Doodle While You Work

Another none travel post sorry!

 

However recently been trying to restart my love for art. It would be great if peeps started to help boost my confidence and interest in the subject again! Below are just a few doodles that I currently have on sale as cards for £2.50 each 🙂 Or if wanted as prints of any size.

 

If you have any interest let me know!

 

Liv x

Advertisements

Snippet of Berlin

 

This is only a short snippet about the city as the last time I visited was when I was 17yr (7yrs now!). Yet it is somewhere I would probably head back to for the party and social side having down the cultural.

My trip here was part of a school trip whilst completing a History A-level, and there is enough history here to entertain any history buff. The main aspect that I seemed to visit was regarding modern history. You have of course museums from the World Wars, Holocaust and Cold War.

 

Places to visit:

Some of these places can be quite emotional but I found them also very powerful. It is something that has shaped the Western world significantly and world as a whole. Having had family in camps, the evacuation process of WWII and RAF during the Cold War it helped bring to reality the scale and impact they had. If you’re going even for a social visit to the city I would recommend trying to squeeze a visit to the memorials even if briefly. It is a lot different from reading about it online.

On a more positive note, this city is very welcoming and offers a lot more. I visited in January so as youd expect it was freezing! Wrap up well is my advice! On the other hand I have friends who have been in the summer and found it extremely hot, so look into the weather beforehand so you can pack appropriately.

Berlin is also known for being an artistic/urban scene city with murals, sculptures and graffiti everywhere. Unfortunately I don’t have photos anymore but keep an eye open for hidden treasures

The Berlin Tower and Parliament building were great places to view the city. The dome in the Parliament was glass that viewed over the city. It was open though so wrap up if going in winter. The tower is probably the best place to get a view of the whole city. Standing…. Over the city it is perfect night or day. We went up at night and the city was beautiful all lit up!

So this was a short snippet, and a city I plan to visit again as it has been a while, but also I have hardly started to explore it. I would love to hear of your experiences or suggestions so that I can start to plan my next trip there!

 

Enjoy

 

Liv x

Belfast Bus Tours

I have had family in Northern Ireland all my life and flown in and out of Belfast International airport since before I could walk. But now that my parents live up the cost, I’ve finally started exploring the country properly. And the weather this week here is perfect! I say that sat in the garden sunbathing with the potential I could get a tan! aha

Belfast:

IMG_4040
I haven’t fully explored this place yet for more than a bit of shopping but I had time to kill yesterday whilst my mum was working so took a little tour on one of the open tour buses.

The Tour:

There are two tour companies (that I am aware of) that do full tours of the city:
the nationwide company City Sight Seeing with the bright red buses, and City Tours Belfast which is a smaller company. I took the latter because they currently have a deal on Groupon (voucher website) that will save you money of the tour. You’re looking at around £11.00 for an adult ticket with both companies but if you visit Groupon you can currently find a voucher for £6.50 a ticket. You will need to print out the ticket though (there is a photo shop near the start which does it for cheap in you’re travelling and this is tricky!).
Both tours start at the same place and there are guides for both companies majority of the time who are pleasant/will help you to the correct bus. The company I went with has a darker red bus. The start of the tour is on High Street, which is literally around the corner from City Hall.
I found this was a great way to get a look around a wider scope of the city but also able to learn where things were and where I may want to visit next. For example the Belfast Castle is set up on the hill overlooking the city but also on a good day like I had, I could see all the way to Scotland over the see!
My tour guide (Alan) was very helpful, funny yet modest. I find this important when touring a city with a past of such cultural and religious unrest, as he wasn’t biased either way, yet described all points of interest with just the right of info for someone new to the city. I would suggest that if English isn’t your first language or you struggle with the Belfast accent (even I struggled and I have family/friends from the country!) that you mention it the driver before starting as they do have headphones for taped commentary if needed. Saying that, the accent is great and adds to the experience!

Things to bear in mind:

  • Take warm clothing, even if its v sunny as it gets windy/cold up top and there is a small segment where you go on a fast/busy road (motorway)
  • Belfast is a city with strong religious roots so there are a lot of religious places/buildings/communities and if you do stop to visit try to remember this and be respectful
  • If you do hop off the bus to visit something, remember to take a map or where the stop is. It wasn’t always that obvious and the bus may not stop for long if you don’t make it clear you’re there
  • Pick up one of the maps as well for discount entrance to some of the attractions
  • The tour (summer route) takes approx 1.5hrs but can be longer at rush hour times!

