Delhi Journals

Delhi - exciting, vivid, and hot!

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A July 1998 trip to Delhi by Amanda

Indira Ghandi Museum Photo, Delhi, India More Photos
Quote: Delhi is often thought of as a place to change flights, sort out post and money, and leave. Don't do it! There's so much to see and absorb here, stay at least a week.This journal is now only sights, I have written a new one for hotels and food, and one for shopping.

Delhi - exciting, vivid, and hot!

Overview

Quote:
The Indira Ghandi Museum, the Jama Masjid Mosque, and Qatab Minar to the south of the city, are all places I particularly enjoyed. All of these are amazing tourist sites, which are never that crowded as so many tourists seem to avoid the city, wrongly in my view. On my latest trip to Delhi, in Sept. 2001, I particularly enjoyed a visit to the shrine of the 13th to 14th century Muslim saint, Nizam-ud-Din, just south of New Delhi. The huge imperial buildings of New Delhi, built by the British government in the early part of the 20th century and designed by Edwin Lutyens, are a fascinating contrast to the smaller alleys of Old Delhi, and should definitely be seen. I have decided to separate this jou...Read More

Indira Ghandi Museum

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Attraction

Indira Ghandi Museum Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
This famous female Prime Minister's house, complete with blood stains where she was assassinated by her own bodyguards, is fascinating. It's just south of New Delhi's centre, and the house has been converted into an excellent museum. The house itself is a huge, elegant affair, with long, undulating lawns (suspiciously green, for the climate). Inside, the house has been converted downstairs into a standard museum layout, with corridors inserted between rooms, but upstairs the family atmosphere of the private family accommodation has been maintained, with much of the original furniture and decoration. Following the Golden Temple siege in Amritsar, where a number of Sikhi extremists were killed o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2000

Indira Ghandi Museum
New Delhi
Delhi, India

Tuglaqabad

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Attraction

Tuglaqabad Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
This place is an impressive, deserted fortress. It's absolutely huge - the outer walls enclose a vast area, within which hundreds of people and their animals could seek shelter during a seige. There are a couple of wells inside the outer walls, so this really was a self-sufficent place. Within the perimeter are a couple of castle-like buildings, a fortified grainery, and there is also a fortified bridge from the main site to a smaller pen the other side of the main road - perhaps for keeping more animals in, but the purpose is no longer clear. When we went, we were alone among the ruins, apart from a few goats and a boy looking after them. The incredibly thick walls, now in ruins, create an eerie a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2000

Tuglaqabad
2 miles east of the Qutab Minar
Delhi, India

Jama Masjid/Friday Mosque

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Attraction | "Jami Masjid"

Jama Masjid/Friday Mosque Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
A giant oasis of calm amid frantic Old Delhi. If you're here in the heat, it's marginally cooler than the rest of the city! The 17th century buildings make up the biggest mosque in India, and it is a truly vast place. It's set on a slight hill, and there are great views of Delhi, Old and New - in particular, this is a great place to view the Red Fort from; if you have already been there, it's interesting to see how the buildings fit together, and if you have yet to go, it's a good preview. The building is constructed from a very red stone, and is in the typical mosque pattern. There are steep steps up to the mosque, and then a covered entry hall, where you must take off your shoes. Further insid...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2000

Jama Masjid/Friday Mosque
Old City, Chandni Chowk
Delhi, India

India Gate

Attraction

Quote:
India Gate is a vast testimony to British Imperial Power, and part of the numerous government buildings put up in the early part of the 20th century, when the capital of India was moved to Delhi from Calcutta.The gate is positioned at the end of a huge, triumphal road, and it lists the endless names of the Indian soldiers who died fighting for Britain and Empire in the First World War. It stands magnificant, but strangely alone; you get the sense it's in a city where it no longer belongs.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2000

India Gate
Rajpath, New Delhi
Delhi, India

Coronation Site

Attraction

Quote:
This place brings to mind the phrase, 'look upon this ye mighty and despair'. Like the works in the poem 'Ozymadius', the mighty have fallen. This is where George V was crowned Emperor of India in 1911, and it's now just a patch of land. There are various statues, many crumbling and crawled over by wildlife, others seemingly not from the site itself, but dumped here from elsewhere. The whole place is overgrown and abandoned, and a pathetic air hangs over the whole site. There are very few other tourists here, and it's a great place to see the former grandeur of British colonial rule. The site is built on a huge scale, and is impressive to see. It's well worth a look - sic transit gloria mundi.....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2000

