BIG CHANGE OF PLANS! Due to the exhausting heat and a few other contributing factors, we called off our adventures to Amritsar and Agra and decided to head back down south. There is a reason tourists don't flock to India in Summer! Also, the best part of my trip has been spending time with the Indian people and my adopted Indian family. Heading back South provides the best opportunity to spend the maximum amount of time with them.
Due to this whirlwind change instead of 2 days we only had 1 morning left in Delhi and decided to do as much as possible. Looking back i reallly cant believe how much we managed in just a few hours! We left the house at about 7 (when it was actually a reasonable temperature) and headed first to the Muslim area surrounding the Masjid-i Jahān-Numā. People were queued up to receive breakfast
The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (Persian: مسجد جھان نما, the ‘World-reflecting Mosque’), commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, and completed in the year 1656 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India.
The courtyard of the mosque can hold up to twenty-five thousand worshippers!
Though there were relatively few people there when we went – most washing themselves in the holy water.
When we went there i felt distinctly uncomfortable – one of only a few women amidst the sea of men clad in white robes with their caps and it felt all of their eyes were on me at once. This only grew stronger when we actually entered the mosque. In addition to removing our shoes upon entry, we were asked to pay a relatively exorbitant fee (especially considering lonely planet told me I shouldn’t have to pay) and even though I was were a sheer, shoulder covering top and long pants, they declared it wasn’t enough and I was made to wear an absolutely ridiculous long LIME GREEN robe. So there I was, amidst all the white and pale robes of the Muslim men. A Female. Young. Foreign. With my non-Muslim male friend. IN A LIME GREEN ROBE! Not exactly a cohesive combination!
After walking around and VERY quickly posing for the ridiculous photo above, we made our way out to the street come muslim market and headed to the car
Passing some all too common scenes of confronting humanity along the way
Next stop – Old Delhi’s main thoroughfare,the chaotic Chandni Chowk! It runs westwards in a straight line from the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid and known as one of the most fascinating streets in Delhi. , which stand amid busy shops and crumbling old buildings that seem to be sewn together with sagging electric wires.
At the Khari Baoli area in Chandni Chowk, before the spice market sets in, we saw the early morning flower market! I later discovered that the big bundles were bought mainly for temples and wedding ceremonies
What a difference this sight is from the spotless and orderly avenues of New Delhi, only a short distance south. Hard to believe, but when it was created in 1648, Chandni Chowk was once the most luxurious avenue in Shahjahanabad, as this city was known under the Mughal Empire. Trees lined the sides and a ornamental water canal ran through the middle, while only the richest merchants and noblemen could afford the sumptuous palaces and havelis overlooking Chandni Chowk. Today it’s SUCH a mad place…
Especially as the men making the breakfast were so sweet! They were upset at how little we’d eaten but we got off the hook saying we’d already had breakfast and just went there toh ave a little taste as we’d heard how good it was!
Then we went back to the other end of Chandi Chowk to see the Red Fort! The Red Fort (Hindi: लाल क़िला, Urdu: لال قلعہ , usually transcribed into English as Lal Qil’ah or Lal Qila) is a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi. It served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British Indian government. The British used it as a military camp until India was made independent in 1947. It is now a popular tourist site, as well as a powerful symbol of India’s sovereignty: the Prime Minister of India raises the flag of India on the rampants of the Lahori Gate of the fort complex every year on Independence Day.
The fortress palace was an important focal point of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad. The planning and aesthetics of the Red Fort represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which prevailed during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan.
As we didn’t have a guide i probably missed out a bunch of information but having read up on it before coming i was happier leting my imagination fill the gaps of what i didnt know. Imaging royal processions and army salutations in all the areas we passed.
Finally at 10 it was time to go! We stepped back onto Chandi Chowk and were met with a site extremely bizarre to my eyes. I could see a Jain temple, Hindu temple, Sikh temple and just across the road a small Mosque calling for prayer and a Christian church! WHAT?! I think this street perfectly demonstrates the mosaic of different religions represented in India. And its in no way a subtle thing – most people wear their religion on their sleeves, perhaps a way of forming their identity amidst the sea of millions of other people
We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare and eventually boarded our very retro “Air India” flight to Aurangabad!
Goodbye heat, hello rain!