Prices:

  • Adult £12.50
  • Student £10.50
  • Family £31.00
  • Child 5-12 £6.00 (under 5 free)

Timetable (based on summer schedule):

  • 1st tour 9.45am
  • last tour 4.45pm
  • every 30mins

 

Stops/Points of Interest:

  • Start  Albert clock/Custom House
  • Odyssey Pavillion  W5 Science Experience
  • Titanic Belfast  Visitors Centre
  • St Georges Anglican Church
  • St Anne’s cathedral
  • Cavehill Country Park
  • Belfast Castle  Gift Shop, Gardens
  • Belfast Adventure Playground  Hillwalk’s and Gardens
  • Antrim Road
  • Water Works  Scene of WWII Blitz
  • Crumbling Road  Jail/Courthouse/Distillery 
  • Full Belfast Peace Wall
  • Shankhill Road  Remembrance Gardens and Loyalist Wall Murals 
  • Falls Road  Bobby Sands Mural, Sinn Fein HQ, Clondard Monastery/ Home of Peace Talks
  • Sandy Row  Day’s Hotel/George Best Mural 
  • Lisburn Road
  • Queen’s University  Botanical Gardens/Ulster Museum
  • Shaftesbury Square  Benedicts/Laverys 
  • Europa Bus Station
  • Jurys Hotel  Spires Mall
  • Finish
Now it is a great city and I will definitely be heading back either for shopping or sight-seeing, but I would suggest splitting it into segments. It is unlikely you’ll see everything in one day, and if you try that I can’t imagine it’ll be much fun! So look online for deals and tips first, but I highly recommend that if you have the time and weather hop onto one of the buses as it’s an easy way to see key places and plan your visit.
IMG_4001
Look out for more on Belfast and I hope the weather is as good for you!
Enjoy!
Liv x

My Friend Rachel

Big apologies to everyone that I have missed a few weeks on here! Busy at work and weekends clogging/tiring the mind!

Last weekend though I was reunited with one of my best friends but also a true hero to me. This isn’t a travel blog I know but I just wanted to share a little bit about my life outside of traveling, something that keeps me going so I can travel etc.

18156419_10209507821475791_920244665128890354_oWe first met just over 2 years ago when one of friends from rowing wanted to introduce us. She could see the struggle I was having with my newly diagnosed epilepsy at rowing but throughout life as well. as a group of rowing friends we went out to a little quaint pub near me, and the moment we met it was like two old friends talking. I hope she agrees! Haha, well I know she does as we still inspire each other just as much 2 years down the line (and she talks to me!).

Now Rach has a little back story which isn’t mine to tell, but I will say that she is a great advocate for her sport and abilities. Known quite well in the local community you maybe recognise her as the Gold Paralympic medalist from Rio in the single scull (rowing) event, but a past Paralymic medalist ins hand cycling at London and Bejing. When I found this out I was in au of her! But her kind and modest attitude opened up and she brushed it aside focusing on me that day. She has been such an inspiration overtime Ive been in hospital, with every seizure, every trial at rowing, work, LIFE…she has been there for me. I may be away and ditzy so feel that I haven’t always been there for her sometime….but having recently watched her through another trial in life I am even more amazed at proud of you Rach!

16114502_10208698335639151_8998006193507757468_nI’ve been lucky enough to have stayed out of hospital for 3 months, touch wood, but Rach was back with another surgery. Months, MONTHS! she has been recovering in hospital with the visits from family and friends keeping her going. I have seen her many times and lucky enough to see her breakout as such to come and christen the new adaptive boat at the club, come for the annual Guildford RC Spring Ball, and spend her birthday with her. But luckiest of all I got to witness her opening her MBE! I know it has been a difficult time stuck in hospital for you Rach but it is nearly over and you have such events as receiving you MBE and joining me back on the river our adaptive rowing boat! ahah

I may not be physically disabled the majority of times, but I don’t see disabilities, just abilities. And Rach as super abilities! She has given me my hope and confidence back many times when I was sat in hospital being told I’d had another life threatening seizure, being told my medications weren’t working, being told I may never find a cause or solution…we all need someone like that and I have found mine!
I have very good friends and family yes, I am lucky! And I know this is a very long line about a best friend. But to have met and loved the girl behind the Paralympian I am truelly honoured.

