Of course it is Delhi…we are discussing India! Our group, all architects except me, anticipated visiting the capital city and after several days of touring , we were near. The first indication was these GIANT apartment buildings as we approached the suburbs. There was not just one , they went on and on alone the horizon. Everyone sat quietly looking out the windows of the bus trying to take it all in.
They are villages, no cities ..new cities of expats, government works and affluent Indian families.
Why so many pictures? To try to give you the feelings we had as we arrived.
The skyline continued into the center of the city. It is not New York…but it isn’t to be ignored. In our stay, I will take you to the two sites that I enjoyed in Delhi.
The first is the monumental arch, India Gate. It is a war memorial built in 1931 to commentate the 90,000 Indian Soldiers killed in WWI. I guess that I was ignorant of this because of the emphasis of western civilization history I learned in school! The Brits were afraid if India joined the war ,it would be against them. But in India, the prevailing thought was to help Britain and ultimately speed their desire for independence, which didn’t come for 30 more years. There is another gate in Mumbai, and much of the world has such gates of commemoration architecture such as Rome, Paris and Berlin.
Does this look familiar? It is often called “Little Taj Mahal.” Do you see why? It is the first of many garden ( Garden of Eden influenced?) tombs constructed in India. The great mogul leader Humayun was buried here in the year of 1570. This was my favorite place in Delhi with the peace and quiet of the garden setting. Our guide, who was provided by the hotel, told us about the birds….the green parrots and the Black Kites.
He was a certified bird guide of India, thus very knowledgeable. There are people who come to India for 3 weeks and have a bird safari!
Back to the tomb. . . . The Taj Mahal, which of course is world famous,was built about 50 years later and designed by a Persian architect. I think he had seen this tomb, don’t you ? The Taj was 20 years in the building from 1628 and finished in 1648. The Taj, in its perfection, is the culmination of tomb/garden architecture in India.
Well back out into the city for a ride on the subway. . . .
Taking public transportation in a group of 13 is in itself a challenge. David put his IPhone in his back pocket and got his wallet from his front pocket. He remembers being pushed and jostled ( routine in India) by some young Indians, and immediately knew that the IPhone was done. It was and he was furious! Approaching some policemen, telling his tale, they just shrugged and walked away. We ran back to the hotel and within a half an hour , had things worked out. He was angry and embarrassed….the world traveler. These things just happen and this was the only time anyone was robbed in our group so it is pretty good odds. That was a damper on the rest of our time in Delhi. I would say, “But no one was hurt!”
“Oh stop being such a Pollyanna!”
Delhi is a monumental city with many more historical sites to see, but if we are fortunate to do this trip again, we will not go back. Unless you are interested in the rapid suburban growth in the last decade or riding on a very crowded subway, I would recommend that you bypass Delhi, the second most populated city in India with 16+ million souls. . . and visit say…Pondecherry instead!
I leave you waving bye-bye to the Delhi traffic.
Oh, we did see a restaurant called “Delhi Belly” near our hotel. No we didn’t eat there as we already knew about “Delhi Belly.” But we did appreciate their self deprecating humor!
Namaste. . . . .This Is Dehli