/02/2013
Reflections on the Dargah of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti, Ajmer - 21/02/2013
The view from my hotel, Pushkar - 22/02/2013
The holy pool at sunset, Pushkar - 22/02.2013
Qawali jam, Pushkar - 22/02/2013
Right, so now you're up to speed with what's been happened, where am I now? Well, I'm back in Delhi, the chaotic capital and my last stop in India before jetting back home. I took an overnight train from Ajmer and arrived early this morning and since then it's been one very busy day. I checked out the National Museum which is notable for having lots of statues of big breasted women dancing in temples, (my kind of religion), the Government Buildings, the Bahai Temple, the ISKCON Temple, the Tomb of Safdarjang and Lodi Gardens.
India Gate, New Delhi
What can I say? Well, the Government Buildings were spectacular, (but there again, they were built by the British), and they obviously knew I was coming because all the TV stations were there in force, (nothing to do with parliament debating the recent terrorist bombings in Hyderabad), whilst the Bahai Temple, I must confess to being disappointed with. It's built in the shape of a lotus flower and whilst kind of clever and interesting from the outside, inside it's like a huge, empty concrete hall. A bit like those awful cathedrals that were built from the 1960s onwards, you know the ones, Clifton, Liverpool (RC), Coventry. In fact, most of all it reminded me of Liverpool's RC Cathedral since that does look rather cool from the outside but is naff inside. I once heard that building described as "A Hymn to Vatican II" to which my (Roman) Catholic friend Martyn replied, "Yes, and a suitably discordant one."
Bahai Temple, Delhi: Better from the outside
But if the Bahai Temple is debatable in its architectural merit, the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness - i.e. the Hare Krishnas) Temple next door leaves no room for debate. It is quite simply the ugliest religious building that I've come across, some kind of Disneyland Hinduism which not only offends the eye but also offers a Vedic 3D Sound and Light Spectacular for only 200 rupees. Strangely, I did not buy a ticket.
Hideous (I mean the temple in the background!)
But after that the architecture got better. Safdarjang's Tomb is a 17th century example of Nawab Architecture which looks a bit like a mini Taj whilst Lodi Gardens are amazing. They're bascially the best city park on earth because in amongst all the beautifully laid-out (by the British) gardens are some incredible historical ruins from the pre-Mughal Lodi Period (15th century mostly). There were tombs and mosques and it was brilliant just to wander around (without having to pay) several world-class ruins that would be a major tourist draw anywhere else. Here though, they're par for the course.
A ruined mosque in Lodi Park
But spectacular as they all were, I was drawn away from them because at 18:00 Stoke City were live on Indian TV. To think, the boys famous all the way over here. It should have been the highlight of the day except that they lost to a crap Fulham side, missing a penalty en route. Oh well, there's always the cricket on the other side with the Aussies in real trouble against India. Please guys, hammer 'em bad. We need them demoralised for the Ashes!