IMG_3938I was lovely see each other at the GRC Ball last week, and bring a calm to my life amongst the chaos. I hope you’re not mad at me for this little rant Rach aha!

14449806_10157430658515587_2589577559453908030_nNever give up on you dreams. Mine is to travel the world, and although work and funds my stop me currently, health isn’t going to stop me. How would I get stories like my trip to an Indian hospital otherwise? No point living within the lines!

Ps. I hope you don’t hate me for this Rach!

Enjoy!

Liv x

Hospital Indian Style

Hospital in India

This was an experience. I can sit here and laugh at it now, but at the time…well it was interesting to say the least! Having been in that situation, this is why I always buy my insurance even if it is stupidly expensive.

A little history about me:

At 21 I was diagnosed with general Tonic Clonic epilepsy. Not the best thing to be told. Basically it caused me to lose my driving license and caused havoc in my day to day life, putting me in hospital majority of times. I never had and still don’t have a cause or trigger several years down the line, but this hasn’t stopped me traveling despite the concern and worries of my family and friends. I’m just too stubborn for that! But don’t want to miss out on the joys on traveling just in case I have a seizure. This is why I ended up in hospital in India.

image1 (1)

Hospital Selfie

It isn’t the first time I have had seizures abroad, I was just lucky enough to be in a more seizure friendly environment. In Central America I had one whilst skyping family, literally 10 minutes after returning from a hike up a volcano. My latest trip to Sri Lanka, I returned early to the hotel as I felt ‘funny’ and all I remember after that is waking up on my room floor, again thankfully unharmed. As no one witnessed these though I don’t know the extent of the problems that could have unfurled.

Most of the time I am able to just sleep it off, however always the drama queen I ended up having a problem on a boat, on the Ganges during a prayer ceremony. Yup, nothing much at all!

That was a problem though. India is crazy anyway, but there were hundreds down at the river, a market at the top, and the steps down at rather steep. So basically I had to be carried up the steps in a blanket, and put into a tuk-tuk lying across the lap of 2 of my friends with 2 others with the drive in the front. So 6 people crammed into a little three wheeled car, weaving frantically through the streets and markets of Varanasi. To add to the comedy whilst being carried up the steps I was apparently blessed by several holy men whilst others tried to sell us nick knacks and food. I didn’t get an ambulance as it would’ve taken over an hour, slightly different from the UK (definitely more grateful of the NHS service), so try not to injure yourself anywhere too remote! I was also lucky enough that I had a GP traveling with me.

The hospital:

Now I am used to and aware of the procedure for a serious seizure from admissions in the UK, and this was a very different experience. It was a private hospital so the standard was better than the average hospital. On arrival I was taken to ‘A&E’ which was a small room with a few beds and some doctors. No scrubs or sterile environment. Here whilst on the phone to a very worried mother in the UK I had another problem, so I suppose it was a good thing they took me to hospital. Can say that I think I gave my mum a few new grey hairs that day!

Next I was taken to have my CT scan and chest x-ray, but where in western  countries there are all the standards of hiding behind screens, warnings of radiation etc., I shared a very awkward moment with a doctor in is knitted jumper holding the x-ray plate up for my chest scan, inches from each others faces. Bit awkward. Nothing wrong found but in a country where insurance will pay for a lot of treatment I was admitted and put on a drip in ICU. This was the main part that stayed with me…

ICU is not something I will forget soon. I stayed for only one night but if you’re looking for privacy and dignity, I didn’t get that experience. I am grateful for all their help, but I seemed to be the only one awake and apart from the doctors (who only came at certain times) who spoke English. This gave me plenty of time to check out my environment. On the ceiling was a lovely arc of dried blood, don’t really want to know how that happened, the electricity went on and off because of the rain, taking several minutes at time to kick back into life on the generators and there was no privacy. The language barrier definitely didn’t help when I needed the toilet either as when using a bed pan, the nurse did evening for me. Literally. And then when I could get up the toilet was in what looked like a broom cupboard with 2 inches of water on the floor, mops and buckets for decor. I was an experience I’ll say that!

