Second Day in Delhi


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Slept well. Breakfast in hotel. I’m trying to only eat hot cooked food and no meat (because I’m told, Indians eat very little meat, so the whole process from animal to table is likely to be less ‘safe’ than in England.) It was hard to resist bacon and a wonderful array of pastries. I did have some milk in my coffee, but didn’t eat the butter, which although was pasteurised had been left on warm table, not in chilled cabinet. Am possibly being too fussy. D ate everything.

We walked around the old part of Delhi. A few years ago, in Mumbai, I bought an Indian tunic and trousers ( the trousers – baggy at top and tight at ankle are called ‘salwar’. The tunic is called ‘kameez’ and the veil/scarf is called ‘dupatta’.) I felt bit of a wombat in the hotel, which is full of Westerners, but on the street it felt much more comfortable to be dressed the same as everyone else. The clothes are also very comfortable, as the fabric is light and the veil can be used as a sunshade over your head. It also covered my bag rather neatly – being aware of pick pockets is part of being in India.

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We saw the Red Fort, a big mosque and a market. Best was the market, teeming with people, noisy with traffic and shouts and loud speakers from Hindu temples. There was a constant smell – spices and diesel fumes and sweet food and urine and incense, all in a tangle. The traffic was mostly on the road, but motorbikes and tuktuks sometimes avoided lights by driving along paths, so you had to be alert. It was wonderful and foreign and intense.

 

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Huymayun’s Tomb was built before the Taj Mahal ( which we also plan to visit.) It was lovely. There was a beautiful domed building, which the Persians had taught them how to build. ( Apparently, to build a huge dome, you need a smaller one inside so it doesn’t collapse. Persians were rather good at building them.) The gardens are an integral part of the monument. They reflect ‘paradise’ and have water and trees and birds. Peaceful. There were lots of stars, which some tourists thought were the Star of David. Our guide told us that as the Persians were Muslim, they wouldn’t allow any depiction of living things, so the Indians used geometric patterns, which included the stars. They have no link to the Jewish star ( just as the many swastikas have no link to the Nazi symbol.)

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We drove back via India Gate, which is inscribed with the names of Indian martyrs. Opposite, at the end of a long wide road, is the president’s residence, Vijay Chowk. It would be magnificent to look from one to the other, but there was too much pollution haze, so was all rather difficult to see. The round parliament building is also there.

 

Thank you for reading.

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anneethompson.com

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