Friday, November 2, 2012

This Is It Delhi

My third entry on my India trip, a bit overdue! If you've read my last two posts, I said I would divide my posts into places I've visited because I have lots of photos. Going to India is cheaper via other countries than straight to Delhi. PAL is the only direct flight from here that's why it's so expensive, almost the same price as going to the US. So from the Philippines, my route was Singapore, India, Malaysia, then back home. From Singapore I arrived in Delhi, then went to Agra, Khajuraho, Varanasi, and lastly, Kolkata, all by trains. Never miss riding the train because it's a hell lot of an experience, challenging in many ways.

 I took the visa-on-arrival. It can be convenient if you want to avoid the line at the Indian embassy, but it can also be worrisome because your luggage will surely be left out on the conveyor because of the processing time of your visa. You can check for updated visa requirements. 

FROM THE AIRPORT: The moment I stepped out of the airport, my this-is-it moment began. I took the advice from my friend and blogs I've read to get the prepaid taxi. You tell at the booth where you're going and they'll tell you your fare, and you pay them right away. In this way, you lessen your chances of being scammed by taxi drivers.

Each place I went has its own beauty, and on each of them, I also had memorable experiences. In Delhi, my most memorable was I couch surfed for the first time at an Indian family's house, meaning I stayed at the house of someone I've never even met. It sounds crazy, but They were just so sweet, helpful, and very accommodating. On my first morning, I drank chai tea with the mother of my host at their terrace. It was the best! I could still feel the cool breeze, the not-so-sweet taste of chai, sipping it while looking outside the quiet street and trying to converse with nani (which means mother; because her name was so long, she said I could just call her nani) in broken English and sign language. Nani gave me fruits for snacks everytime I leave their house. Although I've met my hosts for the first time, they made me feel at home for two days. Oh and my host gave me a cute gift for my birthday. So sweet! She was like my mom :) God bless them more!

TRANSPORTATION: I walked, took the rickshaw, rode the metro to go around Delhi. Most of the streets don't have names, so I always had to ask people for directions.

WHAT I LOVE: Markets! I think you could find anything that you're looking for there. They don't have a lot of convenient stores there (I only saw one), but their markets are sporadic and crazy busy! The Qutb Minar and the Red Fort is also nice.

So, here are the places I've visited in Delhi. I wish I could have went to some more, but I didn't want to rush things. There's always a next time :)

Qutb Minar

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the tallest stone tower in India, made of sandstone and marble. The first storey was birthed by Qutbud-Din Aibak in 1192 as a sign of victory, while the second to fourth was continued by his successors. Later it was strucked by lightning, so restorations had to be made, and a fifth storey was attached. It is the tallest tower, but its height is 5 ft. less than Taj Mahal.

Indian visitors with the tower at the background. It was nice to see that these Indians explore their
own country and I could see they're really interested to understand their history.

Islamic writings embellish the first storey of the tower.
Inside of the mosque attached to the tower. Horseshoe arches and lotus bud fringes are the
distinguishing characteristics of this structure.
Crazy details! The walls of the mosque is adorned with very intricate leaves pattern, typical in Islamic art.

The fifth storey

sandstone carvings

the tower from a distance

 Jama Masjid

A Muslim Mosque. Slippers are not allowed, and you have to cover up yourself--wear long sleeves and pants.
Because walking on barefoot on a hot weather hurts, they have these improvised pathway
which connects you to the four mosques.

Stairs surrounding the four entrances of the mosque.

India Gate and the Parliament

For a time, the British were in India. Hence, the architectural influences. 
The India Gate. I call this the spare-my-life shot. There was a few seconds that rarely vehicles
pass by this street, so I took that opportunity. Seconds later, someone honked at me and saw two vehicles behind me.
The India Gate is a national monument, inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Behind it, right at the middle,
is the canopy where the statue of British Sir George V once stood. 

"To the dead of the Indian armies who fell and are honored.
France and Elanders, Mesopotamia and Persia, East Africa, Callipoli and elswhere
In the near and the far est and in sacred memory also of those whose names are here
recorded and who fell in India on the north west frontier and during the thrid Afchan war"

In memory of those who have sacrificed

The canopy. The statue of British Sir George V once stood here. Now empty, it symbolizes freedom
and the retreat of British from India. 

the Parliament

Indian fusion

The Red Fort Complex

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Red Fort was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the creator of Taj Mahal, after he transferred the country's capital to Delhi from Agra.

The massive sandstone gates

The entrance. People were laughing at me as I shoot this dog. He's so cute! The dog saw me taking his photo,
and he said, "Go ahead."
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Intricate and simple
Even guards need a break.

The Emperor's three part private palace. On the grounds of the palace, animal fights such as between lions and elephants
were held on these grounds for entertainment.
One of the many marble screen doors of the palace
Marble mosaic and relief sculptures everywhere!

The streets of Delhi are really busy, and it was a breather for me each time I go inside these structures. It was much more quiet, and there were times when I just sat and stare at their designs in awe. There's still lots to see, two days was not enough for me. But maybe next time, I'll go. Next stop, Agra :)

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