I was lucky enough that I had a GP with me as I discharged myself early knowing that there was no point staying and she confirmed everything was OK. If you find yourself in a similar situation though I would read the fine print of any travel insurance you may have though. If you go against the advice of the doctors etc., it will make you insurance void. I took the risk but it is a big one especially if you have flights to catch. I only took it because I had an 18hr sleeper train to get back to Dehli, which if I had missed I wouldn’t have made my flight. So think carefully before rushing into anything. From my experience in a foreign hospital though you really appreciate what you have at home. The standard is lower yet it is something to laugh about now.  As I sat on my plane home, CT scan and x-ray literally in hand to show my neurologist at home, you can’t say it’s something that most people experience. Being lifted up the steps from the Ganges in a homemade sling, blessings from holy men, crammed into a tuk-tuk (legs and head hanging out the sides) and lying in a bed where dignity is a sparsely used word, it sounds as if I have made it up. It isn’t though, and now that I sit here healthy I can share my experience

image2 (1)

Survivor! (the steps I was carried up)

What I take from this:

  • You can travel with disabilities
  • Appreciate what you have
  • Buy travel insurance no matter what! (I paid approx £350 for a year!)
  • Look at every event as a positive experience/memory

Whether you have a different level of ability or not, DO NOT be put off traveling. At least I have a funny story to tell people now! Can’t say I’ll be rushing back though!

Liv x

Pushkar

This place was quite different from all the other places that I visited in Rajasthan but also India as a whole. It was a very quiet, quaint and spiritual place, but not necessarily just for religious people. To me it seemed the perfect place for those alternative/hippy minded people, and a great place to have break from the chaos around the rest of the country or just life in general.

Now one of my favourite parts had to be the trek up to the temple on the hill. This does require a bit of effort as it sits at the top of a few hundred very uneven steps. And they are steep at times so bring good walking shoes with grip (trainers should be fine though). What is waiting at the top is amazing though and although I will try to describe it, seeing it in person is so much more.

Saraswati Temple:

12998641_10206624680119059_1734778977697651498_n.jpg

Waiting…

One of the best times is by far sunrise, which may require you to wake up early (we started our journey at 5am). The steps took about 30-40mins (with a small 20min walk from the road) to climb but I would factor in at least an hour so you have time to catch your breath and appreciate the hike and sunrise without blacking out! If you’re not quite the athletic type it may be slightly longer again. I’m not saying don’t go, but as I remember I wish that I had left more time as the sun rose earlier than we expected so we had to run some of the way! At the top though is a small temple often with a solitary monk watching over/praying, the temple overlooking the slumbering town and countryside beneath. You aren’t allowed to talk inside but the open arches surrounding it give plenty of room to view the sunrise. Around the corner from the temple is a ledge were you can sit to watch the rise instead if you feel staying quiet or a temple isn’t for you.

IMG_0802

Approx 6am at the top

IMG_0804

Just chilling in my puff

IMG_0808

IMG_0803

View before sunrise

Now I know I said I had to run some of the steps, but in the end the sun actually took a while to show itself, and after sitting on the ledge for 20 mins admiring the dawn we got up to go and get a cup of chia tea. I don’t know if this is always there but just like most places there was someone making a brew. This of course was when the sun decided to rise so we pelted it into the temple (shoes off) and watched in awe, cup in hand as the sun (a deep orange) rose over the mountains. It was amazing. I am not that religious/spiritual as previous said but this was definitely enough to make anyone feel something. It made me feel so at peace and blessed to witness such a simple part of nature and time.

