January 13, 2011

India {Delhi}

We caught a plane to Delhi on Wednesday morning to sightsee. Our main intent was to visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Landing at the airport, differences between Chennai and Delhi were immediately apparent - Delhi's airport is brand new and modern, Chennai's reminds me of something from the fifties (they even have the old school departure/arrival boards that flip thru to change- not digital!). Once we found our driver, we made our way to the hotel. I thought traffic in Chennai was crazy, but in Delhi they appear to have no rules and twice the number of cars. I wouldn't even call it controlled chaos- just chaos! It's amazing to see how adaptable people are. The streets were packed with cars, bikers, motorcycles, autos(think scooter on steroids that's like a cab), pedestrians, dogs and of course, cows. Amazingly, I think the cows were the only one's using logic and common sense (single file and on the edge of the roads- they even wait for each other when they cross)

We visited Qutb Minar, Lotus Temple, and Connaught Place. First stop was the Qutb Minar. It is the world's tallest Minaret and the first prominent structure of Indo-Islamic architecture. It's size and detail are impressive. It's hard to grasp that this was built in the 12th Century. Next stop was the Lotus Temple. The Lotus Temple is a Baha'i Temple of Worship. This means it is open to all religions. It is a gathering place for all to pray and worship God. The Temple itself was remarkable with it's flower shape and the fact it is made out of marble. When you enter the temple, a sense of calm envelopes you and you experience pure silence- escaping all the noises of the outside world. It is bare inside, as Baha'i do not allow pictures, statues or images to be displayed within the temple. It is simply rows of pews. Finally, we hit Connaught Place. Connaught Place is the largest commercial and financial center in New Delhi. We went to walk around and explore the shops. It's essentially a large circle with shops and businesses surrounding it. I didn't enjoy this as much- too many people, too many beggars and way too many pushing vendors. They were relentless and really put me off from wanting to buy from them.

That was all we had time to see in Delhi. I know there is much more to see, but our main goal was to get to the Taj (look for that post shortly). Based on my first impressions, I like Chennai more. It is more of what I expected India to be. Here in Delhi, I feel more Middle Eastern than Indian- based on dress, climate and the people. The south is much warmer and the people seem more traditional and they greet you with open arms.

Old School Airport boards

Qutb Minar

Detail on Qutb Minar

Passage to Tomb of Alauddin Khalji

Tomb of Alauddin Khalji

Courtyard of College

Lotus Temple

1 comment:

Halina said...

Thank you for keeping up on your updates!!