rafting down the ganges.

haha yes you've read it right, im heading for white water rafting on the ganges over the weekend! cool right, im equally excited. We're heading up north to Rishikesh for our adventure.

Rishikesh is a small town in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India. Popularly adored for its scenic beauty dotted besides the holy Ganges, Rishikesh is traditionally known as the spiritual capital of the globe. From the music legends like "The Beatles" to new age celebrities like actor Kate Winslet - everyone wants to come down to this city of Yogi's and Temples. Rishikesh is also the Gateway to the Himalayas. The Char Dham Yatra (Four Shrines Sacred Journey) ideally begins from Rishikesh.

gonna set off at 2.30am tomorrow morning! be back with more pictures :)


From the streets to the food court


An article from "The Times Of India" - 6th June

The Delhi administration has decided to follow Singapore's lead and will soon come up with 272 food courts where you can gorge on your favourite street food. And minus the health worries!
All of us who have been worrying about how we will get our fill of street food after the Supreme Court ban comes into force have reasons to cheer. The street food will come to you in a global avatar at a venue near your home, and will be hygienic to boot.

Taking a leaf out of the book of Malaysia and Singapore , the Delhi government has decided to come up with 272 food courts at various places in the city where you can have your fill of chaat, kebabs, chola-bhatura รข€¦ the works. The best part is that it will be a one stop destination and will come minus the health worries. Says Delhi's mayor Arti Mehra, “To accommodate street food vendors, we have constituted a committee in each of our 272 wards. The job of this committee is to decide a spot where vendors can be accommodated.

“This was how Singapore also set up street food havens in the early 1980s. All hawkers were shifted to licensed food courts to ensure cleanliness and environment. Each food court there has at least 20 stalls, and their hygiene record is enviable. Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur and Penang - considered to be the hawker havens of Malaysia - the most delicious food requires you to wait at al fresco tables. Served from special carts, it is considered to be hygienic. Delhi will be adopting this move as well.

“We plan to provide vendors with newly-designed carts, which will be both hygienic and eco-friendly. They will be attractively designed and will be properly covered with nets etc. They will also have arrangements of water for drinking and cleaning as well. This will not only give Delhi's street food a new look but will maintain perfect hygiene as well,” asserts Mehra.


the weekend

my 2nd weekend here in delhi started off on a good note on friday. after work, we went to pizza hut for dinner, a welcomed change from the usual indian fare that we get back at the guesthouse. the set meal for 2 was really affordable too. it was Rs. 250 for a 2pax meal, comprising of a soup, garlic bread, a personal pan and a scoop of ice-cream. it works out to be about Rs. 160 (after taxes) per person, which is about S$6. A very affordable pizza hut dinner I must say.

at this point, I feel compelled to talk about the VAT, India's version of our GST. its 12.5% and that is really quite significant if you think about it. together with service charge, the total tax per meal everytime we dine out comes up close to 25%! the tax is really the culprit for the higher costs here, since the basic charges are always pretty decent.

after dinner, indranil (good fren n colleague whos been taking care of me) and i headed out to south delhi where we met nil's frens for some food and drinks. we went to saket, its kinda a market with a cinema, surrounded by eateries and shops. reminded me very much of serangoon gardens, chomp chomp! the place was pretty nice, but what really caught my eye were the books/novels that were going for Rs. 50 (S$1.90)! How awesome is that. I didn't take time to browse that night, but I'm definitely gonna stock up on my books soon. after drinks, we headed to nil's fren's place for a game of PicCharades. its a combination of pictionary and charades, really quite fun. stayed overnight at south delhi, in pranav's place as it was way too late to get back to gurgaon. and did i mention that gurgaon's 1hr from delhi? yup.. thats far.

saturday noon (the morning was spent sleeping) saw us head to Palika Bazaar for our dose of games and dvds. its an underground market thats kinda like sim lim square plus queensway. dvds go for Rs. 50 each, but the quality leaves much to be desired.

after that, we went to this nice restaurant called United Butter (something, i cant remember) for lunch. it was AWESOME. we had butter chicken and butter naan. the food was really good, and the ambience nice too. shall post pictures when i get back tonight. price was pretty affordable too. i look forward to going back there for more butter naan :)

i must mention that it was REALLY HOT that afternoon too, its all over the papers today. Delhi hit a record 44deg celsius that saturday.

hung around cp (connaught place) for a while more, chilling out in this cafe called Cafe Coffee Day before I met Inna and Arvinda (the tata interns). we took a ricksaw down to Khan market, where we met Kangwei, Changqi, Ben and Cipto (the other tata interns). Khan market is very similar to holland village, with shops and eateries. they introduced me to kebabs that we fantastic. i had two.. heh. mutton something and chicken tikka. it was nice catching up with them and sharing stories, realising how lucky we were with our living conditions. didn't manage to stay with them for dinner (they went to Chonas, another lonely planet recommendation) as I had to get a ride back with vikram. it takes me an hour to get back to Gurgaon, so I can't stay out too late.

sunday was a pretty decent slack day. went back to cp to change the faulty dvds (they still don't work now btw) with melvin, celine and vikram. it was another equally hot day, 44deg again, but the saving grace is that its dry heat, so its not as uncomfortable as back home in sg where its humid. after cp, we went to Sarojini Nagar market by recommendation of Inna. This market is a large sprawling market similar to a big pasam malem, with clothes, trinkets, luggages(?!) etc. I bought myself an ethinc shirt-like thingy for Rs. 100.. shall wear it one day i hope.. haha..

thats pretty much it for the weekend, still pretty much in delhi, shall most prob head out of delhi this coming weekend.