I would suggest taking with you:

  • Good grip/walking shoes
  • A jacket or coat (before the sun’s up it can be very cold)
  • Some money for the tea!
  • Water for the walk

The town:

IMG_0783

The Holy Lake

Wrapped around a small (holy) lake, the town is full of small winding streets with colourful buildings, shops and homes. Something you’ll definitely notice is the beautiful blues that majority of buildings are painted which at colour to the town no matter when or what the weather is. This is spiritual town and is significant to devout Hindu’s who are said to at least make the journey here once in their life. The lake was said to have formed when Brahma (a god) dropped a lotus flower, and the town is home to one of the few Brahma temple’s in the world. This explains why you may see a lot of religiously dressed Hindu’s or hear chants/prayers around the town. Yet it is a background hum that you probably wouldn’t notice unless you look for it. It feels almost like a background song you’d expect at a spa.

Pushkar is a great and balanced mix of tourist and locals, with a long bazaar stretching down the middle. I found this a great place to find jade, buying a few necklaces for myself, and the bartering wasn’t too difficult here either. Another thing that Pushkar may be known for is a magic milkshake, and all I will say is to be weary if you try this local cuisine. I personally didn’t try it and alcohol/drugs are band in this district. So although there are loop wholes and may be written on the internet as a must try I wouldn’t rush into anything. And that’s coming from my tour guide who’s been there many times with tourists from all countries…

IMG_0773

Colours by the Lake

IMG_0780

Me looking happy after my 5am trek

IMG_0785

Local music

IMG_0794

Hindu gods

IMG_0791IMG_0782IMG_0787IMG_0789

IMG_0797

Traditional flower/sweet necklaces hanging in the sunrise

So if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax Pushkar has a lot to offer. From temples, restaurants/café, markets/bazaars, I loved the atmosphere and it seemed the perfect traveller’s paradise. The only thing is that it is relatively far into Rajasthan and may take a while to get there. Saying that there are plenty of town’s to visit along the way. After all it is part of greatest Hindu Pilgrimages!

Liv x

Staying in Bikaner and Camel Safari

Bikaner:

There’s not too much to the town, it is small and dry place sat in the middle of the desert but I found that it was a quiet (by Indian standards) and friendly place. The hotel we stayed in instantly reminded me of the Marigold Hotel film, and was relatively cheap if you’re on a budget. I know this was included within my tour, but if I were to visit again then it would be one of the first places I’d consider.

The Hotel:

Family run it has been in the family for a few generations so they know what they’re doing. Surrounded by a high wall and castle like towers, you enter through an arch and into a quiet courtyard. In the reception, the walls and surfaces are covered with Indian patterns and figures. Every room is a different size and shape with what looked like antique décor. I did find that the rooms were a bit dark at times, especially as the sun set relatively early, and some of the fittings and utilises were a bit worn. However, if you’re looking for a budget hotel it is definitely more quirky and friendly then your standard place.

Other benefits were the quaint little garden, roof top balcony and pool. So if you don’t fancy venturing out for the day, you can relax within the peaceful walls of the hotel.
Personally I didn’t venture too far round the town, but one of our outings was to the local market. Here our tour guide set a challenge to see who could barter and get the most vegetables for 100Rs. And it was a surprisingly a lot! This isn’t much money (£ wise), and bartering at the local market is a great way to delve into the local culture without standing out as a tourist. Had a lot of fun doing this! Even if you don’t need veg, visiting a local market, more suited for the locals rather than tourists is great fun!

Camel Safari:

IMG_0337

So why did we need so much veg? Well the next part of my trip was a camel safari; the main reason we stayed in Bikaner. If you don’t like camels or heights, this is probably not going to be your idea of fun as you spend several hours on them. It is normal to have to travel by car/jeep slightly into the desert where you will find your guides and ride awaiting. It’s all very authentic and slightly touristy, but you get to ride into the desert where there’s no cars, roads or thousands of people. If you’re lucky you might spot some wildlife (snakes, rabbits/hares, rats etc.). The most I saw was some eagles and a farmer with his goats, so nothing too exciting.
I would warn as well that health and safety is a little more slack in India, so be careful; the camels are high and unpredictable. Unfortunately one of my friends on the tour fell off the camel as it stood up too soon. She wasn’t seriously damaged but rode in the cart instead and I rode terrified for the next few hours.

Once we reached our destination though it was great. We met some local farmers who took all our vegetables and made a local curry and some fried veg for our meal. And it tasted DELICIOUS! Plus some local alcohol (very strong). Here we spent the night around a bonfire in some tents. It is basic so don’t expect 5* accommodation, but it’s definitely and experience you won’t get in the UK!

