I remember as a kid getting up early every 26th January to watch the parade march through the roads at India Gate. Top government officials along with international leaders would observe the varying cultures of the country. The army, navy, and air forces would all combine to show off their might and the tiranga would sway high above as the national anthem took center stage.
As an NRI far away in Hong Kong, national holidays like Republic and Independence Day were always occasions to connect with my motherland. Even after shifting to India for college, these two days remained the only days where I would actually get up in time to see the sunrise. What was even more magnificent about the celebration was the grandeur of the location it took place at. The iconic Red Fort from where the Mughals ruled the country and the India gate, the war memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in World War I.
So, when I did shift to Delhi, it became imperative that I visit these extraordinary places. My trip around the national capital with stopovers at the Red Fort and the India Gate also involved a short stroll through the crowded streets of Chadni Chowk to the monumental Jama Masjid. I sat along the quiet corridors of the mosque watching as hundreds prayed for the happiness of their families and future. Add to all of this, a pit-stop at Qutub Minar made my trip around Delhi a memorable one. In between, a timely trip to the haunted Agrasen Ki Bowli also beckoned.