Delhi Chronicle Part 2

Continued from here

My parents arrived in New Delhi on 1st May 2012. They were very happy to see their grand-daughter  in person for the first time. Sadly she had fallen sick due to the bad water and weather of Delhi. 😦 On 2nd May 2012 my parents and I decided to go sightseeing around New Delhi. So we talked to our hotel manager and booked a cab for the day. We left right after breakfast but even in such early morning the sun was mercilessly bright and hot. The places we visited were

# The Laxmi Narayan temple – It is located on Mandir Marg near Connaught Circus in Delhi. It is also known as the Birla Mandir (Temple) because the famous business tycoon Mr B.D. Birla financed the construction of the temple way back in 1933. It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1939 and apparently there is an interesting story behind that. Mahatama Gandhi inaugurated the temple with the condition that the temple should allow people from all castes, especially untouchables to visit the place and offer their prayers and the instruction was followed too during those times. Don’t know about the practice now!!

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It is dedicated primarily to Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi. Other than them, there are idols of Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman and even Lord Buddha. The grand structure of the temple consists of sculptures, tall spires (the tallest one being 165 ft) and Jali work making it look magnificent. The inner hall, Geeta Bhawan, is huge and is decorated with beautiful and colorful paintings, derived from the scenes of Indian mythology. There are gardens and fountains too in the temple complex. Photography and Mobiles are not allowed inside. One has to deposit those in a locker box and take the key. It is open daily from 6am to 10pm and entry is free.

# Rashtrapati Bhavan – It would have been a shame if we didn’t visit the seats of power while in the Power City, New Delhi. So we asked the driver to show us the Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan on our way to India Gate. Since it was a weekday the Bhavan was closed for tourists and the surrounding area was also cordoned off for PM’s convoy or something. But it was exciting to see the buildings we see on television in real and to imagine the people’s representatives sitting inside, deciding the fate of millions of Indians. For details on how to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan visit the link here.

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After the drive through Raisina Hills area, we went to the famous India Gate which was visible straight ahead on the Rajpath road.

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# India Gate – After having seen the great monument now and then on television and movies like Rang De Basanti, I was eager to see the symbol of India’s pride and prestige. It is better to visit the place in evening as advised by our cab driver because in evening the monument is floodlit and the fountains nearby make a lovely display with colored lights. The national monument is said to be inspired by the famous monument in Paris “Arc De Triomphe”. It was designed by the renowned British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and the construction was completed in 1931. India Gate is a memorial commemorating the Indian soldiers in British Army who had sacrificed their lives in World War I. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti, was added later, post-Independence. The flame (jyoti) burns eternally under the arch to remind us of soldiers who fought for India and sacrificed their lives in the Indo-Pak War 1971. The India Gate really fills our hearts with a sense of patriotism and respect for all the soldiers watching our borders and keeping us safe. Timings: Morning to Night Entry: Free Days Closed: None Photography Charges: Nil

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# Qutab Minar – This renowned tower or “minar” is named after the king Qutab-ud-din Aibak who laid the foundation of the structure towards the end of twelfth century. The construction was completed under the reign of his successor, Iltutmish in A.D. 1230. According to the historical plaque at the place, in A.D. 1368 and 1503, the minar was damaged by lightning and repairs were carried out by the erstwhile emperors. [So lightning does strike at the same place twice 😉 ]The tapering tower has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and of about 2.75 m at the top with a height of 72.5 m and can be ascended by 379 steps. It is the highest stone tower in India and a perfect example of  a “minar” known to exist anywhere. The variegated plan of its three lower storeys (it has 5 storeys), the projecting balconies and the ornate inscriptions on its facades enhance the beauty of the tower. The entire Qutab Minar complex is also well maintained by the Tourism Department.

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# Iron Pillar – At the foot of the Qutab Minar is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, apparently the first mosque to be built in India. In the courtyard of this mosque, there is the famous metallurgical miracle “Iron Pillar” which dates back to 4th century A.D. There is an inscription on the pillar in Sanskrit which says that the pillar was set up as a “dhvaja” or flagstaff of Lord Vishnu on the hill known as Vishnupada, in the memory of great and powerful king, Chandra (found similar to Chandragupta II of Gupta dynasty).

