Saturday, March 26, 2016

New Delhi India

After Christmas we took a little tour of some cities in the northern part of India.  It is called the "Golden Triangle" and has some of the more spectacular sights in India.  First stop was the capital city of New Delhi.
The Red Fort was the residence of the Mughal emperor of India for nearly 200 years, until 1857. It is located in the centre ofDelhi and houses a number of museums. In addition to accommodating the emperors and their households, it was the ceremonial and political centre of Mughal government and the setting for events critically impacting the region.  It was built in 1648.  It is called a fort and was certainly fortified but it served as the emperor's palace.
India has lots of little shops and street vendors.  There also appear to be a lot of men hanging around.  Everywhere.
These are Tuk Tuks.  They are three wheeled taxis or a motorized rickshaw.  They are everywhere and are an affordable way to get around.  They run on natural gas  (India's attempt to clean up the air)  Our guide tried to convince us that the smog and haze we were seeing in the city was really just fog.  I wasn't buying it.  I saw one of these tuk tuks with seven people in it.
We took a rickshaw ride (bicycle powered) through the ancient bazaar in New Delhi.  Disney has got nothing on these guys for "E" ticket rides.  Lots of traffic, lots of people, horns, the drivers shouting and lots of people wanting to touch JJ and Eden's blond heads.

 Even though this is a major shopping area, we were told it was most a wholesale business area and our guides did not let us off the rickshaws.  (Thank goodness).  
Notice the electrical system.  Becomes a problem when it rains.

I had to take a spin on the rickshaw.  I think I went about one foot.  

India has many religions.  Hindu, Muslin, Sikhs, Jainism , Bahai.  This picture is in front of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.  It is a Sikh temple.  To go inside we had to cover our heads and go barefoot.  They said the floors were perfectly clean.  They weren't.   It was built in 1783.  They have a community meal every day and feet around 3000 people.  We went into the kitchen and the girls even helped in the preparations. 

August 15 is India's Independence day when they became independent from Great Briton. 
Qutub Minar, at 120 meters, is the tallest brick minaret in the world

Qutub Minar is a Unesco World Heritage site.  Construction of the tower began in 1200 AD and was added to by various rulers over the next 200 years.  

India has had various periods of time when the Hindus were in charge and various periods of time when the Islamist were in charge. Ancient Hindu architecture has lots of ornate carvings with a lot of animal depictions.  Islamic architecture has no such images and more geometric designs. 
We stopped by a store that sells hand made woolen carpets that come from the Cashmere region of India.  Each carpet takes months to make, hand tying the thousands of individual strands.  We had a demonstration and of course an opportunity to make a purchase.  Once they realized we might actually buy one all kinds of people showed up with lots of samples to view.  We ended up taking the two below home.   The red one is under the dinning room table and the other one lives in the family room now.

JJ was more interested in the elephant.
This is called the Lotus Temple.  
Like all other Bahá'í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion, or any other distinction, as emphasized in Bahá'í texts. The Bahá'í laws emphasize that the spirit of the House of Worship be that it is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions. The Bahá'í laws also stipulate that not only the holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith but also those of other religions can be read and/or chanted inside the House of Worship regardless of language; while readings and prayers can be set to music by choirs, no musical instruments can be played inside. Furthermore, no sermons can be delivered, and there can be no ritualistic ceremonies practiced.
This is the Humayun's Tomb.  It is referred to as a model of the Taj Mahjal.  While it appears to be a grand palace, it is actually a mausoleum for the remains of the Mughal Emperor Humayun.  It was commissioned by his son and completed in 1572.  It houses the remains of the emperor, his son and grandson. 

Much of the Unesco World Heritage sites we saw were from the Mughal Empire era.   The Mughals were descendants of Genghis Chan.  This is what the Encyclopedia Britannica has to say about the Mughals (also know as Mongols)
Mughal dynastyMughal also spelled Mogul, Arabic MongolIndia, history of: development of Mughal Empire [Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.]Muslim dynasty of Turkic-Mongol origin that ruled most of northern India from the early 16th to the mid-18th century. After that time it continued to exist as a considerably reduced and increasingly powerless entity until the mid-19th century. The Mughal dynasty was notable for its more than two centuries of effective rule over much of India, for the ability of its rulers, who through seven generations maintained a record of unusual talent, and for its administrative organization. A further distinction was the attempt of the Mughals, who were Muslims, to integrate Hindus and Muslims into a united Indian state.

The dynasty was founded by a Chagatai Turkic prince named Bābur(reigned 1526–30), who was descended from the Turkic conqueror Timur (Tamerlane) on his father’s side and from Chagatai, second son of the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan, on his mother’s side. Ousted from his ancestral domain in Central Asia, Bābur turned to India to satisfy his appetite for conquest. 
Delhi Akshardham is a modern Hindu Temple.  It was completed in 2005.  It is built of white marble and has ornate carvings of Hindu history throughout.  Truly spectacular.  Incredible crowds.  High Security.  No Cameras allowed.  We watched a pretty impressive water show.  It was all in Hindi so we couldn't understand much of what was going on.  The Oriental religions we learned about have very devout followers.  They seem to embrace anything that is good.  I couldn't detect a set of doctrines.  They do embrace the billions of Rupees they collect as admission fees for the temple and water show.  Which we happily paid. Disneyland has got nothing on these folks when it comes to crowds and lines.  Westerners can pay a higher entrance fee and shorten the line considerably.  No escaping the crowds.  
The capital region of New Delhi is very nice.  The streets are wide and tree lined.  There is not a lot of traffic and the buildings are spaced with a distance between them and the streets are designed so you can see the buildings and monuments at the end of the street.  Their capital is modeled after the US capital.  The "India Arch"  looks a lot like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  It is a monument to the 82,000 Indians who died in World War I.  

Image result for India Gate

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