We began our morning at Qutab Minar, a monument erected by Qutab-ud-din in 1193. The tower was mesmerising and many of us stopped to take typical tourists shots “holding” the top of the tower. Some photos were effective, others, less so.
It was incredibly eye catching, with the combination of red sandstone, marble and sandstone not only beautiful but allowed us to distinguish the various storeys and additions to the pillar.
Here we saw many more tourists then we were used to! It was a big surprise but given the well-known monuments of Delhi, it shouldn’t have been. We sure stood out though and were asked to pose for photos with many of the Indian tourists.
From here we travelled to Gandhi Smriti where Mahatma Gandhi lived for the final 144 days of his life. Cement footsteps mark the last journey he took from his room the the lawn in which he was assassinated. We walked around this path, marvelling at the clean grounds, calming water features and beautiful painting which chronicled Gandhi’s life from a young boy to a law student in London and finally to the loin-clothed, Father if the Nation we’re so used to seeing. We also explored the Gandhi museum which featured images, facts, moving picture and many visual representations of Gandhi.
We stopped for lunch at a popular coffee shop chain and while it took a while for our meals to arrive, all our bellies were grateful for a change in cuisine.
The bus took us then to Old Delhi and after weaving through nw incredibly busy market, brought us to the steps of Jama Masjid, a very popular mosque. Its name refers to the weekly Friday noon prayers. We were definitely out of place, given female tourists must wear colourful, oversized dressing gowns. We couldn’t take a group photo without locals wanting to join in or take their own. While the mosque was incredible, and a sign of true devotion, we felt very much foreigners.
We quickly shed our gowns and made for the eight rickshaws awaiting us. In pairs, we travelled though the marketplace of Old Delhi. Given today is Sunday, this trip only took 30 minutes; on any other day it’d be a 90 minute adventure!! We enjoyed feeling the breeze on our spaces, admiring the precise driving and navigation of our cyclists and taking in the sights and smells of the market.
The afternoon sun was shining down over the Raj Ghat when we arrived. This beautiful park is a shrine to commemorate Gandhi. The modest, flat black pillar holds his ashes and the simplicity of the site reflects the values Gandhi held most dear to him.
Tomorrow we leave for Agra at 8am in order to beat the traffic and we are looking forward to visiting Agra Fort (we caught a glimpse of the enormous Red Fort here today) and of course, seeing the Taj Mahal.