Delhi India – December 2011

Jama Masjid Mosque
Jama Masjid Mosque
Our arrival
Our arrival
Busy in a side alley
Busy in a side alley
Bicycle taxis
Bicycle taxis
Learning the ropes
Learning the ropes
Prayer inside Jama Masjid
Prayer inside Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid water source
Jama Masjid water source
Relaxing and cool
Relaxing and cool
Wash drink contemplate
Wash, drink, contemplate
Finishing the job while the customer waits
Finishing the job while the customer waits
Squirrel gather scraps in between the benches
Squirrel gather scraps in between the benches
Maybe taking dad out for the day
Taking dad out for the day
Old Delhi gathering
Old Delhi gathering
Mobile phones for all
Mobile phones for all
Old Delhi
Old Delhi times 2
Traffic suspiciously mild
Traffic suspiciously mild
Cast nets on the side
Cast nets on the side and who are you
Men are from Mars!
Men are from Mars!
Ground level
Ground level
A visit to Karim's is a must when in Delhi
A visit to Karim’s is a must when in Delhi
Sikh family
Sikh family feeding their mouths and the squirrels 
http://www.karimhoteldelhi.com
http://www.karimhoteldelhi.com 
Destitute waiting for food
Destitute waiting for food
No fare power-nap
No fare = power-nap
All and sundry use the road
All and sundry use the road
Delhi at night 1
Delhi at night 1
Careful where you eat or you will meet "Delhi Belly"
Careful where you eat or you will meet “Delhi Belly”
Delhi at night 2
Delhi at night 2
The band that patrons started throwing cash notes at
The band that patrons started throwing cash notes at – seriously
The party really got going
The party really got going big time
We only find out later that dancing was banned in this bar
We only found out later that dancing was banned in this bar, but were not sorry for getting it going
Tasty treats at Karim's in Old Delhi
Tasty treats at Karim’s in Old Delhi – fresh and original 
After playing the tunes he needed a stiff Scotch
After playing the tunes he needed a stiff Scotch
Bamboo scaffolding
Bamboo scaffolding
Lord Hanuman
Lord Hanuman
Entrance 1
Entrance 1
Entrance 2
Entrance 2
On the road
On the road
On the road 2
On the road 2
Our party animal friends we met that night
Our party animal friends we met that night
Use your "dipper"
Use your “dipper”
I was a little amused to see that a goat was also catching a ride
I was a little amused to see that a goat was also catching a ride

This post about my visit to Delhi was inspired by another blog “Shankar Market, Old Delhi and the Weekend” – click, visit and see some more lovely photos with great colours.

Also see “Where the guys gives roses” by the same author.

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Varanasi

Whilst  reading THE CULTUREUR this afternoon, I came across the post SPIRITUAL CHAOS ON THE HARIDWAR GHATS ALONG THE GANGES RIVER.

I immediately thought of Varansi (calm and chaos) and this inspired me to pull out some photos I recorded there during my last trip to India in 2011/2012.

I first went to India in 2009/10: see related blog here and some other photos here.

I have inserted my photos above, below and in between the comment by Wikipedia that enlightens us as follows “Varanasi (Hindustani pronunciation: [ʋaːˈraːɳəsi] (listen)), also commonly known as BenaresBanaras (Banāras [bəˈnaːrəs] (listen)) or Kashi (Kāśī [ˈkaːʃi] (listen)), is a city on the banks of the Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (200 mi) southeast of the state capital Lucknow.

It is regarded as a holy city by Hindus and Jains, and holiest of the seven most sacred Hindu cities (Sapta Puri), of its ancient historic, cultural and religious heritage. Hindus believe that death at Varanasi can bring salvation.

Body being transported to a ghat for cremation

It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India.

Unfortunately many of its temples were subject to plundering and destruction by Mohammad Ghauri in the 12th century. The temples and religious institutions seen now in the city are mostly of the 18th century vintage.

The Kashi Naresh (Maharaja of Kashi) is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi and an essential part of all religious celebrations.

The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river’s religious importance.

The city has been a cultural and religious centre in North India for several thousand years and is one of the world’s most important religious centres with a history which transcends and unites most of the major world religions.

The Benares Gharanaform of the Indian classical music developed in Varanasi, and many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians resided or reside in Varanasi. Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath located near Varanasi.

Varanasi is today considered to be the spiritual capital of India.Here scholarly books have been written.

Ramcharitmanas was composed by Tulsidas here while there is the temple Tulsi Manas Mandir that is famous here.

In addition to this, the largest residential University of Asia, Benares Hindu University is located here.

People often refer to Varanasi as “the city of temples”, “the holy city of India”, “the religious capital of India”, “the city of lights”, “the city of learning”, and “the oldest living city on earth.”

Ghats in Varanasi are an integral complimentary to the concept of divinity represented in physical, metaphysical and supernatural elements.

All the ghats are locations on “the divine cosmic road,” indicative of “its manifest transcendental dimension.” Varanasi has at least 84 ghats.

Steps in the ghats (ghats are embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions) lead to the banks of River Ganges, including the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat and the Harishchandra Ghat (where Hindus cremate their dead).

Many ghats are associated with legends and several are now privately owned.Many of the ghats were built when the city was under Maratha control.

Marathas, Shindes (Scindias), Holkars, Bhonsles, and Peshwas stand out as patrons of present-day Varanasi.

Most of the ghats are bathing ghats, while others are used as cremation sites.

Flash not allowed at cremation ghat and my settings were off

Morning boat ride on the Ganges across the ghats is a popular visitors attraction. The miles and miles of ghats makes for the lovely river front with multitude of shrines, temples and palaces built “tier on tier above the water’s edge”.

The Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main and probably the oldest ghat of Varansi located on the Ganges, close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

It is believed that the god Brahma created it to welcome Shiva and he also sacrificed ten horses during Dasa -Ashwamedha yajna performed here.

Above the ghat and close to it, there are also temples dedicated to Sulatankesvara, Brahmesvara, Varahesvara, Abhaya Vinayaka, Ganga (the Ganges), and Bandi Devi which are part of important pilgrimage journeys.

A group of priests perform “Agni Pooja” (Worship to Fire) daily in the evening at this ghat as a dedication to Shiva, Ganga, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire), and the whole universe.

Special aartis are held on Tuesdays and on religious festivals. The Manikarnika Ghat is the Mahasmasana (meaning: “great cremation ground”) and is the primary site for Hindu cremation in the city. Adjoining the ghat, there are raised platforms that are used for death anniversary rituals.

Flash not allowed at cremation ghat and my settings were off

It is said that an ear-ring (Manikarnika) of Shiva or his wife Sati fell here. According to a myth related to the Tarakesvara Temple, a Shiva temple at the ghat, Shiva whispers the Taraka mantra (“Prayer of the crossing”) in the ear of the dead.

Fourth-century Gupta period inscriptions mention this ghat. However, the current ghat as a permanent river side embankment was built in the 1302 and has been renovated at least thrice.”

I also found out that kite flying (or fighting) was important in Varanasi ; but even more so in Jaipur where the youngsters and adults ran around madly after fallen kites.

Emergency repairs

Fun in the afternoon

Rooftops were a hive of activity 

She “shared” her puppies with me (rooftop of Suraj Guest House; the owner’s daughter)

Suraj Guest House is a good bet when looking for somewhere to stay

The owner was very helpful and accommodating – visit Suraj website here

No post about Varanasi would be complete if Ganga Fuji Restaurant was not mentioned. The owner Kailash asks that you design a “country of origin” poster for his wall

Lovely non-oily food and great entertainment 

Some uninformed person called the food bland. The owner cooks exactly what you ask for i.e. freaking hot spicy or mild like a cucumber

Free entertainment 

Bhai on drums!

Ganga Fuji was recommended by the owner of Suraj: good contacts usually recommend good contacts

Impromptu hair appointment 

Roadside food stall

Outskirts of Varanasi – Chinese Buddhist temple at Sarnath

Sarnath is where Buddha gave his first sermon.

It was a lovely break from the hustle and bustle of Varanasi, but we will leave all of that for another day & post.

Some related posts you may be interested in:

Durga Puja, the Worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga, Returns to Calcutta, India (part 1) 

A World of Prayer

A must watch documentary filmed at Varanasi:

Beyond

Andy’s veggie burgers

After a recent visit to McDonald’s, I thought I would test how good their veggie burger is by making my own.

The rear of the Imana Chakalaka soya mince gives an easy to follow recipe, although I pretty much did my own thing.

I added curry powder, dhania, cumin, mustard seeds, garlic, ginger and mixed herbs to rev up the flavour (buy from Spice Emporium for savings and a wide selection).

Onion rings were placed in between the raw patties; all on a glass casserole dish greased with olive oil.

My old faithful Weber was used to cook the patties using the indirect method.

Hickory wood chips were used to smoke flavour the patties with an artificial bacon flavour.

 

To finish off: Portuguese rolls, a slice of cheese, tomato, lettuce, low-fat salad dressing a good helping of Veri Peri of course!

My guinea pig in chief gave me an 8 out of 10 for effort and flavour, although I don’t think she has scored any previous meal higher than 7.

The patties tasted even better the next day!

Kara Nichha’s – A Taste of India in Westcliff Chatsworth

Now to start this post off properly; let’s understand that I am not friends with the owner. He did not offer me shares in the business or a free sandwich.

I love Indian food, food cooked with care and attention, value for money, deep tastes, tinges or splurges of chilli, bright colours, semi fat free, creamy but with no cream and did I forget to mention: value for money!

Outlets motivated solely by greed, who care less about what they are serving up (as long as the cash register rings) and who just don’t deserve a break; they seriously don’t deserve a break or support.

Yes, I am a little vocal about this subject because I am a fair cook (I can fry more than an egg) and don’t like wasting money.

So when I get served up a lump of sh!%$#*! or a few crumbs for many pennies, then I would rather go to the market, buy my own goodies at “cost” and cook a hearty tasty value for money real deal meal myself.

Now having heard the BIG rumours around town about  Kara Nichha’s value for money, I just had to go an investigate (three times now).

Could low cost + no meat = very good taste?

Without further delay, let’s zoom in with a Canon camera to all see what’s going on at a vegerterian palace.

Parking right outside

Don’t fall over – tea R2-00 and a quarter vegetable bunny (curry in quarter loaf of bread that has been scooped hollow) for R6-50 (PS – some idiot in Durban actually charges R30-00 for the same thing and it tastes terrible)

Big turnover of customers = fresh fresh food

Service is quick and ruthless – know what you want before getting served and leave with it in a minute or less

Choose your colour – choose your meal

Fresh bean & potato wrapped in a roti for R6-50! That is 0.78 US Dollar and lunch is done – creamy and tasty

Sweet meats deluxe

Some more treats and snacks

And more…

Breyani and dhall – yummy!

It’s so tasty you could drink it

Stop licking your lips and immediately head over to:

Kara Nichha’s – Westcliff
171 Florence Nightingale Drive
Durban 4092
South Africa
Phone number
031 401 2874