Highlights of Delhi
Today was a very educational day for us as we went to several historical monuments in Old and New Delhi. We started at 8 AM in the morning with the complimentary breakfast, including continental and Indian food, from Colonel’s Retreat. Our driver, Deependra, was already prepared and ready to go. We left our temporary abode at approximately 8:40 AM to begin our tour.
The first place we visited was the Red Fort. We spent a long time there seeing all the different sections and learning about what each part was used for.
Next we took a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets across from the Red Fort, through Paranthe Wale Gali to the second largest mosque in India. Here we had to put on some robes to enter and kept our socks on because the tiling of the mosque floors were very hot upon which it was difficult to stand. We saw all the arched indicators representing the direction of Mecca which is very important in the Islamic religion to know in which direction to pray. We took several interesting pictures here.
Once were done seeing all the parts of the mosque we went back to our tour bus and drove by several government buildings including Parliaments, the President’s Palace and India Gate. And then we went to eat lunch at a fancy restaurant where all the waiters wore suits and ties.
After lunch, we continued with the rest of our tour, but the time was about 2 PM at this point. So it was fairly hot (101°F). We mostly stuck to spots with shade for as long as possible and Deependra provided us with water bottles multiple times throughout the day. The first stop after lunch was to Qutb Minar, which is the tall tower that can be seen in the picture below. This tower was built by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. Later his successors added the later stories until it became the five-story tower it is today.
We then visited the Lotus Temple. This is a temple for the a Bahá'í religion which believes in the oneness of mankind. It is subset for Islam but has more liberal beliefs. The structure of the Lotus Temple, as in the title, is in the shape of half open lotus flower. The symbolism here is that if a beautiful lotus can come from poor standing water, then any good can come out of any neighboring evil as well. We went inside the temple itself where we sat in silent meditation for some time before leaving to continue our tour.
The last place we visited was Humayun’s Tomb. This was comissioned by the second Mughal emperor’s wife for the Emperor Humayun. This building is the predecessor of the Taj Mahal so whatever flaws were found in this structure was corrected when building the Taj Mahal. Again, we took several pictures at this location and the temperature was much better as it was evening time and the sun was just setting.
Finally, we headed back to the Defence Colony marketplace for dinner and returned to Colonel’s Retreat for the night. Tomorrow, we leave for Jaipur for more fun touring and shopping.