Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Delhi day three

We should have realised when the wall of steam hit us as we emerged from our bus at the Lodi Gardens in Delhi Sunday morning that we were about to experience some rain.

Spread over 90 acres the park contains tombs and mosques of the 15th century Sayyid and Lodis, a Pashtun dynasty which ruled much of Northern India. On Sunday we were only able to see the Bara Gumbad tomb and mosque and the tiny blue tiled Sheesh Gumbad before the rain started.

Wayne negotiated a 6 minute guided tour of the Bara Gumbad tomb and mosque - "for a small donation". This proved worthwhile (although disappointingly short as far as the guide was concerned) as it helped us understand a little of the historical and architectural context of these ancient and intricately decorated buildings.

And then the rain started falling - in torrents! We waited and waited under the shelter of Sheesh Gumbad but there was no let up in the storm. After about 40 minutes, we saw sheets of flood water forming, rushing in streams to the lowest points of the gardens.

Eventually we just had to run for it, back to our van, copping an absolute drenching in the process.

Our next stop was Khan Market where we shopped (and started to dry out) at FabIndia and Amrapali Jewellers, and ate delicious Chicken Tikka rolls at Khan Cha Cha Kebab Corner with a group of young upwardly mobile Delhi -ites.

We enjoyed coffee, marsala chai and slabs of cake at Café Turtle above the wonderful Full Circle Bookstore, and then more shopping at Silverline Jewellers and Anokhi.

To the small dismay of some of the blokes, and with darkness rapidly approaching, we had one more shopping stop at Ahujason’s Shawl Wale at Delhi’s Main Market, another up market shopping area (with very bad access and facilities) quite close to our Amarya Villa.

Over our customary evening drinks in the pink and saffron coloured lounge area we shared some of our thoughts on Delhi so far:
  • Delhi is humbling – it makes you realise how well off we are
  • Delhi is crazy hectic with a lot going on in a small space
  • Chaotic, but it seems to work. A real melting pot of people and religions. 
  • People stay so sane in the midst of chaos. People have so few expectations
  • There’s no way of dealing with all the rubbish but you still see people sweeping away the dust and trying to make things right
  • There’s such a multiplicity of ethnic groups. There’s nothing homogeneous about Delhi..but it seems to work
  • Where are all the women?
  • Where are the smokers and the prostitutes?
  • Despite the chaos and diversity there is peace and harmony, respect for life around them and there’s an understanding that people must co-exist
  • Delhi is like a temple – a very strong thread of spirituality running through the whole of society, but there’s rich and poor, and corruption too
  • It’s surprisingly green and a very sprawling city
  • It’s a city of many cities – with no real centre – a surprising city of many contrasts

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