Saturday, March 10, 2012

Holi, Holi -- it's so Jolly!

March 8, 2012

We started to have colors on our faces and clothes at the India Gate. It was just weird that you know, Indian boys and also Indian families would like to have pictures with me and the others. And when I asked the boys why, the first time they asked to have the photo taken, they just said they wanted it. And we're like, oh, ok!

It was also nice coz the boys asked if we;d like to "play" Holi before actually putting dye powder stuff on our faces. I'm like, yeah sure!

The India Gate

March 8, 2012

The India Gate is a commemorative Monument built to honor the Indian soldiers who have fallen during the World War I and Afghan Wars. This is a very famous landmark in the heart of New Delhi. It's actually down the road from the Palace and Defense Buildings.

I told you it's foggy! We came here from the President's
Palace. The Parliament is on the left side of this road.

It's a famous spot for locals and tourists alike

Of course, photo op! (Taken by Amanda)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Defense Buildings and President's Palace

March 8, 2012

After Lodhi Gardens, we kind of started our tour with Uncle Sikh (with the turban). He actually shared some information about these places but I kinda forgot.  Hehe

Defense Building

Two massive defense buildings

Bada Gumbad at Lodhi Gardens

March 8, 2012

Opposite(-ish) the Sheesh Gumbad is the Bada Gumbad, also another tomb. This one, however, is a tomb and mosque complex.

I feel like I so belong in this pic! hehe (Taken by Kevin)

(Exact description): This imposing building, which is believed to be a gateway, dates from the time of the Lodi dynasty (1451-1526). Measuring 19 meters by 19 meters and 27 meters high, this is one of the biggest and finest examples of the Lodi period monuments in Delhi. A typical feature is that from the outside, the building appears to have two storeys. The main material used is grey quartzite with some other stones used for decorative touches--such as red sandstone on the doorways and a combination of red, grey and black stone on the facade. The interior is very plain, and the stone finish is un-plastered and mostly un-carved.

Sheesh Gumbad at Lodhi Gardens

March 8, 2012

Upon entering Lodhi Gardens, we passed by a bridge and  gate (Islamic-ish) before I beheld the sight of my first Tomb + Monument in India, the Sheesh Gumbad.

(Exact description on the marker): Though similar in shape to the Bada Gumbad, this building is somewhat different in ornamentation. The remains of glazed blue ceramic tiles on the outside give it the name Sheesh Gumbad (glass dome). It is likely that originally, the top half of the exterior was almost entirely covered in tiles. The chamber of this tomb, which measures 10 meters square, contains a number of graves but we are not sure who are the people buried here. Some historians have suggested that this is the tomb of the first Lodi Sultan Bahol Lodi who died in 1489. The ceiling of the dome is decorated with patterns in incised and painted plaster.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Essence of Holi

March 7, 2012

This was also the first time I've seen Indian dances, except for the ones performed by Rajie during PfC which may or may not count. (Peace babe!) 

Dance Performers for the Night
This was a peacock dance performed by a man and three women. At the end of the dance, they had a pyramid (as in cheerleading) formation and the guy on top spun around this basin that's filled with yellow-orange petals. Awesome! :)

After this dance, the next one I think was the one with the dancers throwing flower petals (as in piles of it) amongst themselves and the audience. Before the performance, the announcer/emcee was narrating (in English!) that people should celebrate the Holi festival and its colors in a natural way (as in flowers). Since in this day and age, chemical coloring agents are easily available, it is important for people to be reminded that the colors ultimately came from nature and that this should be honored. Or something like that. :)

Pre-Holi Party at the India Habitat Center

March 7, 2012

In the Occasion of the Holi Festival

Can you see the color match from the previous photo? Our neighboring Habitat Center hosted an event full of music (free) and food on the occasion of the Holi Festival. Thanks to Alan for discovering the event while he's looking for a bank.

It was actually a nice way of enjoying Indian music and dances. The performer on the stage is Dr. Sajeeta Gaur, who is apparently famous based on the paparazzi-type attention she got after getting off the stage.

