So today I went on the tour of Delhi. Delhi is such a huge place that the tour takes the entire day something I can’t imagine the trip of around Kampala doing.
Let’s see, what did I learn?
- There are two parts of Delhi, Old Delhi and New Delhi. New Delhi, which is the part where I live, was built by the British.
- Delhi has a subway. This is the fact I was the most surprised to learn, no one had mentioned it and yet I felt it was such a big deal.
- New Delhi is the more organized, the more urbane, the prettier of the two. There is this really pretty road called Shanti Path that is lined with different diplomatic missions and looks like it leads directly to the President’s house.
- We saw a beautiful mosque called Jama Mosque which was constructed during the Mughal Empire period and is one of the most beautiful things I have seen. It always amazes me the level of workmanship these early masons possessed without the tools we think we can’t live without in this day and age. Because not everyone who went to the mosque had a Quran, the Suras printed on the wall that the worshippers face. Apparently, the role of Imam and care taker of the mosque has been passed down from generation to generation within the same family. It has 3 gates, and the most interesting one is the one that comes in off the Red Fort.
- The Red Fort was built as just that, a fort. It also has supreme workmanship and well, there’s really nothing much to say about it.
- There’s a cottage industry where the Indian government encourages the Kashmiri artisans to sell their wares. We went to this specialty Kashmiri store where the sales man could have sold carpets to himself if he stopped to listen to what he was saying. He showed us how they make the carpets. It takes one person 3 months to make one carpet out of Kashmiri wool and they are also those made out of Kashmiri silk that are painfully beautiful. Painfully because I could not afford to buy some of the, honestly, most beautiful works of art I have ever seen. We were taken to another slight cheaper place where the fabric was also hand stitched, patched and woven. At least I was able to buy some pretty fabric and cushion covers for a friend who sent me for some. I really hope you like them.
- We were also shown the India Gate which is a war memorial from the First World War and the stones that build the gate are inscribed with the soldiers’ names that died during the war.
- The Qutab Minar is the last place we were shown and this was built by the first Muslim ruler India ever had. I don’t remember his name, unfortunately and I’m too lazy to google it. The minaret is attached to a mosque that the leader built from demolished Hindu temples of worship. It is really tall with 25 tiers (or floors, not too sure) and before, tourists were allowed to climb up to the top until people started using it to commit suicide.
- I also learnt that things that aren’t ancient don’t make into the tour. On our way, I saw us pass the New Delhi Museum of Modern Art and my guide didn’t even bat an eyelid and I got home and found out Delhi had a zoo that we had also not visited. I am planning to find someone who can take me around all these interesting places that failed to make it on to the itinerary of the tour.
Ok, I think my history lesson is over. Tomorrow, I will be going back to Sarunjin Naga and Priya for some shopping I didn’t do and I’ll go to Agra to see the Taj Mahal on Friday instead.