Travel G-spots

POV {+ Travel Tips}: around DELHI

POV {+ Travel Tips}: around DELHI Illustrations by 211 Studio, New Delhi, India

around DELHI

As I sat back and thought for a moment and was gonna start off with something like this:

places of interest that you should visit are Humayun Tomb, Qutub Minar, Safdarjung Tomb, Purana Qila, Lal Qila, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Nizamuddin Dargah…”

How boring!

As I was going down the list, I realised that Delhi has lots of dome shaped buildings!
Mosque, tombs, Sikh gurdwara, mausoleum, and more tombs.  Plus a big fort and 1/8 of the Bahai temples in the world.

Having been to most of the places mentioned above and more, first and foremost as a tourist on my maiden visit, and later an observer and finally a “photographer” (note the ” ” ) … my routine has been such:

  1. get a vain Rs150 temporary tattoo (henna / Mehendi) in Sarojini Nagar (locals pay Rs10-50)
  2. snake through the lanes, chaos and madness of Chandi Chowk in the mornings and enjoy the evening strolls in Lodhi Garden – aye! aye! the benefits of living in the area
  3. talk about ‘how I survived a Canon 1D Mk II snatch-thief situation in Palika’ every time I trample above it (yeah, I shoot with Nikon, so Canon is a separate story)
  4. curse the over-priced over-cooked and stale food and flat coffee in Khan Market and Connaught Place, then swear I’ll never return – ha!
  5. sip and savour great tea in Sunder Nagar … though my main reason to go to Sunder Nagar are the antique shops!
  6. hang out in Eatiopia then, crock head at an angle, frown till eye brows meet and make out the ‘art’ pieces on display
  7. stock up on books in Janpath and touristy trinkets in Dilli Haat
  8. eat loads of sweets!!!
  9. visit every single Indian state’s Bhawan’s canteen for good, cheap, authentic food
  10. get onto train or bus to go somewhere else

But all in, I seriously still don’t get Jama Masjid… hence my MUST go destination every time, though it’s on my way to stocking up on dried apricots, figs and vanilla pods.

Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in the Asia Pacific region and was built by Shahjahan, the 5th Mughal Emperor of India, who also built the Red Fort (Lal Qila) across the road and the Taj Mahal in Agra (just in case you didn’t know … and oh, do visit the Night Show at Lal Qila for the whole mumbo-jumbo story of the sons, nephews, concubines, water mellons – I am serious!).

The open courtyard of the mosque is impressive, measuring approximately 100 meter square.  If not for the 32 quirky looking steps chiseled from red sandstones with white painted stripes, the mosque’s intimidating huge gateway right at the top of the steps gives you a feeling of being looked down by Shahjahan himself. The prayer hall is a marvel with a magnificent facade of eleven arches, being topped off by three domes which are richly ornamented and has black and white marble stripes. The atmosphere and feeling is somewhat surreal if you can get past the fluttering pigeons and poo pockmarked floor.

But I don’t get the no shoe policy!

I mean, I get the no shoe policy in mosque. Period.

But honestly, what difference does it make when every square inch of the courtyard is covered with pigeon poo? And wouldn’t stepping barefooted all over pigeon poo prior to entering the internal arches and prayer area worse than removing one’s shoe before entering the non-poo zones?

jama-masjid-birds_950px1Jama Masjid photograph by {p}. Haque | All Rights Reserved


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This entry was posted on January 18, 2013 by in Asia, TRAVEL ITINERARY & POV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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