Thursday, February 12, 2009

Impressions of Delhi

Tree lined , broad roads. Power and wealth. Very few signs of life in the huge compounds we pass. Except once when there were a number of vans bristling with antennae outside the AICC and a number of reporters and camera men jostling each other outside the gates. Even this seemed to be so controlled, so ordered and neat like a Naidu function in Coimbatore.

The names of the roads are so evocative- Subramani bharathi marg, Tolstoy marg, Copernicus marg,.. history coming alive as nowhere else. Closer to the centers of power, the road names are given in Urdu too.

One can’t be a proud car owner in Delhi. Every vehicle is damaged except the bigger cars. Replaced often maybe or very careful drivers? The long lines of cars have only one occupant mostly or sometimes two if there is a driver.

Gardens are immaculate. Every bush, even trees are pruned. The hallmark of the Archaeological Society is lush green lawns that give grace and serenity to each monument.

We didn’t see too many monuments as we took it slowly. Everywhere we went there were busloads of schoolchildren with exuberance uncorked. It is very good to see all the ‘sights’ when one is in school with very little actually absorbed. But then we can visit a few later when we are really able to appreciate.

Humayun’s tomb- tranquil and serene. Worth a visit. Coming upon a tamil gatekeeper was a nice touch. That alleviated some of our bewilderment when we found our taxi driver had absconded suddenly with a few of our things. But what we were left with is a sense of the great Mughals. They did think big and built magnificently.

The Lotus temple is an architectural marvel that fills the eye. We thought Raj ghat was a must especially since it was Gandhi’s death day. Leaders had been and gone and the Samadhi was beautifully decorated with flowers. I bought a book on Ba and enjoyed the not so well known traits of Gandhi.

The Jama Masjid is astonishing in size. And the claustrophic trek they have up a tower is worth the panaromic view from the top.

Our highlight was the rickshaw ride through the very narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk opposite the Red Fort. Whole lanes of shops decked with gorgeous sarees in every rich hue, embroidered closely in gold thread. One lane had only laces of every kind , one had glass beads and baubles…. it was a something you only see on Discovery:-)) I was glad Sindhu wasn’t around or she would have insisted on buying a saree she would never wear. We searched hard for the old jilebi wala described in Lonely planet and found a good enough substitute.

We finished the day with the Sound and light show at the Red Fort. I found it a bit tame in these days of extraordinary visual aids but it’s a slice of history portrayed wonderfully in the style of the 70’s. The story of magnificence and decadence remains in your head when you go back to the hotel room.

( I suppose I should put in appropriate pics and history. But I dont think anyone is looking for a guide to Delhi here. And I cant' find the data cord for the camera:-)By the time I find it, the impressions might have gone.)


Swarna said...

That's one most unusual record of unusual impressions of Delhi. Hope you experienced the metro? And about the dents in cars - if we venture out it's easier to count the undented ones..."Replaced often maybe or very careful drivers?" The former, definitely!
Lutyens' Delhi is certainly green and a joy to behold.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

So, you seem to have had a lot of fun!! Vacationing?? Nice descriptions...makes me want to visit Delhi again!


This is simply brilliant! What a kaleidoscope of impressions. One can also sense the enjoyment. You visited Delhi at a good time, too, when the flowers would have been at their best


Kalyani, nice to have you back.

ayyo.... said...

Did you visit the Taj Mahal?? I'm planning to go the Delhi in June.. I very much want to see the Jama Masjid and the Rd Fort..!

Maddy said...

it has been many years since i last visited delhi - I only hope that the changes are not many. anyway waiting for delhi 6 to see it all again - on screen.

kallu said...

Swarna- "unusual record of unusual impressions of Delhi" . I'll take that at face value :-) In a couple of days, one can only gather a few impressions - it could be the glamorous face of a city but that's what I caught.
No, sadly couldn't do the Metro tho it was way up on our list.
But, good talking to you.

kallu said...

Lakshmi, thanks. Medical conference for my husband which is vacationing for us .Hope you are enjoying your university with your usual zest for life.

kallu said...

Raji, thanks and thanks again. Yes, flowers and climate at its best. To you, who's lived there these impressions must be so different.

kallu said...

Ayyappan, yes of course. Next post. WE didnt actually get to see much of the REd fort as it was dark by the time we got to the son et lumiere. But the Agra Fort is very similar I guess. Grand.

kallu said...

Maddy, okay tell us about delhi through delhi6. Seen slumdog?

Maddy said...

yes, we saw slumdog some 2-3 months ago - before all this chatter started. it was a great 'movie' and i have only disagreement with anybody who says otherwise..