Things to bear in mind:

  • There won’t be toilets, going au natural
  • Wear long sorts or trousers as your legs with rub against the camel/saddle
  • Take a hat, water and sun cream even if you ‘never burn’ as it is a long time in strong sun/heat with no shade
  • Although it may be hot in the day, the temp drops quickly and a lot in the night so take layers

Liv x

The Temple of Rats

Sorry it’s been over a week since my last post, but here’s another clip from my India trip. And another one of my favourites…

The Temple of Rats…

IMG_0400.JPGWarning: don’t like rats? Don’t go!!

No this was a weird place. Having seen it on National Geographic as a kid I needed to go. It’s not really something you forget! This temple is pretty much what it says on the tin. FULL of rats. Dead and alive. This sounds pretty disgusting but the rats are seen as holy animals/spirits so may are dead from natural causes. People aren’t going in and purposely killing of the rats like in most places around the world. To date there is something around 25,000 rats residing here. Yes 25,000, that isn’t a typo.

 

Where?

Found in Deshnoke 30km outside Bikaner, it’s in the middle of the desert and not really much around. So unless you’re staying in the town it is a bit of a trek. Even if you’re staying in Bikaner then it is still about a 30-50min drive depending on how fast your driver is. As it is a local attraction and attracting locals and tourist from all over the country there are plenty of methods to get there. Worth it though if youre looking for something different, into your temples and to get a look at the weirder side of Indian culture.

The Legend:

Legend has it that Laxman, Karni Mata’s stepson (or the son of one of her storytellers), drowned in a pond in Kapil Sarovar in Kolayat Tehsil while he was attempting to drink from it. Karni Mata implored Yama, the god of death, to revive him. First refusing, Yama eventually relented, permitting Laxman and all of Karni Mata’s male children to be reincarnated as rat.

Now these aren’t my own words and in local culture this may vary. Another version describes how an army of 20,000 deserted a nearby battle and came running to Deshnoke. Here Karni Mata spared their lives despite their sin of desertion. She did turn them into rats though and offered the temple as a place to stay…hence the thousands of rats present to this day. grateful they then said they’d forever serve her.

There are also a few superstitions that are interesting to know before you enter. I remember walking out the temple to have a rat run across my foot, only to be launched into the air as I tripped over it. What surprised me more though was the reaction of those around me. I expected to be scolded for accidentally kicking one of the sacred animals; however it is supposed to be good luck if a rat passes over your feet or body. Can’t say I’ll be doing that again! Another superstition is the white rats. The legend behind the white rats is that these are the manifestations of Karni Mata or her sons. Now if you see one of these, this is a true blessing! Out of the thousands of rats there aren’t many. We were lucky enough to see one…so overall I had a pretty blessed trip to the temple! If you’d prefer to keep a wide distance between you at the rats though you can buy food to offer to the rats, and leave this in the temple (don’t need to put it in their mouths).

Things to remember:

Remember to take hand gel as obviously there are tonnes of rats! Also you have to be barefoot like most temples but I would recommend taking a pair of socks you don’t mind throwing away…you will be stepping in a lot of rat pee etc. There are places to wash your feet outside but again this water may not be that clean.

So this was a site I wanted to tick of my bucket list and can say I won’t forget or regret seeing. It is weird but at the same time wonderful. Heed my word when I say if you don’t like rats at all, don’t go. There are thousands! Have fun!

IMG_0388Liv x

Gandhi’s House (Delhi)

A trip to Gandhi’s…

This is a must see for the history tourist, but also culturally important. Most people have at least heard of Gandhi, so why not visit the place where he spent his last days. It’s nothing fancy but a simple and humbling memorial to one of the most inspiring people to walk this earth. After all Gandhi wasn’t into all the riches and luxuries that money brought so it makes sense!

Based in New Delhi, this again is a very peaceful spot and I found that it was quiet despite being in a city. Just sitting down in the gardens was so peaceful, (just what i needed after a very long flight) and great for the mind!

