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The Diwan-i-Aam, or Audience Hall, is located in Delhi’s Red Fort. It was here that Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (best known for building the Taj Mahal) and his successors meet with citizens to hear their grievances and requests.
The Audience Hall is covered with a roof but is open on three sides, with a back wall and weight-bearing pillars and arches made of red sandstone. The hall measures 100 x 60 feet. Apparently at one time its ceiling and columns were painted with gold — that would have been quite a sight.
It’s an impressive and beautifully constructed space, highlighted by place where the Emperor would sit — a magnificent elevated white marble throne inlaid with semi-precious stone (a technique later perfected in …
One of our tour group’s activities while in Delhi was to visit a Home for Boys, which we did early one winter morning. The air was cool and crisp as we stepped off our bus and most of us zipped up our jackets. We were met by one of the older boys from the home. He greeted us and gave a brief history of the home before guiding us through the streets to visit it. While I think the purpose of the walk was largely to let us see what life on these streets could be like, it would be impossible for any vehicle larger than a tuk-tuk to have navigated the maze we entered.
The Salaam Baalak …
The building of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb was actually undertaken in 1565 by his Persian-born widow, Hamida Banu Begum, nine years after the great man died. She selected the site of the monument, on the banks of the Yamuna River, and the Persian architect who designed it. The monument took seven years to build and shows a strong Persian influence, including it’s gardens divided into four parts by walkways or flowing water. It was the first garden-tomb in India.
The massive mausoleum is constructed of red sandstone interspersed with white marble, while the inner tomb itself is made of marble. The platform of the mausoleum is 7 meters tall, while the height of the building’s impressive marble dome is 47 meters. …
One of the oldest markets in Delhi — and perhaps the busiest in all of Asia — is Chandni Chowk, which is close to Delhi’s Red Fort. The market was, in fact, originally designed in the 17th century by Mogul Shah Jahan (who was later to build the Taj Mahal) so that his favorite daughter would have a place to shop near their home in the Red Fort. The shopping area originally had around 1600 shops, but has been completely rebuilt over the centuries and is now an extensive and expansive market area.
Chandni Chowk’s market is known for is its great variety and authenticity: food (especially street food and sweets), clothing (sarees, suits), electronic items, shoes, books, jewelry, car parts …
While walking the streets of Old Delhi, we encountered this unexpected parade. A group of people playing instruments, carrying a few floats, and seeming to have a good time.
Our guide told us that it was a parade of Jains — people adherent to the ancient Indian religion of Jainism. I don’t know much about the faith except that along with Hinduism and Buddhism, it is one of the oldest religions in Asia, dating to the 6th century.
There are many festivals in the Jain faith and we thought it likely was a celebration of one of these. Unfortunately I’ll never know.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)
A visit to Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib was my first to a Sikh temple. I was very impressed by what I saw — especially by the kind hearts of the people who spend substantial time and money serving others.
Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib is one of the nine historical Gurdwaras (places of Sikh worship) in Delhi. It was originally constructed in 1783 by Baghel Singh to commemorate the martyrdom site of the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, who was beheaded here by the Mughal emperor in 1675 for refusing to convert to Islam. After some back and forth about whether the site was Muslim or Sikh, the British colonial government ruled in favor of the Sikhs, and the current facilities were …
In my experience it’s rare for people to want their photo to be taken by a tourist. But the gentleman above was very proud of his job, and wanted me to photograph him cooking up treats in one of Delhi’s Sweets shops. He was frying some pastries in a large pan of oil, scooping them out as they were ready. When these were finished he poured in a bag of raw cashews, frying them as well.
I’m quite cautious about eating street food in countries like India, a trait that has served me well over the years. But I did buy a few of the cooked treats, which were quite good. I’m sure they spiked my cholesterol level, but such are the …
My favorite market in Delhi was its spice market, which happens to be Asia’s largest spice market. The market straddles Khari Baoli, a street near the Red Fort. The street’s name is derived from ‘Baoli’, meaning step well, and ‘Khari’, meaning salty.
The market dates to the 17th century. Many of the shops have been in the families for a long time, some even run by the ninth- or tenth generations.
Like all good spice markets, Delhi’s is fragrant, colorful and tempting. Besides a large variety of spices and herbs, you can buy other food items like nuts, tea, pasta and rice. Everything is beautifully displayed.
Khari Baoli is extremely busy — lots of shoppers, traffic, and workers carrying heavy sacs of spices to …