Monuments, toddlers and dogs
09.02.2013 - 11.02.2013 14 °C
Sightseeing in Old and New Delhi today and oh so much to see. Oh wait we are stuck in traffic and I find the best thing to do to make the traffic go quicker is honk the horn, lots.
There are seven 'cities' in Delhi, each city corresponds to a dynasty of rule.
Once out of the traffic, shoes off, long sleeved robe donned we visited one of the best know mosque's in India, Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, commonly known as Jama Masjid. This large imposing red sandstone and white marble mosque was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and completed in the year 1656. When I say large, up to 25,000 people can pray here at a time and the two minarets tower above you at 40m high. The white marble inlaid with black marble Arabic scriptures is beautiful. Whilst at Jama Masjid and taking photos I seemed to attract toddlers. Knee high nippers who wanted to be in our photos. Then their parents wanted photos of the like-able white lady, funny really.
Next stop was the Red Fort, home to the Army and tourists. We headed to the Red Fort through Chandni Chowk which is the main and busy marketplace in Delhi. The streets of Chandni Chowk are narrow and crammed packed of shops. In 1639, when Shah Jahan decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi they built the Red Fort. It is a vibrant red thanks to its construction from red sandstone and once upon a time the moat housed crocodiles. Snap.
Back in the car we headed to Humayun's Tomb, it is another excellent example of red sandstone and white marble building but has Persian architecture. It was built by Humayun's widow to house his tomb. The complex is large [KB Note: It's massive!!!!!] and symmetrical, yet it only took 7 years to complete. As Keith pointed out in the UK it is going to take us 20 years to build a railway line from London to Birmingham!
Next place to visit was Indian Gate. It honours Indian soldiers who died in the Afghanistan Wars and World War I. The 90,000+ soldier's names are inscribed on the wall. The lawns surrounding the gate are packed with locals relaxing in the sun with picnics. We walk past a stand selling Indian street food, the vegetable curry smells and looks amazing. I'm hungry, time for food but not before visiting the Parliament and Presidential palace situated at bit further along the Rajpath ceremonial avenue. The Parliament building is split into north and south divided by the Rajpath Avenue and both buildings are symmetrical [KB Note: there were hundreds of monkeys running between the two areas - a bit like our very own Houses of Parliament!] . The presidential palace is at the end of the Avenue and would rival Buckingham Palace on size and grandeur. There are lush lawns and amazing elephant topiary. We also see the queues for free food being provided by a mosque to the masses of very poor people here in Delhi. They queue patiently for a meal and seem immensely grateful.
Right lunchtime. Keith wants Dhal dishes and our guide knows the place. We grab 3 types of Dhal and many types of breads. The food was great and I'm liking the Mango drinks, which are very popular in Indian. The mango drinks are thick glupy and bright orange. The pulse based foods are looking after our tummies, if not increasing the venting a little!
One last stop to make on our tour and this complex is spectacular and historically important. We are visiting the Qutub. It was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak of the Slave Dynasty, who took possession of Delhi in 1206. This site was part of the 1st city of Delhi. The complex houses a red sandstone minaret, which tapers up to a height of 72.5 meters and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur'an. It is imposing and so it should be, it was built as a symbol of Islamic domination over Delhi. There is also an Iron Pillar of metallurgical curiosity in the complex dating from 4th century. According to the traditional belief, anyone who can encircle the entire column with their arms, while standing with their back against the pillar, can have their wish granted. No such luck for me or Keith the goverment have built a fence round it, to protect the pillar from sweat! [KB: I wanted to see Stacey try to touch her hands behind her back.....can't think why!? Oh and the lump of iron wasn't all that impressive]
Well that was Delhi in one day, oh the dogs. We have seen so many stray dogs, apparently there is an organisation that looks after there well been but there are hundreds of them. They sit in the sunshine guarding road junctions and running around the parks. The one below was so cute [KB: I also got a great photo of a sleeping hound that mimicked Stacey while sleeping as he had a great pool of dribble under his head!]
Bye Stacey and Keith