Coronation Site
North of the city
Delhi, India

Old Delhi

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Attraction

Old Delhi Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Old Delhi is a chaotic, noisy, filthy, fascinating place. It feels as if half of humanity is crowded into the narrow streets some of the time! The main street in Old Delhi is Chadni Chwok, the market street that runs west from the Red Fort. Off this street are endless tiny alley ways, courtyards, and streets, many of which are too narrow for anything other than pedestrain traffic (or cows.) Every kind of shop is here, from fabric and sari emporiums, to small shops selling heaped, fragrent spices. There are also a hundred places to get a cheap meal, drink, or snack, and many have the distinct advantage of cooking in front of you, so you can have a quick look at the cleanliness of the equipment and the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 30, 2001

Old Delhi
Red Fort to Chadni Chowk area
Delhi, India

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine

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Attraction

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
My writing about this shrine is divided into 3 parts, as the maximum length of one entry is 500 words and this exceeds that. On our last day in Delhi my mother and I visited the shrine of Nizam-ud-Din, a Muslim Sufi saint who died in Delhi at the age of 92 in the early 14th century. On my previous visit to India I’d bought and read a book about Delhi called City of Djins by William Dalrymple, a wonderful book about a year in the city which combines his modern day experiences in Delhi with history, geography and culture. The description of the shrine made me very keen to visit it, and my mother was also enthusiastic, having read the same book. Our guidebook’s (Lonely Planet) description of the p...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 24, 2001

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine
Just off Mathura Road
Delhi, India

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine

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Attraction | "Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine 2"

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
(cont. from section 1) The floor was tiled, once with blue and white tiles, but now a uniform grey apart from the occasional patch of colour. The path wound and twisted, and I’m not sure how far we walked or in what direction – it took us about 10 or 15 minutes, but the going was slow. In City of Djins the author describes his walk along the passage, saying "the further Dr. Jaffery and I went into the vortex of vaulted passageways, the less and less sign there was first of the 20th century, with all its noise and cars and auto-rickshaws, then of the 19th and 18th centuries with their blank-faced Mughal town houses. By the time we ducked under a narrow arch and emerged into the daylight of the central ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 24, 2001

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine
Just off Mathura Road
Delhi, India

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine

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Attraction | "Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine 3"

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
(Cont. from section 2) Nizam-ud-Din, he told us, was one of the greatest Sufis ever to have lived. He believed the most important religious message was not to pray properly, but to treat all mankind as brothers, and to treat others in the way that you would like to be treated. When he was given charity, he fed the poor of whatever religion, when people came to him for advice, he gave it to those of any faith. He spoke to the leaders and clerics of all religions, and strived to avoid religious discord. He explained that people of all faiths come to the shrine, although the majority by far are Muslim. He told us that women were not allowed inside, but that the women around the outside were also heard an...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 24, 2001

Shaykh Nizam-ud-Din's shrine
Just off Mathura Road
Delhi, India

Tourist entrance fees

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Attraction

Tourist entrance fees Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Tourist entrance fees to Indian sights have been a controversial topic in India over the last couple of years. When I was in the country 3 years ago, the cost of entrance to most places was a few rupees, an insignificant sum to tourists. The Indian government decided to introduce a 2-tier system, with much higher prices for foreign tourists than for Indians. From 1st October 2000, the costs have been $5 for non World Heritage Sites, $10 for World Heritage Sites, and $20 for a few, such as the Taj Mahal. This could add up to a lot of money – if you go and see Qatab Minar, Tuglughabad, in the morning, and Huyuman’s Tomb and the Red Fort in the afternoon ( a busy, but not implausible day), you’ll pay a t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 1, 2001

Tourist entrance fees
Delhi, India
Delhi, India

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar)

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Attraction | "Qutab Minar"

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar) Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
South of both Old and New Delhi, and not far from Tugluguabad, this is one of the most interesting sites in Delhi. A designated World Heritage site, this place is a complex of Muslim buildings, built, according to an inscription, from the ruins of idolatrous [Hindu] temples. The first main Muslim buildings in Delhi are here, which makes this place of current political importance as well as historical significance. It's a beautiful site, removed slightly from the noise and dust of Delhi itself, and the whole of it is built out of a delicate, faintly reddish stone. The complex consists of various buildings set among calm gardens. There are the usual Muslim buildings found elsewhere in India (for ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar)
Mehrauli
Delhi, India

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar)

