Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sight-Seeing in Delhi: Day I

As Delhi stood as the beginning and end of my travels outside of Pune, I was able to see may of the attractions (as well as much of the realities) in one of the oldest cities on the sub-continent. Delhi has had 7 historical occupations and is a swarming megatropolis by anyone's standards.

Day I: I started my sight-seeing in New Delhi, at the Arch of India, a true monument honoring India's military in World War I. Many monuments and governm
ental buildings lie on this central promenade called Rajput, in a style very similar to the Mall in Washington, D.C. I walked from the Gate of India all the way to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President's House, enjoying the sunset, instituted waterways, and the National Museum (see the sunset photo). Although we could only see in through the gates under constant military survalliance, monkeys wandered freely around the grounds, leaving a very romantic sentiment under the setting sun. This was the only place in Delhi that wasn't exhaustively over-crowded. The streets were so quiet and no one yelled at us "Hey madam, what country are you from?"

From there I went to my first Sikh temple at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib. The temple marks the spot where the headless body of Guru Tegh Bahadur was, to the opposition of the Mughal Imperialists, cremated (and by that, I mean that one of his followers stole the body back to his house after his execution and lit his own house on fire so that the body could be faithfully respected without detection from the Mughals). Before entering the temple, we took off our shoes (if you didn't know, this is a common practice across South Asia to take your shoes off at a sacred place), washed our hands and feet, and borrowed scarves outside the temple proper to cover our heads. Inside, three young priests held vigil 24 hours a day, constantly singing and playing classical instruments. Our guide, who was also our rickshaw driver for the day, said that they work on shifts so that the temple is always staffed. We ended the day in a much less picturesque way, wandering in Old Delhi after dinner (an experience, let me tell you).

No comments:

Post a Comment