Monday, 4 March 2013

Saturday 2nd - Art for R's sake

Our last full day in India. The sun is shining yet again.  Today we have an art tour booked, commencing at 10 a.m, so a leisurely  breakfast is the order of the day. Our car, complete with driver and guide arrive promptly and after introductions we are on our way through New Delhi's leafy streets to the National Museum. The guide, Adithiya, is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his subject and we get a crash course in Indian Art from the Mughal era through to the mid 19th century.  We also learn quite a lot about mango-fed cows' urine.

We move on to the Gallery of Modern Art where there is a lot of interest to see before you get to the really wacky abstract stuff. We learn how Indian Art became very much concentrated in Bengal during the years leading up to Independence. It is interesting to see how a conscious effort was made to develop a style with clear Japanese influences as a rejection of Colonial or Imperial norms.

Our final visit of the tour is to a gallery in Hauz Khas village, a short ride to the south. We thought that we had been there on Thursday and that it was a bit dull, but it turns out that we had not strayed far enough from the main road and the  metro. There is a cluster of galleries and places to eat and drink. The area has become quite a smart place to live and some of the natives don't seem too friendly.

We visit an exhibition focusing on the "Nude in Indian Art", apparently very controversial when it opened in January but now in its last few days.  There are one or two really bizarre pieces on display but it is a bit difficult to see why they create any more of a fuss than some of the ancient temple carvings that are to be found in India.

The afternoon is divided between packing and drinking tea while watching the birds in the garden. One of the hornbills puts in an appearance. Just after 5 we set off for our dinner date with one of D's fellow moderators from India Mike. This involves a metro ride into the city centre then a second, longer ride out to Noida, a satellite city on the eastern fringe of Delhi. Polite young men vacate the Aged and Infirm seats for us. Cheeky sods!  We arrive in good time to be able to do a little shopping in a 7-11 type store near the station. We want some lemon tea bags to take home but the selection was feeble. We will be bringing home Tetley tea bags as a souvenir.

Our friend takes us to a South Indian, vegetarian place at the back of a market.  There is no way of knowing that it is there unless you have a guide with you. It isn't too busy when we arrive but fills quite quickly with locals. We are guided through the menu and have some interesting food as well as probably the best cup of coffee that we have had yet in India. During dinner R mentions that she has failed to find one of the ingredients that she had been hoping to buy. We are then taken round the market area until a shop is found that stocks mango powder.

The metro back into the city is standing room only at 9.30 p.m. but the A/c makes the trip quite bearable. This has been a late night by our recent standards and after seeing off the dregs of our bottle of Honey Bee we sleep soundly.


  1. please name this restaurant and the area

  2. Dilip

    We think that it was called Lakshmi Coffee House. It was in Noida about ten minutes walk from Botanic Gardens Metro station. I'm afraid that we don't know the name of the street. There is an indoor market that is mainly clothes and textile stalls. The restaurant is right at the back of this.