Delhi 2

It is a beautiful day in Delhi, and it is the day we have come here for. Judith’s final interview with Vipin Bhardwaj, the head Pujara for this month at the Kalka Ji Temple in Delhi, is this afternoon. (Judith’s books deal with religion and modernity, and Vipin is a highly spiritual man with some pretty interesting ideas.)

But before we go there, we head towards the Lhodi Gardens, which turns out to be the sight of some unique two-story looking tombs that are really single chambers. The grounds are beautiful, with caretakers every where one looks.  Also yoga classes abound.  I bump into an extraordinary pair of dedicated athletes who partake in a sport called parkour. As I frame an image of the ancient tomb, I see on the monitor a man in a blue shirt doing push-ups with his hands on the ground and his feet up a couple of steps on the center entry. Quite impressed, I ask if I might make a few exposures while he is exercising. Round the corner comes another blue shirt, the wearer asks if she too may join the photo shoot. She is now in a plank position spanning the width of the entry. She is strong, flexible and beautiful. So, of course I spend more time photographing her. (Pictures to come, I assure you.)

There is another ancient tomb in a different part of the garden, and it is there that I encounter a group of boys who want me to take their picture, and I do.  Afterwards, what they tell me they really want is a picture of me with them. I of course, comply.  Hopefully they will receive the email I just sent.

After tea in a lovely garden setting near the Park, we stop by Humayan’s tomb, the final resting place of many, but the big deal dude is the father of Shaw Jihan, of Taj Mahal fame. The lineage of the Taj is apparent. Not at all as perfect, it is non-the-less spectacular, and very well attended. Lines of school children, all very well behaved, garland the grounds, waiting to enter. They, too, want me to take thier pictures.  So, I do..

And now for the Kalka Ji.

Pictures to come



Well, first off it was raining in Delhi – hard, which meant NO SMOG! That lasted for a day after we landed, and what a treat! The next real treat was our driver, Bittoo. A charming man who’s car is clean and he is caring. He looked after us and basically became part of our entourage.

At first blush, our accommodations were sorely lacking. The Delhi B&B has no pretensions what so ever. Warn furniture, odd decorations – a life size baby doll, lying askew on the back of a sofa, that startled me every time I entered the dining/living room – and apparently random arrangements of tchotchkes everywhere. But it mattered not, because it was and is the people who make the place wonderful. Ajay, the proprietor is a personable man who is helpful and kind. His son Ashu is the tech wizard and a real sweetie. And then their is Ram, the 108 year old man who lives in the back, and was a chef in the culinary team for Nehru when he was the first Prime Minister of India. What stories Ram must have to tell….

Ajay’s lovely wife designs beautiful fancy clothing and Ashu runs her garment business. I met the daughter just as I was leaving for the airport, but she, too, seems smart and competent.

At Ajay’s suggestion we decided to spring for a driver, and that was certainly the right choice. We were escorted to our desired destinations, and did not need to haggle with taxi drivers, nor ever worry about returning home. And Bittoo, our driver, also had suggestions to enrich our time. We wouldn’t have gone to the Lotus temple without him, and for my tastes it is one of the most beautiful buildings anywhere. He also turned us on to a great tea shop in the Lhodi Gardens.  On the practical end, he translated for us at the Apple store, where Judith went for some iPhone help.  We couldn’t have even found the place without him guiding us.

While sight seeing was fun, our purpose in going to Delhi was not for tourism, but work.

Judith was finishing up her interview with Vipin Bhardwaj, whose family has been responsible for the Kalka Ji Temple forever. While Vipin is a formidable presence, he is generous, kind, and accommodating. Not only that, he sparkles. We had the great honor of observing him in the role of chief Pujara for evening ceremonies at Kalka Ji, right thru closing. Kalka Ji is one of the largest and oldest temples in Delhi. It is not even slightly westernized. Imagine crowds and color and noise…lots of noise.