Saturday, September 28, 2013

Delhi day two

It was lovely to greet Jennie and Wayne over breakfast yesterday morning, with lots of stories from their adventure filled two days in Khajuraho and Varanasi.

Back on the Delhi tourist trail our first stop was the Red Mosque, built by Shah Jahan in the sixteen hundreds, after he moved to Delhi from Agra, broken hearted after the death of his wife Mumtaz.

We were shoeless here once again and this time all the females (and boys in shorts) had to cover up in these charming floral robes.

The Mughul emperor Shah Jahan was very involved in the artistic life of his court, and we could appreciate the perfectly balanced design of this mosque with its lovely open, spacious courts and pavilions, built in the local red sandstone.

With old Delhi traffic gridlocked we walked the kilometre or so west of the mosque to Shah Jahan's Red Fort.

Behind the impregnable walls of the fort there were pavilions for official court business, accommodation for the family and their retainers, the harem and spaces for partying and bathing. Unfortunately a lot of this has been destroyed by subsequent invaders, including the fabulous Peacock Throne, plundered by the Persians, and the Koh-i-Nor diamond.

Then we were back on our rickshaws and into the crowded streets of old Delhi again.

I enjoyed this close up view of the "wedding street", crowded today with young women and their sisters, aunties and mothers and every kind of delivery vehicle imaginable.

We were quite overheated by now so the Havemore Hotel restaurant was a cool, clean, calming haven for us. We enjoyed a delicious lunch there with all our favourite Indian dishes: butter chicken, Rogan Josh (made with mutton), saffron rice, saag, and a few vegetarian dishes, delicious!

Shah Jahan's grandfather Humayan is buried in Delhi, and his most devoted wife had a beautiful tomb built for him, set in extensive, beautifully landscaped grounds to the south of old Delhi.

So much of this building was destroyed by subsequent invaders and then benign neglect. With world heritage listing has come much needed funding and efforts to restore the place.

As with all Muslim tombs the pavilion that houses the body is not meant to be seen from the entrance to the grounds. It is always hidden by a series of grand walls and gates.

I must confess I took this picture below so I could capture that elegantly dressed lady on the right in her great outfit! (I am enjoying the beautiful colours and stylish presentation of so many of the women and girls here in Delhi). They look beautiful!

We requested to be taken to a gallery of arts and crafts from Kashmir. With the political situation so dire in that country the traditional artisans are finding it increasingly difficult to market their amazing carpets and textiles (including fine quality pashminas).  Although the atmosphere was a bit too pressurising for our taste some significant sales did result from this visit.

It was after six by the time we arrived back at Amarya last night, hot and exhausted. We enjoyed cold beers and hot snacks prepared to order by the kitchen staff, in the villa's pink and orange lobby before calling it a night.

1 comment:

Roslyn Lawrence said...

Amazing photos with your usual interesting and informative descriptions. Enjoying our trip through India. Minus the sensorial delights. Love Ros xx