Sightseeing in Delhi Day 2

DELHI TOUR

Day 2

Lily woke up at 6 am, with her signature ‘jumping on the bed’ move. Thankfully I had had a good nights’ sleep. She forced me to pull my bikini out of the bag (it was stuffed at the bottom). There were just two people doing lengths at that time so we had a good half an hour of Lily doing some bomb dives and playing tag.

It was a pleasant morning in terms of Delhi standards. We ordered some breakfast poolside and got ready to leave by 8:30 am. Arun was as expected, waiting in the lobby with a smile and off we went.

We drove by Rashtrapati Bhawan, the official presidential estate; formerly the British Viceory’s house. It looked huge. It wasn’t on the itinerary but would certainly be worth a look at, inside. Adjacent to it was the magnificent India Gate; a structure similar to The Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Surrounding it were sprawling gardens and a huge circular road which connected everything in Delhi. Lily found it beautiful and wanted to go closer. Arun informed her that we would be going there on our way back to the hotel.

After a few flyovers, we reached one end of South Delhi, at The Qutub Minar Complex. The guide told us hurriedly that it is a World Heritage listed site dating back to the late 12th century. Built on the foundations of Hindu and Jain temples and the monuments within the complex are fine displays of Indo-Islamic architecture. We Walked past the Mughal Gardens on entering the complex and then looked to the right and saw, Alai Minar. This was the Muslim ruler Ala-ud-din Khilji’s grand attempt to build an identical tower twice the height of Qutub Minar However his death left the incomplete tower standing at just 80 feet.

We then, marveled at the old gateway to the complex, Alai Darwaza, a red sandstone masterpiece that features incredibly intricate lattice sandstone screens and white marble inlay work

Next comes the main attraction, the Qutub Minar, standing 238 feet high. Work started in 1193 by the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, Qutub-ud-din Aibak and was gradually completed by his successors. Carvings and verses from the Quran adorn the tower.We wandered around admiring the sheer size of it.

Lily took a picture and confidently stated that it was the biggest sandcastle she had ever seen and someone tried to destroy this one, like the bullies do, to her. The guide laughed, playfully and agreed with her.

Apart from the throngs of tourists there were also what seemed like locals, just coming to sit and talk. Some couples in the corner holding hands. Students, clicking pictures. There were a number of Mughal Tombs with complex marble and red sandstone carvings. A crumbling mosque further ahead, supposedly one of the first in the region, after the Islamic conquest.

We had a nice lunch at The Olive Kitchen, located just a few minutes away from it. We feasted on slow cooked lamb and

Chorizo pizza. On our way back, Arun asked us we would like to shop and in our family, we don’t like saying no to that. So, 10 minutes later we were sitting in a comfortable sofa, sipping on some delicious ‘Kawah Tea’ while an old man with kind eyes and a big beard was rolling out these ‘Kashmiri Carpets’ for us. Some of the jewel-like designs were quite mesmerizing and the quality felt like fine silk and wool. Completely handmade, the carpets are fashioned through a complicated hand-knotting process. An art passed down from father to son, this process is demanding in both labor and time.Lily actually wanted me to buy the device that made the carpets; which certainly amused everyone. I selected a few and promised them that I would consider buying them before I left.

We decided to call it quits a bit earlier today and then went on to the hotel to just laze around. India Gate tomorrow for certain, then ‘Dilli Haat’ with a theater production at ‘Kingdom of Dreams.

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