After Sajeeta, another goup of singers and dancers followed. Here's a clip of one of their performances:

Another performance is in the next post!

Good evening, New Delhi (ISI Rooftop)

March 7, 2012

Good evening, New Delhi! Well, at least the part which can be seen from the rooftop. :)

This is the same building as in the morning photo from the rooftop. Only in the night and full view. A portion of the India Habitat Centre is so colorful. Next post shows why.

Sarojini Nagar Market

March 7, 2012

Shopping Time!!!

Since our language lessons, both for Hindi and for Indian sign language, were done early and as the Holi Festival is coming, we decided to go to the Sarojini Nagar Market to get some stuff done (like photos and visit to the chemist aka pharmacist) and shop for clothes especially for the Holi celebrations. I got myself a white Kurti with black floral patterns, the closest thing I got to a plain white shirt. The market is much like Baclaran in the Philippines and Ben Tanh in Vietnam. To be shameless is the best (Sid, ca. October 2011) when it comes to haggling and bargaining. Kevin's so good at it!

Food Training

March 7, 2012

Clockwise; Dal (lentils), alu (potato-based dish with salty green
leafy vegetables), spicy beans, chawal (rice) and salad (cucumber,
radish, tomato and carrots)

As I've said, I am not familiar with Indian dishes and so is my palate and tummy. So, through our lunch (free) and dinner (Rs. 84) at ISI, I am slowly training myself to savor and delight in Indian cuisine. Except for the first night, I'm able to finish off everything I put in my plate already. They key, I found out, is to taste each dish first before getting the desired serving.

Officially, the first Indian meal

March 6, 2012

L-R Row 1: Chawal (rice),   roti (flat bread), yoghurt,  masala (gravy, spicy),
dal (lentils), alu (potato-based dish), salad, and chicken curry

As Rinky said, it is not prohibited to eat as many as you want as long as you finish the food on your plate. So yes, you already know what I did. :) I'm not really used to eating spicy food but I am hell bent on making myself eat, breathe and live India. Bring it on!

Odd One in the Bunch

March 6, 2012

Welcome morning at the VSO Office

Yep, I am the lone Filipina and Asian in the group of volunteers for this intake. My co-volunteers came from UK and Ireland. So yeah, nosebleed mode in trying to get a grip of their accent. But it's cool. Maybe I'd pick up a thing or two about accents. Hehe. Introductions (L-R): Amanda and Juliet to Orissa, Angela to Siliguri, me to Mumbai, Chris to stay in New Delhi, Kevin to Kolkatta, Sue to Puri, and Rosie to Ranchi. Alan, the one who took the photo, will also stay in New Delhi. 

VSO Office Building

March 6, 2012

VSO Office Building

The Office (C-8, Gate 15, Vasant Kunj) is a 45-minute car ride from the ISI. From ISI to here, we finally had a glimpse of what New Delhi is really like--cars, taxis, tuktuk, people, beggars, saris, sawakamis, buildings, slums, and yes, cows. :)

Sai Baba Temple from the top

March 6, 2012

Sai Baba Temple as seen from the rooftop of the Indian Social Institue (Training) Building
We haven't entered the Sai Baba Temple yet (I'm also not sure if it's allowed for us to enter) but we can see it from the rooftop of the ISI training building whenever we take our break from language lessons and in-country orientation (ICO) sessions

Good morning, New Delhi!

March 6, 2012

Good morning, New Delhi! At the Indian Social Institute (Residence) rooftop
It's quite foggy here in New Delhi. Well, maybe it's also coz of the smog but yeah, it feels like Baguio in the morning and is becoming Manila in the afternoon--sunny and hot but with a cool touch of wind to it.

The Arrival

March 5, 2012

I don't know what these hand positions meant but yeah, it's so Namaste-ish! :p 

Arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport (relatively new airport) at almost midnight. Long flight but glad to have arrived safely. Hello, India!

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