If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you must be familiar with Blogging Marathon I do every month. This group started by Srivalli during 2011 started as a motivation for bloggers to blog frequently. We started with 30 days of blogging, then the pattern changed into three posts a week and there are also month long marathons during April and September. Though this group started like any other group, it has become a close knit family after some time. When it was 25th week, there was a meet arranged in Ahmadabad which unfortunately I couldn’t attend. Then came the 50th meet, which I attended for three days and loved every minute of it. If you want to read about my experience, then read my Day1, Day 2 and Day 3 posts on the meet.
And the preparations started for 75th week before 6 months. Delhi was decided as the venue and Vaishali took care of all the preparations. We did a lots of discussions, Valli and Vaishali came up with the colour code and we started our shopping way back. Flight tickets were booked, train tickets were booked, Sruti got her permission from her teacher, and what not. We were so excited to meet everyone and the days passed on very fast. This was our first flight journey and Sruti didn’t want to miss it out. We were so excited about the journey and hubby came to Chennai to send us off. Even my younger brother came to send us off.
Photo Credit : Valli
When Valli and Veena arrived at the airport, we had our breakfast together. They ordered sandwiches for them and a salad for me (yes, I was on diet even on that day) When we boarded the flight ( which took so long with all the formalities) me and Sruti had butterflies in our stomach. Thank God, we got aisle seats but I could see so many tensed faces in the flight. But we still enjoyed it.
Photo Credit : Valli
These are the eight bloggers who met on the very first day. PJ brought her son Sid with her and the first day Sruti and Sid were so reserved but they went on to become very close after that. There will be so many photos down in this post. And I have tried so many collages as posting all the pictures in a single post doesn’t seem possible.
Vaishali, Preeti, and Ritu were waiting for us in the Delhi airport and we all waited for PJ and Sowmya to arrive. Preeti who is from Delhi arranged for the food. This is what we had. I had a mixed salad again and others had paratha and chole chat.
When everyone arrived we left Delhi for Mathura and Vrindavan. On the way we bought Pakoras from Sarojini nagar pakora shop. Valli went to purchase while we stayed in the bus. Then some one mentioned about the fellow who uses his hand to remove pakoras from hot oil is there in the shop and we got curious. So we went in search of him, but sadly the fellow who was frying the pakoras was using a large ladle. We came back sad. I still didn’t have the pakoras and carried on my diet.
When we first started planning for the trip, Vaishali wanted me to bring a chocolate cake to taste during our trip to Agra. So I made two chocolate cakes and made a batch of orange infused ganache for the trip. I also frosted the cake in the moving bus. Though it doesn’t look great it tasted so nice and the entire cake was gone in seconds.
We reached Vrindavan by 8 pm and even then the streets were so busy. We went to the Shri Bankey Bihari Mandir to see the aarti. While Preeti was leading us, we followed her religiously. At one point she was so fast and we had a tough time catching her up. And also we found Vaishali and Valli missing. Somehow when we reached the temple, Preeti went in search of them. They got to the temple and Preeti was missing. We were all so tensed and after some time Preeti returned back.
The streets of Vrindavan are filled with people, dogs, cows and monkeys. Cows, monkeys and dogs frightened Sruti so much and she was in the verge of tears. Finally we went inside the temple and the last arti of the day was happening. We had a wonderful darshan of Lard Krishna. Then while returning back we did a little shopping. The dresses for Krishna were so cute. They were so bright and colourful. There were so many shops selling the famous Mathura peda along with rabdi and other milk sweets. We were just drolling looking at all those sweets. And there were numerous chat shops but as it was so late in the night, we skipped too much shopping. We also came back in a auto which looked so different from the ones we see here in south. We even took a snap sitting in the driver’s seat.
We still didn’t have our dinner. By 11:30 we reached Vaishali’s cousin’s house for dinner. They made a delicious spread of Kachoris, Aloo ki raitha, Pindi Chole, Bathura, papaya salad and some namkeen.