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Attraction | "Qutab Minar 2"

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar) Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
(cont. from section 1) As you walk towards the main buildings, you pass an audience hall. Designed for the summer, it has a stone floor, pillars, and roof (not all of which is still on, but a fair percentage survives) and no walls. The design meant any slight breeze could drift through in the summer, without too much monsoon rain making its way in. The pillars look too slender and graceful to hold up the structure, but as the building is 700 years old, they must be stronger than they appear. While the rest of the complex is built out of the same stone as the Red Fort in old Delhi, and is therefore noticeably reddish in colour, this building for some reason is built from a creamy-coloured stone, ident...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar)
Mehrauli
Delhi, India

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar)

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Attraction | "Qutab Minar 3"

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar) Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
(cont. from section 2) Behind the mosque are cool, arched buildings, the equivalent of cloisters in a European cathedral, which are delicately carved in the stone-work tradition which is both beautiful in itself, and an ancestor of the Taj Mahal in Agra. If you enter a room, over stone steps bowed slightly by the passage of centuries’ worth of feet, you can see the slightly rounded corners with stone seats, and amazing lattice carvings to help lower the temperature by that crucial few degrees in summer. The pillars are geometrically beautiful, holding up the roof without looking other than decorative. The ceilings are fairly low at the corners of the small rooms, but the domes set above the centre of...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar)
Mehrauli
Delhi, India

Isa Khan's tomb

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Attraction

Isa Khan's tomb Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Isa Khan’s tomb is a crumbling oasis of tranquillity in frantic New Delhi. It’s very near the shrine of the Muslim Sufi-saint, Nizam-ud-Din, and the village of Nizamuddin, and is thus only some 10 to 15 minutes by rickshaw from Connaught Place. My mother and I visited this place on our way to Nizam-ud-Din’s shrine, and the two places are only a few minutes’ walk apart. The shrine itself is enclosed within a vast wall, some 250-300 yards across. The wall is about 15 feet high, and built of the reddish sandstone so favoured by the Murghal builders in India. It is a graceful structure, similar to the walls around the Red Fort; flat up to about 4 feet from the top, with arches above that h...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 17, 2001

Isa Khan's tomb
Nizamuddin, New Delhi
Delhi, India

Isa Khan's tomb

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Attraction | "Isa Khan's tomb 2"

Isa Khan's tomb Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
(cont. from section 1) The shrine, built of a paler stone, consists of an enclosed inner sanctum, a shaded path around this, a veranda, some 6-8 feet deep, and steps leading up to it on 4 out of the 8 sides of the building. The consisted of one main dome in the centre, and several smaller ones around the edges. The arches leading to the shaded inner area of the tomb had the remains of blue decoration painted above them, with smaller snippets of yellow just visible as well. The inner sanctum can be entered via a door on the opposite side of the shrine from the entrance to the compound. You must remove your shoes before you enter. There are 5 tombs there, all in stone coffin-type edifices above the gr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 17, 2001

Isa Khan's tomb
Nizamuddin, New Delhi
Delhi, India

Humayun's Tomb

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Attraction

Humayun's Tomb Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Humayun’s Tomb has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UN (and therefore, costing $10 / person.) It is very close to Isa Khan’s tomb (see the entries for this also in my Delhi journal) - the two compounds are only a couple of hundred feet apart. The architecture of the tomb is amazing. Looking through the gate that leads to the tomb, you can see the similarities with the Taj Mahal – the arched gates leading to avenues, and then the tomb itself, the care that has gone into the views the visitor has from all sides, the arches themselves, meeting at a graceful point above the centre of the lintel, the tree lined avenues and walled-off enclosures, and last but not least, the buil...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 17, 2001

Humayun's Tomb
Nizamuddin, New Delhi
Delhi, India

Red Fort

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Attraction

Quote:
Like many other Murghal palaces, the Red Fort is built of rich, lovely red sandstone, that catches the dawn and twilight, glowing beautifully. It's an amazing building, a centre of Indian national pride, and full of interesting things to do and see. The Fort is vast - the walls are well over a mile long. Inside are the many buildings the court needed in its everyday life. If you have been to Istanbul, many features here will be familiar, such as the Halls of Public and Private Audience. Both are made of white marble, set with precious stones – not unlike the construction used in the Taj Mahal. The hall of public audience was like a court held by the emperor to hear his subjects’ grievances, and...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 30, 2001

Red Fort
West central Old Delhi
Delhi, India