Monday Oct 3, 2005 - day 4 - New Delhi - Kathy: 133 photos, Bob: 144 photos
This was a very full day.
We started out at a place called Qutab Minar, which was a complex of buildings erected during one
of the many Islamic dynasties of
It all centers around a very old mosque.
There is a very tall tower, the Minar,
which was basically the minaret tower of a mosque, and it stands 234 feet tall. It was begun in the twelfth century. This is just the kind of site that Kathy and I love. There were lots of buildings
to explore and wonderful examples of Islamic architecture.
We explored the place for about an hour, walking among grave sites and intricate carvings
so we didn’t feel rushed at all, but I’m sure Kathy
and I could have spent all day there.
Next, we visited a carpet shop where they sold very good quality silk carpets
made by a co-op of families from
After the carpet place, we visited a war memorial that
reminded me a lot of the Arch de Triomphe in
We took photos of it and some nearby kids swimming and playing in one of the fountains.
Walking back to the bus, we saw our first snake charmer.
Next, we drove up to the Capital building area where all
the government big-shots did official government business. We parked the bus and spent some time walking
up to the buildings and taking photos. Looking back down the hill, we could see what Sujay called the “
We walked up to see the president’s house,
which had a very fancy yard and ornate iron gates.
Walking back to the bus, we
were surprised to see some monkeys running around on top the government
buildings. I said that I was not
surprised to see “monkey business” in the federal government. I told Sujay that
we also have monkeys in
That was pretty much the end of the “half-day” tour, but Sujay wanted to give us something more, so he took us to a Sikh temple.
The Sikhs are a separate religion that wear turbans and seem very Islamic in origin, however, they are more “new-age” than Muslims. They believe in the teachings of the Ten Gurus who wrote a holy book which they treat with great reverence. At 6:00am or so, they “wake up” the book from its designated bed, and the chanting begins. Throughout the day, there is continuous chanting and prayers. Sikhs go to the temple every day, and the chanting doesn’t stop until when they put the holy book back to sleep on its bed for the night. We were allowed to go into the temple and see the altar area, and it was cool.
There were lots of cool-looking dudes at the temple, and some of them were bathing in a ritual bath. Others wanted to take our photos as much as we wanted to take theirs.
It was strange. Everyone kept looking at us as if we were quite an oddity, and I’m sure we were to them.
After the Sikh temple, we went back to the hotel and took a quick shower before dinner. Dinner was hosted by an Indian family, and our group split into two halves, each half going to a different home. After driving for more than an hour in heavy traffic, we finally arrived at the house of the woman who was our host.
Dinner and conversation were both wonderful. We talked about many things and had a lovely
time. There was a couple from
She told us she was a cook and culinary expert, and she served us fantastic Indian food. She even gave us some of the chocolate she made herself, and it was fantastic. Her fifteen-year-old son was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, which Kathy and I also love. We had just watched all three DVDs of the movies one week prior to our trip, and so we had a good time talking to the boy.
Our hostess was very nice and charming, but she dominated the conversation, and in a way it seemed a little bit scripted or artificial. She had a servant who she had kept as a very small boy, and I thought she treated him a little bit snobbish. She had a bit of an elitist attitude about her, but still she was a gracious host, and again, the food was nothing short of gourmet quality. I would like all of her recipes, and she offered to give them to us. For example, she had a wonderful dessert that was just like a very good “apple crisp” but it had both apples and pumpkins in it. Delicious!
The OAT information requested that everyone bring a
hostess gift, but we were the only ones who remembered. We gave her a big bag of some Minnesota Wild
Rice, which is a special type of rice grown in
Suddenly, we were told that our bus was waiting outside, and we departed in haste. It seemed like an abrupt end to the evening, but still we had a great time. We didn’t see much of her house, but just a sitting area and a dining room where the food was set up buffet-style.
When we got back to the hotel, we were tired, but we needed to pack our bags because we were scheduled to leave early for Jaipur tomorrow morning.
More observations from a day of driving around:
There is lots of dirt everywhere, but this is an enigma