Category: Delhi

India Overview

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Delhi Overview



Got into Delhi just after noon and even though it’s a holiday (Good Friday) it’s very busy.

I left with the guide at 2:30 (supposed to be 2 but he was late…) and we went to Jama Masjid which is the biggest mosque in India. No pictures were allowed to be taken and I had to wear a wrap around my body (not over my hair though, like I thought). It’s beautiful with red walls and marble floor with outlines for where people can sit and pray towards Mecca. It’s closed to the public whenever prayer is going on.  The white floors are all covered  so the white does not provide glare like it does at Agra Fort.

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We then went though a walk of the small market streets in Old Delhi. We did the gem streets, food street and gold and silver street.Between the food street and gold and silver street we walked down Chandni Chowk which is the main street where it didn’t actually seem like a lot was going on.

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After that we went to Rajghat–which means for Royal Burial Grounds–which is where Gandhi was cremated, the ashes in Hindu culture are always thrown into the Ganges River. It’s a really beautiful area with tons of flowers. I didn’t go down to the spot because there were a lot of people but there is a great place to view from above. Other important people have locations there like the first Prime Minister. India 1659 India 1661

Next we went to a lotus mosque that was built by Iranians in the 1980s. the marble was imported form Italy–and it’s all marble! we didn’t go in because the line was very very long.

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Next I was taken to Kashmir Cashmere. I hate when someone takes you somewhere just to have you buy stuff. Normally in India I could just avoid it just by not following people. However when your driver and tour guide take you somewhere that is another story….you can’t get away. I could say that I don’t want to go in but they would just insist and insist and insist.

Anyway, I was told stories upon stores of how all the money goes back to Kashmir which is a warn torn area where I guess the Indian government doesn’t send any help. I wish I had been able to go there as photography is supposed to be amazing because it is so beautiful (worth fighting for…) but it was too far for my time in India. Also could be a bit kid-nappy, according to the US State Department website when I looked it up. They showed me how to make the rugs (hand knotted) which were too pricey for me ($435 for the 2nd size they had, smallest was like a bath mat). I said $150 as a super low-ball because I didn’t want one and they said they would call the family and ask if that was an okay price! Ended up buying a scarf for $60 when they said $80.

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Next day I went past the government buildings like Parliament, Presidents house and Prime Ministers house.  I went out for a walk near the Presidents house and there were monkeys everywhere! They must be the first line of defense.

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I went to India Gate which is not so much a gate as you cannot drive or walk though it but a war memorial. Tons of people offering to take pictures which did not even look that nice or sell pipes. Odd mix. Very bored looking security again. The flowers there were beautiful again, as were those around the canopy behind the gate. Actually, those were nicer.

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Next was Humayun’s tomb.

Finally, I went to Qutab Minar.

On the way back I went past Red Fort again (had gone by it in the morning before the Delhi market but didn’t get good pictures). It’s kind of hard to take good pictures as there is a lot of traffic going past, no parking lot and all the street ‘parking’ (really just seems like a lane that should have cars being driven in it) was taken up by tuk tuks, rickshaws and stands selling food.

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I went to Indian McDonald’s for lunch which was fantastic. I had the Spicy Paneer Burger and I don’t know why this is not offered everywhere! In the US they could use mozzarella or halloumi cheese, bread it, fry it and put it on a bun.

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Then I went to the airport.

Delhi Airport

I thought I’d never like any airport less than JFK because JFK has no seats. Well, it has some, but never though for everyone, or even half of everyone.

When I got to the airport I had to go though some sort of security just to enter so the airport would not be packed. Only those flying may enter, I guess. The guy would not let me in with one page of my Orbitz updated confirmation because it didn’t have my name. I had to pull out the original which did and then he said I was too early. No, the flight time changed, that’s why I showed him updated….fair enough it didn’t have my name, but it had the wrong times.

When I checked in I asked about changing currency and they said I could after I went though immigration. Fair enough, I didn’t see any outside anyway. Oh, as I was checking in 2 employees were yelling a personal conversation over the guy who was checking me in. I couldn’t understand, but by the looks on their faces and my agents face, it seemed like something upsetting to them, and something he didn’t want yelled at him from both sides when he’s not involved.

At immigration the guy was annoyed my passport would not scan. That’s what the numbers are for. If it doesn’t scan, type the numbers. Don’t be lazy and give me a dirty look.

At security I was hasseled for a bag tag that the airline gave me at check in. I also had to switch lines because of sexist security. Why are certain machines for men and certain machines for woman? Does that matter? After I switched for 5 minutes I was told I could go back to my original line because they opened up the womens line there. As I started to walk though another woman ran though. You can’t run though the gate, nor can you go though at the same time as someone else. So confused by her. Didn’t say a word to me and when we reentered she got to go first.

Once past everything, I was told I had to change money before immigration. So I was left with about $50 in rupees. Good thing I was able to exchange in Shanghai.

A bit confusing to find your way around as well.

Qutab Minar

Finally, I went to Qutab Minar which was built in the 14th Century and is the oldest building in Delhi. I thought it would just be the tower, but there ware many other buildings around it, mostly to the right, including another tower that was not finished. Most of the other buildings were very decayed, however there was 1 more tomb. also lots of grassy area to relax and have a picnic which I wish I could have done if I had known. Have to pay 5 rupees to use the toilet there and there is no toilet paper, water to use instead or soap! If I pay I expect…something.

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Next was Humayun’s tomb (and Isa Khan’s tomb but that is under construction–I got a few pictures). Another set of amazing buildings and gardens which have been well restored. I feel like sandstone shouldn’t restore well but I guess it does. Most of the tourists here were Indian or German (how do they get everywhere??)–but there were some Americans who said ‘this mosque is so different from the rest–it’s almost classy!”Is she saying the rest are tacky?

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I liked Afsarwala mosque and Tomb more as it was not overly big like Humayun’s tomb.

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Tons of eagles flying around the top like at the Taj Mahal. There were lots of signs talking about how it was a very big deal to do the reconstruction as it will create a better neighborhood and more religious understanding as at the time this tomb was built India was mostly Muslim and is now mostly Hindu, thus most workers are Hindu. A Muslim man lifted the curtain of construction for me to be able to take better pictures of Isa Khans tomb.

And, like I said, Isa Khan’s tomb.

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