Our Weekly Bicycle Trips to Historical Sites
Sights, Notes, and Food
It was our 26th bicycle trip. Spring was in the air. Balu, Vishvas, and I started from our residential complex. Yogi was waiting for us at the India Gate. Last week, we promised to give him one of the t-shirts that Uma gifted us. So, I packed one in my backpack.
We crossed the familiar sites (which have already been covered) such as Humayun's Tomb, Purana Qila. Then, we saw Indraprastha Park. The park was proclaiming the arrival of the Spring. We enjoyed a leisurely walk in the park, literally. These are the luxuries that recently we have started to cherish more. We started walking towards a Buddhist statue that Vishvas has seen in photos. The walk was refreshing.
It's a cute stupa that has borrowed elements from famous monuments. I clicked a few shots of Buddha with DSLR. After I went down the stairs, I looked back and realised I missed a shot. So, I climbed back and took a closeup of Buddha's hands. Three Ratnas—Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.
For the first time, we crossed the river Yamuna on bicycles. So, we got down and cherished the moment. We found a dabha at a strategic location (where you get off to see the river Yamuna). Time to relax and have some tea. The dabha offered the best deal—hot mixed pakoras, chutneys, excellent kullar tea. (We didn't know that this is the best we would get on that day then)...
Jan 10th, Sunday. Our 20th trip. Now, entering our 6th month in a row. On winter weekend mornings (it was 8°C), you are on the road because either you've to or you want to.
Satpula ("7 bridges") is a weir/water barrier. It's very accessible, and there's an adjacent park too. A few boys were chilling. We all are numbed to the absence of women in our public spaces.
Our next stop was the Khirki Mosque. This rare gem was built during Firoz Shah Tughlaq period (1351-1388), successor of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq. The mosque is centrepiece of the Khirki 'village'.
We got 3 kulfis, as Manas declined. My chocolate-paan kulfi had real paan leaves! While waiting for Balu to get our coffees, Manas rightly finished Balu's kulfi. So, we got one more kulfi for Balu.
Since we've covered most of the prominent stops in that area, we tried other options. After some discussion, we decided to go to the Yamuna Ghat. It added another 10+ km to our trip both ways, but these things have stopped being a matter of discussion for us. 5 km means 15 minutes ride. That's all we need to know. With a few minutes of our departure, Vishvas noticed a street sign: Ghata Masjid Road.
Cloud Mosque?Why not?
When we entered the street, we saw the tall minarets, but we could not see the mosque. The entrance was underwhelming. A small doorway, with a green name board, reading 'ZEENAT UL MASAJID, GHATA MASJID, WAY To' greeted us. It rather looked like an old garage, with rusting bikes and broken furniture.
Hesitantly, we locked and bicycles near the front gate.
We didn't know we were in for a huge surprise.