Tourists in New Delhi

That is us today and we had a spectacular time with visits to Qutab Minor, Humayan’s Tomb and Jantar Mantar (and our driver also took a ‘short’ detour to a Himalayan gift shop to buy a pashmina or anything else in the store but we were soon rapidly walking out of there – much to the disappointment of the store keeper). Thank goodness for air-conditioned hotel cars, with drivers who provide bottled water and face-washers on this rather warm day. India is full of amazing monuments.

Qutab Minor is an awe inspiring structure – more so when you know that its construction began in 1193 and it has NO internal steel supports or the like. This is all stone – red sandstone and marble! The five storeys are marked by the intricately formed balconies and the whole structure towers heavenward.

The Taj might be impressive (that is for another trip here) but Humayan’s Tomb (built by Humayan’s very, very, very rich grieving widow – it was a lot of grief) is here in Delhi (instead of hours away driving) and it is quite spectacular. The garden paths, flowing water, the red sandstone, the central fountain, ornate carvings and engravings, the various tombs and detailed entrances … and the extremely LOW stone fences that would be a real hazzard not allowed at any tourist set in Australia … are all part of this beautiful place.

Jantar Mantar is an astronomical delight and it is a relatively new construction begun in 1724! From here the times and movements of the sun and moon were calculated but the instruments are so spectaculary large. Different structures within the complex performed different roles including calculating the shortest and longest days of the year, and there is the huge sundial. Thanks Dr. Marc for this one!

And on our drive we also saw the blue number plate 5 CD 1 – that’s the number plate for the car of the Australian Ambassador. How do we know? Because we saw that number plate on a car carrying the Australian flag up near the Prime Minister’s Palace. Alas, I wasn’t fast enough to whip the camera out of the pocket. And as our driver explained 5 is for Australia (if it was 1 that would be the Emglish Ambassador’s car – which stands to reason), CD is for Diplomatic Corps and 1 is for the ambassador.

Along the way we also spied a horse and cart travelling side by side with cars and motor cycles, a Tuk Tuk driver who had stopped by the roadside for a shave, Tuk Tuks receiving roadside mechanical repairs and others having tyres changed (where the air pump hoses were wrapped around the trees), men requiring relief facing brick walls doing what they do, very young roadside beggars, and a woman who was layering bricks, one in each hand from a very tall stockpile, onto a sheet of wood balancing on her head.

Another glorious Indian day where I was also reintroduced the delights of the Indian traffic jam (you could boil an egg in the time we waited for some of the lights to change especially in today’s heat) … yesterday’s little hitch was nothing compared to today’s delightful traffic snarls! Just love it here!

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