Thursday, February 14, 2008

Day 4. Delhi, the gate to fabulous India

We landed at 9:30 am, and our friendly guide was already waiting for us. Gustav is doing things in style, so we have a nice bus to travel, a guide, a driver, and a general assistant. We went directly to the hotel The Grand New Delhi, for a shower and a short nap, and by 1:30 pm were ready to play tourist in Old Delhi. We visited the largest mosque in India, from which we had a fabulous look of the Red Palace and the old city. From there we took three rickshaws and went for a spin through the narrow alleys of Old Delhi, where we had a kaleidoscopic view of the original market place. The silver, sarees, and book portions of the market were of note, as well as the arguments between the rickshaw drivers and the porters of water tanks, sacks of grain, and sheaves of paper.

From there we went to visit the Qutub Minaret, probably the most impressive archaeological site of Delhi, where more than 4,000 years of history greeted us. The enormous, 75 m high minaret that gives its name to the site took our breath away, but every place you looked there was beautiful stonework. Many parrots flutter in between the ruins (and I took some great photos of them with the binoculars/camera combination of Gustav, but the stupid SD chip refuses to give the pictures back to me).

Another long drive through Delhi (with heavy traffic but not the wild hordes of humanity I had imagined) brought us to the site of a relatively new Lackshmini Hindi temple, where our guide gave us a crash course in Hinduism. It was beautiful and well worth the trip, plus we ended learning the nine incarnations of Shiva (first as a fish, then as a tortoise, then as a boar, a half man half beast, a half man and half woman, a dwarf, a warrior (Shiva proper), a peaceful man (Krishna), and finally as Buda. And we are now waiting for the 10th incarnation. Very neat!


trogers:) said...

GREAT PICS!! Sounds like the trip is going to be a fun one. Out of curiousity, did the luggage ever arrive?

erin said...

sounds beautiful, your descriptions of the area are wonderful to read!