Saturday, 8 January 2011

Delhi Day 3

After breakfast, we were met by our guide for the day, Deepa, who took us by car, with a driver, to a few selected sights in and around Delhi. We started off at the Red Fort where the Mogul empire built this city out of the local red sandstone. We heard all sorts of stories about power struggles, murder and accession to the throne by a prince who locked his father away in the Taj Mahal. (To be seen tomorrow). Inside the fort were many other buildings, all religious in some way, or courts of some kind where the King gave judgment. Here there were many kites circling overhead as well as chipmunks running wild everywhere.  Cute but probable so close to rats as to be vermin really.  From there to the largest Mosque in Asia, the Jamar Masjid, where they were preparing for prayers. This Mosque can accommodate 25,000 if she has her figures right. We had to remove our shoes and Ann had to don a floral house coat so that we could enter.  Stopping only for one photo at the gate of India on our waywe drove to the President’s Palace (once occupied by Lord Mountbatten) where topiary elephants guard the drive inside the walls and stone ones stand guard on top of the boundary fence. From there to the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi (Raj Ghat) where his footsteps are traced in stone on that fateful day to the spot where he was assassinated. Next we visited the Qutab Minar or Tower of Victory where 5 of the original 7 storeys now remains to mark originally the might of Islam and now having lost the two top storeys to a lightning strike …. The onset of Muslim rule in India. Once you could walk up the 360 odd stairs to a viewing platform but after an accident when several people died due to a panic stampede, when some stairs collapsed under the load, this is no longer an option. Finally we were able to see the tomb of Humayun, an impressive precursor to the Taj Mahal. His wife built it for him and it sits in a beautiful peaceful garden, with rills and fountains all around it, to echo the paradise he would go to. 
A water buffalo had got caught up in some barriers and caused some consternation on our journey to Kahn Market where we successfully used an ATM (proving our cards work overseas), had a coke in McDonalds, and did some browsing of the many stalls. Once again by tuc tuc to our Hotel for tea and cakes where we start an evening of packing up ready for our trip to Agra tomorrow. Photos... here 

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