This slightly tapering cylinder has a height of 24 ft of which 3 ft is buried below the ground and weighs around 6000 kg. It is made of corrosion free wrought iron and has seven distinct parts. Apparently, it has a protective film over it which is high in phosphorous content and which has made it a rustless wonder.

According to urban legend (started by tourist guides I suspect), if one could stand with one’s back to the pillar and make the fingers of one’s two hands meet behind it, his wish would be fulfilled. Due to public acting on this “tradition”, the pillar now has a guard railing around it.

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Entrance Fees – Rs 10. Non commercial use of video – Rs 25 . Entry of children free upto 15 years of age. Open all days. Entry Time – Sunrise to Sunset.

# Humayun Tomb – The mausoleum of the second Mughal emperor, Humayun, was built by his widow Hamida Banu Begum in 1565 – 72 A.D. , 14 years after his death. It was later used for the burial of many family members and hence it is also known as the “Dormitory of the Mughals”. The architect of this great and important example of the beginning stage of Mughal architectural style and Persian influence was Mirak Mirza Ghiyath. According to the information plaque at the site, The structure stands on a platform of 12000 sq.m and reaches a height of 47 m. Built of rubble masonry, the structure is the first to use red sandstone and white marble in such great quantities. The small canopies on the terrace were originally covered in glazed blue tiles and the  brass finial over the white marble dome is itself 6 m high. Sadly due to the very hot, thirst inducing and tiring weather of May, we could see only the exterior of the building and decided not to explore further. But, UNESCO website describes this World Heritage site as

The tomb itself is in the centre of a large garden, laid out in char baah (four-fold) style, with pools joined by channels. The main entrance is on the south side, and there is another entrance on the west side. A pavilion and a bath are located in the centre of the eastern and northern walls respectively. The mausoleum itself is on a high, wide, terraced platform with small arched cells along the sides.

Maybe next time!!

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Entrance Fees – Rs 10. Non commercial use of video – Rs 25 . Entry of children free upto 15 years of age. Open all days. Entry Time – Sunrise to Sunset.

# Red Fort – By this time we were totally exhausted, thirsty and hungry. So we started back for the hotel and on the way back, the driver just stopped for 2 minutes in front of the famous and another World Heritage site, the Red Fort so that I can take a picture atleast. Here is a brief description from UNESCO website

The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is next to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.

What I noticed was the market outside selling all kind of touristy stuff. Sadly I couldn’t explore the market even! 😦 At evening, there is a light and sound show at the Fort complex about the events in Indian history related to the Red Fort.

Open: Tue-Sun; Mondays closed Timings: Sunrise to Sunset Entry Fee: Rs 10 Photography: Nil (Rs 25 for video filming)
Sound & Light Shows: 6pm onwards in English and Hindi Ticket: Rs 80 (adults), Rs 30 (children)

So my sightseeing in Delhi was cut short by the weather and lack of time. Hope to visit Delhi again and explore further the history, the culture, the market, the food and the “Dil” of Delhi. After all

Yeh Delhi hai mere yaar,
Bass ishq mohabbat pyaar….

Basti hai mastaano ki Dilli Dilli,
Gali hai deewano ki Dilli 6

Bada kaske gale lagata hai,
Dhadkan ki dhun sunata hai,
Iske baaye taraf bhi dil hai,
Iske daaye taraf bhi dil dil hai,
Yeh shehar nahi mehfil hai….

Yeh shehar nahi mehfil hai…..

P.S. That’s a song from the Hindi movie “Delhi 6″….the last line means “it’s not a city it’s a gathering”

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Categories: Cities, Historical, New Delhi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Delhi Chronicle Part 2

  1. I was not able to watch Delhi 6 movie fully. What a slow-moving film! I liked the photo of Qutib Minar. I have seen it before, but this angle makes it look very interesting. I love the clean roads and monuments of Delhi. I hope I would be able to explore the city sometime…

    Destination Infinity

  2. You should visit Red Fort next time. But I felt Agra Fort was bigger and more beautiful compared to Red Fort. It seems Red Fort was built after taking inspiration from Agra Fort. Great pics and description. Reminded me of my trip to Delhi 🙂

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