Inside the museum:

  • Gandhi’s preserved room and basic belongings (i.e.. glasses, sandals)
  • Gardens where he took his daily public walks
  • Museum dedicated to the life and works of Gandhi
  • Martyr’s Coloumn- the spot were Gandhi was shot
It’s an easy to get to place. Would recommend a tuk-tuk if on a budget as plenty around and cheap (most short journeys approx 100-300RS). Just ask for Gandhi Smriti Museum
IMG_0240IMG_0239
Useful links:
Enjoy!
Liv x

The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

 

IMG_0309I am not that religious but this is one of my favourite places to visit in Delhi. It is a busy and crazy place but it also brings everyone together from all walks of life : tourists, business men, politicians, working people, the homeless…you name it! When I happened to be there the German football team even turned up! I only know this as we had a german guy on the tour who soundly been came very surprised and excited!
This place is a definite sight to see whilst visiting Delhi and that isn’t just my opinion; it has been voted among the top tourist and pilgrimage spots in Delhi.

Facts about the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib:

  • One of the most prominent Sikh houses of worship in Delhi
  • Situated near Connaught Place, New Delhi on Baba Kharak Singh Marg
  • It is instantly recognisable by its golden dome and tall flagpole
  • Thousands visit everyday
  • A public Gurdwaras kitchen that anyone can serve/eat in
It is definitely a very impressive site from the moment you arrive. It towers above the noisy streets and markets of Delhi, yet is tranquil as you enter. You would hardly notice that you were in the city! As mentioned above it has distinct golden domes, a large flagpole holding the sikh symbol but also a mesmerizing pool of water sits nestled in the grounds.
All visitors must be barefoot and heads covered. Entering, we passed through a cleansing pool underfoot and through into the temple. There you can visit the temple or just delve in the hum of religious chants, visitors and the distant life of the city. After visiting the temple itself I would definitely visit the kitchens before exiting…
IMG_0321

Making chapatis 

The Gurdwara Kitchen. Sceptical at first but after listening to our tour guide about the Sikh faith and how those of all faiths, races, walks of life are welcomed into the kitchen to partake, I started to see the kindness of this faith. Now this is a top experience but it is not for the faint hearted. I don’t mean that in a negative manner, just be aware that if you want to join for the meal you will have to race locals for a seat/entry to the hall. Theres not much order, apart from a blessing before entering; worth watching even if you don’t speak the language. Also you will be requested to take your shoes off and wear a head covering.

Inside there are rows of carpet on the floor to sit on and don’t be alarmed if it gets a bit cosy. Here you’ll be given a tray and that’s most likely to be it. As we were part of a tour we were given some cutlery too, but if you’re alone don’t expect this as it is normal to eat with your hands. You will be served promptly with food from the kitchen. Nothing too fancy but authentic and tasty local food i.e.. dal, chapatis, rice, vegetable curries (all vegetarian). You are welcome to as much as you want and they will keep serving you until you are full. Just bear in mind that it is seen as an insult to leave food.
One of the best aspects however is the preparation of the food. Visiting the kitchens is a must for this tour. It appears slightly like a basic factory when you enter; hot steamy and noisy. Yet it is run all with the help from volunteers. This means that anyone can help. Even you. Yes I would highly recommend getting hands on. Personally a few of us got the opportunity to help make the chapatis and although we didn’t speak the same language as the ladies helping (and my chapatis were questionable), everyone was so welcoming and positive, you’ll leave on cloud nine!

Things to remember:

You will be requested to wear a head covering and remove your shoes. If you go with a tour guide, they will provide you with a head band/clothe and safe place to store your shoes. If you venture alone, I would recommend finding somewhere to store your shoes (there is a free shoe storing room) or wear something you wouldn’t miss if it went missing.
With this in mind the tours are a good way to also learn about the basics of the religion and site/temple. Prior to entering we were given a talk and able to ask questions with local members of the faith.
Women in particular try to be respectful and not wear anything too revealing. I would recommend taking a scarf to cover head/shoulders at least or wrap around your waist if wearing shorts. Men may also be asked to cover up too i.e.. wearing vest tops, shorts.
Finally remember to enjoy yourself! You don’t have to be religious, I found this experience more to do with the culture and character of local people from every walk of life. It is inspiring to see how people can leave their differences at the door/gates and join together whilst here. You’ll definitely leave with a smile.
Enjoy!
Liv x