The kachoris were broken and the aloo ki raitha was poured in the middle and relished. He even gave us the recipe for aloo ki raitha and gave us a spice powder as a gift. They were wonderful hosts and we had a nice time there. We left them after midnight and reached Agra by 12:30.
If you think that we went to sleep, you have mistaken. We had a nice chat for another hour or two. By the time we were having fun, we wanted to drink coffee. There was some milk and there was a kettle there. So I poured the milk in the kettle, switched it on and went to the room. By the time I came back, all the milk was on the floor. Then we found that the kettle leaking. But somehow I managed to make one cup of coffee for Valli. We went to bed at 2:30 am and got up at 5:00 am and got ready to visit one of the wonders of the world.
Though I have visited Taj Mahal 17 years back, I was super thrilled when we arrived there. I clicked hundreds of photos and the guide explained everything in detail. You can see that the right side tower is being cleaned. The guide also showed us how brownish the walls are before cleaning. It was such a wonderful feeling looking at the monument. My daughter was so excited and as they had a lesson on Taj Mahal, she was even giving me some facts about it.
Look at the beauty Shah Jahan has created. The guide even showed us the site where black Taj mahal was planned and the basement built. We even saw the place where Mumtaj mahal’s remains were kept for 17 years while the Taj Mahal was built. We wore green dresses on that day and it suited the environment so well.
On our way back to Delhi, we met another cousin of Vaishali’s who took us for breakfast. We went to Devi Ram Sweet stall where we all had kachori, Badai with aloo ka jhol, kaddu ki sabzi jalebi, lassi and finally makkan samosa. When I saw makkan samosa, I thought it was a savoury one with filling sautéed in butter. But I was completely wrong. The outer skin of the samosa was made with chilled butter and the filling was a sweet mawa and paneer mixture. It was so delicious. All my diet plans went off the roof and I started enjoying the foods. It is not that we go to these places everyday.
And after the breakfast, every one went for Agra Petha shopping. There is a famous store called as Panchhi Petha which provides so many varieties of pethas. Pethas are candies made with white pumpkin. They are just wonderful, but as no one is going to eat them at home, I didn’t buy. I just went to the shop to see the varieties and take some clicks.
When we arrived at Delhi, Pradnya was waiting with her son Shlok in the villa. We got refreshed within 20 minutes and went to explore Delhi. I shopped for some cake rings before going to the spice market.
I saw these Rasbaris for the first time and loved its taste. It was like a cross between tomatoes and manthakkali. Some were sweet and some were sour but I loved it.
Then Vaishali took us to a spice market which was filled with spices, nuts and what not. I was so thrilled seeing all the shops and did some shopping there. I got packs of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and yellow chilli powder. I didn’t want to buy too much as There was some restriction with how much weight we could carry in the flight. Take a look at the varieties available at the market.
And once we left the spice market, we saw a chai wala who posed for us. It was hilarious, we tried to take him under the light so that the photos are clear.
And there was roasted peanuts and pop corn.
And sweet potato chat.
Finally we arrived at Dilli Haat, which is a place where you can go for shopping the whole day. I didn’t want to buy but we took a stroll.
Loved the stalls which were selling embroidered clothes.
One of the shops I liked the most was this clock shop. It had so many antique clocks, sand clocks, compasses. The reverse clock was so much fun to look at. Sruti got a compass for her.
And the shops selling brass and copper idols were so beautiful. I am sure they were so expensive, I didn’t even ask.
And when we reached the villa, Archana was there with her daughter Apeksha. We were introduced. And dinner was ready in the terrace. It was quite chilly at night and we just enjoyed the weather.
The rooms were beautiful. Again we didn’t go for sleep. We kept chatting till 2 and then went to sleep. We had to be ready by 7am for the trip around Delhi.
Come back tomorrow to know how we explored Delhi’s street food on Day 3.