Taj Mahal, Indian jewellery top Games athletes' India plans | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Taj Mahal, Indian jewellery top Games athletes' India plans

delhi Updated: Oct 02, 2010 11:36 IST
Commonwealth Games

When not practising, almost every foreign athlete staying at the Commonwealth Games Village in New Delhi is like any other tourist visiting India they have heard about and are itching to see the Taj Mahal, bazaars in Delhi, pick up souvenirs and sample the street life of the country.

Visiting the Taj, of course, tops the wish list of a majority of the athletes with some making plans to venture into Rajasthan's cities and others looking forward to visit local monuments and temples in and around the national capital.

"I was hoping to go see the markets of Delhi. Also, the Taj Mahal is a must visit for me," says Neoline of the Cook Islands netball team.

"We have received maximum requests to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. If we have had 100 enquires, 90 are for the Taj Mahal", says an official manning the Games Travel Office.

"Others have also expressed interest in visiting palaces and lakes in Jaipur and some are inquiring about the Akshardham Temple in Delhi," he added.

The Organising Committee has arranged for complementary visits for all athletes to the Taj in a special express train, says the official.

"We have prepared all the itineraries well in advance and offer option of road, rail or air transport. We have not started bookings as yet," he adds.

Many athletes stroll around the village, engage in friendly banter, sharing their experiences and enjoying themselves after daily practise sessions, visit the salon to get a pedicure or hair colouring done, chill out in the bar or ice-cream parlour or shop for souvenirs at the village handicrafts shop.

The amphitheatre at the Village is where athletes gather to attend welcome ceremonies, held daily for various contingents, school students put up a dance and song performance.

It is also a hangout zone for athletes, especially at dusk when the musical fountain as well as the Village begins to light up.

A row of wooden Manipuri dancers' sculptures have also drawn the attention of visitors.

Posters of "Incredible India" tourism campaign are plastered everywhere in the international zone of the Village which looks like a mini town with a post office, a gym, a golf simulator and other recreational activities.

The opening of a disco, separated from the bar with a partition has been a talking point for the residents.

"I am certain most of our athletes will visit it as it would give them an opportunity to relax," says an official from the Wales contingent.