Sravasti & Lucknow
Lucknow Travel Blog› entry 15 of 18 › view all entries
It had been very cold tonight. Maybe not as cold as back in
Sravasti is another important Buddhist pilgrimage place.
It was at these ruins that our day started (after first ringing the big Vishwa Shanti bell near to hotel). A peaceful area, still half-shrouded in the cold morning mist. What made it even more special was the presence of a large group of Sri Lankan monks that were meditating and praying around the two major sites of the Jetavana: the Gandhakuti (Buddha's hut) and the Anandabodhi tree (a sapling of the original Boddhi tree of Bodhgaya).
A local monk showed us around the remaining foundations of the many stupa's and monasteries, explaining where the Buddha would sleep, eat and have his head shaven. It had taken us a long time to get here, but it was special enough to make it well worth the long journey.
Before continuing to
We were making good progress (for Indian standards). Bart and I kept ourselves entertained by reading (I had just started in Noah Levine's Dharma Punx) and making up alternative lyrics for the Hindi songs that
Around three we stopped for a drink and some food at a roadside dhaba. Bart didn't quite trust the food but I had learned that fried rice with vegetables is normally a safe choice, so I ordered a plate of that with a Thumbs Up coke. Today was a rather chilly day and even though we had found a spot in the sun I still needed my hoodie to feel comfortable.
It was immediately clear that we had reached
This hotel was the most luxurious we had stayed in so far, clearly meant for businessmen, although the reception was much more welcome than at Patna's Ashok hotel (no Indian version of Hitler here).
Our plans for a meal were very specific tonight. Not only did we know what we wanted to have (Indian sweets and chaat!) but also where we wanted to have this. Our information suggested two places on Mahatma Gandhi road, so that's where we headed.
In the restaurant where you could have chaat inside, the Moti Mahal, the place was absolutely packed. This obviously was a popular spot. But downstairs they had a sweetshop with all kinds of interesting stuff. We decided to buy a box with five varieties, two of each. Outside we dug into our box, to the amazement and amusement of the local Indians around us. My first sweet was delicious, but I hadn't expected it to be filled with some sugary liquid, so I spoilt the sticky stuff all over the front of my hoodie. Fortunately the patrons of the shop were familiar with the problem of stickiness for they had placed a tap to wash your hands near their storefront. All of the sweets tasted good to delicious, and completely filled up we went to the near Café Today to wash it all down with a trustworthy and high quality cup of the brown stuff.
While drinking my coffee I noticed on the advertising flat screen that a movie I had seen advertised a lot in the last week (Gandini) was actually an Indian remake of one of my favourite movies, Memento, complete with song and dance! It's a shame we didn't have time to see it for it must have been a surreal experience.
We decided to check if there was any free spot at the Moti Mahal yet, but the place was still packed. We therefore decided to check the second choice, Muman's Royal café, where the chaat was prepared and sold straight at the pavement. They fried up funny little potato baskets here that could be filled with your chaat of choice, with sauces and all slammed on top. I was still pretty full of the sweets so I suggested that Bart picked something and I would simply steal a couple of scoops. He opted for the mixed basket and returned with the biggest grin on his face, showing something that (as most chaat does) looks completely inedible, but tasted marvellously. No wonder all Indians are crazy about this fast food.
Back in the hotel we grabbed a beer on the roof terrace and before retiring to our room we checked in for our flights through the Internet.